This Is How I Learned Web Development [Treehouse Review]

If you ever tried to learn to code, whether to start your own business or to land a better job, you know it’s difficult. I know this, because I’ve been trying to learn web development for the last year or so.

It’s difficult because of a few reasons:

  • It’s not very clear where to start
  • Everyone suggests to “build a project”, but you don’t have any ideas
  • Books are rather boring
  • Many free courses teach booleans, strings, variables, functions and objects
  • After a while these “fundamental courses” become quite easy, but you still don’t know how to actually build something

My journey started with the Codecademy

I've completed the JavaScript course, Youtube Api and most of the Box api

I’ve completed the JavaScript course, Youtube Api and most of the Box api

 

After trying out Codecademy, which was pretty good, I still wanted to build websites, code apps and make things for the web. I just didn’t know how take all these if’s and functions() and objects they taught me in the Codecademy and use them in the real world application.

It changed when I found TeamTreehouse

But let me explain everything in more detail…

Treehouse was a lot more fun to follow and I've actually created real apps along the way

Treehouse was a lot more fun to follow and I’ve actually created real apps along the way

Treehouse is an online technology school and their goal is to bring affordable technology education to everyone in the world.

With Treehouse you can learn:

HTML & CSS:

html

Design:

design

Ruby:

ruby

PHP:

php

WordPress:

wordpress

And more!

There are over 1000 engaging videos that teach you and then Treehouse gives you quizzes to pass. All subjects are divided into courses (“become web developer”, “become web designer”, “learn to build mobile apps”, etc) which you can pick depending on your interests. This is really helpful, because they create a very clear path for you with specific videos, quizzes, challenges for your chosen goal.

My favorite WordPress teacher - Zac Gordon - explains everything very very clearly

My favorite WordPress teacher – Zac Gordon explains everything very very clearly

Videos and quizzes work very well with more practical Code Challenges

Videos and quizzes work very well with more practical Code Challenges

Treehouse also gives you badges after completing sections so you can clearly see your progress and show it to others. It’s a great proof of your knowledge for your future employer.

They use a project-based approach. This means that not only you got the knowledge, but you will have to put that knowledge into something tangible – each course teaches you how to build real world apps you can show to others.

 

Here are a few projects you will build with Treehouse:

  • Simple iPhone app of Crystal ball which pretends to tell the future:

crystal ball app

  • A simple blog reader android app

android app project

  • WordPress theme and plugins from scratch

wordpress theme project

how to build wordpress plugin

  • Self-destructing iPhone message app (like Snapchat):

self destructing app project

And many other projects.

Here are some of the things I’ve built with them already:

Number of simple websites

I’ve started with two website tutorials from Treehouse:

Building a Shirts4Mike:

shirts for mike

And Smells Like Bakin website:

smells like bakin

Then I went on to test my skills and built a simple Youtube Music Playlist website: http://musicforwork.com

I am currently building and learning php from Treehouse and Youtube api from Codecademy to build a dynamic playlist of music (where I could search youtube from my site and simply add songs into the mood playlist):

work in progress with musicforwork

WordPress theme

After building a few websites I found a great web design tutorial from the 1stwebdesigner.com. I thought it looked really nice so I went through the process of drawing the whole thing. It was beautiful, but still just a static image.

I drew this in almost 6 hours

I drew this in almost 6 hours

I though it would be cool to have this as a real website, because it looked really nice. However, coding this into HTML and CSS didn’t seem challenging enough anymore.

So I decided to make my first WordPress theme out of this design. I had no idea where to start, when suddenly I noticed there was a course on the Treehouse called “How to build a WordPress theme”.

“Perfect” – I thought.

So I went through the course. I was a little sceptical about the teacher (Zac Gordon) at first, because he had this very robotic and a little creepy manner of talking. However after a few videos I was able to follow everything very easily. I started to really like his approach.

Building a custom WordPress theme from scratch for someone who had only played with some html and css with other WordPress themes before was an amazing feeling.

