Course Platforms / Treehouse
Treehouse is a relatively new offering to the elearning world.
It was founded in 2011 by Ryan Carson. The name 'Treehouse' was chosen because it "reflects the wonder of learning as a child".
They have helped over 1,000,000 students so the treehouse must be pretty big and have great wifi.
In our review, we see what all the fuss is about.
Treehouse focuses on democratising education. They use online courses to achieve it.
They are focused on helping anyone learn to code. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner trying to write your first "Hello World" or an old hand looking to take it to the next level Treehouse is here to help.
Treehouse is one of the more demanding online course providers that we have reviewed.
It is not for the faint-hearted. But for those willing to put in the effort it holds great rewards.
That being said if you are committed to really growing as a developer Treehouse has some great, in-depth, highly structured content, teachers and exams to offer.
Treehouse offers a variety of elearning courses and classes ranging from short evening-length lessons and classes to a couple of week tracks before a 6 month/ year-long "Tech Degree". We cover the actual courses in more detail below.
At Treehouse they claim their mission is to bring learning to anyone so they can achieve their dreams and change the world. In this review, we see if Treehouse has what it takes or if we are just barking up the wrong tree (apologies for the bad puns).
Who is Treehouse for
There are no two ways about it Treehouse is a very specific online course provider.
It exists exclusively to help people learn to code online. It has a limited number of courses on the site.
Don't let put you off, it has helped many people improve their skills coding skills. There are some special features which set this course provider apart from the pack.
As you would expect from a provider that is dedicated to helping others learn great coding they have a great app to go with their website so you can improve your Python and HTML skills on the move.
Treehouse has a strong focus on actually building a skill rather watching some videos and hoping it all sinks in.
As anyone who has tried to build a codebase knows, you don't know what you don't know until you have launched your first programme or debug some faulty code.
They have a great community formed of other students, the teachers and the platform staff. There is even an exclusive Slack channel where all the students and teachers hang out, share tips and help each other learn
Treehouse has a proprietary code review programme "Coding Challenge Engine" that means you can get instant feedback on your code and with helpful tips and suggestions.
This means you don´t have to wait around for someone to read your code line by line while you slowly lose your flow and start to heed the siren song of Netflix.
The coding challenge engine
The Coding Challenge Engine is very well supported by the teachers and fellow students that will help you as you hit the inevitable obstacles while moving through the coding and technology assessments.
The staff are very helpful and they have advisors who will take the time to sit down with you and go through your options and give some great advice on how to get started in the industry.
Beyond learning to code
There is also something for those who are already in the industry and are simply using Treehouse to deepen or broaden their skills.
You will be able to expand your network through the exclusive Treehouse Slack channel and connect with other students on your course.
As an added bonus Treehouse has a large network of industry contacts and can help you if you are looking to move to a new position.
The Treehouse team will actively help you find a job during and after you take one of their courses
Treehouse for businesses
If you are a company looking to book some of your people onto a Treehouse course never fear. They cater to "Enterprise" clients as well as individual learners.
They will help assess your staff and pick the right course for them. The helpful staff can also help plot learning and development paths if you need assistance in that area.
Classes and courses
Here is the official breakdown of the online course types from the Treehouse
As you can see you can learn almost anything you need to know about coding, technology and even data science on Treehouse.
Data & Business degrees are fairly new to Treehouse. They are good courses but are not as strong or well supported as the coding courses.
• Development Tools
• Web Design
• Web Development
• Rails Development
• PHP Development
• iOS Development
• Android Development
• WordPress Development
• Starting a Business
• Front End Web Development
• iOS Development with Swift
• Python Web Development
The third and final level is the Tech Degree. This is a big commitment, both in terms of time and money. Some of the "degrees" take 4 months but those looking to learn Python coding will have to put in 7 months worth of work. However, these estimates are based on working 3 hours a day so 1 year is a more likely estimate.
Treehouse tech degree
A Treehouse Degree is not for the faint-hearted, it will take a year of hard work
An important note about the Treehouse Tech Degree is that whilst you get a certificate at the end it is not an accredited degree so you may not get the reaction from jobs or universities that you are expecting. That being said Treehouse has a strong reputation, one that is growing by the day so most hiring managers will have heard of the degree and be impressed by your dedication.
A picture is worth a thousand words so here is a snapshot of a course category page. This page shows the HTML classes for anyone who wants to learn basic HTML or develop some more advanced skills.
Treehouse runs on a monthly subscription model. That means that you pay each month and get an all you can learn style buffet.
Basic - $25 a month
• On-demand, expert-led video courses
• Interactive practice sessions
• Access to our online community of fellow students
Premium - $49 a month
• Everything from Basic
• Unlimited access, including bonus content
• Access to new beta features
• Download videos for offline learning
TechDegree - $199 a month
• Everything from Basic and Pro
• Curated curriculum and projects
• Personalized feedback on your code
• Self-paced and flexible scheduling
• Real-time support from Treehouse staff and Techdegree students on Slack
To help you make the decision Treehouse offers a free 7-day trial. We recommend seeing if you like their style before taking the plunge with your credit card.
You can pause or cancel the subscription at any time so you should waste no time in getting a trial.
In exchange for your hard earned dollars, Treehouse offers a variety of courses to get you working smarter, not harder.
They also have a strong focus on helping you get hired or promoted upon completing a course or degree.
Taking these two points together it means that for the committed person, Treehouse is definitely worth the money.
short evening-length courses, to a couple of week tracks before a 6 month/ year long "Tech Degree".
How to take a course
Treehouse classes are very similar in format as they are highly curated by the staff. There are teaching videos that you watch and there is a big focus on the practical element.
The course support from the teachers, staff and students is second to none. Since the site is so specific in what it aims to teach you will find a lot of friends and supportive people in exactly the same situation as you. The impact of good support and feedback cannot be underestimated in a subject with a steep learning curve like learning to write code.
The Treehouse android & ios apps are very slick and great for watching videos and browsing the demos whilst on the go. The limited screen size obviously makes multi tasking and coding a bit more of challenge. Therefore the app is an additional bonus rather than a core feature like the AI code reviewing engine.
The basic classes are a fairly DIY experience so it is good to start them when you have an actual project in mind. It is good to get a couple of them under your belt then move up the tiers when you really feel you can make the most from the site rather than go straight for premium.
As with all online courses our advice is always to start off slow with a short course or class near to your current level then build up to longer more challenging paths.
Remember any courses or class you take will require a lot of time and energy as they may require a fair amount of upfront time watching the videos and reading the documentation followed by homework each week.
Take only a few courses or you will burn out and not learn anything
Navigating the site
The Treehouse Course Overview pages are very nicely curated. They have all the information you could need with a focus on the syllabus that you will cover in the course.
One very nice and very needed feature is the skill level required. Be careful not to go to far above your current skill level or you will get lost very quickly. Take it from someone who learnt the hard way.
The courses do not have a ratings and reviews section. So be careful as not all the courses share the same quality in the videos and projects. However, the platform and the courses are constantly being reviewed, updated and added to so this may not be a problem for long.
One final note is that the Treehouse caters to a more serious elearner than some of the other free or "per course" providers that we have seen.
If you are really serious about developing this skill for your career or a new venture Treehouse has all the tools you need. If you are looking to dip your toe in waters of coding and see what all the fuss is about then Youtube or W3 might be a better option.
Once you have made your final checks it is time to take the plunge and sign up to a course.
Make sure you come back to check out our other hints and tips and let us know how you got on and what you learnt.