To complete an online coding course is one thing. To be able to say: I’m certified in Python programming – or even: I’m a certified Software Engineer – is another.
This is what Codecademy is offering their Plus/Pro members. But are these certs actually worth the time, effort, and money you’ll spend on them?
Let’s explore the pros & cons of getting a Codecademy certificate – and of showing it off to potential employers.
Are Codecademy certificates legit?
This is a common question – and a valid one, seeing as Codecademy is a privately-owned website teaching you coding, as opposed to a higher education platform offering college-level courses.
Codecademy as a company is legit
As a code-learning website, Codecademy is definitely legit: Since 2011 it has acquired over 50 million users, of which tens of thousands are currently subscribed to Codecademy Pro. The company was bought for $525 million in 2021, and is doing over $59M per year in revenue.
There’s no doubt the company itself is reputable and legit.
The certificates aren’t “officially accredited”
Codecademy’s certificates are legit in the way that they hold some value for potential employers – they’re not useless in the real world.
But, they’re not accredited by universities or education departments. As a result, you shouldn’t expect a Codecademy certificate to open as many doors for you as a completed accredited college course would.
It’s a nice-to-have (especially as a junior programmer) – no more, no less.
How valuable is a Codecademy certificate in the real world?
Let’s look at the real-world value of these certificates in detail.
Are Codecademy certificates worth anything, then?
In the right context, yes, they’re worth something.
In case of the certificates of completion, you’ve shown that you can see a course through to the end, for which you had to have entered the correct solutions to dozens of coding problems. For Codecademy’s professional certification, you had to display intermediate to advanced expertise in order to pass the exam.
A smart recruiter or hiring manager will appreciate the knowledge and skills you’ve gained, as well as the work ethic you’ve had to apply to get the certificate.
Being certified by Codecademy with the title of Full-Stack Engineer, for example, doesn’t hold as much weight as the same title acquired from a (live or online) university program.
These programs are even more in-depth than Codecademy, taught by PhD-level instructors, and their exams are monitored more rigorously. Thus, employers see more value in the latter – and it makes perfect sense.
Examples of success found through certification
On their website, Codecademy cite the story of Bobby Hutter, who first got recruited to interview as a QA Tester simply because he put several of his CC certificates on his LinkedIn profile.
For whom is it most worth it?
If you’re just switching careers from a somewhat unrelated field, and you lack experience in a programming job, a certificate can be a powerful way to show you’ve got more expertise in the area than your work history suggests.
In this case I’d encourage you to get a Codecademy certificate (or even better, more than one) and show it off on your LinkedIn, your professional website if you have one, and on your resume as well.
Should you always put your Codecademy certificate on your resume, then?
If your other achievements listed on your resume aren’t earth-shattering, a Codecademy certificate is a good addition. You can then refer to this point during your interview, going into detail about what you’ve learned from the experience.
But – you don’t always need to put your certificates on there. This applies if you’re already a seasoned programmer, you’ve created finished software for yourself and for clients, and have worked for a number of years at a reputable company in the field.
Then displaying a simple Codecademy certificate on your resume could actually work against you:
They’re a way for entry-level programmers to prove some expertise – but a veteran coder is expected to have risen way above what’s required to gain one of these certificates.
Now it would serve to raise questions about how qualified you really are for a senior role, instead of looking more impressive to your potential employer.
Bottom line: Think about the level of job you’re applying to, and what impression a Codecademy certificate on your resume would convey in that context.
Codecademy certificates’ value compared with other certifications
When comparing Codecademy’s with other certs available on the market, you’ll find:
- some of similar value,
- some more powerful certifications,
- and slightly inferior ones.
Codecademy certificates vs Coursera certificates
Just like Codecademy’s, Coursera certificates are also not officially accredited. Thus, the value of both is about the same.
In this case it’s more about the topic and complexity of each individual course than about the general value of the platforms’ certificates.
edX’ courses are usually more involved than Codecademy’s, and many of them are carried out with partner universities. In select cases, you can use your certificate to apply for college credits.
In that sense a certificate from edX might hold slightly higher value than one from Codecademy – but it’s still not equal to completing a fully accredited certificate at an official higher education institution.
Keep in mind that edX’ certificates are also not free and will cost between $50 and $2000 depending on the level of course you’re taking.
Codecademy vs Udemy certificates
Because of Udemy’s reputation as an affordable platform with many entry-level courses of varying quality, it can be argued that a certificate from Codecademy – a dedicated code-learning site with a higher standard across all their materials – is superior.
See the full comparison of Codecademy vs Udemy.
Certificates from in-person or online coding bootcamps are also not officially accredited, just like Codecademy’s. But the bootcamp cert holds more value because it takes more immersion, intensity and demonstrable expertise to attain.
Accredited certificate programs vs Codecademy
These certificates can only be attained at universities, institutes, or tech giants like Microsoft, for example. These are a valuable addition to any resume, and worth much more than any certificate from Codecademy or a similar learning platform.
Is it still worth it?
As we’ve established, a Codecademy certificate is worth it for all but the most experienced Software Engineers.
If nothing else, getting certified by an external party like a code-learning website will increase your confidence, because you’ve proven to yourself that you can become proficient in a new skill by working hard on it over a period of time.
You could argue that the money you’re spending to achieve that is worth it, no matter how prestigious the certificate is in the eyes of others.
Cost of a Codecademy certificate
Getting certified on Codecademy is relatively cheap. You’ll only need to be a paid subscriber for a few weeks or months – as long as it takes you to complete your course of choice.
With their affordable monthly fee, you’re looking at a cost of between a minimum of ~$20 to $200 at most, and on average about $60.
How do you even get a Codecademy certificate?
Only paying Codecademy Plus or Pro members can gain certificates of completion – but you will still be able to access them after your membership has expired.
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for Codecademy Pro
- Pick one out of the many courses offering certificates of completion
- Alternatively, start one of the career paths with professional certificates
- Successfully complete all lessons, assignments and exams inside a course
- For the career paths, you don’t necessarily need to complete all lessons, only pass the exams
- Claim your certificate and download it inside the member’s area
A certificate from Codecademy is neither completely useless, nor is it of equal high value to everyone:
- It can help you get discovered on job boards and LinkedIn
- Relevant real-world work experience and a strong coding portfolio are both more powerful than a certificate
- If you’re relatively new to your field, it’s helpful to prove you already have some expertise
- Conversely, if you’re a veteran in the industry, it doesn’t make much sense to add them to your resume
- It’s something you can add to your portfolio website as a cool bonus
Verdict: If you’re interested in learning any topic offered by Codecademy Pro, complete the course and get the certificate – it’ll be somewhat helpful to your career in almost all cases.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to make a serious investment into the most prestigious certificates available, opt for an accredited program at an established university instead.
Do you get a certificate from Codecademy?
Yes, as a paying member of Codecademy Plus, you can get certificates of completion for most of their courses, and with Codecademy Pro you have access to professional certificates from their specializations – such as the Full-Stack Engineer Career Path.
Are Codecademy certificates free?
Codecademy’s certificates are not free, but require you to be a paid subscriber to their Plus or Pro tiers, which will cost between $13.99 and $29.99 per month, depending on the plan you choose.
Can I show my Codecademy achievements on LinkedIn?
Yes, you can display any Codecademy certificate on your LinkedIn profile. There’s an option to add your achievements to LinkedIn directly from your Codecademy member area. Alternatively, you can do the same by clicking “Add profile section” in your LinkedIn account and entering the certificate there.