All Posts by Jeremy Kallowitz

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May 02

Annie Leibovitz MasterClass Review – Is It Worth it?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Annie Liebovitz is an award-winning and a very promising portrait photographer. She is best known for her interactive portraits that are often shot in intimate settings. Annie strives to achieve perspective through her photographs. In one of her interviews, she said that she gains a point of view and a voice through her work. In her own opinion, she is not a portrait photographer but a creative artist that uses photography to express her ideas.

Through MasterClass, Annie takes you to her studio where she teaches you all about photography and how to use portraits and faces of people to tell a story. MasterClass offers a series of lessons taught through pre-recorded videos. These videos are coupled with related workbooks and interactive assignments to enhance your learning experience. The instructors on MasterClass are renowned and experienced celebrities from different walks of life.

Annie Liebovitz's MasterClass:

Annie is not known for the technicalities of her work because she barely addresses that aspect of her work, but in these lessons we see her with her professional mask on.

In the preview to her class, she talks about the importance of keeping your lighting kit small.

Lesson Plan:

Annie's MasterClass consists of 15 lessons. Through each of these lessons, she teaches you different aspects of portrait photography. In her introductory lesson, she talks about her career and makes it clear that your equipment and gear won’t take you anywhere in portrait photography if you don’t have a story to tell through your work.

As we move forward, Annie shares with her pupils what made her interested in portrait photography and what makes it different from photo journalism. She doesn’t forget to walk her viewers through her creative concepts.

Later in her lesson, she talks about the difference between a studio shoot and a location shoot and what significance each of these hold. Annie also teaches different case studies that involve dissecting her work to give a clear view of her creative process.

Access to Annie’s MasterClass:

There are two access passes that MasterClass offers, one being a single-access pass worth $90 and the other one is an all-access pass worth $180.

With an all-access pass, you are not only taught by a particular instructor but you are given free reign to choose from any online classes available on MasterClass.

Is it Worth to Spend $90 Over an Online Class?

It's not possible to get an award-winning renowned and experienced photographer to teach all about her creative process. Annie is a master of her field. She is the first woman to be a Chief Photographer at Rolling Stone and the last person ever to photograph John Lennon.

When we look at all the extensive and impressive work she has done over the years, and how she has great command over her equipment, spending $90 on her online class is just a small amount of money. The knowledge and experience she'll give through her lessons is endless and worth every single penny.

Apr 13

Hans Zimmer MasterClass Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Hans Zimmer is an award-winning film score composer and a record producer. He has managed to compose for many famous movies such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, and many others. His list of awards includes four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy award. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Lion King.

Zimmer has been recognized as a music genius when he made The Telegraph's list of 100 Living Geniuses. He has put together music for around 150 movies without even watching them. A film's music is what shapes it, and if it’s a movie like The Lion King, then the score plays a significant role in giving it its flavor.

Zimmer joins MasterClass to teach his fans and composing enthusiasts the art of storytelling through music in his first-ever online class.

What is MasterClass?

MasterClass is an online platform where skilled experts, experienced professionals and recognized talents from different fields teach their audience about their related fields and what they know about it. These instructors have worked for years in their fields and share their insights that can only be gained through years of experience.

MasterClass offers lessons for fields like poker, cooking, photography, scriptwriting etc. Some of the other famous instructors on MasterClass include Gordon Ramsay, Herbie Hancock and Natalie Portman.

These instructors teach through a series of pre-recorded videos, workbooks and assignments. Since this is an online class, it is easy for everyone to manage time for these lessons. You can either binge-watch it or take one lesson at a time, but it is advised not to rush it and try to finish the workbooks and assignments along with the lessons.

The assignments are engaging and the online community makes it easy to make the most out of the experience. Learning through MasterClass is easy, accessible and unlike anything else.

Learn About Hans Zimmer's MasterClass:

Hans Zimmer is known for his innovative sounds and how he combines electrical music with old beats. He enjoyed his time as a pop artist before he moved on to working in the film industry. He first collaborated with his mentor, then he moved on to scoring music for movies by himself.

In his MasterClass, Hans shares his insights and experiences as a film score composer with his pupils. He teaches them how he learned to create a character’s story through music.

Lesson Plan:

Zimmer’s MasterClass has 31 lessons, and through these he walks us through the process of scoring a movie and finding a character’s theme.

In his introductory lesson, he introduces himself and talks about the significance of his class and how he plans to conduct it.

Moving forward, he tells his students the importance of a theme and how complicated themes are not necessarily good themes. He emphasizes the importance of simplicity here.

Hans shares his rules of composing a song or score a theme when the film is still in the works. He talks about how he puts together his music and the story with little to go on with.

For Hans, it is important to understand the director and their thought process because sometimes the director’s ideas are the only thing that’s clear when the movie hasn’t even been shot yet. The director's perspective tells you about the direction of the movie and how they plan to shoot it. It is important to have a good relationship with the director and discuss with them your writing process in order to produce something close to his line of vision. Discussions and more discussions with the director is the most essential part of effective composing.

We also learn about the unique sound palettes Zimmer has created over the years. His ability to create something extraordinary out of ordinary sounds is astounding. That’s why in one of his lessons, he composes a new song using synthesizers. He doesn’t hesitate to showcase his talents in order to invoke interest from his viewers and show them his composing process.

Later in his lessons, Hans tells his audience how important it is to score a scene as well as the significance of knowing when a scene is fine without any score. It is not necessary to give every scene in the movie a score just because you can. Similarly, scoring and dialogue has a delicate relationship and a composer must know when to quit otherwise you won’t be hearing any dialogues over the score.

Just like your relationship with the director, your equation with the editor also matters. The editor’s editing is what will challenge your musical talents. Hans takes an example from his own works and explains how he scored an extremely well-edited Sherlock Holmes scene.

Twelve lessons into his class, Hans shares a trick that helps him with the process of scoring. He creates music libraries for each of his projects that he visits often as he works on the project.

Hans further tells us how he tries to understand his characters to give them themes befitting their vibe. Here, he again visits his notable works, like Batman and Jack Sparrow, and explains the process with examples.

His lessons also include case studies where he dissects his own work and explains his creative thought process.

In the end, he doesn’t forget to mention the musicians that play important roles in a film's scoring. Just like the editor and the director, knowing how your musicians work is also very important.

Access to MasterClass:

There are two passes available on MasterClass. One is a single-access pass worth $90 and the other is an all-access pass worth $180.

Many of you might wonder if it really is worth spending $90 for an online class. Let me remind you again who is teaching this MasterClass. Hans Zimmer is known for his genius musical capabilities and innovative sounds. No matter which institute you join to learn film composing, you will never have the opportunity to learn first-hand from someone as skilled as Hans Zimmer. Learning from the best should be your priority no matter the price.

