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Considering Learning to Code with Codecademy? Read This First

Considering Learning to Code with Codecademy? Read this First
Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Make a plan for learning the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

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I taught myself the basics of coding from a bunch of online tutorials that have long-since become obsolete and disappeared from the web. Back then, there weren’t really any interactive tutorials, just basic how-tos that you could try on your own. It was a whole lot of trial-and-error (and not a small amount of frustration).

If you’ve done any research about learning how to code, then I’m sure you’ve come across Codecademy. As one of the largest online coding schools, it’s pretty hard not to run into some mention of them.

Codecademy offers a lot of advantages over the way I first learned to code and I would have jumped at the chance to use a site like it when I was teaching myself.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best way to learn for everyone. To that end, I’ve put together three reasons you should use Codecademy, and four things you’ll want to look for when you get really serious about learning to code.

Psst! You can get started learning tech skills with Skillcrush’s FREE 10-day Coding Bootcamp! You’ll learn the basics of how to talk like a developer, what a career in tech is really like, and more.

Reasons to Learn Code with Codecademy

There are some definite advantages to learning to code with Codecademy. They’ve helped more than 24 million students learn to code.

Here are three reasons you should definitely consider using Codecademy to learn coding skills, especially when you’re first starting out:

1. It’s Free

Let’s get this one out of the way first. Obviously one of the biggest advantages Codecademy has over a lot of other companies that teach coding online is that it’s free.

You don’t have to sign up for a monthly subscription or pay by the class. For someone on a tight budget, that can be the deciding factor. And when a course is free, it automatically has a higher ROI (since the investment is just time, not time + money).

So obviously, if you’re just starting out learning to code and you’re not sure if it’s for you or not, then trying out some completely free classes is an enticing place to start.

2. It takes care of all the nearly impossible setup work for you

One of the most annoyingly difficult things about learning to code is that oftentimes, the setup work is the hardest part. And that means that a lot of beginners never even have a fighting chance.

This isn’t the case when you’re learning frontend languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But if you’ve ever tried to noodle around with backend languages like PHP, Ruby, or Python then YOU KNOW.

To even write a simple “Hello World” app on your local computer in Ruby you have to go through hours of computer set up installing Ruby, making sure all the “packages” are right, reconfiguring folder permissions, getting your server running, figuring out how to connect to your browser if you’re so inclined…

Just imagine hours of your day spent in the terminal trying to make sense of strange error messages you’ve never seen.

What Codecademy has done so brilliantly, is make it possible for you to learn the syntax of a programming language via an interactive experience in your web browser. No setup time, whatsoever.

Yes, this IS learning to code with training wheels, but when you’re a complete beginner training wheels are 100% appropriate.

3. They cover a TON of languages & topics

Codecademy is nothing if not prolific, and one of their best features is just the breadth of their offerings. To date they have tutorials on HTML, CSS, Sass, JavaScript, Rails, AngularJS, ReactJS, Ruby, Command Line, Git, SQL, and Java. More than enough to keep you busy for a while, and more than enough opportunities for you to determine whether you like this whole coding thing and want to give it a real go.

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

Four Things to Look for When You’re Serious About Learning to Code

When you first start to learn to code, a site that’s free and has a super low barrier to entry is the perfect place to begin. And when you start getting serious about learning to code especially if you want to make a career change, this is what you’ll want to do next:

1. Find instructors or mentors who can support you

Look, as much as we love interactive online tutorials here at Skillcrush, there really is nothing that can take the place of having a real, live, human instructor or mentor, who is there to help you as you’re learning to code.

If you’ve ever tried to teach yourself something like code, you’ve probably found that you sometimes run into problems you can’t immediately figure out. That’s when having a dedicated instructor, mentor and classmates who are working through the same courses you are is invaluable.

Knowing that you have support at every step of the way, from instructors who work in the subjects they teach every day, and classmates who got the same class email you did that morning, gives a sense of community that makes it way easier to stay motivated and on track while you learn.

With companies like Skillcrush, you even have video chat office hours with your instructor and other students to get answers to your questions or help with pieces where you might get stuck.

2. You need to get off the web (and suffer through all that annoying setup stuff)

Remember all that miserable setup stuff I mentioned earlier? Well, guess what? That stuff comes with being a coder. Sorry!

