- Posted by bsimms
- On September 1, 2016
Codeacademy is a online platform that teaches coding skills for free. Having paid for the John Hopkin’s Data Science Specialization on Coursera I wanted to compare quality of that educational experience,with one of the Internet’s most popular, free alternatives. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed learning on Codeacademy’s platform, but as with many things in life whether you enjoy the service, or not depends on what you are hoping to get out of it.
I would suggest that for beginners codeacademy.com is nearly perfect. The platform nicely lays out educational (left), code input (center) and ouput (right) panels, providing an learning experience that’s easy to follow.
Codeacademy also does a good job of keeping the experience fun which I think is important because learning code can be frustrating. Python is used below to create a simple Pig-Latin translator, for example. Fun!
Another strength of Codeacademy is the abundance of help that is available if you get stuck. The Q&A Forum, although a little cluttered at times, will almost always provide an answer, and as well, can illuminate how many others struggled with the same issue you did. Phew, I am not the only one!
The downsides I can see for Codeacademy’s product are essentially overdone strengths. The ease of learning that comes with their platform is a trade-off with navigating the parent software in its native environment. Do I really know how to run Python (the program) now that I’ve taken this course? Not really, but I will certainly have a running start with the language thanks to Codeacademy.
Compared to the Data Science Specialization from Coursera, the Python and SQL courses I took would fall into the “Mickey Mouse” column for difficulty, and “not so much” for real-world applicability to data science. Then again, I got what I paid for. Incidentally, Codeacademy does provide a “pro” service with quizzes and projects, which in fairness could shift my opinion of their product.
At the end of the day Codeacademy provides a service that I will definitely use again, and certainly recommend to beginners learning to code.