Apr 03

Aaron Sorkin MasterClass Review – Is it Worth it?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Aaron Sorkin is a remarkable writer, producer, director and screenwriter who has not only worked for cinema and TV but is also an excellent playwright.

He has won many awards including an academy award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ for his film ‘The Social Network’. Some of his notable works for theatre are ‘The Farnsworth Invention’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, both of which are Broadway plays. As mentioned above, he has also worked for television and has famous series like ‘The Newsroom’ and ‘Sports Night’ under his name. Sorkin's talents are varied from plays to television to cinema. He has challenged his writing capabilities according to different mediums.

Aaron has launched his online classes on MasterClass where he teaches his audience screenwriting and the art of writing a gripping story.

What is MasterClass?

It is an online class program where successful celebrities, skilled professionals and experienced recognized people from different fields come forward to share some insight about their related field. These classes are a series of prerecorded video lessons which are facilitated with online workbooks and engaging assignments. Though it is not mandatory to finish these assignments and workbooks with the lessons, but it is recommended to do so if you want the best learning experience and command.

MasterClass offers classes for a variety of fields that are photography, filmmaking, acting, singing, performing, business and many more. There are more 35+ instructors' classes available on MasterClass including names like Natalie Portman, David Lynch, Usher and others.

All About Aaron Sorkin’s Class:

Through this class, Aaron aims to teach his pupils the craft if writing a good story. He elaborates that every story begins with predetermined intentions and goes through many hurdles before coming together in the end.

During all this, it is important to know the driving force that pushes your plot forward. A story without intention and purpose is good for nothing and its struggles are the elements that keep it going.

Sorkin’s intention with this class is clear from the start. He tells you the rules he follows while writing a script, how he develops his characters and create engaging conversations through dialogues. He doesn’t forget to share all the necessary details he knows about scriptwriting.

Lesson Plan:

The Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass is extensive with 35 lessons that can last for hours. In his introductory lesson, Aaron introduces himself as your instructor and mentions some of his notable work. His conversation style is yet he retains the flexibility that is essential for an online class.

Later in his lessons, he talks about knowing which one of your story ideas have the potential to be a great script that guarantees praises from movie audience. In addition to this he also talks about how he created some of his most impressive characters like The Social Network's Mark Zuckerbergand Steve Jobs.

As we move forward, Sorkin emphasizes the significance of research in the scriptwriting process. A through research will give your script the depth and background it needs while a bad research will leave loopholes in your script. Not only is the process of research but knowing how to use this research just as important. You don’t want to make your script look like just a load of information that has no use in your script.

While explaining the process of research, Sorkin yet again visits his own works, Malice and The Social Network as an example. Throughout this one trait in the class remains constant. He takes examples from his own work dissect it to give his viewers better understanding of what he wants to convey.

Aaron further talks about the rules of story that have not changed over the years and are the same from Aristotle’s days. He highlights the importance of knowing your audience and what they expect from you. Admittedly, it is important to write what you want but most of the times it is better if your thoughts are aligned with the audience's expectations.

No matter how well you write and how impressive your idea is, writer’s block is a problem that every writer faces once in a while. Sorkin shares his tips on how to get move pass it. He further explains how he tracks his film's ‘act structure’ and pacing by page numbers.

His lessons include workshops in which he dissects different plays and explains the pacing of selected scenes such as action. There are six group workshops; each workshop focuses on a different aspect of screenwriting. In one of his lessons, he explains how to make sense of off-beat characters and scene and in another workshop the art of writing a gripping opening scene is explained.

Not only through these workshops, Aaron challenges his students by creating an imaginary writer’s room. Lastly he asks them to write with him to give them ideas and in the end asks them to come up with their own story idea.

How to Access Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass?

MasterClass is easy to access compared to other online classes. You just need to sign up and choose between the two access passes offered by the site. One of these pass is single access pass worth $90 that allows you to access only one of the instructor's class. The other one is an all-access pass that lets you access all the classes available on MasterClass and costs $180 per year.

Is it worth spending $90 on an online class?

The answer is a big time yes. It is no ordinary class as it is taught by the most skilled and experienced professional instructor from the screenwriters' faculty. If you sign up for a filmmaking class, you’ll be paying more and even then, you won’t learn from the best.

So, if you want to learn from an expert who can share real insights from the work he has done so far as well as push to your boundaries with the assignments then signing up for Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass is the best decision you’ll ever make for your career as a screenwriter.

Mar 21

Gordon Ramsay MasterClass Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | MasterClass Course Reviews

Introduction:                                      

Before diving into the details of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterClass, a little background on the site itself might be helpful. MasterClass is an online learning platform with instructors that are experienced, skilled and recognized in their fields. It offers more than 35+classes on different subjects such as photography, poker, cooking, producing, writing etc.

How Does it Work?

The lectures are video-recorded in which the instructors follow a lesson plan. With each lesson, different assignments and workbooks are available. MasterClass allows you to do these assignments at your pace and convenience, but following the lesson plan will help you learn better.

Gordon Ramsay’s MasterClass - Review:

Gordon Ramsay has returned as an instructor on MasterClass. For people who don’t know, Gordon Ramsay is a British restaurateur, chef, author and television personality. He has judged many cook-offs and cooking competitions, such as MasterChef and others. His restaurants have received a total of 16 Michelin stars.

His TV fame has made him one of the most influential chefs and celebrities in the mass media. Gordon launched his online cooking class on MasterClass before and received positive response, so now he returns to MasterClass once again.

What Does Gordon Teach this Time?

Unlike last time, Gordon doesn’t start from the basics and doesn’t hang on to the essential ingredients, methods and recipes. Instead, he focuses more on developing a professional touch in your cooking.

In his second class, Gordon will teach you how to make your home-cooked meal look like it came straight from a Michelin star restaurant. He shares his tips that will save you time as well as help you elevate your cooking taste and presentation.

Gordon stands in his well-equipped kitchen and teaches you 13 restaurant dishes to cook at home. He doesn’t focus on only one part of a meal. He includes everything that makes for a complete meal, like appetizers and desserts.

A Peak into Ramsay’s MasterClass:

The lesson plan for Gordon’s MasterClass is comprehensive with 15 lessons that span almost four hours in total. Through these lessons, Gordon teaches you how to cook some of his finest dishes.

In his introductory lesson, Gordon first tells you why he has returned on MasterClass and what he intends to do in his second online class. He shares his plans for his second MasterClass that involves giving your home-cooked meal look and taste like restaurant quality. He also mentions his new recipes that are available in his restaurants and the ones that are among customer favorites.