With every step I was adding functionality I had no idea how to implement before.

Once the course was done I had made this:

treehouse tutorial website

Then, with my new knowledge I went on to code the design I created previously. It took me almost a week of coding a few hours every day. I had to go back to many Treehouse videos for reference. It was quite hard and challenging, but the half way through the sense of accomplishment was amazing. A few months ago, I had no idea how to create a simple HTML/CSS website and now I was building a custom WordPress website from scratch!

There were a few things I didn’t know how to implement. That huge laptop image, for example. I guess my CSS knowledge wasn’t that advanced so I just decided to make it how I could and just get it done. I haven’t finished the theme to 100%. You can have a look at the end result here:

design tutorial theme

Finally, I wanted to update my MarketingHacker design so I thought it would be cool to code this one myself too. I took a part of another pre-coded website with Parallax effect and decided to somehow incorporate it with WordPress.

It took another 5 or 6 days, but I did it.

Here’s what it looked like:

marketing hacker theme

So it took me one course from Treehouse to learn to code WordPress themes – something I always wanted, but had no idea where to start. After finishing my first theme, the feeling was absolutely tremendous.

Other Treehouse benefits:

Community forum to find like-minded people and ask questions

treehouse forum

Jobs board – start a new career with your new skills

treehouse jobs

iPad app – helps to learn anywhere

treehouse ipad app

Should I trust them?

Over 37 000 members and some of the biggest brands in the world uses Treehouse to train their employees. When Disney relies on Treehouse to teach their employees to code and companies like Simple and LivingSocial employ new people based on the Treehouse badges you have – you know you’re in good hands.

 

Costs

25$/month for a silver package which is more than enough to learn to code

49$/month gives you a gold package. It includes feedback on your projects, “Exercise your creativity” videos, In-depth interviews with industry professionals and Treehouse workshops.

See how much you could learn with Team Treehouse.
And because I’m their affiliate, you can get 3 months of learning for free (when you commit for 1 year):

OR – lets say you just want to test drive it before committing. Here’s a link for a completely FREE trial:

 

 

Other notes:

Will Treehouse be the only resource you will ever need to learn to code and design? No, probably not. But it’s great for complete beginners, because it covers all the basics and explains how everything works.

It is great for a little advanced beginners (like I am) who know the basics, but want to build something and don’t know what to do and where to go after learning these basics. It’s great for those who studied Computer Science and want to refresh their memory or people from other disciplines who want to start a career in web development, app development or design.

Treehouse is one of the most comprehensive online schools that teach you programming, design and business. It works best when combined with other resources like Codecademy to reinforce learning and personal projects to inspire creativity and give the practice you need. You will find yourself going some instruction videos over and over again while building your own projects.

 

Treehouse Pros

  • Suitability for beginners – perfect. You don’t need any programming knowledge to start with Treehouse
  • Constantly growing content – new projects and lessons are added every week
  • Very approachable teachers and incredible community – everyone is very happy to help solve any questions you may have
  • Although the price may seem a little expensive for some people – you do get what you pay for. And when you compare the price with some local course on one just one of the subjects, Treehouse suddenly looks like excellent value for money. And it really is.
  • It teaches 3 ways: engaging video content explaining everything, quizzes to test your knowledge and code challenges to put your knowledge into practice

Treehouse Cons

  • Some videos take way too long to explain certain concepts.
  • I wish there were more web and mobile app building projects.
  • Code challenges are a little annoying, because if you make a mistake it doesn’t give you any directions where the mistake might be (while Codecademy is amazing at pointing out code mistakes)

Summary

If you don’t have any experience, with Treehouse you can build your first web or mobile app in a month. If you already know the basics of HTML/CSS and dabbled a little here and there you can finish one in a week. Set yourself up, register and get started.

Full disclosure: The links in this review are affiliate links, this means that if you decide to follow one of them and register with Treehouse I will get some money. I am a member of TeamTreehouse myself and I am not writing this with the purpose of making a quick buck.

My Rating: 4.5