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  • Writer's pictureTim Buchalka

Accessing a Course Through a Free Coupon or Pirated Copy - Is It Reasonable?

Is it reasonable to expect to pay nothing for a programming course? Either by getting a free coupon or by, perhaps, pirating the course? Let's talk about that today.

Today we're talking about getting things for free, whether it's okay to get that and the example I'm using is programming courses, but this could be a movie, a game, or whatever it is. Is it okay to do that - either by getting a free coupon or pirating it - or should you really be paying for that and investing in your future?

Hopefully, I've already given you the answer there. I think that you should be investing and paying for something because you tend to be more proactive and use something that you pay for. Now, I'm not gonna go into the pros and cons of piracy because I think that's fairly cut and dry but, you know, if someone's created something, in my opinion, you shouldn't be downloading and using that illegally. Again there, the word "illegal" , I guess, is something that people can take a different way because it's copyright infringement as opposed to being illegal, etc. I'm not gonna get into that, it's a bit of a grey area.

The point I'm saying here is that, there are opportunities for you to get something for free or to pay for it. Now which way should you go? Now my reasoning, again, is that if you pay for something you're far more likely to use it and I know that there are people out there (I'm using Udemy as an example here) who grab lots of courses and get free coupons so they end up with hundreds of courses in their accounts (their Udemy accounts) and they never go through them. Why don't they go through them? Because essentially, they're free and by not paying for something, really it's the value, it's the implied value is what you paid for (in this case nothing) and they'll never get used.

So I think for that reason alone, that's a good reason for you to consider paying for a course, because if you pay for something, you wanna get value from it, and you want to work at it, and to get that value from something by paying for it.

There's another angle as well, and I wanna talk about that, and that's if you are getting something for free either with a coupon - this is now less about coupon and more about piracy. If you're downloading a course illegally, you really need to look at that from the point of view of what is happening for the person who's created that content. Now if you use an example, well, with my courses, I've spent literally hundreds of hours of my time creating courses and updating them and supporting them and so forth, and for someone to come along and to grab that and just assume it's okay to download it and start using it for free, I like to use the analogy of looking at other things on our planet.

For example, let's look at buying shares. If you go buying shares, if you decide you want to invest in the stock market, do you go to the stock market and say, "Can I have the profits now please, and I'll pay you later for the shares"? No. You need to pay for the shares first, don't you? I mean, you pay for the shares and you hope to make a profit. Generally speaking, when you go into a store to buy something, you don't get the goods first and then pay later. Of course you can with some sort of credit card, or some sort of repayment schedule, but the bottom line is you're still committing to paying something.

I think that it's really a mindset. To get into the right mindset here is to position yourself and think, "Okay, I need to invest in myself so I need to buy a course and I need to invest in that course, invest in myself, invest in my future".

You know, the courses on Udemy are so inexpensive, I mean compared to when I started out learning to program all those years ago. There were very few resources or the resources that were there were phenomenally expensive in relative financial terms to what they are today. These days you can get a course so inexpensively on Udemy that it's not really a great burden for most people to find the money for that. I mean, maybe you need to go without something, turn off the Netflix account for the month to pay for the course, or whatever it is.

The point is not just the money side of it (though that is certainly an angle), but it's also setting yourself up by saying, "Look, okay, I'm gonna invest in my future. I'm going to pay for whatever I need". Whether that's paying for an IDE (if you decide to get the professional version of say IntelliJ IDE), pay for a course or courses from a reputable instructor, and pay for a computer that you're gonna use to program on, and so on and so forth. This is really the point I'm making, is you're investing in yourself, and I think it's a false mindset to be looking for free things.

I'll be honest with you now, I get requests from students to send them free coupons, you know, to basically send them a free coupon so they can get the course for nothing and a common argument is, "Look, I can't afford it now. Once I get a programming job then I'll repay you". Again, that is backwards thinking because you're looking to get the reward, the reward for something before you've actually put in the hard work. So you need to invest, again, the analogy of the stock market, you need to actually invest by purchasing some shares before you can hope to get a return. In most shops you usually need to pay for something before you get the goods and it's the same thing with a course, or most things in life, you need to put in time in some way, or put in money first to get that reward.

So I'm using this analogy of paying but this also applies to your future as well and I've talked about this on this channel before, about investing your time to get a return. You need to invest a substantial amount of time in some cases, to become a great programmer. It takes time to do that and by persisting and working at it and continually applying your time towards something, that's how you achieve success.

I just wanted to put that out there, and I'm certainly not aiming this post at any person in particular because I know piracy happens. I mean, I'm a realistic person, I know that these things happen. But if you're thinking of doing that, just think through the ramifications to yourself. Are you gonna value something really that is free that you've downloaded? Or if you've actually invested in something, you've paid for something, I think you'll find that more than likely you will work harder at that knowing that, "Okay, I put this money towards this course (or whatever it is). I need to work on this, I need to work on myself, I need to invest in my future, to make this work".

So that's my recommendation: to pay for anything of value that you're learning, whether it's a course, an ebook, a boot camp, or whatever it is. Anything that's using and helping you to succeed in your goals, you should really pay for that. You're paying for someone's expertise to put together material to help you, ultimately, succeed in life. The good thing about programming, of course, is it can give you a fantastic return on the time and money that you have spent, by way of actually a great programming job and a great salary.

All right, that's it. That's my rant over for today. I'm open to comments so do you agree with what I've said or do you disagree? Feel free to leave a comment, and let's have a discussion about it.

So I hope that helped, if you've got any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

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