After the introduction, Gordon teaches you two techniques that are essential for his vegetarian course, that is, how to sauté and purée the right way. He doesn’t forget to share tips on how to save time and how to prepare your dish's ingredients beforehand.

In his third lesson, Gordon teaches his pupils to cook a perfect crispy duck by cooking it in its own fat. Later in this lesson, he also shares his techniques to bleed out endives, as well as how to caramelize them.

In his next lesson, Gordon focuses on the method of making the smoothest purée and how to infuse it with the cream to get that creamy texture. But this time, he chooses potatoes as the ingredient and prepares Pomme purée. There is a lot of thinking that goes in picking potatoes for this purée. Gordon opts for waxy potato and potato ricer.

The fifth lesson is titled The Cauliflower Steak and peaks the interest of the viewers. Gordon turns an ordinary cauliflower into a delicious steak. This dish is perfect for vegetarians when paired with olives and mushrooms.

First time in this class, Ramsay cooks a non-vegetarian dish i.e. a lamb and teaches his students to search a lamb and then oven-roast it. With this lamb, he shares his updated version of the traditional mint jelly and mash.

Moving forward to the seventh lesson, Gordon teaches his viewers how to get rid of eggplants' bitterness and cook it in its own skin. By incorporating Turkish spices, he creates the perfect dish with eggplants as the main hero.

The second half of Gordon’s class is mostly for non-vegetarians. He teaches three techniques to cook chicken, that are Szechuan Chicken Breast, Hoisin Chicken and Szechuan roasted whole chicken. Each of these dishes is paired with a different side-dish including Udon Noodles and Pickled Daikon.

Not only chicken, the second half includes different seafood, from the plain old tuna to baby leeks. Gordon grills baby leeks and serves them in miso, giving them a unique umami flavor.

In the second-last lesson, he teaches you ‘the science of soufflé’ to help you make the best raspberry soufflé you’ve ever made.

Lastly, Gordon ends his class on an encouraging note where he tells you to keep practicing your culinary skills if you want to perfect them and to never give up.

Where to Sign Up?

Now that you know what you will be learning from this class and have decided to sign up, here’s how to do it. MasterClass offers two access passes, one is the single-access pass and the other one is an all-access pass.

Single-access pass costs $90 and allows you to access only one MasterClass. All-access pass costs $180 per year and let’s you access all classes on MasterClass.

Conclusion:

You might be wondering if it is really a good idea to spend $90 on Gordon’s cooking class. There must be some hesitation in your mind whether this MasterClass is really for you or not. Gordon's class is for everyone who knows their way around the kitchen and isn’t a beginner. But even if you are a beginner, you’ll still learn a lot from this class.

So if you want to improve your culinary skills and cook dishes like a professional with eye-catching presentations, then signing up for Gordon’s MasterClass is the best decision you’ll ever make in favor of your talents.

Mar 07

Zenva Academy Review – Is it Worth it?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

Zenva Academy is an online learning platform that provides a host of different courses to train professionals in various technical disciplines and help them become proficient programmers in their field of choice. They provide you with a unique opportunity to learn everything you need to know without any subscription fees. This Zenva Academy review is going to detail the specifics of their courses, assess whether they’re worth it and suggest some alternatives as well.

Courses

When you sign up for Zenva Academy, you gain access to a large number of courses, all of which are focused on one of these technical areas:

Each of these categories further provides specialised courses. For example, Data Science courses include databases, visualisation and data handling. Or Artwork courses encompassing MagicaVoxel, 3D modelling, Photoshop, GIMP and Inkscape. The other categories are broken down in a similar way.

Zenva Academy promises that each course they provide comes with the following perks as an added bonus to help facilitate learning:

  • On-demand access throughout the day
  • Well-trained customer support staff
  • Project-based learning
  • An environment to help you learn skills that are highly sought-after in the job market

Additionally, there’s also a discount going on some of the courses at the time of this writing, so if you’re looking for cost-efficient methods to develop your skills, you should take advantage of this opportunity and sign up now. You can check out the current discounts here.

Review

The way Zenva Academy structures their courses is of two types. They have mini-degree courses and full courses. Some of these courses can be a little expensive for some people, this is why it’s you should always explore their free courses first or watch some of the videos on their YouTube channel in order to get an idea of what the lessons will be like beforehand and assess exactly what you’ll be paying for.

Even though it could be expensive, the subscription fee is for a life-time. You only have to make the payment once and after that you can access it whenever you want. Lifetime access is especially useful and convenient for people who do not have flexible schedules and want to learn in their own time. This way, you can attend the courses and complete them at your own pace without any rush.

The courses themselves offer a considerable amount of depth and provide you with materials (video lectures, notes, slides etc.) that serve to guide you and support you in your learning. The site allows students to download the course files associated with every lesson.

There are quite a few courses that don’t require any prior experience with coding or programming, particularly the web development ones. However, there are certain courses that are more specialised and advanced and require some kind of familiarity with the topic.

Some might feel that the style of Zenva courses “spoon-feed” everything, but at the same time others might enjoy their style of learning as it provides a lot of structure and also help students feel more organised in their learning process.

Additionally, when you complete a course, you are granted a certificate that can be added to your resumes. Each certificate has a verification URL that can be used to confirm your completion of the course by employers and schools. The certificates can also be shared on LinkedIn. These certificates are provided for all of the available courses regardless of whether they’re free or not. Also, these certificates are issued for no additional cost.

Alternatives

While Zenva Academy is a very comprehensive and reliable option, there are at least two other online learning platforms that are worth examining: Treehouse and Skillshare.

Treehouse is a great learning platform that can help individuals develop skills in areas related to programming, coding, app development and starting businesses. Many courses are also available in disciplines like marketing or general business competencies. Their lesson structure involves quizzes, interactive challenges and videos. You earn badges to reflect your progress. However, keep in mind that you can’t really learn the advanced stuff with Treehouse as it only offers courses for the beginner or intermediate levels.

Skillshare is another alternative to Zenva Academy. It’s not necessarily as flashy or as in-depth as Zenva Academy (or even Treehouse), but it does provide you with a fair number of courses that will help you develop your skills. Their online classes are conducted by specially trained professionals and their classes do not have a strict-deadline structure, so you’re free to engage with the classes at a comfortable pace. Additionally, you can work with a community to help complete projects.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that Zenva Academy is a very strong contender in the market for online learning platforms, thanks to the wide range of courses they provide and the depth of the content of their lessons. While some might find the prices a little high or might not like the learning style too much, it doesn’t mean that there is no benefit of using it.

The second best option after Zenva Academy would is Treehouse, while the third best option would be Skillshare, as discussed above. While these sites also provide good foundations for learning, they come up a little short when compared to Zenva Academy that has more variety and depth of scope to offer to students.

