Review of Career Academy Online Learning System

Review of Career Academy Online Learning System

Very Important Update March 2016

I wanted to pass along another update about CareerAcademy. They have recently launched a brand new membership platform that includes access to all of their courses (IT, CyberSecurity and Project Management etc.). Some of you have asked about it in the comments so I reached out to CA to get some info for you.

The CareerAcademy membership is just $29 for a 1 year of access.

The membership benefits include:

  • Unlimited free access to 1,200+ online IT, Cyber Security, Project Management, IT Service Management and Business Skills certification training courses
  • Certificates of Completion
  • Over 11,000+ Review Questions
  • Ability to obtain up to 611 PDUs
  • Mobile Learning
  • Priority customer support

Its really a huge offering for such a small membership fee. I am glad to see that CareerAcademy is now 100% mobile friendly with their courses.

To get access to such a large offering of training courses, you really can’t go wrong with a $29 membership fee.

The key thing here is that not only has the price plummeted, the range of courses available has increased and – more importantly to my mind – the courses are now mobile friendly.  There is no dedicated Android App available yet but when I browsed the website on my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro and my Samsung Galaxy S6, the videos streamed perfectly over a cellular connection

Kudos to CareerAcademy for shaking up their platform while at the same time reducing the price to access it!

Important Update Aug 2014: Career Academy got in touch with me to discuss the developments to their platform and a couple of errors in my post below, please read my updated post here for more information.

I recently saw an offer on Groupon for access to Career Academy on-line learning courses – including Microsoft Server 2012 courses – for only $90, the catch being that it only gave you access for 90 days.  As I needed to update my Microsoft qualifications I figured I’d give it a go and went for the offer.  To help others make an informed decision I decided to document the process and provide a review of the Career Academy learning platform.

Update July 2014: While I tried to use the platform regularly, the fact I could only access the content on a PC (not my phone or tablet) drastically reduced when I used it, that combined with the poor interface lead me to use the course less and less until in the end, one third of the way through the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 70-410 course, I abandoned it completely and just used the booked I purchased (MCSA Windows Server 2012 Complete Study Guide (for 70-410, 70-411, 70-412, and 70-417)).  Unless Career Academy shake things up a bit, I wont be returning and I’m a definitely more suspicious of Groupon ‘deals’ now!

Career Academy Platform Overview

The Awful Career Academt Course SelectorWhen browsing the courses, I was presented with a collapsible ‘tree’ type interface that was unclear and illogical – a usability nightmare and the first of many examples of cut corners on the UX front.

After identifying the course I wanted take, I jumped straight in to the first module.

The first thing I noticed was that the platform was driven by Adobe Flash, while not too surprising I would have thought that for a course as new as mine, they would have switched to a more modern HTML5 based platform (after all, Flash means no-go for iPad users).

Career-Academy-Course-Video-Player-SizeThe second thing I noticed was that the interface didn’t scale up and had no ‘fullscreen’ option so it looked tiny floating in the middle of my 1920×1080 computer monitor.

The video player, which is the main player for all of the content of the course is even smaller still at a measly 480 x 360 pixels – very small.

I really feel Career Academy are missing a trick here because a great time for users to do there on-line learning is during their commute – I regularly use both the Treehouse and Duolingo learning platforms on my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone on the train or bus home, giving me a regular slot every day that doesn’t eat in to my home time or work day.

Self-Assessment: Review Quizzes

Career Academy Review Quiz Fail 1The Career Academy system features regular ‘review quizzes’ for testing your comprehension of the current module – this is a great idea but unfortunately is poorly executed.  The programming behind the Career Academy is basic at best and seems particularly picky.  A couple of examples are the following question:

Which of the following is a typical version of cloud computing?
a) Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)
b) Software as a Service (Saas)
d) Platform as a Service (Paas)
d) All of the above

If you check a, b and c (providing the correct answer) the quiz marks this as wrong because you didn’t select ‘All of the above‘ – it’s a small thing but annoying and something that is easily fixed by decent programming.

It also frequently gives the wrong feedback to an incorrect answer which can send you in circles retaking the test but not being able to work out where you are going wrong. For example I was asked the following question:

Which of the following are features of Windows Server? (Choose all that apply)
a) Network load balancing
b) Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption
c) Group Policy Management
d) WSUS

The correct answer is a, b and c but when I selected only b and c, the quiz told me “Windows Update Services (WSUS) is a role” rather than “Network load balancing is also a feature”. I then assumed I’d misunderstood the question and by features they meant features and roles – I retook the quiz and select b, c and d, to again be told “Windows Update Services (WSUS) is a role”.

Alas, it’s pretty clear that Career Academy don’t do particularly robust testing of the review quiz module.

