Is Codecademy Pro worth it? — Codecademy Pro Review
Note: This article contains affiliate links. This review comes from a genuine place and is not to serve as a biased endorsement of the product.
I’m a big fan of Codecademy, the free version, but I started to get curious about the Codecademy Pro features and whether they are worth it.
The free courses are top notch and they’ve been a staple in my learning regiment for a long time.
But Pro offers features that, on the surface, don’t look like that big of an upgrade from the free version. After all, the free version already offers so much.
For a long time, I wasn’t willing to make the plunge. But, finally — I did! And now let’s talk about what’s inside.
What features are in Codecademy Pro?
There are the Codecademy Pro features:
Extra classes, quizzes, and practice material.
Career Paths or “step-by-step” career roadmaps.
Certificates for all classes you complete.
In this review, I’m going to be talking the most about career paths because I think they are the biggest seller of Pro. For Community Support, you can always go to a free Facebook group. In addition, hands-on projects and quizzes are often within the career paths and advanced courses.
The Pro feature listing doesn’t tell you this: the features are tightly coupled. They are hard to discuss in isolation.
Is Codecademy Pro worth it?
Let’s get to the meat of the answer. I’ve created the following checklist to give you a sense for whether you want to move forward with Pro.
Codecademy pro is likely not worth it if…
You are a total beginner just getting a feel for programming. You are maybe not sure if you want to make this your career. You have competing obligations in your life and maybe you’re not ready to go ‘all in’ on making your career switch. However, you may still be interested in the Code Foundations career path, which is about figuring out what type of programmer you want to become.
The free courses are what you are interested in. When you’re working through the free courses and think “Great! This is exactly what I need,” then perhaps you would like to wait several months before you are ready for what Pro has to offer.
You don’t care about the certificates. Upgrading your resume is not a priority. Or maybe you feel like pieces of paper don’t really mean anything. Either way, if certificates are not a draw, certificates are not much of a perk.
You use Codecademy infrequently on the free version. If you are on the free version and you have not built a streak with Codecademy, it may be unlikely that you’ll have a streak once you pay for Pro.
Codecademy Pro is likely worth it if…
You want to learn more intermediate topics. Like most free offerings, Codecademy’s free version is geared toward beginners. But understanding concepts is only the beginning. Pro’s projects, intermediate courses, and career roadmaps aim to help you go beyond the initial concepts and help you improve as a programmer.
You’re serious about making a big career move. If you find yourself ready to go all in, Pro is probably one of the cheapest and most effective ways to put you on the fast track to your career change. What I love most about Pro is sitting down each day, opening the next lesson, and having confidence I am heading straight toward my goal.
You love putting new certificates on your resume and LinkedIn profile. This is me. As someone who already works at a software company, it is valuable to my manager to see that I am completing courses and upgrading my skills. I also just love collecting certificates. These things just motivate me, and if they motivate you too, it’s definitely a perk.
You want your hand held through the learning process. The Codacademy roadmaps walk you through every skill you need on the job in specific programming professions. If you want to sit down each day, day after day for months, and have confidence you are making progress toward your goals, Pro may be for you.
You want to stay up-to-date: Codecademy is constantly changing and updating itself for the latest technologies. You do not have to worry about learning stale content — ever.
My Single Reason Pro is worth it: Codecademy Career Paths
I admit: this feature is by-far the most appealing to me about Pro. Because if this feature is worth it, Pro has paid for itself. If Pro can offer a complete career roadmap that helps me go from zero to job-ready — then we basically don’t need bootcamps!
But I was skeptical of this feature. No matter how in-depth Pro’s landing page is, I had no way of knowing without diving into one of these paths on my own.
Career Paths claim to be a detailed roadmap to get you job-ready. But let's really dig into them and see what they're about.
Breakdown of Codecademy’s Four Career Paths
Codecademy's premium service offers something called 'Career Paths' -- which is a complete education in a particular career.