So the final verdict of this Zenva Academy review is that it’s a great option to consider and everyone looking to build their skills in technical areas should definitely consider taking at least a few courses on Zenva Academy to deepen their understanding.


Other Options To Consider

Here is a quick list of all the course websites we've reviewed so far

Feb 21

Treehouse vs Codecademy – Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

The internet has a plethora of options when it comes to learning the art of programming and web development. It is easy to get confused among the choices and ultimately select a poor service, which only wastes your time and money. After looking for such an online service for quite a few days, I had shortlisted the following services, namely Treehouse vs Codecademy. I decided to give them both a chance and continue the one which ticked most, if not all, my boxes. Let us delve into these two services now.

Codecademy

Codecademy is a prominent name with regards to services that teach coding. It has attempted to channel the information usually provided via a formal education into a nifty website portal. On the surface, it has centered its learning portal around beginners. Therefore, it teaches starter topics for various languages such as Python, Ruby and Java.

These intro learning courses are provided for free, but they also give the choice of going Pro. The Pro option gives you the chance to experience customized lessons along with live online teaching sessions with a real instructor.

Learning Method

Every course will always start with the basics and then move onto more challenging tasks and lessons. For instance, if the user opts to delve into Python, they will be required to learn rudimentary output/input, after which the user will progress to numerical-based concepts and so on and so forth. This is obviously a precursor to more complicated tasks such intricate data structures and gradually progressing to command controls etc.

It is apparent that the creators have tried to maintain some semblance of fluidity when it comes to the progression of the course material. Whether they succeeded in their attempts to do so is another matter entirely as I often found myself feeling that perhaps the jumps in concepts were either too drastic or too gradual.

Features

Codecademy has used a rudimentary method to motivate its users by rewarding them with different badges depending on how far they have progressed in the relevant programs. The website also had an embedded discussion forum with every learning track, which enables cohesive group learning where one can obtain guidance regarding certain topics from fellow users.

I shall admit that one of the neater features was a timescale Codecademy provided to help the user gauge their progress. This timescale calculated a rough approximate of how much time one should take to completely grasp a certain topic/concept. However, again, the accuracy of this feature can be brought into question as I found its estimations were quite different from how long it actually took me to fully understand the topic in question.

All in all, I felt that Codecademy is an appropriate service to engage if you want to acquaint yourself with rudimentary concepts. However, eventually, it became apparent that its coding was old. This is a problem which the moderators of the website are aware of and are hopefully trying to correct. It also felt like Codecademy was attempting to stave me off from the complex side of programming and was making life easier for itself. This also gave me a false sense of accomplishment, which was immediately shattered when I discussed what I had learnt with an experienced developer.

Treehouse

When Codecademy didn’t work out for me, I came across Treehouse and saw that it offered a free trial. This meant I would not be at a disadvantage if I eventually chose not to continue with Team Treehouse.

Learning Method

At a glance, Treehouse has a catalogue of more than a thousand info-vids, which have been recorded by professional programmers/developers. To boot, there is additional readable content in order to help the user grasp the concepts that are conveyed in the videos.

Moreover, the instructors are qualified individuals who have been part of the industry for several years and are not only well-versed with the topics but also aware of the nuances that new users may face. Every lesson is further divided into sub-lessons, which are known as stages. This allows a novice like me to absorb the information with relative ease.

Features

Treehouse’s experience feels a lot more flexible than that of Codecademy. The multitude of lessons available can be viewed in whichever order the user feels best. Having said that, Treehouse also provides a recommended track along which the lessons should be taken.

This track has been determined by professionals who have created the lessons and are more than capable of advising the recommended route. The aforementioned track enables the user to gradually grasp concepts without feeling unnecessarily burdened with an overload of information.

For novices like myself, it is advisable that one stays on the recommended track. Staying on track also allows inquisitive learning via intriguing challenges and questionnaires. This learning method keeps the mind sharp and ensures better retention of concepts.

Similar to Codecademy, Treehouse awards you badges, depending on your progression. Furthermore, the online community is quite active and is always readily available to help anyone who is facing difficulty in grasping any concept. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I genuinely adore Treehouse. The online community is a lot friendlier and more forthcoming than that of Codecademy and coupled with the online instructors, I never felt alone when I came across problematic concepts.

Conclusion

In evaluation, there is one clear winner in the debate of Team Treehouse vs Codecademy, and that is Team Treehouse. This is primarily due to the balance it has created between video content and readable content. Both complement each other and greatly aid in understanding the concepts put in front of novices like myself. Furthermore, Treehouse does not bombard you with information and the progression of concepts feels so much more natural.

If you are caught between Codecademy vs Treehouse, here’s an idea – give the 7-day free trial at Treehouse a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose, and I have a feeling you won’t need to look elsewhere after you’ve experienced what Treehouse has to offer.

Feb 11

Datacamp vs. Dataquest: Which Data Science Course is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

Data Science is becoming an extremely attractive field in this day and age. Not only is it extremely profitable, it also offers great utility to various other fields. In and of itself, data science can be used for predicting possibilities, prescribing behaviour, determining trends and making predictions based on hidden patterns.

Among students and researchers, there’s a lot of interest in this field, which is why so many online courses are available. Hence, we’ve decided to keep the focus of this article on Datacamp vs. Dataquest, two solid options for data science. Let’s compare and contrast to see which is the better learning platform.

Datacamp

Datacamp was among the first online platforms geared for an optimal data science learning environment. Over the years, they have helped train more than 500,000 data scientists across 150 countries. All beginner courses are provided for free (which you can access here), while premium courses are available for $29 a month.

Datacamp also has a large number of partnerships with both companies and educational institutions. Companies include the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Pluralsight, RStudio and Kaggle. Educational institutions include: Duke, University of Washington and Princeton.

Courses

The available courses cover the following disciplines:

  • R
  • SQL
  • Shell
  • Python
  • Git
  • Spreadsheets

The R courses happen to be the most comprehensive and detailed, providing you with access to everything you will ever need to know, although for SQL there is only an introductory one, leaving a lot to be desired.

With Datacamp, you can also make use of career tracks. These are specifically crafted syllabuses designed to accommodate those with specific goals. Currently there are 7 available paths:

  • R Programmer
  • Data Scientist (with R)
  • Data Analyst (with R)
  • Quantitative Analyst (with R)
  • Python Programmer
  • Data Scientist (with Python)
  • Data Analyst (with Python)

Overview

Signing up with Datacamp is extremely rewarding because all of their lessons are designed to be interactive and simple. Videos are also provided to help you understand more easily. These video lectures aren’t long. They are short and are directly relevant to the given exercise. Each lesson also has intuitive examples incorporated to further deepen your understanding. The $29 price point also makes for a very affordable option.