As much as it’s fun to code in an interactive tutorial, at the end of the day, that’s not real life. Eventually it will be time to take off those training wheels and learn how to write code the way professional developers do it.

And yes, that means you have to figure out how to install the languages and get them up and running and no, it won’t be easy or fun, but if you’ve got a few friends in your corner (see #1) you’re going to be alright!

3. You Need to Learn to Think Like a Programmer

Becoming a programmer or developer doesn’t just mean that you know how to write syntax (the rules for the language the code is written in). You have to be able to solve problems using code, without anyone walking you through how to do it!
While knowing the technical specifics of a coding language is great, knowing how to actually apply that code to real-world situations is a critical part. This is where the rubber hits the road baby and you need practice!

Yes, after your time on Codecademy you’ll absolutely know how to write well-formatted JavaScript, Ruby, and who knows what else, and then it will be time for you to take your fancy coding skills and use ‘em to tackle some real life coding problems. Like, what time is it in Russia right now or how do you build an interactive quiz?

4. You Need to Tackle the Not-So-Exciting Parts, Too

Coding can be hard. It takes practice, it doesn’t always work the way you think it should, and sometimes you run into glitches and bugs that take a while to work out. That’s part of being a developer.

You need to learn to tackle the frustrating parts: to debug your own code when something doesn’t work right, to experiment with a new technique until you get it to work, or, in the worst case, to scrap something and start over with a different approach.

But don’t think of this like the bad part, this is the FUN part! The more you learn to enjoy the uncomfortable, I don’t know where this is going or how I will figure it out part, the more successful you will be. And intentionally subjecting yourself to those types of experiences will teach you how to handle the hard parts of working as a developer so you don’t get discouraged and give up.

Codecademy Is the Perfect Starting Point, so Have at It

If you’re just getting started learn to code Codecademy can be a great way to get a sense for what coding is and how it works. It’s a great free way to see if coding might be something that speaks to you as a potential career option before jumping in with both feet.

Taking advantage of lots of different learning opportunities is a way to build proficiency faster. If you’re learning to code, Codecademy can be just one of many good resources to have in your toolbox. Check out this roundup of 64 Online Resources to Learn to Code for Free for even more options.

Another great, free way to get started when you’re learning to code is to take Skillcrush’s 10-day Coding Bootcamp to learn the basics of what a career in tech is all about, and learn to start talking like a programmer.

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Make a plan for learning the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

You can unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. We won't use your email address for anything else, promise!

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.

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5 comments

  1. jamesbufe Replied

    You may try use allavsoft to download Classes Videos from Codecademy.

  2. Roger Replied

    I was all set to go to the webinar you guys were having a couple weeks back and then i got email after email after email. 3-5 a day. I tried trimming it down and figuring out which one was the one that would tell me about the webinar and when and in the end I had to capitulate and unsubscribed from everything. I wouldn’t trust you guys with my email ever again. Was absolutely a hostile experience, this the throw away on this comment.

    Regarding the post, totally agree and I’d love to try you guys out, but you aren’t getting my email again to do it. Too bad too I was so keen to sign up, but I figured anyone who’d actually set up an email marketing system that was so hostile would do other things consistent with that decision making process. :((((

  3. Denika Replied

    Codecademy has also started it’s own teaching service very much like Skillcrush’s. It is however, more expensive. Can you point out any ways Skillcrush’s pay-for system might be better or different?

    • Cameron Chapman Replied

      There are a lot of differences between the two, and a lot of it comes down to how much of a sense of community you want to have while (and after) you learn, as well as how well you can self-motivate or if you’d benefit from a little nudge once in awhile.

      Here are just three of the things that set Skillcrush apart:

      -You’ll get emails from us every weekday morning to help keep you on track with the lessons and give you extra challenges and resources for your Blueprint.

      -You’ll be a part of our active and supportive online student community just for your specific session of the Blueprint where you can meet your instructors and classmates daily and engage in learning and working together.

      -You’ll be able to get even more support from your instructors and fellow students in regular live group online chats and video office hours and to ask questions from industry experts in the monthly master classes.

      There are other things, too, but that gives you some idea of the differences.

  4. Bri McNeil Replied

    It’s so amazing that you are giving information on free resources and why they are good places to start! I think that is the sign of a great company. . .when you can praise and even refer competitors. This is why I love SkillCrush; you all always seem to look out for people not just the money or the business.

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