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Team Treehouse Review – Good Value for Money?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2014

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What is Team Treehouse?

Team Treehouse is an online training facility, and one of the courses that it offers is entitled “iOS Programming”. Once you have signed up, you are given access to video tutorials, are invited to participate in tests and projects, and get awarded “cyber-badges” for achieving specified goals along the way. I should point out that you do not sign up for a specific course, but instead pay a monthly subscription that entitles you to access all of their available courses. So far, so good! However, for the reasons described below I will NOT be signing up.

How Much Does it Cost?

There are 2 levels of membership: Basic & Pro. There is also a 7 day Free Trial available:

Review Team Treehouse Membership Options

You can see that the Basic Membership costs $25 per month and the Pro Membership costs $49 per month.

I was interested to see what you get for your money, but was dismayed to discover that the 14 day Free Trial required you to provide the company with your credit card details! Why? I simply don’t understand what possible legitimate reason there could before requesting financial information from someone who is accepting a free trial!?

I’m afraid it left me with the impression that they were hoping that some people would fail to cancel their Free Trial prior to the expiry of 14 days and they could then charge them, whether or not the trialist actually wanted to subscribe or not. Surely, the most appropriate way of ending a Free Trial is simply to deny access beyond the 14th say unless the trialist chooses to actively subscribe to the service!?

Team Treehouse ScamSo, on a point of principle, I refused to sign up for the “free trial” and I have no direct knowledge of the quality of their courses. However, I have read some reviews of those who have signed up and seen what is on offer and those reviews are, at best, mixed. I have not seen anything to suggest that the courses are any more exceptional than the many other courses on offer.

Is it Good Value For Money?

For someone like me that has a full-time job and a young family the answer is a resounding … NO!

I just don’t have the time to study multiple courses at once and it seems to me that this is the only way to really extract maximum benefit from a Treehouse membership.

I have a real problem with paying a monthly subscription for a training service. It is clearly not a cost-effective way to learn complex subjects like iOS Programming for the following reasons:

  • You cannot learn iOS Programming within a couple of months – even if you already have previous experience with other languages. It requires many months (if not years) of initial study, revision, and practical application of that theoretical knowledge to begin to consider yourself to be a competent iOS programmer. Even if you chose the Basic Membership option, it would cost you $300 per year to continue to have access to the training materials;
  • Despite the fact that you have access to all of their courses as part of the monthly subscription, the reality is that (unless you are unemployed or a student) you are unlikely to be able to seriously study more than 1 or 2 at the same time.
  • There are other courses available for a fraction of the cost and they only require a single payment. In return for that single payment, you can watch the training videos and receive email support as many times as you wish over whatever period of time suits your lifestyle and speed of learning.

Is the “Monthly Fee” model suitable for some people?

If you have more spare time to study and are able to watch lots of videos from different subject areas each month, then this “monthly-fee” model may well suit your needs. You will have to compare the monthly cost of membership against the cost of buying individual courses from somewhere like Udemy (see below).

Is Treehouse the Best “Monthly Fee” Course Provider?

Treehouse is a relatively new kid on the block and I have not heard anything to suggest that it has taken the online training world by storm to the extent that it is far superior to the other options.

The most well-known and popular training course provider is probably

Lynda has an excellent reputation and what I particularly like about them is that, unlike Treehouse, you DO NOT need to provide them with a credit card number in order to access their 7 day Free Trial – just a name and email address.

The Lynda Free Trial is called a Preview Account and it entitles you to access about 10% of every course, which ought to provide you with more than enough information to decide if a Full Membership would suit your needs. In fact, you can often get access to some full courses with your Preview Account, based on the preferences that you select as part of the joining process.

Of course, since you won’t be providing your credit card number there is nor risk of being scammed or forgetting to cancel the Free Trial and being charged accidentally.

So, if I was considering signing up for a monthly fee training course provider, the first place that I would look would be Lynda. They have a good reputation and offer a risk-free Preview Account.

In fact, I am probably going to sign up for a Preview Account myself (when I have the time) so that I can learn how to use GIMP. This is a piece of open source software for creating graphics that is a bit like Photoshop and I want to learn how to make banners and other digital art. I understand that they offer full access to this course as part of the Preview Account.

What are the Alternatives to the “Monthly Fee” Model?

Udemy Courses

For most people Udemy courses will be much more cost-effective that Team Treehouse. Not only does Udemy provide excellent training at a reasonable price, and with a good level of support, but they also only require a single one-off payment. As a result, you can continue to access their training materials as and when required without having to maintain an expenisve monthly subscription. In fact, I have downloaded the video tutorials onto my iPad so that I can watch them even when I don’t have an internet connection.

