Education

Treehouse claims it can turn waitresses & electricians into $80K/year coders in just two years

Above: Treehouse co-founder Ryan Carson

Image Credit: Treehouse

Let’s say you want a job making mobile apps. Where do you start?

Treehouse — an online tech school for job seekers — decided to answer that question with a charming video that lays out the basics needed to make mobile apps, websites and web apps:

The idea came “from a discussion with an exchange student in our house,” Treehouse co-founder Ryan Carson told VentureBeat.

“‘If I want to make an iPhone app, how does that work?'” he said the student asked.

Treehouse, launched in 2010, is “an online school that teaches you how to make apps, and takes you from zero to job-ready.”

Up to now, Carson told us, the organization has been “getting its curriculum ready,” and it just recently started up a job placement service. That service is matching Treehouse students with jobs all over the country, he said, and, while he declined to cite figures until more time has passed, he said the placement rate “appears to be high.”

Carson noted that Treehouse students, working an hour a day, pay a subscription fee as small as $25/month.

“In six to 12 months,” he told us, such a person “could become a junior-level iOS developer, making about $45,000 a year.” In two years, Carson said that person’s increased skill level could boost them into an $80,000/year job.

The company, which currently has 10 teachers and over 70,000 paying students, uses a combination of video, online coding and quizzes. It has raised $12.6 million in venture capital, and has trained over 160,000 students to this point.

By comparison, Carson said, a more established online tutorial site like Lynda.com “is focused on a skill, like learning Photoshop,” while Treehouse is “focused on getting people into jobs.”

Aren’t programmers usually the techie and math types?

“In reality,” Carson said, Treehouse has found “no correlation between math and coding, or between science and coding.”

“Some of our most talented developers have [been English majors],” he said. Or waitresses or electricians.

“It’s not rocket science,” Carson confided.

“If you’re creative, this can be for you.”

More information:

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119 comments
Arun Mertah
Arun Mertah

"By comparison, Carson said, a more established online tutorial site like Lynda.com “is focused on a skill, like learning Photoshop,” while Treehouse is “focused on getting people into jobs.”"


Ha ha ha ha ha ha …. This guy is such a tool.


Sorry but writing REAL code requires a good mathematical, logical thought process. You can teach people how to string words together to make a sentence in another language, but drop them in that country and they will be lost. 


It would NEVER take someone 2 years to take everything in Treehouse's pathetic library, maybe like 6 months, and the bonus is you'll have 0 qualifications for a real job.

Immanuel .I. George
Immanuel .I. George

Scott Menor i don't think is because people are in it because of the money, but people write crappy codes because of they have to meet company deadlines to save the company work hours. So if it works they move unto the next project without checking for an efficient way of writing it, until it crashes.

Rob Docherty
Rob Docherty

All that this type of open training does to the market is tell shitty painters that they can be Picasso.

John Dori
John Dori

You can learn anything in two years

Savoy Warren
Savoy Warren

I used to outsource to India, Gupta and rocky in Jaipur amongst others still haven't delivered, I'm out 40k. This also happened state side as well, Perhaps they were taking this course. Coders should be licensed. Sounds like snake oil,

Hanson Yuen
Hanson Yuen

If i have a son, i wouldve been putting him through treehouse instead of 4 years of high school.

Taylor Huston
Taylor Huston

"“In reality,” Carson said, Treehouse has found “no correlation between math and coding, or between science and coding.”"

Not true at all.  Yeah if you want to whip up a simple web site or something, sure, but to be a real developer you have to have at least decent math skills.   Front and and UI jobs sure, but you'll hit a ceiling on your career (a ceiling below $80k) if you don't understand algorithms and data structures.

And I say this as someone who has and, loves, a Treehouse account

Justin Gilbert
Justin Gilbert

I'd take being an electrician/plumber/carpenter over a coder any day. They make a decent wage And aren't nearly as affected by downturns in the economy.

Kevin Akat
Kevin Akat

Many waitresses make the equivalent of $80k post-tax because they receive most of their income in cash. I.e. $55k in tips + salary, most of which goes untaxed is about the equivalent of a $80k coder who gets taxed balls to the wall. Depends on the state you live in, type of restaurant you work at etc., but in general, this is true.

Christopher Perry
Christopher Perry

"Coding" (vomits in own mouth) If it were easy, everyone would do it. I've worked with PHDs in Computer Science who couldn't write good software. And no correlation between math and "coding"? What a joke. Try doing some graphics, or game programming without linear algebra or physics knowledge. Shit like this is why there are so many shitty programs and messes for me to clean up.

Kou Navi
Kou Navi

Nope, cost of living has a DIRECT correlation with local SUPPLY & DEMAND. - Sincerely, economics for n00bs that do not own rental properties or Fortune 500 companies, that can afford such salaries. Also known as MIDDLE CLASS and SMBs. Nice try, smartass :P Btw, I'm a Lynda customer, so thank me for paying your house ;) Cheers from Europe

Mike Handy
Mike Handy

Electricians are well paid and its not easy so I would assume coding would be a cake walk.

