Should You Learn to Code With Codecademy? A Codecademy Review

7 things to consider when you’re figuring out where to start learning to code.

You don’t have to step foot in a classroom to have a successful career in tech. That’s my opinion, and I’m sure the founders of Codecademy would agree. What is Codecademy? With over 45 million users, is it a stepping stone to learning how to code or the blueprint for landing a job in tech? Let’s find out.

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What is Codecademy?

In 2011, Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski founded Codecademy. Both were Columbia University students and while Sims ended up choosing to drop out to work on his startup full time, Bubinski graduated the same year. Since then, the founders have worked to make coding easy and accessible with their online coding school.

Sims and Bubinski partnered with the White House for the 2015 #TechHire initiative. Its goal — help underrepresented and diverse groups learn to code and find jobs in the tech industry. And that wasn’t the end. Their work continued through the COVID-19 pandemic. Codecademy launched a scholarship program where they awarded over 100,000 Codecademy Pro subscriptions to students across 147 countries. The real question: how long did the subscriptions last? The answer: Until the end of the school year.

Codecademy is a subscription-based online coding school with three tiers. If you want lifetime access to its content — as you’d get with a flat rate program like SheCodes or here at Skillcrush — you’d have to accept that monthly or annual bill for a lifetime. And while you can experience the full scope of their platform with a Pro subscription, members can still find value without spending a single dime.

Codecademy is on a mission to “create a world where anyone can build something meaningful with technology,” but is it the right online coding school for you? Using Skillcrush’s standard 7-point rating system, where does Codecademy line up?

Ease of Use

Score: 10/10

The TLDR: Easy peasy, a piece of cake, or a walk in the park — Codecademy is all of the above.

Aspiring coders likely come from one of three avenues. You’re either planning to join the workforce with your first job, looking to make a career change, or exploring a new hobby. At the start, there’s excitement and passion, and nothing kills that faster than an online school that’s hard to use. Coding isn’t the easiest skill to learn, but the program you choose should make it easier. Fortunately, Codecademy is a platform every aspiring coder would find easy to use.

Why did Codecademy get a 10/10 would recommend? The platform gives you a guiding hand from the basics of coding to specialized skill paths and career choices. After you sign up, your dashboard lists the most popular, beginner-friendly courses. If you have no idea where to start, Codecademy offers a programming personality quiz where you can “find out which careers, languages, and courses suit your personal interests and strengths best.”

I can’t pretend that the setup of Codecademy isn’t one of my favorites. The Codecademy catalog features:

  • Available coding languages and subjects
  • Current trending subjects and languages — AI, Python, HTML & CSS
  • Top career paths (with a description, number of courses, skill level, and duration)
  • Most popular free and paid courses
  • Recently added courses and skill paths

While other online coding schools have similar information, it’s the way Codecademy delivers it. They cut out all the time you’d waste figuring out where to start. Each path starts with a description of the field, a summary of the role, an overview of the course, and the skills you’ll learn by the end. When I dove into the lessons, the explanations were clear and the instructions were easy to follow. Online coding schools, especially ones without an instructor, should be easy — easy to navigate, easy to learn, and easy to use.


Score: 8/10

The TLDR: You’ll need to set aside $30 – $40 a month.

Many companies, including Codecademy, have moved away from flat-rate pricing structures. Unlike General Assembly — which offers flat rates for its packages — Codecademy’s subscription-based pricing is more in line with the monthly or annual payment plans of some of the most popular products and services. Think Amazon Prime, Masterclass, and YouTube Premium.

Codecademy offers three learning plans to suit your goals: Basic (Free), Plus ($29.99/month), and Pro ($39.99/month). If you decide Codecademy is the one and want to make a “long-term” commitment of a year, you can save half off. By paying upfront with an annual subscription for Codecademy Plus and Pro, you’d pay $180 ($14.99/month billed annually) or $240 ($19.99/month billed annually), respectively.

I don’t love paying monthly subscription fees. At the end of the day — or a series of years — it’s easy to feel as if you’ve spent an astronomical amount of money. Sometimes you have, but it’s helpful to put it into perspective. If you compare Codecademy Pro to SheCodes’ highest tier, you’d have to spend over four years (paying monthly) or eight years (paying annually) before reaching the $1990 flat rate for SheCodes Max. And if you plan on dedicating two years to master coding, spending $480 of your hard-earned money is a lot more palatable than nearly $2000.

