Learning with Code School

Quick Description

Code School is an online learning tool for existing and aspiring developers that teaches through entertaining content. Courses are built around a creative theme and storyline, making it feel like you’re playing a game rather than sitting in a classroom.

Unlike others on the list, Code School offers some free courses, so you can give it a try before signing up for paid options

Visit the website »

Topics Taught

HTML/CSS

JavaScript

Ruby

iOS

Ruby on Rails

Objective-C

Git

Pricing

Course price

There are two pricing options:

  • Individual: $29/month OR $290 annually (a $58/year savings).
  • Team: With a group of 10, a discount is available.

Student, military, and non-profit discounts are also available.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Courses have fun, dynamic themes.
  • Code School screencasts are a natural extension of the coursework, so you can learn more or consult the screencasts if you’re stuck.
  • Challenges throughout the courses help you reinforce your skills and learn faster and more naturally.

Cons:

  • No certificates available (which are nice to put on the resume/portfolio).
  • Limited course library compared to other platforms like Team Treehouse and Lynda.
  • Since it is all in-browser, there are no real-world projects that you work on during the courses.

What past students think

Micole Noddle

www.micole-noddle.com, Twitter

I’ve taken a few courses with Code School, including their popular JavaScript Road Trip series.

Likes:

I thought the videos were really well produced–excellent quality and hi-def. The instructors make the lessons easy to follow, with challenges at the end of each section to help students make sure they understood the concepts covered. While there is no forum where one can ask for help (that part I wasn’t crazy about because I do prefer a forum), students can use points (accumulated throughout the course) to “buy” hints, and even the solution if one is really stuck. The instructors also have a great sense of humor, which makes going through the courses fun as well.

I also really enjoyed the free “Try Git” and “Try Ruby” courses and found them to be very helpful–I recommend them to beginners all of the time. They were a lot of fun and quick and easy to get through.

My dislikes about the Road Trip courses:

While we learn a lot, we don’t get to build an actual project using our new-found knowledge; we just get challenges. I think if we were able to build a project during the course it would help solidify the material a little better.

I think the Road Trip courses are good for beginners who have already had exposure to learning JavaScript. They’re more of an “intermediate-beginner” type of course. I found them much more helpful after I had taken introductory JS courses through Treehouse.

Some dislikes about Code School:

Their HTML/CSS Front-End Foundations courses are terrible! They desperately need to be updated. The videos are terrible quality and look like they were made 20 years ago. Challenges don’t work, both videos and challenges freeze up and crash constantly (I’ve tried it on multiple browsers and computers with the same result). I was really unimpressed, given the high quality I’d come to expect from Code School and the $29/month price point.

Recommends Code School for:

I recommend Code School for anyone interested in learning JavaScript (beginners are fine, although I recommend having a little exposure to JS prior to taking these Road Trip courses) and anyone interested in trying out Git and/or Ruby (complete beginners).

Dipta J. BasuDipta

Twitter

Likes:

I like Code School’s focus on making it easy to get started using a technology, by providing an in-browser environment to write code, thus removing the potential frustration involved in local installation, configuration, etc. Difficult concepts are explained concisely, verbally and with beautiful visuals and downloadable slides. Whereas other platforms can sometimes feel dry, Code School develops an immersive world for each topic (learn Git alongside transformers, build a Twitter for zombies to learn Ruby on Rails, etc.), so the learning environment feels more like a video game vs. a dull lecture hall.

Dislikes:

The high production quality comes with a cost however, as new courses are published only about once a month and the overall library is small (around 50 courses) compared to other online schools. Additionally, Code School has shifted away from validating code students write locally on their machines, a learning method offered on other coding platforms. Code School does provide screencasts – but they are filmed live and seem largely unedited, resulting in less carefully crafted material vs. their courses.

Recommended for:

While I don’t view it as a one stop shop for learning web development, given the thoughtfully prepared and entertaining content, I’d recommend Code School as a frustration free way for anyone to start learning the fundamentals (the equivalent of the first 4-5 chapters of a book) of a technology in fun courses that take around 3-4 hours to complete.

Tl;dr

Code School is a good choice for creative types who like to have fun as they learn. The super-practical should look into a medium that incorporates more of a real-world-project focus.