The relationship between man and machine came into being to achieve unimaginable things. But the computer system fails to understand our language. Without communication, we cannot accomplish anything. Therefore, coding allows us to establish a connection.
The codes provide instructions to the computer/machine. The translations of the instructions are done using the programming languages. Codecademy is one of the online learning websites that is specially created to deliver learning experience in the field of programming/coding.
- Codecademy offers a free plan if the student chooses not to subscribe to their pro program.
- The intuitive UI makes it easy to use and navigate. The same applies to their lessons, which demand no extra installing of developers' tools.
- They offer comprehensive courses on more than 12 programming languages.
- The exercises consist of instructions for the coding tasks. Thus, the student gets unlimited chances to practice coding.
- The projects are a part of the curriculum, hence a hands-on learning experience for the students.
- They have active and dedicated community groups and forums for each course.
- The live coaching feature is available for extra training sessions.
- A controlled coding environment for the students, because if there is any mistake, the system doesn’t allow navigation to the next step.
- Codecademy fails to educate the student on ways to develop the mindset of a programmer who should have skills in problem-solving and logical thinking.
- They lack video content in their lessons, which is a drawback as many students prefer visual simulation in their learning experience.
We develop apps, websites, games, and software using codes. What is coding? We can refer to it as the computer language as it tells the computer what to do.
This is because the computers only understand switches/ transistors, which are either in the state of “on or off.” It is known as the binary language, which is a combination of 1’s and 0’s.
As a result, the scenario was that humans couldn’t speak binary, and computers fail to understand our language. Thus, we need to introduce a translator, which will act as an intermediary.
The translator is the code, which we can learn and interpret, and the computer will be able to understand.
That is why the programming languages are essential as they take care of translating what we write into binary code.
Codecademy is based in New York City and has an existing online community of more than 45 million learners.
They present a basic plan, which is free, and one can upgrade it to the pro program. The costless offering includes basic courses and limited mobile practices.
Real-world projects, step-by-step guidance, peer support, and members-only content are features of their pro plan. They offer seven days free trial of the pro program.
Their catalog consists of paths, skills, and course that aids any individual who wishes to learn to program from scratch or seeks to level up their career.
Codecademy believes anyone can learn how to code. Let us check out how the system performs in providing recommendations for the users.
Finding a recommended course
The student who signs up with online learning platforms has a goal to achieve. They may be beginners who wish to learn and explore new fields.
Or else an existing skilled person might seek to upgrade their knowledge through online training. Whichever the case, the system should be able to guide the user into taking up the right course.
To get a custom recommendation from Codecademy, the user has to answer 4 queries, the first one being the purpose. It addresses the reason why the student seeks to learn to code.
The 2nd questions ask the user about their topic of interest. It may be in the area of web development, data science, programming, finance, marketing, design, or product management.
The system then enquires about the amount of time the student can commit to the program. One has to select from the options of relaxed, focused, or ambitious.
How the student plans to use the Codecademy platform forms our 4th question as one may use it as the primary tool or one amongst many.
The outcome of the survey is the recommended course or career/skill path.
Thus, the platform performs well in aiding the student to start their learning journey based on their preferences and skills.
If the user doesn’t opt to receive the custom recommendation, they can explore the content. The search function helps them narrow down their offerings from popular topics or languages.
Let us have a glimpse of the complete content of the platform by going through their catalog.
They have an extensive library of courses and paths. We can view their catalog from 2 perspectives; by subject or by language.
The language chosen to learn will depend on the program the student wishes to build; it can be a website, mobile app, or a game.
Now, to understand programming and its concepts better, Codecademy designed paths that consist of career and skill paths. Apart from these, they allow students to enroll in individual courses.
Let us look into the types of paths that an individual can follow to gain proficiency.
Codecademy offerings of paths
When we listen to the word path, we often associate it with a road or a track. It provides people with a sense of direction.
Similarly, Codecademy offers a curriculum that acts as a path by indicating where the user should start and what they should learn next till completion of the course work.
We have career and skill paths in the system. We may get intrigued to find out the difference between these two.
