Codecademy vs Udacity – Which One to Pick?

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If you’re looking to learn to code online and are choosing between Codecademy and Udacity, then you’ve come to the right place.

The choice between Codecademy and Udacity can be tough. Perhaps you’re hesitant about Udacity’s relatively high prices and are wondering if it’s worth it to use Udacity when you have a free (and for the Pro version, cheaper) alternative in Codecademy.

Or you just want to know which platform is the better overall choice to learn how to code.

In this Codecademy vs Udacity comparison, you can expect to learn which e-learning platform does better, and which option might be better for you.

Codecademy vs Udacity: The Winner

If you prefer university-style courses and want a deeper understanding of the topics you’re learning about, then Udacity is the better option.

The platform has nanodegrees that can last several months and go into detail which will include several projects where you’ll have to use the theory you learn in the course and put it into practice.

On the downside, it’s more expensive than Codecademy and can be more time-consuming to complete.

But if you prefer a more hands-on, practical approach, then Codecademy will be the better choice.

It’s free to start with, and there are many beginner courses that won’t cost a dime to get you started. You’ll learn by doing which will mean you won’t get as much theory as you would with Udacity. But you can always opt for Codecademy Pro as you get more advanced, which is still cheaper than Udacity and will give you access to more comprehensive courses.

Udacity is more comprehensive but also more expensive, which is why I would recommend you to get started with Codecademy if you’re a complete beginner. However, if you already know what you want clearly and you have a clear career path you want to follow, then Udacity has more to offer for you.

Try Udacity for Free

Cost

$200+ per month per Nanodegree

Free/$240+ per year for Codecademy Pro

Certificate

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IDE

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Career Paths

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Nanodegrees

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Video Content

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Text Content

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About Codecademy

Let’s first take a closer look at Codecademy and what makes it great, as well as its shortcomings.

What is Codecademy?

Codecademy is an online learning platform that helps students learn how to design, create, and edit code. It is a beginner-oriented platform and it’s free to start. It offers coding classes on most of the popular programming languages, including:

  • HTML and CSS
  • Javascript
  • Python
  • Java
  • C++
  • SQL
  • Ruby
  • C#
  • PHP
  • Swift

And some others. In addition, Codecademy also offers courses on other topics related to programming, including data science, machine learning, and the basics of computer science.

The site was launched in 2011 by Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski, two Columbia University students who decided to create an online coding learning platform. Initially, the site was free to use but with an increase in popularity and greater demand, they launched Codecademy Pro in August 2017.

Is Codecademy Free?

The base version of Codecademy is free. This means you’ll have access to some basic programming courses like HTML, JavaScript, Java, Python, SQL, C#, PHP, and others.

With Codecademy free, you will access the basic courses and the IDE inside these courses. You’ll also be able to use peer support should you get stuck. Peer support comes available as a forum where members discuss practical issues that might cause them to get stuck with the course.

If you go for the free version, you’ll find practical courses where you’ll jump into each specific programming language head-first. It’s a nice way to get started, but it will leave you wanting for more once you complete them, as they might be relatively short.

That’s where Codecademy Pro comes in.

What is Codecademy Pro?

codecademy pricing

Codecademy Pro is the upgraded version of Codecademy free. In essence, it still offers the same features as Codecademy free but with some additional bells and whistles which might be more appropriate for more advanced learners.

The idea of Codecademy Pro is that for as little as $19.99 per month (if you decide to commit for a year of Codecademy Pro – otherwise, the usual monthly fee is $39.99) you get access to all of the courses on the platform, including additional features like:

  • Members-only content
  • Unlimited mobile practice
  • Real-world projects
  • Step-by-step guidance
  • Certificates upon completion
  • Career and Skill Paths

Codecademy Pro takes the platform to a whole new level with live tutoring, real-world projects where you can hone your coding skills, and perhaps the best of all of the Pro features, certificates for completed courses.

All of these features are meant to provide you with real-world, applicable skills that will come useful one day if you’re looking for a programming job – whether you’re a beginner or you simply want more from your career.

There is 7-day free trial offered by Codecademy for its Pro features.

Try Codecademy for Free

Courses Offered on Codecademy

The courses on Codecademy can be split into three main categories:

  • Single courses (most of them are free, some come only with Codecademy Pro)
  • Career paths (Codecademy Pro exclusive)
  • Skill paths (Codecademy Pro exclusive)

Single courses are best for those who want to learn a single programming language. In this category, you’ll find some great free courses that will give you a platform to kickstart your career.

