Hello Course Seeker!
I am currently enrolled in the UofT program. Unlike some of the anonymous posters on this board, my overall experiences-to-date have been rather positive. Sure, there are little hiccups here and there. However, one has to keep in mind... Read More
I love online courses myself, and have used them to supplement my learning... ...BUT! online courses (including those that may offer real-time chat instruction) cannot replicate the in-person classroom atmosphere that is key to learning. After all, isn't this the reason why you are reading this?
If you are looking for the PERFECT program, you will be looking and procrastinating for a long, long time.... ....because there is no perfect program. Programming itself is an ever-evolving discipine that demands a flexible and solutions-driven mindset. The old adage applies here: "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem".
The problems/issues that have been noted by previous posters are relatively minor in nature. I say "minor in nature" because problems/challenges are what drive the real learning experience and growth. The positive experiences far outweigh the negative ones. I would much rather learn from my mistakes (and the mistakes of others) in a safe learning environment, as opposed to making the same mistakes in a live job setting.
Here are a few of my takeways for your consideration:
1. Mistakes can and will occur with any learning institution. As for myself, my concerns have always been addressed in a timely manner. The most important thing from my point of view is that the individuals who deliver this learning program own up to the issues identified, and make good on them. In other words, they do their best to rectify the issue at hand and improve the program for those who follow. They have a structured quality assurance program in place to address/prevent issues, AND the resources to fix problem areas. Does the program you are considering have a QA program in place? -- What if one or more of the key instructors in your program are no longer able to teach? Can alternates be set up quickly? ....
2. Do your homework before signing up for the program. If you are undisciplined with your time, a procrastinator, or someone who wants everything served up on a silver platter, then this is not the program for you. You will need to make some sacrifices if you want your dream to come true.
3. Many folks in this program have demanding careers and mouths to feed -- time is money. This program delivers a good balance of formal lecture material, group exercises, and self-driven learning. Team/pair programming is nice -- however, unless you have a lot of extra time on your hands, your time is probably better invested in reviewing the course material taught and supplementing your knowledge with perspectives from other sources (e.g. online courses).
4. The curriculum is comprehensive, market relevant, and the exercises are well-documented (e.g. there is a GitLab repository that you can pull from and review prior to the next lecture, videos, etc.). This is a battle-tested program with more material and support than you can shake a fist at -- Trilogy is not a small organization -- in fact, I am glad that they are the ones managing the program instead of UofT. The instructors will not and cannot possibly cover every aspect of the course material provided -- there simply are not enough hours in the day to do this. One can only learn so fast, even with full-time immersion learning. I view the program as a curated guided tour. How much you learn, how far you go, and the quality of the experiences is up to you. These factors are entirely within your control.
5. You get out of the program what you put into it. If self-paced learning is your cup of tea, then online course programming may be better for you. However, if your learning style is more structured with deadlines to keep you honest, then a program like this is a no-brainer. If you don't feel at least a wee bit uncomfortable with the pace or overwhelmed with the material, then you aren't pushing yourself hard enough.
6. Do your due diligence and read the fine print. Contracts are not always bad, as they confirm each party's obligations/responsibilities. If you are considering signing up for a program that does not have a contract in place, how do you know what you are getting into? If you didn't actually read the contract before signing up for the program, and now have "buyer's remorse", you will be in for a big surprise when your computer program doesn't work because you missed a "semi-colon" or forgot to use brackets.
This is a premium product with moderate pricing. In fact, I think this program is worth more than $10k. You are not paying for couches, coffee stations, and unnecessary frills.
7. This program will not get you a computer science degree. If this is what you are expecting, then enroll in one or take the MIT open lecture series to learn more. Future employers may ask you where you got your training from, but I highly doubt if even a small percentage of them will ask you to yank out a certificate or proof of completion. Your personal portfolio and your ability to articulate solutions to real-world problems will tell all.
8. If you have concerns about this program not being "tax deductible", here is a simple solution: (1) Think like an entrepreneur and set-up your own company during the course; (2) Challenge yourself to build a revenue-generating commercial product before the end of the program. You will soon discover that $10k is really not that big a deal. Worst-case scenario, you deduct the tuition and tax expenditures against your company, and carry them foward to use in a future year.
9. The program I am currently in has three co-horts. To me, this means that I have access to three times the instructors (the Saturday classes are taught on a rotating-basis), three times the number of colleagues to learn from, and three times the number of TAs that I can learn from. Given the diversity of students and teaching talent, it would be my own fault if I do not engage others to maximize my learning experience during my time here.
10. Not all instructors are created alike, and learning is a two-way street. If you have concerns/issues with your instructor (or substitute with "boss" in a workplace settting), it is your responsibility to help them grow. Give people a chance to learn/improve, and you will be forever grateful when you yourself become an instructor or boss one day (i.e. when you are at the other end of the stick).
11. With regards to job assistance, the program has many resources to prepare you for future prospecting. However, no teaching institution or individual will deliver a job with a six-figure salary to you just because you think it. Putting too much emphasis on an institution's ability to hunt down job leads for you can be crippling on the mind.
12. Bottom line: This is a very respectable program and I would not hesitate to enroll in it again. If you are highly motivated, self-disciplined, and driven to learn and apply the material, you will go far with this experience. I am getting great value for my money. You really can't go wrong with this program -- action is better than no action. Just do it!
Hope this helps!