Exploring Free vs Paid IT Learning Resources: Which One Offers Better Value?

Hey! Today, together with you, we will conduct a small analysis of the market of educational resources and pose a very simple question - is it possible to learn something in our time for free? Is it possible to get a sought-after hard skill without paying for its training, and if possible, how to do it?

The article will be interesting - we will also discuss with you whether it is worth it for a beginner who is just starting to learn new material to pay for learning resources. Can there be any exceptions? It will be interesting, but all in turn.

Short Answer

We have been stewing in this cauldron of educational resources for a long time, and we know this market and this niche well (that's why this blog appeared). Therefore, we are immediately ready to give a short answer, which can also be considered our ideology. Any course, any book, any webinar, any educational material has its free counterpart on the web. You just need to spend a little more time looking for it.

A beginner or someone who wants to change something in their life and career can, if they wish, do it absolutely free of charge, without paying a single cent. We have a search engine on our site that will make it easier for you to find these free and verified resources of free and high quality information, which was specially created for such purposes.

If you are a beginner, and you are faced with a choice - paid educational materials or a free analogue, then the choice, it seems to me, is obvious - free educational resources. You should not start something new completely and without a trace investing in it, because you are not sure that you will not abandon it in two evenings. You don't buy a full set of downhill skiing gear when you first get on them or four kinds of laser sharpened knives when you cook pasta for the first time in your life (I hope you don't).


One might think that free learning materials are always low quality or short, or just advertise a paid and more advanced version of the same learning material. There is some truth in this and very often this is exactly what happens, but not always.

Correct Mentor Choice

Correct Mentor Choice

The fact is that free educational materials, as a rule, are created by specialists who do not just work, but live in this niche. If we are talking about IT courses, then these are IT specialists who do not have experience in creating video courses or conducting lectures, who do not have special public speaking and marketing skills to sell their educational material. These materials are no worse than paid ones, they were simply created and prepared by other people.

Free learning materials are also far less popular than their paid counterparts and are aimed primarily at reaching as large an audience as possible rather than earning millions. Their quality does not suffer from this, but rather grows to the same extent as the mentor's experience in recording videos or expressing thoughts grows.


Free learning materials also have one significant advantage - these are the goals that they set for themselves. About 20% of free educational materials are supported and published by large companies and businesses. They do this in order to make it easier to select candidates for work, because they are already clearly confident that the candidate has the knowledge and skills that they themselves provided to the candidate.

This is a great opportunity for those who want to get free quality content for free. Most often, such courses and lectures from large companies are published on Coursera or less often from Udemy and other educational platforms (we will not go into this now).

If paid educational materials aim to earn more by publishing content, increasing credibility and trust on the part of students, and so on in a circle, then free courses have their own ideology. Some of them do not seek to earn money, but to train personnel for their own business in their own niche (we are well aware that there is nothing disinterested in the world) and our choice is to succumb to this or simply pick up our free educational materials and go into the sunset.


As I said, most mentors and creators of educational materials are IT specialists who are experienced in their field, but not very experienced in recording video lectures or oratory. But here comes a very simple alternative. I often noticed that mentors of paid learning resources explain the material in such a way as if they themselves do not understand what they are talking about, as if they were simply reading material written by copywriters from a sheet, all because it was originally created as a commercial product. Then I read who the creators of the advanced math course I paid for is a YouTube blogger and social activist. Not a word about mathematics. Some kind of scam?

Scam or Real Worthy Educational Material

Scam or Real Worthy Educational Material

In a word, I trust the mentors of free learning materials much more, because at least they understand what they are talking about and can share their experience and their background from the place of work, real cases and problems that they had to deal with at work or in a personal project (depending on course topics). This is infinitely important and almost the top 1 reason to start a particular course.

Free learning materials are also often created by students. Of course, they do not shine with life and career experience, but their feature is the simplicity of presenting the material. Very often, to find such materials, you don’t even need to look for any platforms or sites, they are published in the stream format on YouTube. As for me, it is also a very convenient learning format.

Confirmation and Certificate

It is difficult to argue with the fact that paid educational materials have more opportunities. In almost 100% of cases, they offer some kind of certificate upon completion of the course, proof that you have completed this course, learned this and that, and also done this and that. These certificates are recognized by employers and may even be enough to get you hired (like the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate). This is a clear advantage, and it is difficult to argue with it.

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate - Coursera

Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate - Coursera (source)

Free learning materials most often provide the student with assistance in preparing and creating their own pet project as a graduation consolation. It’s not bad either, because in fact each such free material ends up replenishing your personal portfolio for you, and employers love portfolios very much. In an interview, for example, they always ask me questions about my portfolio, and not about my resume.


I think the conclusion is clear to us. Free learning materials are of much greater value for the student and the beginner, because they are primarily aimed at the result and the transfer of experience, and not at commerce. This was our opinion, which, as always, you can agree or disagree with in our community on Reddit. There are many of us out there - join us.


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