The career path provides in-depth and extensive knowledge that can enable one to begin their profession in that field. It also takes a relatively long time to complete such programs.
We can see that they currently provide data science, computer science, code foundations, and web development paths.
Your job demands some specific talent and aptitude, which the skill path can deliver efficiently. Thus, one adopts the program to seek expertise in a particular career-related competency.
These paths enable the learners to apply the job-ready skill in no time. Some of the examples include learning how to build websites, visualize data with Python, analyze data with SQL, get started with machine learning, etc.
Apart from the paths, we have already mentioned that the user can take up their courses to achieve proficiency in a particular topic.
It is worth noting that Codecademy provides basic courses, meaning they target novice learners. Therefore, anyone can jumpstart their programming learning journey from this platform.
Let us now have a look at their desktop to see how the user can navigate through the system.
Homepage of Codecademy
Online learning platforms should be able to display all the courses that the student is undergoing so that it's easily accessible.
Codecademy has multiple contents on its dashboard, yet it is decently designed and uncluttered. We have 3 sections with the title of today, my courses, and practice.
The dashboard is intuitive and lets the user access key features of learning effortlessly. We also have the streak and badges visible on the top panel.
Under today's tab, we have a section of learn, practice, and apply. The program the student is taking reflects under learn, whereas apply targets the projects that one has to create.
Next, there is a starter kit that involves help find a course, find my path and mobile practice. These are the custom recommendation and career paths that we have already discussed earlier.
Lastly, the page shows the latest courses and provides access to the communities of Codecademy. The “my courses” tab displays the paths and the courses the student is following.
The last tab of practice provides the students with real-world projects that will help them to apply their coding knowledge.
Below the multiple projects, the system also provides recommended quizzes. Hence, it offers sufficient resources for the student to train in the practical aspect of learning rather than focusing on theory only.
We are quite impressed by the user interface of Codecademy and can point out no grievance. According to us, limited e-learning sites provide such a comprehensive yet uncomplicated dashboard.
At this point, we would like to proceed and explore the content of a career path.
Discovering the career path
If someone asked you what is the most crucial aspect of the online learning experience, what would you reply?
We are sure to receive answers such as the method of delivering the lessons, duration of the course, course content, tests and assignments, and even certifications.
However, as per our viewpoint, motivation is the key player. The courses are mostly self-paced and require a fixed and limited time commitment weekly.
Yet, many people are unable to complete the courses. When it comes to career paths, the student is, first of all, sure that he/she needs to achieve the skills to jumpstart their professional life.
The level of seriousness is expected to be different from the individual learning to explore something new for fun or to up-level their existing knowledge base.
Hence, motivation? Check. Structured curriculum? Also, check. So, what can stop a learner from grasping the skills?
A dedicated learner who plans on achieving proficiency will enroll in the career path, and its landing page allows one to get started.
We are looking at the web development path, and the top section enlightens us on what it includes, experience level, and who should enroll.
The next section shows what the learner will be able to do after completing the path. Then they highlight the projects that the student will encounter along the way.
The list of lesson summarizes the curriculum so that the student is informed about what he/she will learn.
The student faces an introductory video at the beginning of the path. It attempts to clarify the contents of the program, among other things.
The lessons appear after that, and they consist of multiple exercises. The curriculum is structured; thus, the learner has no option but to follow the layout as they cannot skip anything.
The lessons usually have 3 panels, the first one is the learn section, middle hosts the code file and on the right is the browser panel.
The first panel has the text article, which provides instructions and sections to access the community forum too.
Below it, we have a bar that displays the curriculum, lesson, and the exercises within it. Still, at this point, one is unable to gain access to the next activity without completing the preceding one.
The central panel holds the code files which allow one to write or modify the code, and it acts as a text editor. The student clicks on the run button to get the output of the edited code.
It appears on the browser section, and it displays the results of the coding. After the run function, there are buttons for resetting the code and copy to the clipboard.
The back and next tabs come handy in navigating the lesson. We want to mention that the inability to proceed without completing previous exercises, limited us from further testing the content of the paths.