But there is one problem to be aware of: there isn’t much additional help beyond what is provided in the lesson. Also, Datacamp’s assignments aren’t very open-ended, which means there’s no incentive to devise creative solutions.

Dataquest

This online platform offers you the opportunity to tackle data science through 24-week project-based courses. You will be able to develop your data science skillset through a step by step approach, with an instruction team prepared to guide you as necessary. Assigned projects can also be used to develop your portfolio for future employers’ consideration.

Courses

Dataquest offers a wide number of courses, some of which are focused on:

  • R
  • Python
  • SQL
  • Git
  • Machine Learning
  • Kaggle

You also have access to specific paths. Dataquest offers these 4:

  • Data Analyst (with R)
  • Data Analyst (with Python)
  • Data Scientist (with Python)
  • Data Engineer

Overview

Dataquest has the benefit of providing many courses along with a very hands-on approach to make sure students understand what they’re learning. With Dataquest, the biggest priority is application, so there are many opportunities to apply what you’ve learned. They also provide office hours so you can reach out to their data scientists for help, and you also get to be a part of their active Slack community.

You will also note that beginner courses are provided for free, but Dataquest has two paid plans as well. One of the deals is $29 a month, and the other is $49 a month.

Comparison

When addressing the topic of Datacamp vs. Dataquest fairly, it would be helpful to assess the quality of both options.

Dataquest

First, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of Dataquest.

Dataquest has a wide range of courses one can enrol in and the challenges and assignments you have to complete are challenging enough to help you learn better.

However, a big drawback would have to be the lack of videos which can make it more challenging to understand certain concepts which are best understood with visual aids. You will also feel the need to support Dataquest lessons with other material (textbooks, YouTube tutorials, etc.) to fully grasp the concepts being explained.

Additionally, Dataquest’s price point for their premium access is much more expensive at $49. There have also been reports that the platform is prone to bugs. Also, getting the Dataquest certification isn’t entirely useful since employers usually don’t consider it. Lastly, there aren’t many career paths available.

Datacamp

In Datacamp’s case, it’s important to remember that there isn’t much support provided beyond the tutorials that come with the lessons. This can prove to be a challenge for some. Additionally, Datacamp’s lesson structure can be unappealing to some, as they don’t expect learners to do everything from scratch.

But at the same time, their lessons are designed with the intention of promoting interactivity by providing examples so that you can understand the core concepts better. Full access to Datacamp is also much cheaper at $29.

With most alternatives, complex topics are handled in ways that aren’t beginner-friendly. Datacamp offers the opportunity to understand these complex topics in a simplified manner that everyone can easily comprehend. Also note about Datacamp that it allows you to have a great deal of focus with its courses, so developing individual skills is much easier.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the winner in Dataquest vs. Datacamp is the latter. With a cheaper price point and great interactivity, it has much more to offer those who are looking to expand on their data science skills in an affordable way. The extended career paths are also a great utility for those who are working towards specific goals. Datacamp is a clear winner, and you can sign up completely free here.

Even though Dataquest happens to get more mainstream attention, Datacamp manages to hold its ground and provide a competitive platform. We strongly recommend Datacamp to everyone who wishes to build on their skills for data science, so don’t hesitate and enrol now!

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Jan 23

DataCamp Review – Is It Worth It?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

The DataCamp website in the last two years has become my favorite destination for learning coding. It is not publicized as much as other places that offer coding classes. However, its courses are extremely effective and make the learning process very smooth and efficient.

I have given a few hours each week to learn a lot from this website. DataCamp is different because of its unique approach to education. You get videos that adequately explain the subject matter through real examples. They are easy to follow and very helpful. These are followed by exercises and quizzes that test the user’s grasp on the subject matter. No long lectures or complications are added to the overall learning experience.

I thought I would write about my experience with this platform. This DataCamp review looks at my overall experience with the website.

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Disclaimer

DataCamp Website

DataCamp is a website that offers a wide variety of courses. It deals with the subject of data science using Python and R. DataCamp is not the exclusive provider of these subjects. A plethora of educational websites exist for the same purpose. DataCamp, however, takes the lead by offering great teachers who know the subject inside out.

Their interactive exercises make the learning experience easier and more enjoyable. The website also offers a great community that is willing to help their peers in the quest of knowledge.

Apart from these great aspects, the curriculum itself is technically sound and can help any student acquire the necessary tools in their respective fields.

Learning R

When I first started using this website, I had to acquire an in-depth understanding of R. I chose DataCamp because a friend recommended it. He mentioned DataCamp's focus on R, which really caught my attention. I was completely satisfied with the website and soon acquired most of the knowledge I needed regarding R.

The reliance on exercises in the learning process helped me greatly to utilize this language to a great extent. This approach provided me with a fun way to test my capabilities. The only drawback was that these exercises could not help me grasp the inner workings of the language. However, DataCamp is not equivalent to an actual degree and, hence, provided me with a vast amount of knowledge without getting too deep into the subject.

DataCamp is evolving at an alarming rate. It has added various new courses since I joined two years ago. Most of these new courses are great for Python. Even though I was focused more on R when I signed up, I took courses focusing on Python as well. It was an overall enjoyable experience and I was able to learn various new things.

The makeup of DataCamp courses is very simple and easy to follow. They consist of videos that provide instructions and guidance. These videos are extremely helpful and wonderfully creative. They are followed by exercises regarding the subject matter of the videos. Actively solving these exercises will help the user retain most of the instructions provided in the video.

Apart from the exercises, the website also tests a user’s capabilities through quizzes, which give the user a very good understanding of where they stand in terms of a particular subject. These quizzes are mostly in a multiple-choice format and cover the subject matter that is touched upon in the videos.

The instructions are easy to follow and are made in a creative way to create interest in their relevant subjects. The videos and exercises, therefore, are a great way to learn the languages or subjects on offer.

Career Track Feature

There aren’t a lot of DataCamp reviews online. Therefore, it is essential to mention some of the features provided by this platform. In 2017, DataCamp introduced the Career and Skill Tracks, which were essential in various ways. They create a predestined timeline of various subjects based on the skills a user needs to acquire.

For me, they provided a path for learning as before, I was taking random courses based on my own preferences. The Career and Skill Tracks suggest and let you take courses that can help you acquire the knowledge necessary for your goals without aimlessly wandering around. I, therefore, had the opportunity to select the right courses without wasting my time on courses that weren't helpful.

I enrolled in the Python Skill Track. This was because I wanted to learn more about Python. The estimated time to complete this course based on my experience should be around two years. It was engaging overall and has an interesting design and interactive nature.

