Codecademy Has Potential
If learning is your goal, the game-like interface and buffet of topics on Codecademy makes for fun and fast learning. The biggest drawback of this site are regular issues with bugs and glitches, and these are to be expected as new content is added and the site grows. I have encountered 4-5 bugs in a few weeks of use, so I’m on the fence about whether I will continue with the site.
Pros and Cons
Codecademy is Great
- Game-like features are addicting
- Humorous or silly projects
- Variety of exercises and topics
- Progression is graduatl, starts with basics
- Interactive learning > Lectures
Codecademy Drives Me Crazy
- Console/interpreter is buggy
- Too many puns and Monty Python jokes (maybe…)
- Quality and style of courses varies by author
- Progression of difficulty is bumpy at times
- UI needs some work
I do think that overall Codecademy is a great resource, and I’ve added it to my resource page. Read on for more details on the good and bad of this learning tool.
Finding the Fun
In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and – SNAP – the job’s a game!
Coding is already fun, and Codecademy takes that fun one step further by making the whole learning process feel very much like a game. I found myself “playing” through the exercises during my free time while a game I recently purchased sat untouched. And though I enjoyed the points and badges at first, these aren’t inherently motivating. I think the more powerful element is the range of choices offered to the player: there are hundreds of exercises covering 4 languages (if you count HTML), and the user sets their own pace. The inclusion of humor, although sometimes groan-inducing, made me smile. The Python courses by Eric Weinstein are especially impressive- I have never seen so many Monty Python references in one place.
Please Fix It
During the completion of about 10 courses, there were 5 instances where I had to stop because of bugs or issues in the web interface. In 4/5 cases, I knew that my code was correct but the console/interpeter did not ‘pass’ me on the exercise. The first three times this happened, I waited and returned to the exercise. Upon my return, the console/interpreter accepted as correct the same answer which was rejected initially. Most recently, waiting did not produce a different result, and I emailed the ‘help’ department. They responded quickly, and are looking into the issue.
It is worth note that I was using recent versions of both Chrome and Firefox web browsers, in hopes of avoiding browser-specific issues.
A Good Supplement
Because of the variation in authors, the courses in each “track” are not necessarily a finely-tuned progression. For this reason, it makes sense to combine Codecademy with independent study of coding and the language in question. If you have no exposure to code before jumping into Codecademy, be prepared to do some googling as you go along.
Codecademy succeeds in gamifying the process of learning to code, and as their interface becomes more stable it will be a truly useful and fun site. Check it out.
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