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Coursera vs Codecademy

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If you’re looking to learn to program, there are some exciting online frameworks you can consider. Both Coursera and Codecademy are among the leading platforms in the programming e-learning sphere, but which one is better?

Coursera is a well-known platform with instructors from some of the world’s top universities, such as Stanford, Princeton, and other famous institutions. Among the thousands of courses on the platform, you’ll find many engaging courses on programming in different programming languages.

Codecademy is perfect for beginner programmers. You’re practically handheld throughout the process, but you learn with doing, not with listening.

In this Coursera vs Codecademy review, you’ll learn the following:

  • Which platform has better courses
  • What is the student experience like
  • How credible and good the instructors are
  • The course quality
  • Pricing options
  • And time commitment and flexibility of each platform

So with that in mind, let’s get cracking!

Can’t Wait? Here’s Our Verdict…

Courses on OfferX
Student ExperienceXX
Instructor QualityX
Course QualityXX
Flexibility and Commitment NeededX

When we compare Coursera vs Codecademy, there’s not much to separate these two. In terms of the width of the content, Coursera wins out over Codecademy. But, if you’re just looking to learn to program, then Codecademy is definitely the better option.

Product Backgrounds

Before we dive deeper into the Coursera vs Codecademy comparison, let’s talk briefly about each platform.

Coursera is an online learning platform that was launched in 2012 by Stanford Computer Science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. They were thrown into a very competitive area where there were many strong competitors such as Udemy. So what set Coursera apart?

Coursera was dedicated to bringing classes online that were taught by college-level professors from major US universities, such as Stanford. The courses were completely online but were based on methods that were tested and successful in brick and mortar learning institutions.

It’s free to join Coursera, but you have to pay for courses with accreditation. The prices of courses will start at $40, but you also have the option of going for specializations and monthly fees.

So you can understand the appeal behind Coursera – some of the world’s top professors teaching some of the most popular courses on the internet. And there’s so much to learn about here – from personal development to coding, business skills, data science, health, and so much more.

That makes Coursera great for just about anyone – both beginners and advanced learners.

What about Codecademy?

Codecademy was launched back in 2011 as a platform to learn programming languages. Initially, they taught only 12 programming languages and frameworks. With more popularity, their already impressive library expanded to dozens of additional courses.

From the start, Codecademy was mostly free; but due to popular demand, the platform decided to add a paid membership in 2017 – Codecademy Pro, which allowed students to delve even deeper on some programming languages.

Today, it’s still completely free to join the platform and there are many great free courses for beginners. For an in-depth experience, you can go with the Pro version.

There were more than 45 million people using the platform worldwide, so it’s a huge one. It’s often viewed as the best platform for beginners to get into programming. And the curriculum is getting broader and broader, so the platform is likely to grow even further.

Interested to learn which platform you should choose? Then read on!

Courses on Offer

Both Codecademy and Coursera have some amazing courses on offer.

On Coursera, you’ll find courses on just about anything – from personal development, social skills, health, business, IT, data science, and so much more.

There are more than 1000 courses on Coursera on just about any topic you might imagine. And although the library is not as wide as Udemy’s for example, you will still have a great deal of choice.

On the other hand, Codecademy also has some very neat courses, but they are mostly centered around IT, computer science, and programming. The courses are also very beginner-friendly, as you learn by doing.

You also have courses on web development, data science, machine learning, developer tools, and many more.

The courses also have a very clear path of progression, and you’re getting clear feedback on your work. For beginner programmers and IT hopefuls, Codecademy is undeniable one of the best resources.

But we just can’t ignore the width and also the depth of Coursera courses on offer. While Codecademy is perfect for programming beginners, you’ll also find great Courses on Coursera about the same topic and many other topics, too.

Winner: Coursera comes out on top in this category. It has 1000+ courses on different topics, and if we compare it to Codecademy’s curriculum, it’s just superior.

Student Experience

The student experience on both platforms is great.

Starting with Coursera, we have positive things to say about it. To start with, you’re asked about your personal goals on the platform and you’ll also be encouraged to provide more information about yourself. This way, Coursera will suggest courses based on your info.

That’s very neat, especially if you’re a beginner. But finding courses is also painless here. All you need to do is type your preferred skill in the search bar, and all the popular courses will appear.

