I have been a member of Treehouse for almost a year now with a gold membership. Recently I have joined Code School to further my knowledge of code and to gain extra online education. These two online education services are two of the most popular for learning code but which is better and which program will suit you best on your journey to learn code?
I’ll go through an analysis of Code School vs Treehouse.
Here is my Treehouse profile http://teamtreehouse.com/leehughes
Team Treehouse is without a doubt one of the most complete courses you’ll find on the web. It is designed to take you from a starting position to job ready.
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The teaching in Treehouse is good, they explain things well and take their time which for someone learning the skills can be an advantage. One of my favourite aspects about Treehouse though is their staff are active in the forums, if you have a problem you can normally tag the teacher like Twitter using a @ and they will be notified of the problem. Treehouse cares about its students and it shows in the forum.
Once you finish the video you’ll normally be left with a challenge, either multiple choice or a code challenge. I personally don’t find the multiple choice questions that helpful and the code challenges seem a little bit easier than the Code School ones. One sweet new feature that Treehouse have just started is allowing you to take what you’re learning on and test it out using Code Pen. This is a great move by Treehouse as you can test what you’ve learnt through their course and start a portfolio through Code Pen.
One of the biggest reasons Treehouse and Code School have taken off is because of the demand for programmers and designers etc. Not everyone wants to built the next Facebook, many are happy creating another source of income through freelance work. Both courses can help you learn the skills for each. While both courses will not teach you to become rock star coders they help lay the groundwork from which you must study and learn and grow in your own time.
While Treehouse are 100% more focused than Code School on trying to get their students employed the future will have to wait and see if gaining badges online and creating your own portfolio will be enough for an employer.
Here is my Code School profile http://www.codeschool.com/users/leehughes
I signed up for Code School about 8 months into Treehouse. While I wasn’t learning code as much as I should, I quit my job to focus more on code and thought since Code School had certain courses that would be useful to me e.g the Ruby path, Git Real and more of a focus towards HTML5 and CSS3 that this would make a great addition to my education. Code School offers more courses though, which you can see below and they are adding more all the time.
The teaching style of Code School is quite similar to that of Treehouse. You’ll get a video explaining some concepts and you’ll then be tested on what you’ve just been taught. One of the reasons that I prefer the teaching style of Code School to that of Treehouse is the themes. Each course that you work on will have a different theme, e.g the CSS foundations that I have just finished was a skiing theme and the now famous Ruby course makes you build a zombie Twitter.
I find the challenges on Code School more difficult than Treehouse. A lot of times you’ll find yourself with multiple answer questions in Treehouse which I find doesn’t really have the impact of a coding challenge.
Treehouse also have a bonus content section with their gold membership. You’ll get access to screencasts like the video above but with Treehouse style. Because Treehouse has more content focused on more subjects you might find that some screencasts you won’t be interested in and Code School might be more suitable for your needs.
My honest opinion is these two courses actually complement each other pretty well depending on what you want to learn. For me my goal is to learn Ruby and by using these two courses together I’m getting a much better understanding of the subject. I’ll explain.
While both Treehouse and Code School have good Ruby paths, it was the added bonus for me with the Git courses, HTML5 and Coffeescript with others that allowed me to focus on certain areas that Treehouse didn’t cover enough for my liking.
It all depends on what your goal is as to what course is best for you. They are smilar in terms of teaching, code challenges etc but I find Treehouse is focused more on helping you create a business of your own, setting the skills for freelance more.
So in my opinion here’s what course would work best for different goals:
Starting your own business = Treehouse
Freelancing = Treehouse
Designer = Treehouse > Code School
Programmer = Treehouse + Code school
Just starting out and what to be employed = Treehouse + Code School
These are my own opinions from trying these courses. Both Treehouse and Code School have free options to learn a course so there’s nothing stopping you have deciding for yourself.