Day One. Well, not really — more like Day 13, but… Free Code Camp vs. Codecademy

This is my journey deeper into coding than ever before. I thought I would share my experiences as I go along for anyone that this might help.

About 2 weeks ago I decided to hop on in to Free Code Camp. It seems I registered with Free Code Camp about 2 years ago, but never started. In any case, I got right in and, with a feeling of excitement, quickly got bored by the whole setup process which seemed to take forever.

Undeterred I carried on, and once I got past the interminable setup, the tasks and challenges started.

Because I never like to do things by halves, in the days following my commencement into Free Code Camp, I also got started in Codecademy.

But let’s backtrack a little, because I’m not a complete newb to this. In fact, I do freelance web development for part of my income, and I originally got my start in this area by going through the Complete Web Developer course on Udemy. That was 2 years ago, and I’ve decided to invest more time in learning the ins and outs of coding and programming, rather than the fairly superficial knowledge of HTML and CSS that I currently need to manage my ongoing projects, many of which are in WordPress*.

In this introductory post, I just want to share a few thoughts on both Free Code Camp and Codecademy so far.

What these courses have in common:

  • Both of these courses are free. With Codecademy there is a Pro version, but I’m not paying for it.
  • The layout of the user interface is pretty similar — a 3-column layout for the most part with instructions or examples on the left, a text editor in the centre and a preview window on the right (if needed, e.g. for HTML, CSS)
  • They both start with the basics of HTML and CSS, and then move onto Javascript. Beyond that I think the curricula do diverge at some point.

Where they differ:

  • Codecademy was WAY easier to register for and actually get started. Free Code Camp’s first 30 or so tasks were very much admin related, signing up for and into a slew of different accounts with various services for chat support, forums, GitHub etc. It just felt like a massive ball-ache to be honest.
  • I prefer the interface and layout of Codecademy over Free Code Camp visually. But Free Code Camp wins with the fact that you don’t have to mouse-click your way through the tasks, you can cmd-enter instead. Not a big deal, you might say, except that you might do this hundreds of times in an hour of study.
  • Codecademy seems more “flexible” in that you can pick and choose what elements you study, although I’m just going to run through sequentially.
  • Free Code Camp includes projects to work on and complete, but it looks like you have to pay for the Pro version of Codecademy to get access to the projects there, so Codecademy is really just input, Free Code Camp requires more in the way of output — demonstrating your learning.

So that about covers it for the introduction, I think. Any questions, comment below. I’d appreciate any recommends, too!

*On the subject of WordPress, my ultimate goal, potentially, is to land a developer job with Automattic.

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