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Posted: May 29, 2019 - and - Last updated: June 25, 2020
Someone asked this question on Quora recently:
How can I learn to build websites with as little cost as possible?
The keyword here is ‘cost’, and that’s complex and subjective.
We also see this one a lot:
How much does an online programming course cost?
From a $ sense, they can cost $0 to 30k.
But it’s important to take in your time, and opportunity cost into that equation.
Let’s look at the extremes:
There are so many choices – and so many of them are really great! A lot of them aren’t as great – but more important than the suspected ‘quality’ – is how it works for you.
Thousands of people probably sign up for free courses every day
Free youtube courses, Udemy (so cheap we’ll count it as free), FreeCodeCamp, The Odin Project [[have more? Tell us, and we’ll add them here]]
Thousands of people also pay 20k for a 12 week bootcamp every day.
Some people pay nothing up front
– and then after (if) they are hired, they pay back the 30k tuition over the next few years.
Those are drastically different financial commitments.
What about the time? How many people actually finish freecodecamp and get jobs? How many months or years does it take them?
If it took you a year (just for example) to learn everything you need to know “for free” – and you spent 4 hours a day studying, that would add up to at least 1,460 hours of your time. What is that worth to you? $10? let’s say $10. So, $14,600 worth of your time. How much money do you make now? Let’s say 50k. So, 4k a month. Now, in theory – you’re trying to get an 80k job or something… so, that’s more like 6.6k a month… and then – you missed out on 9 months of that already (opportunity cost) … so, 2.6 difference a month * 9 = 23k. 23 + 14k (loosely) = 37k. So, it’s not really free… and – well, is it a good curriculum? Do you have the motivation to stay on task without a teacher? Lots to consider. On the other hand (we’re not suggesting you do to a 3-month bootcamp…) – but in theory – you paid 15 or 20k for that. and you had to also spend a lot of time there… but probably about the same as the freecodecamp. So, 20k and then you got a job at 80k and made 9 months of salary (2.6k more) so, 23k pay bump – 20k tuition and time = Free school.
It’s crazy, right? The *free* school – (could) cost your 37k – and the ‘expensive’ school (could) be *free*. You’ll have to make your own calculations – but don’t forget to add up what you think an hour of your time is worth – and to factor in the opportunity cost.
So, our answer is usually – 20k – 100k. You can pay with money – or your time. You can learn it well – and at a fast pace with the right momentum and timing… or you can spend years learning and pick up a bunch of bad habits and frustration. It all depends on what path you choose.
We find that spending some money upfront – gets you where you need to go a lot quicker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2492&v=RxZ-d_kL8wM&feature=emb_logoIf you got a small loan, and you picked the *right school* at *the right time* – then it could be virtually free. It might even make you 100k over a few years / so, way better than “free.”
The school should:
Do a thing
So, you know…