Recently, I have been spending some time learning QlikSense. This time happened to coincide with a 3-day free trial Qlik was having for their Continuous Classroom. This created an opportunity to compare free and paid content. This is a quick rundown or whether or not I think it is worth paying $1400 for access to Qlik’s Continuous Classroom.
What can you find for free?
Before the trial, I was using Qlik’s free YouTube resources. You can find my rundown of these here. As far as free resources go there are mainly two options, written content, and video content, both of which you have to source yourself. What this means is, it is hard to track where you are as far as skill level goes. Is the information in these resources just the tip of the iceberg? Will I be the best Qlik developer this world has ever seen? Am I ready to sit the exam? In the end, you don’t know what you don’t know. After seeing what is inside Continuous Classroom, I can say the free resources cover most of the material, at a very basic level. I’m sure there are more resources available to get you to a more proficient level, but as you progress, they become harder to find. Appropriate data for testing your new found knowledge is also hard to come by.
What about Continuous Classroom?
The biggest and most important difference that Continuous Classroom offers is structure. There is a start, there is a finish, and everything you need in between. And when I say everything, I mean everything. The content is broken down into 3 sections, which themselves are broken down into modules. The modules are made up of videos, a take-home document, a quiz, and a data set if it’s a follow along video. The quizzes are multi-choice and automatically marked. At the end of each quiz, you get your score as well as a recap of your answers. I suggest keeping a copy of this, as it will make great recap material.
The order in which the material is delivered is also a lot easier to follow, and more consistent than finding free resources on the internet. This means you are exposed to content when you are ready for it and when you will be able to understand it. An example of this not being the case with free content is when I was working through the first module; getting started. The first video of the module was gentle and easy to follow. The second video, however, had a lot of content in it that I didn’t understand which was completely lost on me.
So it was obvious from the start that CC was going to be the better option, but is it $1400 better? If you can afford it, absolutely. While I’m sure the content is available for free in some form or another, the time and effort to trawl through the web finding resources is just not worth it, especially in a professional environment where time is money.
This is not to say you can’t become a competent Qlik Developer for free. You will just need to put a lot more time aside for finding resources, and at the end of it, you don’t get the reassurance that you are exam ready.
From hard data to fluid design – Scott