They also provided some courses that are absolutely free and often have excellent discounts on offer.

The Udemy “iOS10 & Swift 3 From Beginner to Paid Professional” Course 

This course does not assume any prior knowledge and will teach you everything you need to learn how to create iPhone and iPad Apps professionally. You get:

  • Lifetime access to 45 hours of video lectures
  • 251 supplemental resources
  • An active community of 2,500+ students engaging together in the forum
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Topics Covered:

  • Understanding Xcode 8, iOS 10, Interface Builder, Simulator and Project Types
  • Language basics and building blocks
  • Swift 3: Get to know the new updated language
  • Objective-C: Full guide to creating full featured apps
  • Create over 20 real iOS 10 applications in both languages
  • All Objects, Actions and Outlets possible in App Development
  • Social Integration: Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Email and more
  • Storyboards and nib Files
  • Universal Support and Screen Size Support
  • Images and Sounds Integration
  • Playing and Streaming Video Support
  • Full Featured iOS 10 Apps
  • Earning Revenue Ad Networks
  • In App Purchases
  • Fun and Simple iOS 10 Games
  • Core Data Applications
  • Camera Support Applications
  • App Store Submission and Update Support

Prior to signing up for this course you can read reviews from current students and note that the course has been rated by them as 4.6/5.

iOS 10 and Xcode 8 – Complete Swift 3 & Objective-C Course

Other Great Value Udemy Courses

Udemy provide training courses covering a huge range of subjects, including:
The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0

Build a Website from Scratch with HTML & CSS – $149 

Full list of their CSS courses.

Full list of their HTML courses.

Full list of iOS Training Courses.

Search for Other Udemy Courses 

Udemy Key Features

  • Single fee payment model
  • No monthly fees
  • Can watch training videos as many times you like and over whatever period suits your circumstances
  • Training by genuine experts with updated course content
  • Watch training videos your PC or download it onto a tablet for training on-the-go
  • Good value course fees with regular release of discount codes
  • Lots of reviews from previous / present day students to read before you sign up
  • Active forums
  • 30-day, no-questions-asked money back guarantee


As I alluded to previously, this Team Treehouse Review is not based upon the quality of the training provided by this organisation. I have no reason to believe that their training is sub-standard.

But for me, the reason that I would not consider subscribing to this website (even if the training was excellent) is that i do not think that it is reasonable to expect people to pay a sizeable monthly subscription fee for a training course when there are other much better “single payment” options and other “monthly fee” training course providers that do not require a credit card before they give you access to a Free Trial.

Besides, as someone with a full-time job and a large family, I need to be able to take my time and spread the learning experience out more than some. This means that the “monthly payment” structure would be prohibitively expensive when compared with the “single fee for lifetime access” model.



Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Mike Thomas

    Personally, I’d still go for treehouse or Lynda over Udemy. I think Udemy know that they are over priced, it would explain why their courses always have crazy 75% off discounts, even 90% off at times.

    • Kristian

      Thank you for your comment.

      You make a perfectly valid point about the extreme discounting policy at Udemy. I would much prefer it if they found a more stable and sensible pricing strategy with occasional modest discounts instead. I don’t think that their discount marketing strategy is the best since people are suspicious of these huge reductions. However, I do not think that this negatively impacts upon the quality of their courses – I have found them to be excellent. I would always advise people to look for one of the regular Udemy discounts before buying a course – I certainly do. I can imagine being very annoyed if I had paid full price for a course to then find that it was available at a huge discount the following week. I will try to update this post with relevant discounts as and when they occur.

      Choosing between the “monthly fee” providers and the “flat fee” providers will depend upon your particular circumstances. I accept that if you are a student, unemployed, retired or for some other reason find yourself with lots of time on your hands to study 3-4 courses at the same time, then the single monthly fee for multiple course access might prove cost effective. However, for someone like myself that has a full time job and a large young family it is just simply not an option. Like most hobbyist programmers, I only have a limited amount of time to devote to learning iOS and it will take a long time due to the time constraints. I have already been learning for more than 1 year and so, had I chosen Treehouse or Lynda, I would be more than $350 out of pocket instead of about $50 (which is about what I paid for my iOS training at Udemy).

      Finally, I ought to reiterate that I do not suggest that Treehouse provides bad training. I just don’t think that the payment model works for me and many others in a similar position. If you are lucky enough to have huge amounts of spare time to devote to learning 4 different things, then go for it!

      I don’t know if you have actually used Treehouse or Lynda? If you have, I would love to hear more about your personal experience of the training provided and also how long it took you to complete certain courses so that I can get a better understanding of the cost effectiveness of the “monthly fee” model.

      PS. Good luck with your new website.

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