In today’s day and age, technology plays a vitally essential role in our lives. From finding a cab to tracking our heartrate, to meeting that special someone, computers, technology, and apps play a huge part in what we do and how we do it.
As a result, coding, programming, and software development have become indispensable skills that people all around the world are clamoring to take advantage of. If you are someone that is looking into the world of coding, you may have heard of the online academy, TreeHouse once or twice.
For those that may not know, TreeHouse is an online learning platform used to aid individuals looking to acquire or improve their skills in computer programming and web development. If you have heard about it and are curious to see just how it compares to other online giants like Coursera (Coursera Plus Review), Udacity, edX (edX Review), or Codecademy you’re in luck. In this review, we’ll be going over what TreeHouse is as well as how it compares to the other greats, as well as if it is worth your time, money, or effort.
What is TreeHouse?
Initially first created in Orlando, FL back in 2011, TreeHouse was founded by Ryan Carson. Originally, the platform was actually an offshoot to his earlier company known as Carsonified, a video-tutorial-based service provider. Building off the earlier company’s model, TreeHouse offered video-based online courses around technology and computer learning.
TreeHouse, or Team Treehouse, is a massive open online course provider, also known as a MOOC provider, and has an incredible library of different and varied online courses that are available to the general public.
Like other MOOCs, TreeHouse doesn’t require its students to sign up for huge college-level course curriculums nor do they have to pay excessive amounts of money in order to start. Instead, students can take smaller and simpler course options while still getting the training they need in order to start or grow their technical careers.
What makes TreeHouse truly unique, however, is its method of teaching. While there are several other MOOCs that focus heavily on training those that are interested in technology-based education, TreeHouse offers this through videos and interactive lessons as opposed to standard methods that other platforms may use.
Is TreeHouse Actually Legit?
TreeHouse is an interesting platform to answer this question for. The reason is that, unlike many other MOOCs and online learning platforms, TreeHouse, despite many of its rave reviews and incredible benefits, does not have any form of certification or credentials one can use to site their accomplishments or overall ability.
Why is this important? Well (and we’ll go over this more later) one of the biggest incentives for investing in an online platform like TreeHouse is that, outside of gaining an incredible skill set for the intended career path, a student will get some type of certificate of completion stating that they have done what they’ve claimed. This certificate is then used on resumes and portfolios when approaching a company with the hopes of having an advantage over the other applicants.
Because TreeHouse doesn’t provide this, at any level, it greatly lowers its prospective standing, especially when compared to other alternatives.
So why isn’t this outright labeled as “Not Legit”? Well, that’s because, outside of that, everything about the platform is of the highest caliber and amazingly well done.
If you are someone that is simply looking to improve their web-based programming skills and wish to do so with an easy and effective learning platform, TreeHouse is honestly and authentically one of the most legitimate options out there. If you are someone that is looking to join a learning platform with the hopes of leveraging it directly for a potential job, you may want to look at some other alternative options.
What Features Do They Provide?
If you are looking to just start or grow your skills or proficiency in technology, coding, or programming, TreeHouse offers a plethora of benefits and features that truly make it worth looking into. There are over 300 different courses and over 23 different subjects available.
Firstly, there are 3 separate avenues you can take when deciding to go through the site and its material:
- Single Courses
- Learning Tracks
Arguably the most accessible option on the site, when first looking into TreeHouse as a new or developing tech student, your first stop is probably going to be through its individual courses. Here, you’ll find hundreds of different classes and courses available to you around computers and programming, with new ones being added regularly.
In addition, there numerous different subjects and disciplines you can go into and focus on like Computer Science, Machine Learning, Android Development, Digital Literacy, Business, or Data Analysis, as well as many more.
In addition to learning program languages, TreeHouse includes numerous front-end as well as back-end developer courses in its library. This means you’ll find numerous front-end courses like Vue or React, while also seeing many back-end courses that are related to Node.
Each course is a combination of interactive projects and quizzes as well as video lectures. The lectures often provide a general and theoretical aspect to the course while the projects are much more hands-on, presenting the information in a much more tangible and practical aspect. The various quizzes act as a way to verify your understanding of the data and must be passed in order to complete.
Inside their library, TreeHouse also offers a unique feature known as “Code Playground”. This is something unique to TreeHouse itself and allows the student to experiment with a project’s code, showing them the immediate results when performed. It is a great way to gain an even deeper understanding of the different coding languages and how they operate compared to one another.
As you can expect, whereas the individual courses are meant for those that are looking to just start their programming knowledge, the Learning Tracks are meant for people that are serious and want to truly understand a specific area of computer software. They move in a progressive sequence of difficulty, with most starting at a very simplistic and beginner level before eventually growing more advanced and difficult levels with time.
Each track has numerous topics it may fall into. These topics include:
- Object-Oriented PHP
- Rails Development
- Computer Science
- Java Web Development
- and many others
As the Learning Tracks are meant primarily for you to understand the information rather than to acquire a specific type of credentials or a particular certificate, you are not required to follow them in a specific step-by-step manner. Instead, you can freely skip and review courses along that track based on your own individual interest.
