Why I picked Codeacademy over Udacity to learn how to code

I’ve done the first few lessons on both Codeacademy and Udacity, and I’ve finally settled on one: Codeacademy. Why?

  • Codeacademy teaches Javascript, and Udacity teaches Python. Python’s great and all, but I’m interested in building stuff for the web, and Javascript’s pretty good at that from what I gather. Not like I can’t learn Python later, but why learn something I won’t use?
  • I can go at my own pace – and Udacity was just too damn slow. I found myself skipping through videos to get to the relevant parts, and it’s not because CS profs aren’t good at presenting or anything. The problem is that video is bad for skimming, and skimming is what gets a person to relevant content. With Codeacademy, it’s a lot easier to just jot down notes and then go back over them later to bolster your knowledge.
  • Udacity rewards learning for the sake of learning – but I want to learn for the sake of doing. The sense of accomplishment you get from completing a Udacity assignment is tied directly to the fact that you’re getting marked on it. There are no marks in Codeacademy, so its importance depends on what I do with it, which is a fairly well defined objective for me at this point.

Have you learned how to program recently? Any tricks for getting right to the core of what you want to do? Any resources you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Edit: as Mike in the comments points out, Codeacademy is not Code Academy – so if you’re in Chicago and want some real live and awesome instructions, head on over to Code Academy to see what’s up.


12 thoughts on “Why I picked Codeacademy over Udacity to learn how to code

  1. Supportive of the initiative, but their name is Codecademy and not Code Academy. I am a co-founder of Code Academy (http://codeacademy.org) in Chicago, and we have created a physical program that teaches beginners how to build web applications. If you could correct your post that would be great. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the heads up, Mike. Correcting now. After looking at your site I really wish you guys weren’t just in Chicago – it sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.

      • Thanks for the correction and the compliment! We actually have had people come to Chicago from all over the country and the world to do Code Academy, so if you ever want to ship out to Chicago, we are very welcoming haha!

  2. I am struggling with learning how to program, I usually give up too soon. I will try to start the Udacity course again, as I am confident I will succeed after a second try.

    • The pace was pretty quick, for sure. I have never been one for consistent homework, so that was a touch frustrating. From what I’ve heard, though, round 2 is a little more flexible. Let me know how it goes this time around!

    • I took Udacity CS 101 (intro to programming), and I did not like it. To be honest, I found it too hard. I found that their was not much practice, and the lectures took very long. The main problem is the lack of practice. They kind of just go from very basic to very hard problems, without anything in between.

      In my view, you should first master the material, and then try to solve problems. ‘

      I find codecademy to be MUCH better. I suggest you try codeacadamy. It teaches the same concepts, but in a step-by-step fashion, and it makes it very easy. I am now taking codeacadamy, and I am learning the same concepts that i did in udacity, but I understand better.

      Udacity has more advanced courses, and once I learn the basics of coding, I want to take those.

      HOWEVER, I may just be too dumb. I also have absolutely no experience programming.

      • I think there were definitely moments in Udacity where I was taken aback by how tough it would be – but sometimes the fun is in the challenge 🙂

      • I have started solving puzzles on http://projecteuler.net. So far (today) I have solved puzzle #1. 🙂 It’s a great idea because it simply forces you to practice in order to find the answer, best of all almost any programming language may be applied to solve the puzzles. 🙂

      • “In my view, you should first master the material, and then try to solve problems.”

        I think it’s much the opposite. How can you master the material of anything without having a theoretical understanding of what you are actually doing and how it works?

        It’s easy to glide through Codecademy completing challenge upon challenge whilst still having very little concept of what it is that you are actually doing. It’s impossible to apply the skills learned from Codecademy into a real life projects without some theoretical context, and to me it’s important to understand those before being able to code.

        Before you learn to code, you need to understand what the code is, what it represents and how to apply it in real life situations.

        Saying that, Udacity in my opinion, is not for absolute coding beginners – I see it as more of a refresher, or perhaps something people with little experience can follow on to.

      • Y’know, I think I agree in principle with what you’re saying. But I’ve seen enough folks rely completely on StackOverflow and Google, to the point that they build many things very quickly, but have zero theoretical understanding of what they’re actually doing.

        Honestly, you can fail to learn anything if you’re on Codeacademy or if you’re actually building things. What matters is getting that theoretical underpinning – and that’s something you have to do deliberately and patiently.

  3. The great thing about projecteuler.net is that you can see how people start to drop off…and when you get to the last (and most difficult puzzle) only 61 people solved it compared to the first (easiest) problem that has been solved by 219,315 people! 🙂

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