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Course Quality

Score: 9/10

The TLDR: Codecademy can take you from your first steps to landing your first job.

Does Codecademy have the tools and resources to take you from a newbie to a professional developer? Yes, it does. The only disclaimer is that you have to be willing to pay for it. With Codecademy’s tiered subscription plans, you get what you pay for. And if you ask me — with the basic plan, you get more than you paid for.

While some might think the name of their “basic” plan speaks for itself, it’s anything but basic. Codecademy’s free plan comes with access to free courses, community support, learning resources, and limited practice on their mobile app. Its free courses go beyond the classic baby coder’s first steps with HTML and CSS. The plan even includes beginner and intermediate courses in JavaScript, SQL, Python, C++, C#, R, Ruby, PyTorch, and React — just to name a few.

With its elevated tiers, Codecademy’s courses expand beyond basic learning to skill building and job searching. You can gain skills like website building and data visualization. Their real-world projects are ideal for creating a portfolio. And if you really want to show out on your resume, they offer certificates of completion and professional certifications to help you land a job.

Check out this article on How to Decide Which Programming Language to Learn if you’re overwhelmed with your choices starting out.

📌 Related: If you’re overwhelmed with your choices starting out check out this article on How to Decide Which Programming Language to Learn.

Instructor Support

Score: 0/10

The TLDR: If you want to thank a teacher, thank yourself.

It’s simple. Codecademy doesn’t have instructors. Some people prefer to be “self-taught,” but there are many benefits to instructor support, specifically, the ability to ask questions and have them answered in real time. But, to be honest, most online coding schools don’t have real-time instructor support available.

Codecademy courses come with explanations, instructions, and even hints, but for a lot of budding developers, that doesn’t replace the one-on-one interaction many feel they need. Some learners may need to hear the information versus having it read to them. Others might prefer an instructor-led course because it helps keep them engaged. Codecademy lacks instructor support, but it seems they hope to make it up with their community.


Score: 6/10

The TLDR: Skip everything and go straight to Discord.

Codecademy tries to be big on community, and it’s obvious once you take a look at what they offer. Its community is made up of forums, chapters, events, and you guessed it — Discord. While you could go searching for Codecademy communities, your first introduction will likely be through your lessons.

Similar to the instructions and hints included in each exercise, there’s a section for the Community Forums. It will lead you to the top questions asked about the exercise and direct you to the exercise thread if you still have questions. But this is where Codecademy loses points. The thread on “Why Data Science? – Exploring Data with SQL” was filled with tons of questions but fewer answers. As of January 2024, there are questions from March 2023 through November 2023 that have gone unanswered. I just hope they were met with answers somewhere else.

If you can’t find your community on their forum, you might try Codecademy Chapters. Whether

you’re looking to “collaborate with fellow learners virtually or in-person,” you can start your own chapter or join an existing one. But just like their community forums, Codecademy’s chapters and their “meetups” are underwhelming. It’s hard to come across any in-person events while searching their platform. And it seems that the only chapters that have regular, virtual events — excluding Codecademy’s weekly Official Community Events — are the Full-Stack and London chapters.

The majority of Codecademy’s community left a lot to be desired, but its biggest saving grace is Discord. After landing on their platform, all of the time spent sifting through the community forum felt like a waste. Their community is a gold mine with over 100,000 members. And while I’m sure it’s happened, I’ve never seen less than 3,000 people online. Codecademy’s Discord channels are divided into onboarding, discussion, help, and career paths. Their channels are active and beyond help with Codecademy courses, members are quick to offer career advice and even resume reviews.

As a whole, look at Discord as the appetizer, entree, and ice cream sundae of the Codecademy community. The forums and virtual events are the cherries on top. So, if you decide to go with Codecademy, run — don’t walk — straight to Discord.

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Career Counseling/Job Placement

Score: 6/10

The TLDR: Codecademy journeys start with a career quiz and hopefully end with a career.

From start to finish, Codecademy does a decent job at helping its developers build a career in tech. It starts with a free course in “Choosing a Career in Tech” and includes a “sorting quiz” that recommends one of their beginner-friendly career paths:

If you have a Basic or Plus subscription, this is where Codecademy leaves you. With an upgrade to their Pro plan, you can take advantage of their career center. Their advanced features include a job-readiness checker that uses AI to evaluate your skills against a given job. If you have no idea how to start your portfolio, users can explore Codecademy projects to build an impressive portfolio. Codecademy even gives members the ability to earn professional certifications if they pass all the exams in their selected career path.