Course Content

So far the course content has been pretty good although I’m in the early stage – I’ll update as I go along!

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Career Academy
Author Rating
31star1star1stargraygray
Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob McKay works at Perfect Image, is a father, programmer and a self confessed techie-geek type.

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58 comments on «Review of Career Academy Online Learning System»

  1. Justin says:

    How did this end up working out for you? Did they give you test vouchers too?

    1. Bob says:

      Hi Justin,

      No I didn’t get test vouchers and I’m still doing the exam preparation – to be honest though, I’ve found myself using their video content less and less as it’s a bit dry – I’m just using a book. Hopefully the test engine will be more useful however – I’ll post updates!

      Bob

      1. Jasmin Mendoza says:

        Do you actually need a test voucher to test for certification?I just purchased the groupon deal for $60 bucks and let me have access to the course for 12 mos. I don’t see any problem so far. besides of the content being dry, and since I’m new to the whole course.

        1. Bob McKay says:

          Hi Jasmin,
          Thanks for your comment! I’m not quite sure what you mean regarding exams – you don’t have to take the test at all if you don’t want but if you want the certification, you’ll have to pay *someone* and depending on the certification the price will vary. For me – taking the MCSA modules – I can use the Career Academy learning resources and then take the test in a local test centre for £99.00 (around $160).
          As per my updated review, there are strong developments coming to the Career Academy platform which will make accessing the content much easier.
          Bob

        2. MK says:

          I am new to this , would someone suggest a good book ( or set of books ) for PMP , including books for Test questions ? ( how much would cost )

  2. Joshua says:

    Bob, what was your overall take on this? Was it worth price of admission, at $90 (currently $99,) or would your funds best be used elsewhere? I see that Groupon has another deal up and I’m debating on whether to jump or not.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Joshua,

      Honestly in the end I didn’t think it was worth it. If Career Academy update their learning platform to be more like Treeehouse then I’d say it would work more for me as I waste an hour a day on public transport which I find is a great time for mobile learning in 5 to 10 minute chunks. In the end I bought a book (MCSA Windows Server 2012 Study Guide) and found myself carrying that on the bus/train every day and using the Career Academy system less and less until in the end it just dropped off my radar altogether. Obviously different methods of learning work better for different people but I’d say Career Academy could do themselves a huge favour by rebuilding their platform, even if they used the same video content initially.

      Hope this helps!

      Bob

  3. Rodney says:

    Hi Bob,

    I’m considering going back to school for IT, and saw this on Groupon just yesterday. I’m wondering if this would at least provide the certification(s) it lists. Did you receive any certifications on top of what you already have? I currently have no actual IT experience and am just looking to get my feet wet. Is this an ok step for beginners?

    -rodney

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Rodney,

      I haven’t looked at all the items on the list of certifications but many of them are fairly high level. The Windows Server 2012 MCSA qualifications for example are very in-depth even for an experienced I.T. technician making it difficult for anyone to get more than one certification out of it in the time allotted (90 days). These days I.T. is a huge area where most professionals have a core understanding of computer systems & networks and then specialize (database, server admin, security, etc.). I don’t know which way you are looking to go but for getting to grips with network and server basics you can’t beat building a small 2 system network at home. Microsoft have a trial version of most of their server offerings available and most Linux versions are free. Finally, if you’re simply looking for some extra qualifications and to expand your understanding, I’d recommend checking out Treehouse as I found their platform great and an easy way to add a bunch of competencies to your repertoire.

      Good luck!

  4. TheCacun says:

    Thank you bob for your review, you just saved me 99 bucks!
    Regards
    Gaston from Uruguay.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Gaston,

      Glad I could help!

      Bob

  5. Mark says:

    Bob:

    I’m considering taking the project management course through Career Academy. What is your overall assessment of the school and its programs? Is this a good place to learn something, or is their material and methods just “fly-by-night” and should be avoided? The price is right so I’m surmising that if it does turn out to be bad then perhaps one hasn’t really lost much…but I don’t want to waste my time either. Does Career Academy provide one with the necessary guidance and learning skills to succeed?

    Thanks.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Mark,

      Which project management course are you thinking of doing? While I haven’t tried the Career Academy project management courses (I did the Microsoft courses), I have completed Prince2 project management courses (foundation & practitioner) and would really recommend doing these in the classroom as I don’t think the Career Academy platform would work for it (or any online platform). In particular the practitioner qualification I found needed a lot of Q & A with the lecturer to help all the students understand the concepts completely.

      Bob

  6. Elton says:

    Which Teamtreehouse membership do you have Basic or Pro?

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Elton,

      I have the basic, I didn’t think the benefits of the pro were worth the extra cost.