The Career and Skill Tracks contain various subjects other than Python as well. DataCamp offers three tracks that a user can choose for Python. Similarly, various tracks for R and other subjects are offered as well. Many courses exist outside of these tracks, which I found interesting as well. The Natural Language Processing Fundamentals in Python is a personal favorite as it covers a variety of topics and is convenient and easy to follow.

The Python track itself consists of 22 courses and takes around 70 hours. I completed these courses with another job, so this number would probably be less for someone who has time to spare. If you have a job and are willing to learn on a part-time basis, the 70-hour mark should be more than sufficient to complete this track.

The best thing about this track is that it starts from scratch. It does not treat its users like experts in programming and covers all the basics. The 22 courses, therefore, are designed to take a user from a beginner to an expert status in their respective topics. This is what gives DataCamp an edge over its competitors because you need to have prior knowledge in order to start them. Even with a lack of knowledge, all it takes is the will to learn. I had prior knowledge of Python, so the starting courses felt like a refresher on the concepts that I was already comfortable with.

I didn't always follow the layout provided by the website. Since I had prior knowledge in some courses, I took others in their place. I was wonderfully surprised by the flexible nature offered by the website in this regard. It made the learning experience less tedious as I only had to do the courses I wanted to. The website, however, forms its courses in such a way that a user feels rewarded for following the complete path set by the website.

I felt challenged and rewarded and that kept me going thought the predefined courses for the track. Even if I had prior knowledge about the course, the selection process was very nicely done and you could see why the courses were placed in the order that they were. Of course, I disagreed with the placement of some courses, but they were outliers in the general scheme of the track.

Curriculum

The starter courses for R and Python provided me with great insight into the languages. They were greatly designed and interactive. This made the entire process easy. I really looked forward to these tutorials and exercises every day.

The courses were designed in a way that they take you to the advanced level fairly fast. The layout of the courses made sure that I didn't feel out of place in these advanced levels.

If you use this website, I would recommend taking some initial courses. A little background in coding is necessary. If you have a little knowledge in these subjects, the website can build on that and take you to the next level.

Problems with the Courses

This DataCamp review would also look at the various problems I encountered with the website. The courses take into account various problems you might face and do an excellent job of getting the user through them. However, I still had two problems with the courses on offer.

The exercises become a bit repetitive, which takes away from the whole learning experience sometimes. I did not want to do various exercises that I knew I would have no problem doing. A bit of autonomy in this regard would greatly enhance the overall experience.

The overall exercises, however, were engaging and helped me go through the ones that became a bit tedious. I looked forward to the ones that challenged me in areas where I was not quite as confident. A little change, therefore, in the repetitive nature of the exercises would easily solve this issue. A skip option for exercises is required.

The second problem I encountered is that DataCamp does not focus on the methodological and theoretical part of the subjects. This does not apply to all courses, but background knowledge is an integral part of some courses. DataCamp should incorporate that into all its subjects.

A lack of resources hinders the user somewhat. Various topics do not exist freely online, and the user has to learn about them with just the resources on offer. This doesn't mean this is a huge problem for all courses. However, in my time, I did find some problems in acquiring the resources necessary to complete some courses. While they didn't impede my progress, they were a little annoying in the general scheme of things.

General Observations

The courses offered by DataCamp were fun and engaging. It really pays a lot of attention to the needs of the users. The skills of the users take centerstage. Real-world examples play an important role in the design of the curriculum, which helps a user acquire the skills necessary to tackle the tasks.

Some classes did feel repetitive, but I can understand why they were put in place. They are designed for everyone, so others who do not share a skillset similar to mine would find them helpful. Even the ones that seemed repetitive held true to the promise those courses made in terms of the skills they thought, so I guess this comes under the category of nitpicking. In short, the answer to the question, “Is DataCamp worth it?” would be a resounding yes.

A general problem with most educational websites is that they are not able to deliver on these promises. DataCamp promises that it's a step toward becoming a data scientist. That is a tall claim, but the platform stays true to its words. The courses are designed in a way that can help a user achieve the goals they set for themselves.

A data scientist would need a lot of other tools and skills. This website can act as a path toward attaining that goal ultimately. The courses can suit a wide variety of needs. They are designed in a flexible way and create real intrigue for their respective subjects.

A DataCamp certificate also looks good on your CV as it provides validation for the skills you have acquired. If you're looking for a job, DataCamp provides a good opportunity to make your skillset into an official tool for your CV.

Conclusion - Is DataCamp Worth It?

Is DataCamp worth it? The simple answer to this question is, “Yes.” I have used this website for two years and continue to do so because of the expanding nature of the courses and ease of use that comes with the learning process. I would recommend DataCamp for anyone trying to learn new things and acquiring new skills.

DataCamp relies on simplicity and user-friendliness. This is accompanied by very informative courses, great teachers and an interactive website. I found various concepts easy to learn on this website which had previously been hard for me. This website is an example of how the learning process can be simple and interactive while still setting up a clear path for users to learn the necessary skills.

This DataCamp review looks at my journey through the DataCamp website. I would suggest you start your own.

Jan 21

Udacity Full Stack Nanodegree Review

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Provider Reviews

If you have ever considered delving into full stack JavaScript, there are a couple of different options for you. However, for the most part you’ve been pointed towards a few different sources. There’s always that pesky friend or professor that’ll swear by a certain book or course. But the common thread among all of them is they seem to recommend the Udacity Full Stack Nanodegreee course. And so many people pick it up based on these recommendations alone, but does it really live up to the hype? I had similar doubts too. This is why I’ve done a decent Udacity Full Stack Nanodegree review so you don’t have to go do all the hard work.

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Disclaimer

At First Glance

As soon as you open the Udacity Full Stack course page, you’re greeted with well-designed layout enticing you in. It starts off by listing what the course offers, and then goes into why this course would be beneficial for you. Some statistics are thrown around here and there and at the end you’re greeted by reviews and testimonials. There aren’t too many details of just exactly what the course offers. There are just brief points on what the course can help you out with it. To the average person, there’s no way to accurately gauge if the course can live up to its promise on the webpage alone. This is why so many people like myself have to turn to a Udacity Full Stack Web Developer Nanodegree review.

The course occurs several times throughout the year, but you have to join in before enrollments close. The course itself lasts a modest 4 months which should be plenty of time to get well versed. The cost is a bit steep at an even $1000; this in itself is enough incentive to read up on some Udacity full stack developer nanodegree reviews. It’s important to note here that I didn’t find any specific information on any hidden or cancellation charges.

Signing Up

So after I had paid the signup fee, I was greeted with a countdown to when the course session would begin. Once it started, I was learning new concepts and being tested on my abilities. The process was fairly straightforward and things kept going at a steady pace. I received weekly updates of my progress and the next steps to accomplish.