You can sort the courses based on popularity, rating, level, skills, partner instructor, and more. Everything is intuitive and easy to use, as you would expect from such a huge course provider.

With Codecademy, we liked the fact that everything was so clearly presented. Most courses are aimed especially towards beginners, so everyone will find navigation through the platform painless.

And the courses are structured in such a way that they’re easy to digest. They are bite-sized, meaning that you only take small steps at once. That makes the progression clear.

You learn everything on Codecademy by doing. If you learn how to program in Python, for example, you’ll learn all the steps you need to take by doing them yourself! That’s great for beginners. Plus, you access to forums and discussions for each course.

This topic is a very close one, but to be honest, we liked the beginner-friendly approach from Codecademy more here. We would have given it the winning spot in this category, but the occasional slump in performance and bugs make this round a tie.

Winner: Tie. We liked both platforms for their intuitive platforms and how they are structured, but there’s no clear winner here.

Instructor Quality

This category has one clear winner, simply because of the reason that most Codecademy courses don’t really have an instructor for you.

You learn by doing, so there are no instructors. Sure, the courses were designed and put together by professionals and experienced people in their fields. However, you don’t have your typical video courses taught by instructors.

On the other hand, Coursera has some of the world’s best college instructors doing these courses. Some employers might even accept coursera certificates as proof of your skills. More on that in Can Coursera Help You Get a Job?

These instructors teach on some of the world’s top colleges – Stanford, Princeton, and other famous universities. So you’re getting taught by professionals.

Winner: Coursera is the clear winner here. With Codecademy, you learn by doing while with Coursera, the courses are done by college professors and certified teachers.

Course Quality

Both Codecademy and Coursera have great courses that do very well in their own right.

Sure, the courses they offer are slightly different. Coursera has your typical video courses with occasional quizzes and interactive parts where you need to show you’ve learned something from the course.

We were very impressed by the quality of courses on Coursera. In fact, you’ll do well to find a crappy course here, and most of the courses you get into are well worth the money. However, you don’t even have to pay to get access to some amazing courses – we were surprised at just how much was free.

You only pay for certification and for some courses, the quizzes you take part in. And you’re getting top quality here.

Codecademy, on the other hand, have mostly interactive courses. For learning programming, that’s the best, and sometimes, the only approach.

The quality of courses is also on a very high level, especially if you consider some courses are free. Yes, they might be for beginners, but the quality you’re getting is amazing, really.

And if you want to go more in-depth, you can always go with the Codecademy Pro subscription and access the advanced courses.

Winner: Tie. Both platforms have high-quality courses in their own right, even though they are slightly different types of courses.

Flexibility and Time Commitment

Another important aspect to look at is how flexible the two platforms are.

You can do both at your own pace – you’re not forced into anything here. However, we liked Codecademy’s bite-sized approach here better.

With Coursera, most courses are split into sub-categories. But some videos are 30 minutes long or even longer, which is not great for those who would like to take just a couple of minutes to take a course.

Codecademy offers you a slightly clearer progression path with their courses.

Winner: Codecademy comes out on top, but only by a small margin. It could have easily been a tie, but we liked the bite-sized approach by Codecademy.


Let’s make one thing clear here: Coursera’s full courses will cost much more than Codecademy’s courses.

So if you’re after a more affordable option, then Codecademy is the option for you. But a lower price doesn’t always mean the platform is better in terms of pricing. You also have the Pro monthly subscription which gives you access to more advanced options and courses.

As we’ve said, Coursera’s courses are also free, but you don’t get certificates for free. You don’t have access to quizzes for free, too. So, for choosing your courses and having certifications, Coursera is free but more expensive.

Also, you have some more in-depth courses on Coursera – MasterTrack certificates will take you up to 6 months to earn, but you’re getting an incredible amount of resources here.

Winner: Tie. Yes, Coursera is more expensive, but you’re getting certificates from some of the world’s best instructors. Plus, you can access a lot of content for free. Codecademy is mostly free with a very modest monthly Pro option which gives you access to an impressive library and additional resources.

Final Verdict

To summarize, we really liked both platforms. They are both great in their own right and at what they do.

The final score will tell you differently, though. The margins were very close and it could have gone either way, but the scores are the following:

Coursera: 2

Tie: 3

Codecademy: 1

Courses on OfferX
Student ExperienceXX
Instructor QualityX
Course QualityXX
Flexibility and Commitment NeededX

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