Codecademy vs Udacity – Course Wars – Which Is Better?

By Jeremy Kallowitz | Course Wars

Jan 10

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.

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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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