Is Codecademy Pro worth it? — Codecademy Pro Review
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. This curiosity intensified when I began to look for a programming job in Spring 2021.
The free courses are top notch and they’ve been a staple in my learning regimen.
But Pro and Plus Codecademy plans offer 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 take the plunge. But, finally — I did!
This review details my experience maintaining a three-month streak with Pro and clocking many dozens of hours.
Spoilers: After starting with Pro, I interviewed for a career change, which did result in a new front-end engineering career at a major software company. More on that soon.
What features are in Codecademy Pro?
In short, Codecademy Pro gives you advanced learning tools to help you get the job or level up in your coding career.
Here are the Codecademy plans:
The Codecademy Free version is perfect for beginning students still learning the most beginner fundamentals.
Codecademy Plus, Codecademy’s new mid-tier plan, offers all of its classes and more advanced learning tools. This is perfect for someone who is still a student or already employed, not looking for a job.
Codecademy Pro is the “land a job” tier, which offers career paths, professional career certificates, interview prep, assessments, career services such as personalized job listings, and code challenges.
Codecademy Plus features include…
Everything from the free version: free courses, community support, and learning resources
The entire course catalog
Quizzes for solidifying knowledge
Personalized practice with AI to drill knowledge
Skill paths for step-by-step guidance in a new skill
Real-world projects on your machine, more hands-off, with kanban boards.
Certificates of completion
Codecademy Pro features include…
Career paths, which are bundles of skill paths and courses, that give you months of guided content to go from zero to professional
Professional certifications that include exams to verify your knowledge and boost your credibility on a resume
Career services including personalized job listings
Code challenges for real-world technical interviews
In this review, I will be talking the most about career paths because I think they are the biggest seller of Pro.
Personally, I used the career path to help me get a job as well as some of the interview prep tools.
Professional certifications and career services are new to Pro and were not features I explored on the job hunt.
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 not sure if you want to make this your career. You have competing obligations in your life. Perhaps you’re not ready to go ‘all in’ on making your career switch.
If you’re trying to figure out where to go, Codecademy offers a free coding career sorting quiz. It’s like the Hogwarts sorting hat, but for coders.
❌ The free courses interest you: If you think “Great! This is exactly what I need,” while perusing the free courses, then perhaps wait. Check-in with yourself after several months about Pro.
❌ Certificates are not a perk for you: Upgrading your resume is not a priority. Or maybe you feel like pieces of paper don’t matter. Either way, if certificates are not a draw, you don’t need to bother with Pro.
❌ 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 Codecademy 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.
Breakdown of 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.
Summary of Each Codecademy Career Path
Codecademy's premium service offers something called 'Career Paths' -- which is a complete education in a particular career.
The paths offered are…
📱 iOS Developer
Description: Built the skills to create mobile apps. This path includes the creation of four iOS apps, including a social media app, to enhance your portfolio.
Estimated Time: 28 weeks
Skills You Build: iOS, Mobile Development, Swift, Firebase, SwiftUI, Xcode, and more
🖥️ Computer Science
Description: Master Python while learning data structures, algorithms, and more.
Est. Time: 20 weeks
Skills You Build: - Python - Data Structures - Command Line - Git
📈 Data Scientist
Description: Learn to analyze data, communicate findings, and draw predictions using machine learning. You also build portfolio projects to help you get the job.
Est. Time: 35 weeks
Skills You Build: SQL, Python 3, NumPy, pandas, matplotlib, scikit-learn, and more
📊 Data Analyst
Description: Learn to make sense of big data and prepare for an entry-level role as a data analyst.
Est. Time: 28 weeks
Skills You Build: Python 3, SQL, Pandas, NumPy, Matplotlib, Seaborn, SciPy
🖼️ Front-End Engineer
Description: By the end of this career path, you have a portfolio and interview skills to start a new career as a front-end engineer.
Est. Time: 350 hours
💾 Back-End Engineer
Description: Begin with programming servers and client-side interfaces and learn to design databases.