Tom Mason
Tom Mason

The more they do it, the less those jobs are worth $80k

Michelle McIntyre
Michelle McIntyre

It could work in a small percentage of situations. The demographic is too different in most cases though.

Sunny Clark
Sunny Clark

It never occurred to you that apps can help people do that more efficiently? You know, like sensors when shit goes wrong...

Mark Bennett
Mark Bennett

This annoys me because its actually software developers who have to pick up the peices of these so called coders when things go pear shaped or have to maintain poor code.

Saskia Vadon
Saskia Vadon

By the time they learn there won't be anymore apps or smartphones.....

Lawrence Botley
Lawrence Botley

how did you find it? and how much experience did you have before?

Daniel Caine
Daniel Caine

Not at all true, you're chatting complete shite.

Jonny Dalgleish
Jonny Dalgleish

treehouse claims it can get free advertising by making pointless statements.

Stefan Von Imhof
Stefan Von Imhof

Kou Navi High cost of living & rent is a function of high salaries, not the other way around. -Sincerely, Economics 101.

Josue L Lopez Madrid
Josue L Lopez Madrid

you beat me to it. precisely what i was about to say. electricians can make just as much money as coders if not more.

Wesley Grimes
Wesley Grimes

Personally over the years I have been in the rut in Atlanta of getting TONS of resumes, but very few people who make the grade. There is also fraudulent resumes typically with backgrounds that come from other countries. These people can at best answer common text book questions, or work as grunts cranking out code. However when you really dig, and push them they fall short. I have even seen people with fake made up histories just trying to get the programmer money who talked a good talk until someone technical got them to actually have to code. Finding the guys/gals who really know their stuff is hard to do. I would suggest most people start out learning C, then C++, to get down OO concepts, move to languages with garbage collection such as C# and Java. Start the client side stuff while doing C++: HTML 5, Javascript and CSS. Then move towards T-SQL and learning to work with NoSQL databases as well. We need more people who have full stack skill-sets, and think like architects, with very senior level skills. People who output clean, re-usable, modular, and fast code that is well organized and we can hand off to another developer to pick up without much documentation and knowledge transfer. Code that can handle change orders and new features/alterations without breaking 18 other items down the spaghetti code chain. Not just code.

Will Smith
Will Smith

But you're more likely to have on the job deaths than coders...

Murray Macdonald
Murray Macdonald

Good programmers have vision, rather than just implementing specs. We don't outsource. Not happy with the results. We pick good developers and keep it all in-house.

Murray Macdonald
Murray Macdonald

We pay coders $60K - $160K. Average for someone decent is around $100K

Murray Macdonald
Murray Macdonald

I recommend "JavaScript: the Good Parts", and "JavaScript Patterns" both by O'Reilly.

Murray Macdonald
Murray Macdonald

We're always looking for decent programmers in Vancouver. We're currently looking for front-end developers.

Murray Macdonald
Murray Macdonald

Most computer technologies are obsolete before ANYONE gets 10,000 hours of experience. How many companies are looking for a VB6 programmer?

Sunny Clark
Sunny Clark

GREAT question, I learned from lynda(dot)com but team treehouse takes it to a different level. What you need to learn, for beginning is HTML,CSS and Javascript. HTML and CSS are easy to pick up, and should take less than a month, keep mind, you just learn how it works, and there are resources online, kind of like if I had a german dictionary it is IMPOSSIBLE for me not to translate words cuz I know a dictionary, so even if you don't remember all the HTML or CSS vocab, they have online resources so you can't fail. Javascript is a little trickier, it will take you more time, but its worth, javascript is a great "gateway language" to other complex languages. But the main part is that, with front end development (which is what its called) you will be able to see the result of your code and be the judge of it yourself. But what you are learning to be is called "front end development". Lemme know if you have any more questions....

Mike Marcellino
Mike Marcellino

What resources were helpful to you? As someone with an interest in the area and very basic HTML skills I don't know where to start. What programming languages are best to learn?

Down To Fight
Down To Fight

Its still very difficult .. They still need to fix many things on there platform.. They move really fast through videos .. I don't believe so

Joel Patrick Sarmiento
Joel Patrick Sarmiento

This some idiot you are talking about are Coder/Programmer/WebDeveloper/Webmasters who write good codes and libraries base on clients requirements. This idiot you are talking about is not an encoder if you meant.

Justin Booth
Justin Booth

If you are talented at what you do and can produce in the real world then it doesn't matter how you acquired those skills. I've learned a tremendous amount of coding from watching YouTube tutorials.

Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan

Well learning is a good thing for anyone any age.

Roozbeh Ashtyani
Roozbeh Ashtyani

Crawling around the floor is not all that electricians do and being an electrician does require more physical activity than sitting and staring at a computer screen.

Roozbeh Ashtyani
Roozbeh Ashtyani

What's wrong with being an electrician? They make really good money and are in short supply.

Danny Eiserloh
Danny Eiserloh

that's how it is in the valley. everyone running around with a god-complex. it's a white only sausage party frat. coding is a skill, not a god-given talent. your only advantage over some high school kid in Asia is being hired by your buddy and now" by trial and error" you're able to scale someone else's idea to handle millions users.