The most in-depth and attractive option of the three, the Techdegree plan, while more expensive (we’ll touch on that later) than the other two, offers considerably more benefit in addition to all of the aforementioned perks available in the Individual and Learning Track plans.
While it does not technically give you any type of certificate or credential you can use on your portfolio, it does give you something of a “pseudo credential” in that it makes a point of teaching you the “correct portfolio of skills” so that you can more effectively succeed in the professional world.
As with the earlier courses, each Techdegree option will vary in the amount of time it takes to complete. Unlike the other ones, however, the curriculum is fairly lengthy, taking much longer to complete. These can range from 82 hours on the short end to 180+ hours on the more inclusive side. This doesn’t include many additional hours of bonus content to make you even more proficient in the subject matter. They argue that, starting from a complete tech beginner, a person could become completely job-ready in only a matter of a few months, often ranging between 2 and 12.
What makes the Techdegrees so much more appealing compared to the other options is largely, outside of what has been listed, is due to the fact that it has a number of additional benefits separate from course work that makes learning the material even easier as a result.
- Offline Content: Unlike the other plans, when subscribing to a Techdegree, you are able to download any of the videos and other content onto your computer for offline viewing. This means that no matter the location, you can continue your studies unbothered.
- Hands-On “Real World” Projects: The Techdegree option takes TreeHouse’s interactive and hands-on projects to the next level. Unlike the other plans that give projects that are largely academic, projects in the Techdegree of choice are specifically modeled to emulate real-life industry experiences. This means that, rather than hypothetical projects, you will directly engage in situations identical to those in your chosen profession. As a result, you will be uniquely suited for the position as well as more effectively structure your portfolio to emphasize those strengths.
- Private Community: The Techdegree plans also grant you access to a community of other coders and programmers in your field to connect and network with. Here, you’ll have a much more thorough understanding of what the developing job actually entails and how you can improve yourself. Not only that, but you can also ask for help and offer help from other members of the community.
- Expert Project Review: If you are working on a project and need some help specifically going over it, this plan allows for expert assistance in reviewing it to see exactly where the issue is.
How Much Does TreeHouse Really Cost?
There are three separate pricing plans available
- Courses Plus
Also known as the Basic Plan, this is generally the more popular option as it includes much of their library of video courses with access to interactive practice sessions. It comes with all of the various courses and Learning Tracks, though you aren’t able to download the videos for later as with the other options.
This plan costs $25 per month and has a 7 Day Free Trial in case you’re not completely sure. If you wish to pay the annual rate, it is $250 per year with 2 additional months free. Subscribing to the annual rate actually has a savings of $100, easily making it the best value.
Often called the “Pro Plan”, Courses Plus gives access to virtually all of the content available. It has everything available from the Courses Plan while also allowing students to speak with industry leaders, download videos, and enjoy other additional exclusive content.
The Courses Plus Plan costs $49 per month and also has an available 7 Day Free Trial. Subscribing to the annual rate costs $490 per year with an additional 2 months free. This gives you an annual savings of almost $200!
The Techdegree plan is the most expansive and inclusive option of the 3, offering all the benefits from the Courses and Courses Plus plan. In addition, you will be able to complete projects and review codes that are used in real-life companies while also helping to improve your portfolio with specific project completions.
The Techdegree plan costs $199 per month and also has a 7 Day Free Trial.
A fourth option is offered to large team-based groups. The Team TreeHouse plan is ideal for managers or company employers to train a team of coders or programmers more efficiently than one at a time.
The curriculum and pricing are the same for any of the earlier 3 plans, though depending on the number of people in the group, it may be required to contact them for a specialized rate.
Do They Provide a Certificate upon Completion?
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, TreeHouse does not provide any type of certificate of completion or any completion credentials. While the Techdegree plan does allow you to have a stronger connection with potential employers and their real-world coding scenarios, this does not actually translate into anything that can directly be placed on a resume or portfolio the way it might from an alternative online learning platform.
That said, while there is no technical addition you can put on your resume, if you sign up for the Techdegree plan, you actually can work on, and create, projects that align closely to a company’s coding usage. These projects can be implemented on your portfolio, netting you a more favorable view as a result.
If you are someone that is currently employed or are already expected to get a job in the programming world, this shouldn’t be an issue. That said, if you are looking for an online learning platform that specifically will show on your resume, you may want to consider another option.
Who will Benefit from TreeHouse Most?
While every student will gain tremendous benefit from the platform, those that will get the most use are individuals that are just beginning their coding journey. It has been noted for being incredibly beginner-friendly and easy to understand. Each of the courses steadily transitions from very basic and fundamental steps into more advanced and complex steps. Not only that, but because the courses can be skipped and reviewed at your leisure, it makes studying that much easier as a result.
That said, if you are not at the beginner or intermediate level, you may actually be a bit too advanced for much of the material. This is, again, due largely to the fact that much of it is so beginner-friendly. As a result, much of the material will be more of a review rather than anything particularly challenging.
Still, if you are someone that is looking for an easy, fun, and effective entry into the coding world, investing a bit of time into TreeHouse is definitely worth considering.