      Bob

  7. LaVona says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this review. I was debating between this company or another in terms of some project management training. Your thorough review provided sufficient information about the user interface and approach to their development that I feel confident in not choosing this one.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey LaVona,
      Glad it helped. Good luck with the training!
      Bob

  8. John Mayer says:

    Hey Bob, I bought the Career Academy PMP training Groupon offer a while ago and I thought that’s a great deal. First, I do agree that there learning platform needs improvement as their navigation is not so user friendly. However, their PMP training content wise is excellent. Especially my video trainer is very knowledgeable on the subject and I also found their examples and exercises are quite helpful. In terms of the screen size, there is actually a large video button within all of my courses. You may want to contact their support if you have trouble finding the same button. Also, it works well with my ipad. So I believe they do have a html version but somehow Android support is not yet available … With all the other project management courses and 100+ PDUs in my Groupon bundle, I think their PM deal is such a steal .. Hope my 2 cents are helpful and Groupon rocks!

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi John,
      Interesting timing on your comment as Career Academy have just gotten in touch with me too. It’s always good to hear another side for many thanks for taking the time to share your experience!
      Bob

  9. Vickie says:

    Bob – I too am thinking about the PMP group on. How long have you been working through the courses? And is there a contact for questions, or maybe a forum for discussion as I’ve experience in college online courses? Tx.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Vickie, I trained for my Prince2 courses in a classroom environment and while I’m sure the basic course (‘Prince2 Foundation’) would be fine as an online course, I don’t think I would have passed the ‘Prince2 Practitioner’ course anywhere near as easily if I studied online as it required too much group discussion and interaction.
      Regarding the forums, I honestly don’t know and the courses I’ve looked at certainly haven’t mentioned course forums but it would seem to me to be a really obvious way of enabling students to help and encourage each other. CareerAcademy.com have been in touch with me now so I may well re-assess some of their newer material and write another review – watch this space!
      All the best of luck with your training /career development!
      Bob

  10. Jay Smith says:

    Hi Bob,

    Was considering the PMP course they offer. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to review the site and material you studied.

    Jay.

  11. Smafdi says:

    Thank you for this article. I was looking for a review of Career Academy and this was very thoughtful and helpful.

  12. Tamyra says:

    Have you seen the recent certification they are offering. CCNA & CCNP. Both for 69.00 for 12 months. Any thoughts. I wanted to purchase but i am not very knowledgeable with computer. Thanks in advance.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Tamyra, I haven’t seen that certification yet but that is a very good price. At this stage I think it really depends on how you plan on learning. The content is good but I am waiting for the Android App to come out so I can start learning on my journey’s home from work (practically my only free time!). If you will be working on a desktop or laptop somewhere with a steady Internet connection then give it a go – for that price it’s hard to go wrong!
      Bob

  13. David says:

    Hi Bob-

    thanks for the frank assessment of Career Academy’s Microsoft courses, it sounds as though they are going to try and put some effort into redesigning their interface to hide the poor effort on content. As others have noted they are now offering Cisco CCNA and CCNP courses as well. Didn’t the Microsoft course materials strike you as simply being stolen from legitimate training providers? Your screenshots give me that impression especially with videos that are simply pasted into a generic framework, no live or even interactive content at all and the slapdash interface.

    A proper Cisco training course provided by a technical training company costs $2000+, and CCNA/CCNP are two different courses and technical levels. These guys don’t even appear to provide access to a qualified instructor which is the fundamental benefit of a proper course, even online.

    Fundamentally if you want to study for a IT certification and you are unwilling to pay for access to proper training or technical trainers, you can download all these materials for free with 5 minutes of Google searching.. Career Academy is just scamming people for $100 and pretending to be a provider of education.

    1. Kevin says:

      Hello, David, my name is Kevin Stuart; I am the Director of Operations for CareerAcademy.com. We take customer feedback very seriously here at CareerAcademy.com. We want to ensure that all of our students have the absolute best training experience possible. We have plenty of happy customers (http://www.careeracademy.com/career-academy-groupon-reviews.aspx).

      With that said, I strongly disagree with your comments above and I was hoping that you could provide more specific details in regards to your experience with our training. What exact area or support did not meet your standards? What training did you purchase from Career Academy? Please let me know and I will be more than happy to assist you as needed.