The core activity is editing or writing the codes according to the instructions given in the learn section. It can be an efficient way to learn the practical subject of coding.
Our concern is the lack of variety of lesson types. Does the exercise involve video, audio, text, or any other multimedia material?
The only way to establish that is the course curriculum on the landing page, which highlights the number of videos, lessons, projects, quizzes, articles, and info.
What we can do is access different features of the paths from the details of the lessons.
The career paths are time demanding, and they go on for several weeks. But that can be acceptable, as these paths prepare one for their job.
The skill path
Let us check the landing page of the same to know the offerings of this program. It is similar to the career path’s page.
It informs the students on the included content, what they will be able to do, projects, and the curriculum.
The only visibly distinguishable feature we could deduct is the curriculum as it’s not as detailed as the one in career path.
The introduction section also misses the video that was available on the career path. Instead, we see 2 panels; one is the learn section, whereas the other is usually holds an image.
The structure of the lessons and the exercises is parallel to what we have in the career path. Meaning, we have 3 panels of learn, code editor, and browser.
The run function is present along with other buttons we discussed under our previous heading. One feature we may have left out is the get help button.
We have help options of FAQ, solutions, bugs, general questions, and book a code coach. If one fails to find their issue, then there is a link that takes one to the forums.
The forum is a community space where the students interact by asking or answering a question. They can like or reply to any questions too.
The solution section of the help section is useful to students who cannot figure out the correct answers to the exercises.
The student can choose to keep trying or get the correct solution for the task. The last resort is booking a tutor who can provide training in the area of doubts.
The student selects the tutor and books their calendar to schedule a class with them. The page also reflects the charges, time, and brief description of the coach.
Thus, the student has avenues to turn to in times of doubt and uncertainty. It also applies to career paths.
The skill paths are relatively shorter in duration and prepare one to build job-related expertise quickly. The content includes articles, lessons, quizzes, projects, and info similar to what we discussed under the career path.
The Codecademy courses
Courses are the backbone of any program. They can be learned individually or in a combination to achieve different learning goals.
The course landing page indicates the number of people who have taken the course, hours required to complete, and the prerequisites.
It has 2 sections, overview and syllabus. The paths landing pages had all the content on the same page.
The overview has sections that tackle concerns such as why learn the course, take-away skills, up next, what you’ll learn and create, and how you will master.
The syllabus holds a table of the course curriculum, and it shows the content under each lesson. A student can access any section of the session by clicking on it.
We can deduce from the syllabus that the content includes interactive lessons, freeform projects, and multiple-choice quizzes.
The lesson has the same format as the 3 panels, where we have the code editor and the browser along with the learn section.
The interactive lesson can also have an article as the main content, and the next button allows the learner to proceed with the course.
The paths and courses provide information to the student, which can be used to solve quizzes and create projects.
When it comes to gaining, there is another avenue too. We know the lessons are exercise intensive with limited theory explanation.
However, this constraint can be substituted by their articles, which are accessible from the resource section of the homepage.
They provide in-depth explanations about various concepts covered under courses. There is a drop-down arrow to select the type of category for the articles.
At this point, we can point out the observation. Although Codecademy does a marvelous job in creating their content, they miss out on training the students on how to develop the right mindset.
Coders are rational thinkers and problem-solvers; they need to view the wholesome problem, find out the solution, and then logically apply it in a language that the computers understand.
Dealing with stress and frustration will be an everyday experience. Thus, inspiring candidates should be mentally prepared to tackle such obstacles.
Nevertheless, on the plus side, their paths and courses contain rich offerings of coding exercises, quizzes, or projects. It improves the student's ability to deal with real-life situations.
Quizzes and projects
We know all the courses are related to coding; hence, they provide exercises whereby the student writes or edits the codes to achieve the desired results.
The quizzes also determine the level of the student’s know-how. They also offer graded multiple-choice questions.
The projects ensure the student receives a hands-on learning experience. The learner has to use their coding knowledge to complete the task.
It also has 3 panels, starting with the objective, code file, and the browser. The first section holds the tasks that need to be completed by the student.