However, if you’re not a complete beginner, then opting for a skill or career path might be a better option.

A career path is perhaps the most popular choice on Codecademy Pro. We believe that career paths are best for you if you have a specific job that interests you or if you’re certain that this career path will be your career path in the future.

Career Paths in Codecademy

Career paths are far more comprehensive than say, single courses. Most of the time, they will consist of several courses that will give you all the skills and knowledge needed for a specific career or job.

So if you’re interested in becoming a front-end engineer, for example, you’ll first go through the basics, then HTML and CSS, then JavaScript, Github, React, and much more. Plus, you’ll find some useful sections like data structures and even interview questions that you can expect on a typical job interview for a front-end developer.

Skill paths, on the other hand, are much more focused than career paths. They will help you learn a particular skill that you might need for your job. They’re shorter than career paths but will provide you with more specific skills that might not be inside a career path.

skill paths in codecademy

Skill paths can be good for beginners but we believe they’re much better for advanced learners and those who know for sure they need a specific skill. They might contain some beginner lessons but most lessons inside skill paths will be slightly more advanced.

Do You Get a Certificate with Codecademy and Can It Give You a Job?

You won’t get a certificate with Codecademy free, but you will get a certificate from Codecademy if you have the Codecademy Pro version.

The certificates are handed out upon completion of your selected course or career/skill path. These certificates can be put on your CV, LinkedIn profile, or anywhere they might be applicable.

While certificates alone are not enough to guarantee you a job, it’s the willingness to learn that counts for most recruiters.

And of course, it’s great to have the necessary skills for the job you’re applying for, which can put your resume right at the top of the pile. But it’s also important to be able to back up the skills you claim to have on your resume. And that’s where Codecademy does a good job, as it prepares you for everything you might expect in a job or career you’re learning for.

Considering the cost of Codecademy Pro, career paths will provide you with an excellent value for money and more than enough knowledge and skills to get you started. They’re still not quite as deep as university-level degrees, but they’ll certainly put you in a good spot when you’re applying for a job.

Code Editor, Community, and Mobile App

The code editor inside Codecademy comes with an inbuilt compiler and debugger, which comes useful when you’re still learning. Here’s how the code editor looks like:

Codecademy's IDE

You can see your changes in the code in real-time, especially if you take a front-end course like HTML. This is great for quick learning and it allows for quick progressions as well as a better understanding of why something works or doesn’t work.

If you ever get stuck, you can access the community forum inside each course. To do this, you can simply click on the “Get Unstuck” button at the top of the window, which will open the community forum and answers to some of the more common questions.

With Codecademy Pro, you’ll also get live tutoring, which can take your learning to a whole new level. Plus, it helps to have a partner that can show you how things work.

As for mobile learning, you’ll be able to download the Codecademy Go app for both Android or IOS devices. Inside this app, you will be able to practice coding and learn on the go. It is still not the same experience as using Codecademy on your computer screen, but it can still be useful for quick learning when you’re traveling, for example.

codecademy go app

How Much Does Codecademy Cost?

The base version of Codecademy is free, and it will give you access to some single courses on the platform.

Codecademy Pro costs $19.99 per month if you commit for the entire year, which comes at $240 per year. You can also go for the monthly subscription, which will cost $39.99.

Try Codecademy for Free

About Udacity

How good is Udacity compared to Codecademy?

What is Udacity?

Udacity overview

Udacity is an online learning platform offering university-style courses on a variety of topics. These include artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, business, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data science, programming, and career courses.

It was launched in 2012 as a MOOC that differentiated itself from other MOOCs by being more comprehensive and as an alternative to the classic, brick-and-mortar universities. Udacity is known for having top-of-the-range professors on different topics, with the primary offering being their nanodegree programs.

Compared to Codecademy, it’s more versatile as it offers more theoretical classes as well as offering classes on a variety of topics, including programming. But it’s also more expensive and it has some other differences, which we’ll go through now.

Is Udacity Free?

Udacity does have some free courses, but most of its free courses don’t provide you with a certificate.

To get one, you’d have to take a nanodegree. Nanodegrees have a fixed price which you can pay monthly or for the entire nanodegree at once.