The four paths offered are…
PATH 1: Code Foundations
Description: Interested in learning how to code, but unsure where to start? This is the path for you!
Skills You Build: - Computer Science History - Career Exploration - Applications
Value: After taking this path, you should understand the type of programmer you want to become. The path also offers the opportunity to hear from working web developers, data scientists, and other engineers.
PATH 2: Computer Science
Description: Looking for an introduction to the theory behind programming? Master Python while learning data structures, algorithms, and more!
Skills You Build: - Python - Data Structures - Command Line - Git
Curriculum: Build Python projects like a Choose Your Own Adventure or helping a whimsical bookshop owner sort books. The curriculum teaches data structures & algorithms topics used in coding interviews.
Value: This pathway is valuable for anyone seeking to recognize good code, optimize their code, and pass a coding interview.
PATH 3: Data Science
Description: Learn SQL and Python and build the skills you need to query, analyze, and visualize data.
Skills You Build: - Python - SQL - Data Visualization - Machine Learning
Curriculum: The 26-lesson curriculum involves hands-on projects like "Honey Production," where you fit a line to data about honeybee population decline in the US. The curriculum starts with SQL, gets deep into Python with list comprehensions, and ventures into Data Analysis with cuddly Pandas. Plus, way more than I can list in this short paragraph.
Value: Get the step-by-step, ground-up education in data, which is one of the fastest-growing areas in technology.
PATH 4: Web Development
Value: This curriculum teaches full-stack web development and the skills taught in bootcamps as well as the skills tested in real technical interviews.
Note from December 2020: Since writing this article, Codecademy has retired ‘Web Development’ and there is now ‘Front-end Engineer’, ‘Back-end Engineer’, and ‘Full-stack Engineer.’ The front-end engineer track alone has over 350 hours of content. Compare that to a single course like on ‘Vue’ which is 3 hours. Crazy!
Inside One Career Path: Web Development
Upon signing up and clicking into the Web Development path, I went into a brief moment of shock. The interface is b e a u t i f u l and I will explain why right now:
The image above shows block one of lesson one of the career path. What's beautiful about it? The differences in kind.
The lesson, "Introduction to HTML" jumps straight into the code. It is not light -- there is 16 whole interactive coding exercises and conceptual information before the quiz.
Quizzes after every lesson is great design. Forcing you to recall is one of the most powerful ways to remember information. After all of these interactive exercises and quizzes, there's a project -- and keep in mind -- this is block one of lesson one. There are three other blocks in the first lesson: Tables, Forms, and Semantic HTML. These career paths are packed with hands-on coding -- exactly the experience you need to get the job.
On top of this, I've downloaded the Codecademy app, which gives you quizzes based on how far you are in the lessons. You can refresh your knowledge at the grocery store or when you wake up in the morning (instead of scrolling Twitter).
I kid you not -- I quizzed myself between games of Overwatch.
Are Career Paths Worth It?
I can tell you personally: I feel like a kid in a candy store when I see these curriculums. They will not only easily walk you through a 100 days and even count your streak and gamify your progress for you, but you can feel confident that you are learning the relevant skills employers are actually hiring for. I'm a little in love.
I’ve been working through the Web Development path for awhile now, and the path is just massive. It makes me question why anyone would pay thousands of dollars for a bootcamp. The material is just that quality.
I’m a professional web developer already, but I am still enjoying taking this path. It’s helping me refresh, improve, and fill gaps of knowledge along the way.
So are you going to do it? Are you going to take the plunge and try Codecademy Pro? With a 7-day trial, you may want to give it a try.
But if you are still unsure, I have a test you can give yourself that may be helpful. Try signing up for Codecademy’s free 30 Day Challenge. If you are able to keep up a streak on the free version, you can feel confident you have built a habit to carry on into the pro version.
With that said, I hope you found this review helpful. If you’re looking for other resources, I have compiled over 70 free learning resources you may love. I look forward to seeing you in that article. 👋 😁