I’m constantly gabbing away on the Advanced Facebook WordPress group and every once in a while a promising young lad will get frustrated with their WP issues and resign themselves to learning how to code.
I’d say a good 8/10 of the referrals are for Team Treehouse, but very few people actually explain WHY they prefer Treehouse over Lynda, Khan Academy, Code Academy, and all the other learn to be a code ninja sort of sites.
I use Treehouse almost daily to expand my skillset and have tried a few other learn to code options that haven’t really resonated with me.
There are 2 types of membership Basic and Pro. Pro gives you access to a wealth of content including industry related interviews and conferences. I started with the Pro and downgraded to Basic since I didn’t have enough time in my week to consume as much Pro content as I would’ve liked.
I do plan on upgrading to Pro again in the future when my schedule frees up so I can take advantage of all the juicy stuff happening in the world of digital agencies.
Reasons I Think Treehouse Is Awesome
1. Not Your Average Library – Tons of content to learn from specific to design/development
No sorting through a bunch of videos from 2001 about how to use Microsoft Office to get to that web dev tutorial. Treehouse only provides content for Web Designers, Front/Backend Developers, and Web Shop Owners/Employees. This razor sharp focus means that the quality of content tends to be higher and more informative.
Treehouse offers courses in the following subjects,
- Development Tools
- Digital Literacy
Some of the courses are more comprehensive than other’s to varying degrees. There are plenty of options to choose from here so you’re never bored from one day to the next.
I’ve gotten through most JS, CSS, and HTML classes, but I’ve yet to dive into Ruby or Mobile App development.
The quality of most of these courses is extremely high. (I’ll get into some of the not so good courses later).
2. Workspaces – Follow along with exercises in browser
Workspaces allow you to write the code right in Treehouse’s built in editor and watch the results happen without having to fuss around setting up dependencies, or local test environments to practice your dev work.
These days I am comfortable and quick enough in Sublime text that I usually follow allow with most exercises locally, but getting started having something like Workspaces was so useful when the thought of installing Ruby on my Windows machine felt so daunting.
Workspaces give you full control over the project’s full structure, and even offers tips to help auto-complete code as well as highlighting syntax.
3. Treehouse Holds You Accountable With Code Challenges
No way Jose.
Treehouse is not afraid to through a code editor right in front of your face and say “Apply what you just learned”. Honestly, half the time I just stare at it blankly because I realize that I thought I understand the concepts I was learning but I didn’t really get it.
Without these code challenges, it’s easy to fall into the trap of consuming knowledge, and not actually applying it which are two very different things.
4. Excellent WordPress Tutorials
I find that Treehouse really shines in their WordPress tutorials. Using Treehouse, I was easily able to learn how to use the Theme Settings and Customizer APIs. I was also able to learn how to easily implement custom post types.
Not quite ready for a keg stand before skinny dipping in a pool of PHP? Still wish you could customized your WordPress theme’s function.php file? No problem. Stay dressed and sober while you take the “PHP For WordPress” course.
What I love most about Treehouse’s WordPress courses is that they understand their audience well enough to know that some front-end developers might not touch PHP outside of the WP environment so they cater their WP lessons to the relevant programming concepts you need to get your way around most theme functions and the WP Codex.
5. Treehouse Makes Me Feel Smart No Matter How Dumb I Am
Treehouse’s strongest suit is the ability to ELI5 (Explain Like I’m Five) complex and often murky concepts in a way that’s both fun engaging and easy to digest.
I’ve been drinking the Team Treehouse Kool-Aid for a long time now and part of it has to do with the feelings the brand invokes.
Through explaining difficult concepts through simplifying things into meaningful chunks and offering constant reassurance in the form of badges and Treehouse points (non-redeemable for awesome points). Using Treehouse is almost a viscerally pleasant experience. It’s very obvious that every aspect of this product is well thought out.
Just click a button on the website and it makes you want to melt with gooey UI goodness. It’s obvious that they truly practice what they preach. Their website is a testament to that.
Reasons I Think Treehouse Is NOT So Awesome
1. Some courses lack real world or practical examples
One of the best courses I took on the site was building a To Do List using vanilla JS. The reason I enjoyed it so much is because you’re building something that might actually be useful one day.
While most courses give you some hands on with real use cases some courses leave you feeling like you’re stuck in the “theory zone” and have no idea how you will apply any of this stuff.
2. Lack Of Feedback
I find the “socialness” of Treehouse is a bit lacking. Sure there’s the forum where most people go if they have a code problem, but rarely do I see members of the Treehouse community actively engaging and learning from one another.
I feel that Treehouse could do a lot more to encourage its users to interact with the wider community. An example of this might come in the form of a Code Challenge where you face off against an opponent.
Or perhaps a Slack-style chat that fosters more open communication rather than the Forums which isn’t a very encouraging environment to challenge your fellow Treehouse citizens.
Overall Treehouse Is A Great Place To Learn
Like most learn to code programs Treehouse offers a free 2-week trial. I highly recommend you give it a shot and see if it’s your style.