Typically, it will cost $200+ per month per nanodegree, or you can opt to buy the entire nanodegree at once, which will cost around $1000 – sometimes more, some nanodegrees will also be cheaper.

Udacity also offers a 14-day free trial for some of its Nanodegrees.

Try Udacity for Free

Udacity Nanodegrees Offered

Most courses on Udacity, including some free courses, were designed to be a part of larger nanodegrees.

These nanodegrees are essentially a collection of courses and lessons that you’d need to take in order to complete the degree and get a certificate. A nanodegree can be compared to Codecademy’s career paths, just longer, more comprehensive, and with more theory.

You’ll find anything from beginner nanodegrees to more advanced nanodegrees on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Programming and coding
  • AI
  • Autonomous systems
  • Business
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science
  • Career

Most of these degrees are highly technical and some also involve coding skills, which means that with most nanodegrees, you’ll also gain varying levels of programming knowledge.

What we like about these nanodegrees is that they’re often made in collaboration with major institutions and universities in selected fields. This means that the content inside will be of the highest quality and taught by industry-leading professors and experts.

Not only do nanodegrees offer all of the skills and knowledge needed to do well in a job. They will also provide you with real-world projects, technical mentor support (which includes motivation from the instructors), career services (resume support, Github, and more), and allow you to learn at your own pace.

Inside each nanodegree, you can expect to first learn the necessary theory and put it to practice through various projects. Most of the content inside is video-based, but you’ll also learn through practice with the help of the code editor inside. Nanodegrees will take several months to complete (between 1 month and 6 months) and you can be absolutely certain you’re learning from the best here.

The downside is that there is no mobile app and the communities are not as well populated and developed as Codecademy’s communities.

Try Udacity for Free

Challenge Projects Inside Nanodegrees

While Udacity is less focused on practice as Codecademy (which is completely practical), you’ll learn through real-world projects according to your skill level.

For example, if you want to learn C++ and you take the C++ nanodegree, you’ll have to complete these projects throughout the entire learning process, which will take you from zero to hero.

The neat thing here is that you’ll be able to review the curriculum of each nanodegree before you take it by downloading the syllabus, giving you the chance to make completely sure the nanodegree is for you.

Is Udacity Accredited and Does it Offer Certificates?

Udacity is not accredited and does not give any degrees as it is a private learning institution.

However, you will get certificates upon the completion of nanodegrees and courses inside Udacity.

These certificates can be very valuable. You can put them on your resume or on your LinkedIn profile. Many recruiters value Udacity very highly, so you’ll almost certainly have a better chance of getting the job than someone who’s taken a shorter course.

Is There a Code Editor Inside Udacity Courses?

Yes, for programming courses, you’ll have access to the built-in code editor, which will look something like this:

udacity's ide

While learning with the code editor is easier and more effective, there’s no denying that Codecademy’s code editor is more sophisticated and it offers a more practical way of learning than Udacity.

But if you like a good mixture of video content and coding, then Udacity is probably the better option for you than Codecademy.

How Much Does Udacity Cost?

Some Udacity courses are free, but nanodegrees can cost from $200 per month, or around $1000 for the entire nanodegree, depending on the length of the nanodegree.

Usually, the longer it is, the more it will cost.

Try Udacity for Free

Codecademy vs Udacity: Conclusion

To conclude, we really believe that both Codecademy (and its Pro version) and Udacity are great online learning platforms.

There are some notable differences between the two that might make you consider one or the other.

Codecademy Pro is cheaper and it takes a much more practical approach to learning. You’ll learn by doing, and there will not be as much theory as there is on Udacity. It’s great for learning both specific skills that you might need for your job, or start your career with the help of career paths, which are very comprehensive.

The downside of Codecademy Pro is its limited selection of courses and a lack of video content.

On the other hand, Udacity offers some free courses but the nanodegrees are where it’s at when it comes to Udacity. These are more expensive than Codecademy Pro but they’re often more in-depth, and there is a much larger selection of topics you can choose from.

However, there’s no mobile app and the communities are not as comprehensive as they are on Codecademy.

In short, here’s how we would summarize this comparison: If you prefer a more practical approach to learning, go for Codecademy. If you like university-style courses, then Udacity is the better option.

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About the author: Hey there! I’m Vince. I’m a trained and practicing teacher with experience in e-learning and course design, along with having an extensive background in building and maintaining websites. I started EduTest Labs to help course creators and students find the best resources (without the BS).