A review of W3Schools as a web dev resource

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering mentor at Pathrise. I have worked with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job. Check out my review of W3Schools.

What does W3Schools do?

W3Schools is a free online resource with tutorials and reference materials on 14 programming languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and C++. An open-access platform, W3Schools has thousands of user solutions. They also have code walkthroughs and simple illustrations to show how the code works. Their examples, which range from beginner to advanced, are especially helpful for those who are looking to understand how the programming languages work. In addition, they offer an online editor that allows users to code examples and experiment before implementing it in a project.

There is no set curriculum, so users can pick & choose which tutorials and examples to study. Primarily used as a reference material, W3Schools does not provide instruction or access to a community of learners. 

Photo of W3Schools as a web dev resource

Users can also take quizzes and exams to earn a certificate in a language. Then, the certificate can shared on their LinkedIn profile. 

Photo of W3Schools certificate

Who is W3Schools for?

Those at the beginning of their education in programming can benefit from the tutorials and resources offered by W3Schools. They do not provide instruction, so it it is a good option for self-motivated students. People that want additional practice can find that on W3Schools. Intermediate and advanced web developers and even software engineers can benefit from the reference material. But, they should probably look elsewhere to advance their current skills.

What does W3Schools cost? How much work is involved?

W3SChools is free. Anyone can access their online resources. It is recommended that users create an account to track their progress.

Ratings and reviews

Online reviews of W3Schools are generally positive, with most users recommending it as a resource for beginners. 

In general, Sitejabber reviewers felt that W3Schools was a great free resource for beginners learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. According to one reviewer, “the site is full of materials on various programming languages for dummies and can be a real helping hand if you’re not ready to pay for the course.” 

On a similar note, one Quora user said that “it’s a great resource to learn about JavaScript but not so great to learn JavaScript itself. I say this because W3Schools does a great job at covering the basics, but it doesn’t go beyond that”. The user also said that he nonetheless uses W3Schools as a reference tool and “to test out basics.”

Similarly, Trustpilot reviewers felt that W3Schools was a good resource for beginners learning HTML, CSS, and other languages. As one user pointed out, “The information is presented in an easy to learn, engaging way that helps you actually master the skills, as opposed to simply skimming through for what you need and leaving.”

But, some reviewers on a Reddit thread found the information to be outdated and not useful for advanced software engineers. One reviewer said that “they had a lot of bad information on the site” and felt that the interface was “amateurish”. “They still enjoy a high Google rank and new developers visit their site a lot,” explained the reviewer. “But most professionals skip past any W3Schools links.”

Alternatives to W3Schools

If you decide not to use W3Schools to advance your skills, there are a number of alternatives to help you learn and practice programming languages.

  • Those who are interested in online learning platforms can check out Udacity and Springboard, which are online educational platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current tech skills. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • edX is one of the largest online learning platforms. They have courses from top universities like Harvard and MIT as well as big tech companies like Microsoft. Learn more about edX in our review.
  • Similarly, Coursera, Udemy, Treehouse, Ruby Koans, egghead, GoRails, and Pluralsight all have a variety of courses on programming languages and other software engineering topics.
  • Codecademy is one of the most popular coding programs online. They provide free courses on many different programming languages. They also offer membership options ranging from $20 to $40. Learn more about Codecademy in our review.
  • One of the most well known bootcamps is General Assembly, which offers full-time, part-time, and 1-day courses on a variety of topics like software engineering, data science, UX design, digital marketing, product management, and more. Read more about General Assembly in our review.
  • Another option is Grand Circus, which teaches courses on Java, front-end, and C# .NET. Their campuses are in Michigan, but they also offer online options.
  • Similarly, Nashville Software School and Clarusway have courses in full stack web dev and data science.
  • Or, consider Kal Academy, which works with women and underrepresented groups on software engineering, web dev, and data.
More alternatives

How does W3Schools compare to Pathrise?

W3Schools is a useful tool for aspiring web developers and software engineers who are looking to brush up on the basics of a language or for those who are new to coding. However, they do not provide 1-on-1 instruction or job-seeking guidance of any kind.

Pathrise is a full service organization that helps people land the best job possible. Fellows in our program work 1-on-1 with a mentor on every step of the job search process. This includes resume and LinkedIn optimization, portfolio building, behavioral interview preparation, salary negotiation, and more. We also place a big focus on preparing for technical interviews by providing workshops, 1-on-1 mentoring, and pair programming sessions.

Advancing technical skills is a crucial component of landing a job as a software engineer or web developer. Therefore, fellows in our program should feel free to use W3Schools, alongside our technical workshops, to deepen their programming knowledge. 

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, we’ve seen our fellows interview scores double.

If you are interested in optimizing your job search by working 1-on-1 with a mentor, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong is an experienced senior software engineer and has worked at top bay area startups and organizations. In his free time, Brian works with Pathrise SWE fellows to help them land their dream job and learn insider tips on how to ace technical interviews.

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