Art.sy’s Daniel Doubrovkine and Pivotal Labs’s Dimitri Roche are teaching a six-week class on Ruby on Rails at General Assembly for $2,800. When Mr. Doubrovkine took to the NYC-rb mailing list to advertise, he was surprised by the pushback. “I don’t want to put you down or sound like a jerk but any programmer should be able to learn Rails without paying $2,800,” wrote Rubyist Kfir Shay. “Documentation is excellent, free online resources are plenty, community is strong etc.”
“Funny, we’re doing the same thing, except virtual, and for a nominal fee of $100 (which includes course textbook – Rails Tutorial PDF),” wrote Rubyist Chris Lee, pointing to http://railstutors.com.
“Sorry boys but this is a complete ripoff no matter who is paying or how you slice it. If you are going to be ‘shamelessly advertising’ on the list then it’s __fair_play if you get some blowback from the list,” wrote Rubyist Akshay Kumar, who outlined a self-taught curriculum with books that cost less than $100.
In defense of the original post, Rubyists pointed out that it would be ideal for developers at large corporations that could foot the bill–and that classroom learning is advantageous if the instructor is good enough and takes responsibility that the students get their money’s worth.
The debate became increasingly heated, with Rubyists on both sides. One user, Dave Newton, wrote: “In any case, I’m done–nyc.rb is pretty much ruined for me, before my first in-person meetup, before I had a chance to contribute back.”
Mr. Doubrovkine eventually hung his head. “Everyone, I am sorry I started this thread. I should know better,” he said. The NYC-rb mailing list, like all internet-based forums, is known to erupt into fights every so often.
More broadly, Betabeat has been hearing some gripes about the price of classes at General Assembly. In a town of free to $10 meetups, General Assembly is running classes that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. GA’s founders are targeting big corporations who might want their employees to sharpen their skills and can afford to sign large checks, but it is clearly rubbing some members of the local tech community the wrong way.