On a local meetup list, somebody asked about cheap ways to learn Ruby on Rails stuff at a university’s level of quality.

My response:

You’ll see a lot of private (i.e. non-university, often offered by individuals) training. “University-level” is always arguable — what university do you mean? And do you mean equal per-hour or equal to a full elite four-year program?

Marc-Andre Cournoyer’s “Owning Rails” course costs around $500 when it’s offered, and I’d consider it hour-for-hour the equivalent of a university course.

My own Rebuilding Rails book, while it’s not a class, can be had for $40 (eventually $50), and I’ve literally taught Ruby on Rails at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus, so presumably my work is also “university-level”. You can also get the early bits of that for free in a couple of ways — you can download the first few chapters of my book in return for your email address, or you can watch my Ruby Hangout presentation, also very similar to the early content there, for free.

Michael Hartl’s amazing Rails tutorials are free if consumed in HTML. They’re beginner-level and very, very good. CMU uses them, too, so I’m going to refer to them as “university-level” as well.

ConFreaks records every talk at every major Ruby conference and makes them all available for free. The best of those are easily university-level content. The worst aren’t terrible and cost you only an hour of your time.

RailsCasts and PeepCode aren’t free, but they’re cheap.

Again, you can get a lot of excellent content for free or cheap these days in return for the time spent to go find it.

You can pay to eliminate the need for time and initiative on your part to bootstrap you into a very lucrative career. That is, without reasonable question, worth money. Or you can do the same thing for yourself, which will take longer — but I promise you, the content is out there.

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