And while Codecademy can help you prepare for your job hunt, they try to take it a step further and help you land a job. That includes their version of job hunting and interview prep.

Through their partnership with Handshake — an online recruiting platform — Codecademy helps their members connect with employers. It seems you have to finish a career path to access this information since my search led me in circles. I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying extra for career guidance, I feel I should be able to access it whenever I want.

Codecademy interview prep focuses less on how you’d handle yourself in an interview and more on code challenges from real-world technical interviews. Even with these valuable resources, Codecademy career counseling pales in comparison to my personal — and only slightly biased — favorite, Skillcrush.

The Break Into Tech + Get Hired program includes at least three one-on-one live meetings with a career coach. They help with resume review, interview practice, job applications, and network building. This is all after they’ve given you the technical skills to land the job.

Sometimes, all your job search needs is a personal touch. And it’s easiest to get that when you have a person helping you.

Refund Policy

Score: 0/10

The TLDR: You’re not getting your money back.

We touched on Codecademy’s pricing and affordability in an earlier section, but let’s say you’re not happy with the program. Are you getting your money back? No, you’re not. While Codecademy Basic is free, Codecademy Pro and Plus are subscriptions. And by signing up for a subscription, you typically forfeit your right to a refund.

Take a subscription service like Netflix, for example. If you paid for Netflix so you could binge-watch their list of original series and didn’t like them, that’s a “you problem.” You’re not getting a refund just because you didn’t like a show. You paid for access to the content. Now, if you had issues with its functionality, that’s a “Netflix problem,” and they’d be more inclined to give you your money back.

Codecademy is very clear in its refund policy: We do not grant refunds, prorated or full, for subscriptions. Like every other subscription-based platform — if you’re unhappy with the service — you need to cancel your subscription before they charge you for the next month or year.

Codecademy does keep the door open for potential exceptions. If you want to request a refund exception, you have to contact their customer support team. Pro tip: Don’t let it get to that point! Codecademy offers free trials for their Pro and Plus subscriptions. Try out the platform and see what it has to offer before committing to the monthly or annual fee.

Making the Most of Codecademy

How do you leverage the resources that Codecademy has to offer? Here’s what I’d suggest. Start with the free trial. If a week isn’t enough to figure out whether you want to continue, try the Basic Plan. Without spending a dime, you can take advantage of their many beginner and intermediate coding lessons.

If you decide to stick it out with Codecademy, don’t waste your time with the mid-tier Plus subscription. Skip straight to Codecademy Pro. For an extra $10 a month, you’ll get access to their career paths, technical interview prep, professional certifications, and more. And unlike flat rate programs, you won’t have access to the platform and its resources forever — unless you pay forever. But isn’t that what screenshots are for?

The Takeaway

Final Score: 6/10

Ease of Use: 10/10

Affordability: 8/10

Course Quality: 9/10

Instructor Support: 0/10

Community: 6/10

Career Counseling/Job Placement: 6/10

Refund Policy: 0/10

How does Codecademy stack up against other online schools? It’s probably more appropriate to compare it to other paid options like General Assembly and SheCodes or courses that offer paid upgrades like Udemy, which we’ve reviewed in the past. Check out our reviews to see why we’ve rated these schools as:

General Assembly: 7/10

Udemy: 7/10

SheCodes: 7/10

Our Verdict

Codecademy is an online coding school that helps budding developers explore and choose a tech career path. From the start, they prioritize ease and functionality with a career quiz and interactive interface. That ease breaks down once you realize their platform is self-taught and instructor-less. This is a difficult way to learn especially when what you’re left to rely on — hopefully — are your fellow learners on Discord. Codecademy’s tiered framework makes it so that all members — regardless of their budget — find value in their courses. However, whether you spend a few weeks learning coding basics or spend months mastering advanced concepts, Codecademy is missing a few steps for a seamless transition into a new career in coding.

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Cameron Chapman

Cameron is a staff writer here at Skillcrush, and spends most of her time writing and editing blog posts and Ultimate Guides. She's been a freelance writer, editor, and author for going on a decade, writing for some of the world's leading web design and tech blogs. When she's not writing about design, she spends her time writing screenplays and making films (and music videos for rock and metal bands!) in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.