With the rise in popularity of remote learning thanks to COVID-19, more and more people have begun using online learning platforms to learn new skills – especially when it comes to coding. However, choosing the right platform can often be difficult given the huge variety of options available.
Two of the standout options for learning to code are Udemy and Codecademy. Both platforms offer a variety of free and paid courses, but they work in very different ways, which can make it hard to decide which is the better option.
So which should you choose if you want to learn to code? This guide will examine how Udemy vs Codecademy stacks up in a variety of categories to help you find the right option for you. We’ll also give you our thoughts on how they rank compared to other platforms too, giving you an extra step in the right direction.
Let’s start exploring the platforms!
Table of contents
One of the biggest factors in choosing the right online learning platform is how much course variety it offers. Udemy and Codecademy approach the way they provide courses very differently – so which has the better variety?
Udemy has a staggering amount of course variety thanks to the fact that just about anyone can create a course on the platform. There’s a huge variety of topics to explore, and since multiple instructors may create courses on the same subjects, you have plenty of options for each subject, allowing you to pick online courses based on your learning style as well as your goals.
Udemy doesn’t just stick to coding either – it provides courses on a variety of other subjects, meaning you can easily gain other transferable skills with non-coding courses as well.
Unlike Udemy, Codecademy is focused specifically on coding. This means its course options are more focused, but it still offers a good amount of variety in the subjects it teaches. Codecademy provides online courses in 14 different major coding languages, so whichever language you plan to start with, there’s a course for you.
However, Codecademy doesn’t treat all its subjects equally. For example, there are all manner of web development courses, but only a handful of game development courses. This could limit your options depending on what aspect of coding you want to specialize in.
Udemy is the clear winner when it comes to variety. Providing a huge range of online courses is one of their main selling points, and is helped along by the fact that the platform is largely open for anyone who wants to be an instructor to create a course.
This said, sometimes focused approaches are better. Zenva is another example of a platform that only chooses a few subjects to focus on – but it in turn renders them able to pay more attention to the elements covered in the next section.
Quality is just as important a factor as quality when it comes to finding the right platform – after all, it doesn’t matter how many courses are on offer if they’re not made to a high standard. Let’s look at how Udemy and Codecademy stack up when it comes to quality.
Udemy’s biggest strength is unfortunately also one of its major weaknesses. Just about anyone can sign up as an instructor with no vetting or quality control, meaning that the quality of Udemy courses can vary massively between instructors.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some fantastic courses on offer on Udemy – it just means you’ll have to pick carefully and try to weed out the less effective courses from the good ones.
While Codecademy’s courses are generally made to a very high standard, it’s unclear how much quality assurance the platform undertakes in the background. There’s also very little transparency over who actually makes the courses outside the company itself, so it’s hard to judge what amount of expertise fuels their courses.
This lack of transparency is only a minor concern, though, since for the most part, Codecademy’s courses are consistently high quality.
Codecademy wins out when it comes to quality, but only by a slight margin. Udemy does offer some very high-quality courses, but the sheer number of courses available means it’s hard to pick out the good ones from the bad. Codecademy, meanwhile, offers consistently high-quality courses to its users.
Other platforms definitely do this area better though. For example, Zenva has its courses made by industry professionals and takes the time to review each course before it even arrives on the platform. So, there’s just a general high-quality maintained for the courses.
Another important factor for choosing the right platform is their pricing models – especially if you’re learning on a tight budget. Udemy and Codecademy take different approaches to pricing, but which is better value for money?
On Udemy, you pay for individual online courses, with average prices ranging from $10 to $100. This one-time payment gives you lifetime access to the course, so there’s no time pressure to complete it. Udemy also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you find a course isn’t right for you, you don’t need to worry about wasting your money.
As well as paid courses, there are also many free courses. However, these may lack certain features such as completion certificates and access to instructor Q&As.
Unlike Udemy, Codecademy runs on a subscription model with two main plans. Basic offers free access to a selection of courses, interactive lessons, and daily practice exercises. Pro, meanwhile, gives full access to the entire catalog of courses and a wider range of content and resources, plus certificates of completion when you finish a course.
A Pro subscription costs $39.99 a month or $239.88 per year (saving $240 compared to a monthly plan). College students may also be eligible for the Student Pro subscription, which costs just $149.99 a year.
