Code School

The Original "Learn to Code" Product

Code School pioneered online technical learning and code education.


Product Design ・ Product Strategy ・ Brand Development


EdTech SaaS App


Product Strategy ・ Wireframes ・ Brand Development・ UI/UX Design

Project Overview

Code School pioneered online technical learning and code education with innovative code-in-the-browser technology. I helped design + build CodeSchool during my time at Envy Labs


The Story

It was the night before SuperConf 2011 in balmy South Beach when the Envy Labs team wrapped up our little side project, Code School. We were all squeezed into a rental house, working to get everything pushed before announcing the beta at the conference. Prior to that, Gregg Pollack and Eric Allam created a little tutorial called Rails for Zombies (RFZ), which was the first introduction to Ruby on Rails with the ability to code directly in the browser. Over the next several years Code School grew from that small side project to the most popular code education platform inspiring many influential learning platforms from the likes of Google, Github, and Cisco.

Code School was founded on the concept "learn by doing," championing the idea that the best learning model is equal parts practical and fun. All of the courses are designed to be as contextual as possible, with many courses simulating an actual console, code environment, or mobile platform. Additionally, users learn not by interacting with fake or simulated code, but with actual real-life submissions. Our ultimate goal with Code School was to create the most advanced, intuitive, and enjoyable educational product in the market. The value of Code School was three-fold:

  1. Coding the browser
  2. Immersive design/experience
  3. Contextual learning

We used these values to create the roadmap used to build the platform. All of the content was structured around code challenges, where users can learn while they're actually doing. Each course had its own unique brand, theme, and experience—we wanted the user to feel like they entered a new world with each course, to help make the experience fun and enjoyable. On top of both of these ideas, we made sure that the interface represents (as closely as possible) the real-world application—if the user will end up using a text editor, best to represent the material and challenges inside of a representative text editor. There should be a seamless transition between what the user learns, and what the user does after taking a Code School course.


Everything on Code School was designed or developed in-house by Envy team members. Envy pioneered the technology to evaluate user-submitted code and return contextually-relevant responses, even on the iOS platform. Since Envy first bootstrapped Code School in the Spring of 2011 to its acquisition by Pluralsight in 2015, Code School supported over 75,000 subscribers, millions of users, and in many ways formed the benchmark for how technical education can and should be taught in today's world.