The Course

This wouldn’t be a fully-fledged Udacity Full Stack Nanodegree review if I didn’t actually review the contents. The course started with programming basics like Python, HTML, and CSS. These were meant as refresher more than anything. It’s definitely recommended that you have a fair bit of knowledge about them before you dive into this course. After that the actual course started away focusing on back end, front end, deploying servers, and getting familiar with the tools.

These parts followed one after the other in timely fashion. You were expected to be well versed in the topics at the end. If you lagged behind, the course would continue with or without you, leaving you in the dust. This made it a little hard for me when I was preoccupied with other things in my life.

Every part was accompanied by projects that we had to complete. These included things like creating item catalogs, server configurations, portfolio sites, and many other things. These were designed to test out ability of applying the concepts we had grasped along the way. While some were challenging and fun to complete, others were simply too infuriating and didn’t factor in a majority of the course material.

Why I Wouldn’t Recommend Udacity Full Stack to You

If you’ve read my thoughts on the course, you probably think I found it helpful. And to a certain degree I did, but I simply cannot recommend this course to anyone as is. While there’s good material to be found here, it simply does not live up to its $1000 price tag when there are other alternatives available.

Instead, what I would recommend is the Treehouse Full Stack Java course. This is one of the most comprehensive JavaScript courses I have been able to find, and it definitely gives Udacity a run for its money. It might not have the singing praises that Udacity carries but once I showed this to my colleagues and professors they were unanimously impressed.

The course has enough material to cover a span of 53 hours. If done right, you should be able to finish it within a couple of weeks. The best part about this course is there’s no rush to follow through to the next step. Everything is provided to you to finish at your own pace. You can finish it as quickly or as slowly as you want.

The great thing about this course is that it follows very comprehensive learning material. You don’t have to go around looking for supplementary material like with other courses. Everything this course gives you is enough to get started without wasting your time, effort, or resources. The course follows a pattern with an easy to grasp learning curve. It slowly and steadily introduces core concepts and then adds something to build off it.

Udacity is fairly basic in comparison, I would say it’s fine for getting your feet wet but even then it’s not worth the money. Having used both firsthand, I can tell you the difference of experience is night and day between these two services. If you know someone that has found some use from Udacity’s course, more power to them. But if you seriously want to consider getting full stack down the right way, then I honestly can’t think of a better option than Treehouse.

But you don’t have to put all your trust in me to make your decisions. As of now, Treehouse offers a free trial for its Tech House degree. Be sure to sign up and experience the service for yourself. I think you’ll find it’ll definitely be worth as much of your time as it was mine.

Jan 10

Codecademy vs Udacity – Course Wars – Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

Codecademy

What is Codecademy?

Codecademy is an online learning platform hosted on the cloud and has become quite popular nowadays. Codecademy is able to provide what before the advent of the internet, could only be achieved through a full university education or through multiple books. This platform is quite competitively priced, of almost no cost and is created through experts for a variety of courses of computer programming languages.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

 It helps to make the learning to code or design websites interesting and easy. The users can easily learn a wide range of programming skills, such as CSS, Python and JavaScript. The best part about Codecademy is that the courses it provides are free and there is no overhead of a class schedule or large amounts of loans to pay or having specific timings for the courses. Although there has been a plan recently incorporated that is paid - it offers access to live support for advanced learning.

About Codecademy

Codecademy came into being in 2011 and currently it has around 25 million users of the service. This site was developed by a couple of students from Columbia University to bring code instruction into the information age. It caters to the beginner learner and offers about 12 different coding tracks.

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • Java
  • AngularJS / React.js
  • jQuery
  • SQL
  • Ruby
  • HTML / CSS

These offerings are free, but Codecademy does also offer a ‘pro’ option which allows tailored tutorials and lessons for the users as well as for live tutorials. In order to access the all of the features on this site, the users can create a learner profile and then begin their track in any of the languages that they choose which are listed above.

Easy set up

At Codecademy, everything is set up online already and the users simply have to write their codes and test it in the integrated browser. This makes it easy for learning the coding and makes it stress free. Generally, when a person is learning a coding language, they have to download it and set up an IDE, which is the Integrated Development Environment, which may be quite difficult for the new users, but this is not the case at Codecademy where everything is set up already.

Student community access

This platform also gives the users an access to a community of students who help others with their issues that the users may have during the courses. The users can expect a great amount of support from other students at the Codecademy student community.

Free account

The Codecademy website is completely free as you sign up and start with their introductory courses. As the user logs in for the first time, it is suggested that they start off with the free courses with CSS and the HTML. It is a great platform for those people who are beginners and who are looking for something where they can quickly learn a common code language. For those of the users who are not sure whether they want to start right away, they can simply view all the options of the courses they offer for free. The users can also sort out the courses according to what their objectives are. The choices may vary between languages, web development, APIs, tools as well as data analytics.

Motivation

Codecademy helps to keep the users motivated by giving them badges for their achievements through their courses. All of the skills that the users have gained through the courses will be displayed on their dash board and each lesson will be able with the clickable hints so that users don’t get stuck. Moreover, there is also a dedicated forum for Q&A facilities for each of the lesson which serves as a platform for troubleshooting code with the other learners on the platform. The general questions of language glossaries, help center and forum all help to answer all of the questions.

Codecademy Pro Plan

All courses at Codecademy are free for the users and the catalogue offers hundreds of such courses which can help develop the skills of the users in their preferred programming language. There is however the ‘pro’ option for users which allows tailored tutorials and lessons and also provides live tutoring. They can get access to premium content like portfolio building, quizzes and customized learning path. You can also get flexibility in order to adjust your timings and schedules around your commitments at work and home.

Lessons for Everyone

Codecademy is a great platform to help the users to get started with various programming languages and coding. They also have partnership courses with different companies where they teach people on how to use and to develop software for products. For example, Codecademy and Amazon have introduced a course which can help the users to develop apps for Alexa, the Amazon Assistant. By using the pro plan offered by Codecademy, the users can pick anything from learning about JavaScript frameworks to Sass or even ruby on rails.

Udacity

What is Udacity

Udacity is new yet a different experience for online learning. It originally offered university styled courses but now it offers an online education which is free of cost in the vocational area. The aim is for helping the professionals or those who are entering their careers and it is a way of increasing the proficiency in their respective fields and to further improve their career opportunities.

About Udacity

Udacity has been around since 2013 and they have built a small set of courses for the tech professionals in full stack programming as well as in computer science. They actually have a proper partnership with brick and mortar universities and they offer their students / users Nanodegrees which are basically online certifications which show that they have completed their course or that they are proficient in a particular area of training. The courses can be timed to suit the needs of the users and they can go at their own pace. The free courses are also offered which are without any help or less support or feedback from the instructors, while the paid nanodegrees include certificates of completion and coaching facilities. The courses offered are similar to what you would expect at a traditional university degree along with video lectures and online assessments. This platform however is open to everyone without the barriers of admission. This form of education is also known as MOOC, which is the massive open online course and is the emerging form of education.