Est. Time: 4 months
Skills You Build: Node.JS, Express.JS, PostgreSQL, TDD, Back-End, SQL, Design Patterns
🌎 Full-Stack Engineer
Description: Start with the front-end development and progress to the back-end development. Then, you connect the two.
Est. Time: 6 months
How to Pick a Career Path
Codecademy helps you select a career path with a free sorting quiz. The quiz is more of a personality quiz and is especially helpful if you are a beginner wanting to learn how to code but don’t know how to narrow your skillset.
The ‘sorting quiz’ is fun and reminds me of the sorting hat from Harry Potter. The sorting quiz was not helpful for me since I knew where I was headed.
Inside One Career Path: Front-End Engineer
Upon signing up and clicking into the Front-End Engineer career 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 the outline of an entire lesson of the career path. What's beautiful about it? The differences in kind.
The lesson, "React, Part 1" is not light and is composed of several hours worth of video, diagrams, interactive challenges, quizzes, and projects.
Quizzes after every lesson is great design. It forced me to recall, which 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 a tiny portion of the career path. These career paths are packed with hands-on coding.
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.
📜 Collecting Certificates
Throughout my three-month streak with Codecademy Pro, I collected a total of 8 certificates:
Most of these certificates come simply from following the Front-End Engineer career path. Career paths are other premium and free Codecademy courses all bound together.
If you’re not interested in the career paths provided, you can create your own curriculum with the courses that Codecademy provides. And you may want to choose the Plus plan instead.
These certificates were great. I listed them on my resume to detail a clear story that I was continuing to brush up on modern programming skills.
Codecademy Pro offers portfolio projects in the form of Kanban boards. You drag and drop tasks and complete them solo, much like you would at a real job.
Note: As a currently-working software developer in the industry, I can verify that the Kanban-style board is how we work. You can create your own Kanban-style board in GitHub and make it available for any future employer to see.
With the free Codecademy, much of its criticism is that the courses put you on rails, making you complete work in a granular checkbox fashion. These projects are designed to get you to apply concepts on your local machine, drilling in that knowledge.
But in the real world, you need to think. To learn, you must apply concepts to your own projects.
Codecademy solves this problem with portfolio projects. If you complete a career path like the front-end engineer path, you can walk away with a complete portfolio as well.
Can You Get the Job with Codecademy Pro? (I did.)
After using Codecademy Pro for several months and dozens of hours, I got 52% through the Front-End Engineer career course and accepted a job offer for a front-end engineer position at a major software company — a dream job at a dream company.
Two years later, I am still employed and using the skills I learned from Codecademy literally every day.
I am still a subscriber as of this writing in July 2023. And I still use Codecademy to pick up new skills to broaden my knowledge. As a front-end developer, I would be more valuable to my team with full-stack skills. That’s where Codecademy remains in my life today.
Did Codecademy Alone Help Me Get the Job?
Do I think Codecademy alone got me the job?
Of course not.
Do I think it played a big role in getting the job?
It absolutely did.
Consistency — that was what made Codecademy worth it for me.
Every day, no matter how tired I was after my full-time job, I was able to commit to my streak of at least one line of code. I committed to learning one new thing every day, which compounded over time. Since I had a curriculum, I did not have to strain my mind any more than necessary to ramp up.
Codecademy Pro is not like Duolingo, where the learning is shallow. The videos, quizzes, coding exercises, and real-life projects and interview preps were challenging.
Codecademy Pro is like a hard workout with a personal trainer: you are challenged, but you have a guide telling you what to do.
And honestly — that’s exactly what I needed. I think it’s what most of us need.
Coding with Codecademy every day made me more confident in interviews. It allowed me to make votes toward my identity, which I talk about in my article how to become a programmer.
And I did get the job.
It is reasonable to be cynical of Codecademy: it makes learning so step-by-step and so simple that I can question whether it is the true, deep learning necessary to be the deep problem solver that employers are looking for. But it is.