Udemy and Codecademy are fairly even when it comes to price. Udemy offers a wide range of very affordable courses, with lifetime access and a money-back guarantee providing even further value. Codecademy’s Pro plans are also very good value for money if you can afford to pay for a year upfront – especially if you’re eligible for the student discount.
However, there are a few cheaper options. Zenva, for instance, also requires regularly billed access plans – but at a greatly reduced price compared to Codecademy. With 250+ courses available in the catalog that come with the plans, you’ll also have plenty of learning material for a long time to come without having to invest extra money in more courses.
Coding is an ever-evolving field, meaning that information can quickly become outdated due to new developments. Because of this, it’s important that learning platforms update their courses to reflect new developments. Let’s look at how Udemy and Codecademy handle their course updates.
Udemy takes a very lax approach to updates. While instructors are given the ability to add to and amend their courses to keep them relevant and up-to-date, there’s no requirement for them to do so, which means courses can easily end up becoming outdated if instructors neglect them.
On the other hand, the rate at which new courses are added to Udemy means that even if some courses become outdated, newer courses may still reflect new developments, so updates may not pose too much of a problem if you can find newer courses on your desired subjects.
Codecademy’s approach to updates is fairly opaque – there’s not much information available on how regularly they review their courses or amend them to reflect new developments.
However, Codecademy courses largely focus on how to learn coding fundamentals, which remain largely stationary in the majority of cases. Because of this, it’s unlikely that you’ll run into much trouble with Codecademy when it comes to outdated courses.
Course updates are an area where both platforms could stand to do better. Udemy could benefit from making more robust requirements for instructors to maintain and update their courses, while Codecademy could provide greater transparency on how often it updates courses.
We have to give credit to other platforms in this area too. Zenva, to example again, provides fairly clear transparency about how and when courses are updated (and they do update things, so all the more credit there).
No matter how good a course is, it makes no difference if you can’t actually get to grips with the platform it’s on. So how easy to use are Udemy and Codecademy?
Udemy offers a mobile responsive site and a robust mobile app supporting offline playback, making it a great option for learning on the go.
However, it does suffer from the sheer amount of courses on offer. It can sometimes get overwhelming or confusing trying to find the right courses, so it’s best to go in with a good idea of what you want to study.
Codecademy’s site is not mobile optimized, and will even try to stop you from using it from a mobile browser, so it’s not great if you want to be able to learn on the go. There is a mobile app that lets you do practice exercises, but it’s severely limited in functionality compared to the main site.
On the other hand, Codecademy does offer a lot of support and guidance in choosing the right courses. It’s geared towards beginners, with plenty of entry-level courses to help ease you into coding and learn the basics.
The winner here depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to learn on the go, then Udemy is the better option thanks to its more effective mobile offerings. However, Codecademy may be the better option if you think the choice of courses on Udemy may be overwhelming since its courses are much more structured to help you get started with coding.
But, what if you could have a bit of both? Zenva offers guided learning pathways to make finding your “next” course very easy. In the same vein, their site is also mobile optimized, so you won’t get blocked from learning on the go (or even on what may be your only computing device).
Not everyone has the same needs and requirements when it comes to learning, so accessibility measures are an important factor for choosing the right online learning platform. So how well do Udemy and Codecademy cater to different users’ needs?
As far as accessibility features go, Udemy isn’t great. Courses are not required to provide closed captions for video, and those that do provide them often use auto-generated captions which may be inaccurate. Moreover, many courses are provided in purely video formats, which neglects users who have visual or hearing difficulties.
Udemy does, however, provide some courses in other languages, but as with most aspects, this is entirely down to whether instructors provide them, so if you’re looking for non-English courses then Udemy isn’t that reliable.
Codecademy does away with the need for closed captions by providing almost all of its courses in purely text-based, browser-hosted formats. Its code editor also implements a number of accessibility features such as high contrast toggling, font options, whitespace changes, and more.
Codecademy does not provide courses in languages other than English, but since almost all of its content is browser-based, it’s possible to use tools such as Chrome’s in-built translator to access them in different languages if necessary.
Codecademy takes a much more robust approach to accessibility than Udemy, offering a variety of accessibility options to help learners with special requirements to access content and resources.