Sponsors

Their sponsors include the big names like Twitter, Facebook and AT&T and they have their content available. There are also a lot of courses to choose from. Moreover, places like Georgia Tech have on courses which are listed with Udacity in the field of computer science. Moreover, Udacity also boasts the largest selection of self learning Artificial Intelligence courses.

Design

The model is similar to the Khan Academy which is quite famous and a nonprofit enterprise which specializes in general education. They create and host their own course content while Udacity works directly with the corporate partners. This is one of the reasons why Udacity really emphasizes on being built and recognized by the industry leaders for the advancement of your career.

Courses

The courses offered at Udacity are self-paced and they last for about two weeks and the design of the courses is Spartan. The short lectures are hosted on videos which can be navigated easily in the browser. The audio and video qualities are both superb and easy to understand. Most of the courses are geared towards the mid level learners who also have a bit of experience. The courses are however divided between new, beginner and advanced.

Support

There is lack of support which can be seen in the forums as there is no response to the post of the user by the peers, which may be considered as one of the greatest weakness of this platform.

Subscription packages

They offer two types of subscription packages to the users. There is the individual course enrollment as well as the Nanodegrees. The costs of the two are similar about $200 for a month. As such, a nanodegree is a better choice if you really want to show something for the efforts that you make while you learn and take the courses.

Overall, the Udacity platform is developed as an online college by and for the tech industry. The monthly subscription may be a barrier to many people as well as the rates for monthly mentoring and feedback, those who choose the free path will not have a nanodegree to show for their efforts on the other hand. As such, it requires funds and the ability to afford this platform, especially if you are a beginner.

Specs - Codecademy

Features

  • Code editor, progress saver, forum, written tutorials

Languages

  • CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Ruby, jQuery, Python

Details

  • Name: Codecademy
  • Company: Codecademy
  • Type of Software: On Premise / Standalone
  • Typical Customers: Small business or Medium sized businesses
  • Business Area: Cross Business Areas
  • Platforms: Cloud, Desktop
  • Address: New York, NY 10001, USA

Specs - Udacity

Features

  • Editor, forum, progress saver, video tutorials

Languages

  • CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Python, Java, SQL, Swift, R

Details

  • Name: Udacity
  • Company: Udacity
  • Software Type: Standalone, On Premise
  • Typical Customers: Medium business to Large sized businesses
  • Business Area: Cross Business Areas
  • Platforms: Cloud / Desktop
  • Address: 2465 Latham St, Mountain View, CA 94040, USA

Pros and Cons

Codecademy - Pros

Interactivity

  • The users can write codes from the start. They can start small with constant feedback and then slowly progress for concepts which are more complex. The users can also see the results of the codes in an instant and give great feedback.

Excellent Progression

  • The users are not overwhelmed with information in Codecademy. The information that they provide is given as bite size and the bare minimum which is required in order to finish a basic task and for getting the next one in line. The background information is filled in slowly as the course progresses.

Good editor

  • There is IDE, which is a powerful and is ideal for being used by beginners and may also be used outside the curriculum as well. IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment. 

Bite size lessons

  • There is always a focus on a building up of a single concept in each lesson, along with repetition, which is used for drilling the concept clearly.

Codecademy – Cons

Lack of context

  • This is great for providing the users with an approach which is very hands on but it lacks context on how to start a project in real life or in practical terms. The Codecademy's interface may be used by the users for learning how to code, but the users however may not know how to code on an independent basis.

For quick refreshers, it is not the best structure

  • The lesson content is focused on those users who are just beginners and new at learning how to code. This is the ideal choice for the beginners but if you are more interested in refreshing your knowledge then the Codecademy lessons are not designed to be done quickly.

Buggy

  • This platform is known for having quite a few bugs, which ends up interfering with the editor and it ends up resulting in error messages even when the correct answer is provided.

Content deleted

  • There has been a lot of free content which existed before but has been deleted now, such as the PHP course which has been removed from the website.

Infinite loops can be run

  • The browser freezes if you run an infinite loop. There are many other websites as well which gives an error and it prevents the loop from running. Even though it is not a bug there is not feature for stopping the infinite loops from running and it may be quite irritating for the new users.

Udacity - Pros

Self paced courses

  • The courses are always available that means there is no need to wait for a particular course that you want to run. You can run the course as per your own liking, whether you want to run through it fast or slowly..

Taught by professionals

  • The courses taught at Udacity are done so by the industry professionals.

Offers Nanodegrees

  • Udacity also has the option where they offer different nanodegrees that provide access to many different types of courses, coaching support as well as project reviews for just $200 for a month. Currently, the options include Data Analyst, Front End Web Developer as well as Android Developer and more.

Simple

  • The courses which are being offered by Udacity are quite simple and easy to understand by the users.

Feedback on the coding projects

  • The users get actual feedback from the developers on the code that you make and this is very useful. It is no doubt very important to have your apps or your sites do what it is supposed to do, but it is also very important to learn the best practices. You must learn industry standards which may be quite hard for learning on your own.

Udacity – Cons

Expensive

  • It is very expensive and priced at $200 on a monthly basis if you want to go for a nanodegree.

All types of teachers                 

  • While some of the teachers are really good, others are not so good.

No place to get notes

  • Even though the instructor provides the notes each lesson, there is however no cumulative place where all the links can get accessed and once the user has left the page, the links are not even available on the next page.

Verdict

When it comes to choosing between Udacity or Codecademy, both are options that offer a lot but have their own cons. If you’re put off by their disadvantages, then don’t worry. There are a lot of other platforms on the Internet, but Treehouse and Pluralsight are one of the best options to choose from.

Firstly, Treehouse is completely free to use, and they have an expansive topic library and includes a host of topics and languages to choose from. There is no need to be developer when you are choosing treehouse, you can start from scratch and become a developer! Moreover, the quality of Treehouse is fantastic and is in HD. The code samples and all details presented is crystal clear. Their presenters and the instructors are experts in their field who are engaging and knowledgeable hosts rather than mere actors. Treehouse also provides its users with code challenges and interactive quizzes. Furthermore, it also provides assistance for job placement as well.

Similarly, Pluralsight is also a great option as it provides an easy to use platform which has a great appearance and portal and a vast choice of courses to choose from along with tests and assessments. The training staff is also well equipped and provides great support and mentoring. So instead of slogging it through Udacity or Codecademy, take a chance on these platforms to learn how to code. Sign up for a free trial today!

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