How Codecademy Helped Me Get the Job
Here’s how Codecademy helped me get the job:
I interviewed better: Codecademy gave me the tools to talk intelligently about many different technologies in my interviews.
I got running with new technologies: Codecademy allowed me to quickly grasp fundamentals so that I could run with them.
I built muscle memory: Codecademy allowed me to write code and develop essential muscle memory for coding interviews.
I got better at coding interviews: Codecademy went deep into data structures and algorithms, helping me think in a way that Leetcode challenges did not.
How Codecademy didn’t help me get the job:
Note: I got the job using Codecademy Pro in Summer 2021. Since then, Codecademy Pro has substantially beefed up its career support.
Coding interview prep: I did Leetcode challenges. Codecademy Pro offers prep, but I used other resources, too.
Code reviews by real people: I sought feedback and debriefed with a mentor after coding interviews. Real feedback is huge! Lately, I’ve been using ChatGPT to ask about ways I could refactor and improve my code after an exercise. I also ask it to give me more quizzes on what I’m learning beyond what Codecademy offers.
Resume writing and networking: I hired a career coach to help me with my resume, LinkedIn profile, and all aspects related to getting the interview.
And it must be said — getting a programming job, self-taught, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
Pro’s Pricing and 7-day Trial
This review details my own experience with Codecademy Pro.
Wherever you are in your journey, know that you can take advantage of a 7-day trial, and you can always go back to the free version if you find that Pro isn’t worth it.
Pro Pricing 💰
Codecademy recently upgraded its pricing model to the following:
Basic Plan: Free. Includes free courses, community support, learning resources, and limited practice on the mobile app.
Plus Plan: (“Build Your Skills) Includes all courses, quizzes, personalized practice, skill paths, real-world projects, and certificates
17.49 USD per month, billed annually
34.99 USD per month, billed monthly.
Pro Plan: (“Land a job”) Career paths, professional certifications, technical interview prep, career services, code challenges, and assessments.
29.99 USD per month, billed annually
59.99 USD per month, billed monthly
You can lower the cost of Codecademy Pro for the first year when you sign up.
Here’s how I did it:
I got the cost discounted by 12.5% using the Rakuten cashback program. That is like one free month when paying annually.
Cashback programs work much like coupons, only there is no coupon code and you do not realize the savings instantly. To use Rakuten, you install a browser plug-in.
Codecademy always offers a deal with Rakuten, though the deal can vary.
If you sign up with Rakuten cashback using my promo code, you get a $30 welcome bonus (bonus may vary) after you make your first qualified purchase. That is significant savings without waiting for a sale.
Codecademy does offer seasonal sales.
Because Codecademy is pushing for longer-term subscribers, you can see a 50% discount drop on occasion. Their email list is the best way to be informed.
Is the Cost of Pro Worth It?
At $29.99 per month, Pro is substantially cheaper and higher quality than any other self-serve learn-to-code service that I have seen on the internet.
For comparison, purchasing a single course on Machine Learning at Coursera costs $79 while Pro offers an unlimited catalog.
At Udemy, you commonly see sales for courses at around $12.99. These courses are video only — not interactive, not with quizzes, and not with guided portfolio projects. It is common to form a Udemy addiction, where you might continue to buy a library of courses on various things, easily costing more than Codecademy without the gamified qualities that help you stick with it and actually learn.
But, Codecademy is not the cheapest. There are free ways to learn. freeCodeCamp also offers interactive courses and free video lessons on YouTube. However, freeCodeCamp doesn’t stay as up-to-date and can have more verbose exercises without the quizzes to glue it together.
The free version of Codecademy is also solid and may be all you need for the time being.
But for me, Codecademy was worth it many times over. My readers tell me that they long for a bootcamp for the intermediate learner. They want something that will hold their hand but also skip what they already know. They are not total beginners, but they want a path. That’s Codecademy Pro.
With that said, I hope you found this review helpful. If you’re still exploring what resources you need to help you learn, I have compiled over 70 free learning resources you may love as a budding programmer. I look forward to seeing you in that article. 👋 😁