Udemy’s lack of enforced accessibility also stands out in comparison to other platforms. Platforms like Zenva take special care with accessibility so that can cater to different learning needs in a variety of ways. So Udemy feels a bit behind in this regard.
User reviews are a very helpful tool when it comes to choosing the right courses and subjects to study, so it’s important that online learning platforms allow users to share feedback on courses. Udemy and Codecademy handle this very differently – so let’s take a look at how they approach course reviews.
Users can leave reviews and feedback on any course provided by Udemy, helping learners to find high-quality courses that cater to their particular learning style. Learners can also access Q&As with instructors to gain further guidance and clarifications, with all previous questions and answers visible to any user who signs up for that course.
However, there’s little indication that Udemy actually does anything about low-rated courses, meaning you can still accidentally sign up for a poor-quality one if you aren’t careful.
Codecademy does very little to help users see feedback on their courses. There are no reviews available on any of their course pages – the only indication of quality is a stat showing how many people have taken the course in question.
There are also no instructor bios, meaning you can’t see who runs a course or what their previous students have to say about their teaching ability.
Udemy is the clear winner here, since Codecademy provides practically nothing when it comes to user reviews. Udemy, by contrast, helps you pick the right courses by allowing you to see what previous learners have to say about each course.
Reviews also aren’t rare. For instance, Zenva makes their reviews from various sites available on the product pages so people can be assured of the service’s quality. So, the fact Codecademy neglected this a bit is a bit disappointing.
For many people, learning to code is a hobby. For other people, though, it’s the start of a new career, which means that it’s important that online learning platforms provide the necessary support for learners to develop their skills and become more employable. So how do Udemy and Codecademy approach professional development?
Udemy’s paid courses offer certificates of completion for your resume, but that’s about it in terms of professional development. Unless an instructor decides to provide any additional guidance to help with professional development, it’s up to you to ensure you take the right steps to making yourself more employable.
That said, Udemy offers more than just coding courses – so it may be possible to find courses that offer general guidance for employability, resumes, portfolios, and so on.
Codecademy offers a number of Learning Paths designed to help you learn the right skillset for certain careers, such as computer science or web development. In addition, you can get certificates of completion for courses if you’re on the Pro plan – although these aren’t actually accredited by any major organizations.
Codecademy also offers a number of courses centered around completing real world projects that you can add to your portfolio, further enhancing your employability. On the other hand, since Codecademy is mainly focused on beginner-friendly courses, you may have to look elsewhere to learn more advanced subjects.
Codecademy provides more structured support for professional development than Udemy, so it may be the better option if you want more support and guidance to boost your employability. However, there’s a limit to what Codecademy can offer in terms of development since it is mainly geared towards beginner coders – so if you want more advanced courses, Udemy may be better for you.
On the other hand, there are other ways to achieve professional development help. Zenva, for instance, takes a project-based approach so users can build their portfolios at the same time they learn new skills. So, just be aware there are indeed other pathways to take here.
It’s hard to say in the Codecademy vs Udemy debate which is the definitively better option. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses which makes them better suited to different learners. Which option is right for you largely depends on your own goals and needs.
If you can afford a yearly subscription to the Pro plan, Codecademy provides great value for money. It’s an excellent platform for coding newbies to get started, with beginner-friendly courses offered in well-structured frameworks and learning pathways. It can also be helpful for intermediate users who want to build out their portfolio with impressive projects.
Udemy, on the other hand, is the better option for people looking for a more flexible approach to learning. Its mobile app is great for learning on the go, and lifetime access to courses means there’s no time pressure to complete them – which is handy if you have a busy schedule. Moreover, the wide range of courses on offer means you can shape your own online coding curriculum based on your interests and skill level.
Udemy and Codecademy aren’t your only options, of course – there is a wide variety of other platforms that you could also consider that would also be considered the best online learning platform. For instance, Zenva offers a range of beginner-friendly courses designed and led by industry veterans, with an extremely affordable subscription option offering access to over 250 courses that can be done at your own pace. All the courses offered feature a wide array of topics – from software development, to mastering web development, and even to topics like data science, machine learning, and others related to the Python programming language.
So even if this guide has helped you settle on either Udemy or Codecademy, it’s still worth doing your homework on other platforms for learning coding online – you might be able to find an even better option!
FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Unreal, Python, Godot and more.