The student needs to attend each task, mark it as complete, and then proceed with the other ones. The system saves all the changes made to the codes.
There is an option to reset the project and copy it to the clipboard. The browser section shows all the changes made with the code editor.
The bottom panel displays the total number of tasks and how many have been completed by the student. We can also access the get help section, which has components of project walkthrough, FAQ, bugs, and general questions.
Apart from these, they offer mobile practice which is accessible via the apps (both Android & iOS.) Their Codecademy Go app is a complementary tool for pro subscribers. It allows the students to review and practice coding without the restrictions of place and time.
Student’s profile and community feature
The “my profile” tab provides information on the courses completed by the students. It is the personal space for the student.
Using the edit button, one can change/add basic information, profile picture, and privacy settings of their account.
The page provides a summary of the student’s achievement. It is through the statistics of badges, points, and current streak.
The students earn points once they complete any exercise in the lessons. It doesn’t apply to the quiz and project, though.
When it comes to the badges, they offer 4 types, which include exercise, course, course-specific, and promotion badges.
These are meant to motivate the students as they get recognized for their hard work and efforts. The streak records the number of days the student was active on the platform consecutively.
Community and forums
This will be the last feature of the platform that we shall discuss. We know the importance of community spirit when it comes to online learning.
The student is solely responsible for his/her performance; as such, it can get monotonous. Moreover, there are thousands of learners who subscribe to the online course.
Hence, the instructor may not be able to get back to every query. The community fills such gaps and provides a sense of belonging as well as a space for discussion and problem-solving.
The homepage displays the pro community, Facebook group, and the Codecademy forums. We have already discussed the forum, which allows the students to search for solutions if it lacks in the FAQs.
The pro community is an exclusive group, with members being the pro subscribers. The learner joins the community after filling out a form.
(Image 28: CLL community)
As we can see, the page is called Codecademy Lifelong Learner (CLL), and it is quite active with various activities.
It is a peer group that aims to create a global network that can promote mentoring and career development.
The CLL has navigation tabs of feed, members, events, and files. It has members and managers, and the learner can contact them too.
(Image 29: Details of managers)
All the existing groups are available on the left panel of the page. The member can join the group related to the course/path that he/she is undertaking.
Thus, Codecademy does not fail to impress us with their community page. There is also a Facebook page for the members.
It becomes convenient for the students to share, discuss, and progress in their learning through the community pages.
When the movie Avatar released, everyone was awestruck. We re-defined what technology could do in terms of special digital effects and 3D modeling.
Apart from the film industry’s graphics, we have multiple inventions arising now and then. Let’s take the self-driving cars, smart refrigerators, VR & AR, robotics, and so many other ideas that utilize programming/coding.
That is the reason why we are promoting it to a large extent. We have schools teaching kids how to code. It is a skill that gets better with time and practice.
Hence, early exposure makes it convenient to produce efficient coders for the future. Let us not forget the fact that the career options for coders are highly valued and lucrative.
With Codecademy, the learner can dive straight into practicing coding without the need to download IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
Upon request, the user receives helpful hints in the exercises, and in case it gets too complicated, they can reset the code and begin again.
They have live coaching features whereby the student pays for a personal tutor. Through it, the student can get help in areas of difficulties.
However, all the offerings of Codecademy target the beginner's level students. Thus, people with a background in programming or computer science will find the course slow-paced and shallow.
The free plan offers structured courses, and we know that everyone cannot follow the same approach. As such, the pro program is the only option to receive custom lessons or live tutoring.
They have interactive lessons only, which lack video content. It may refrain some students from subscribing as they may prefer platforms such as Treehouse, which offer video tutorials.
With this in mind, we would like to summarize the review and affirm that Codecademy deserves to be among the top learning sites for coding/programming.
It is an excellent avenue for jumpstarting training for a career as a programmer. The content is ideal for novice learners, and path offering guides the students with the structure of the curriculum.
They also have a free plan, thus, highly recommended for any individual who aims to gain knowledge in the field of coding/programming.