      1. Ed says:

        I’m clearly WAY late to the “party” and comment thread, but if I may, I’ll take a stab at answering on David’s behalf:

        My take on several reasons why it seems like a scam and illegitimate is this:
        – I’ve now encountered several videos that appear to be old and grainy, which therefore look like copies or low-quality downloads and NOT well-produced original content.
        – The videos also seem to cut off at awkward places as though they’re not complete.
        – The training review “quiz” asked questions about topics that were NOT covered in the preceding video. That, too makes it seem as though they’re incomplete content rip-offs and NOT original (Note: When I did an online chat, the Customer Service rep said they would contact the trainer and look into it. A very bizarre and vague response with no real action or accountability connected with it.)
        – Furthermore (and perhaps most importantly), the videos reference Lab Modules that will be taken as part of this course, but Career Academy doesn’t offer?!?! That’s a HUGE red flag in my opinion!! Why would the content reference labs, methodology of connection to those labs, etc. and nobody from VIP Career Academy caught that or noticed it? Most especially the instructor! Certainly he would know that there weren’t labs!!

        I’m starting to think it is as David mentioned: someone has scoured the Bit Torrent sites or similar downloads and copied these materials in order to pass them off as original or their own.

        My membership, thank goodness, was only $29 via Groupon, so I don’t think I’m losing much, but I may be requesting a refund if this sketchiness continues.

      2. Jacob says:

        For me career academy is kind of boring. Just reading.

      3. stk says:

        Hi David – For starters how about the issue of having no captions available on your videos?

      4. stk says:

        Hello Kevin Stuart,
        Can you resolve the issue of no captions on any of the videos?
        Thanks, S.

  14. Jarmar Jackson says:

    I was looking at this for something to put on my resume. In order to say I am a Microsoft Office Specialist would this course be enough or would I need to pay the other $100 to take a test through a certipoint location to be an official Microsoft Office Specialist.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Jarmar,

      In order to be able to list anything on resume as a qualification you’ll need to take the exam. Otherwise you could just say you ‘Completed Microsoft XXXX Course’ but obviously this isn’t ideal. If you can do it, I would absolutely recommend taking the exam and getting the qualification as they builds towards you getting something like an MCSA.

      1. Jason says:

        Hey Bob,
        So Jarmar asked the exact question that i was going to ask. But i had a follow-up question. So for the MOS deal, would you say it would be worth it to purchase it (on groupon) being that it will help you pass they ACTUAL exam? Or would you recommend another training course to get me ready for the MOS exam?

        1. Bob McKay says:

          Hi Jason,

          I actually think the content of the course is good but I’m personally holding out for the Android app and if its as good as I hope, I’ll be doing all my courses through Career Academy. It will definitely help you pass the exam, I’d also recommend a good book to however (see the one linked in the post) as you can use it for reference even after you have passed your exam.

          Good luck!

          Bob

  15. Vee says:

    Bob, actually you can access the courses on an android device. You just have to use a flash enabled web browser such as Firefox. I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with Firefox and can access the courses with no problems and have been using it since April of last year. While I agree the interface is not that pretty, it is a great way to access all of your study material in one place. Here is the link on how to watch flash content on android devices: http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-watch-flash-videos-firefox-android.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Vee,
      Thanks for the post – you’re right I *could* make it work but I’ve found viewing flash based content on my Android devices pretty horrific, especially when connectivity isn’t great. My point here really is that I shouldn’t need to – native HTML5 video is very old hat these days. Career Academy have gone to all the expense of creating some great content which should be delivered via a great interface – unfortunately its not ready yet (but I’ve been told its on its way so I’m going to wait). At the moment I’m surprised to see that their website still isn’t responsive either, especially now that there is a clear business case for it.
      Thank you for highlighting the work-around though as this could certainly benefit others who want access the content on their Android devices right now.

  16. Duane says:

    Hello Bob,
    I am looking to get into the IT field. Do you know if the training for the Comtia A+ certification bundle that is provided by Career academy be enough to have you successfully prepare and pass the the certification exam. would you suggest any companion information to help you along?

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi Duane,
      Honestly I couldn’t say having never taken the course nor looked at the one provided by Career Academy. What I will say however is that Career Academy give you quite a bit of time to do the course so I would recommend signing up, seeing how you get on and then if required, purchasing a well reviewed companion book from Amazon.

  17. Eboney Houston says:

    Thanks so much for creating this thread and forum. Question- though it seems career academy is just decent at best- it still allows you to receive 35 hours of credit which is required to sit for the exam right?

  18. Ragab Mabrouk says:

    Did PMP exam preparing include exam prepare online exams ?
    How many exam is free ?
    Is there questions for each chapter ?

  19. Gary says:

    Bob,

    I’ve read all comments great job, bottom Career Acadmey is offering All 1100 course CEUAnd college credit courses up to 30 credits for 29.00 but must be completed 12 months from date of membership. Should I even spend the $29.00 ?

    Thanks keep up the good work,

    Gary

  20. Sharon says:

    Is the A+ worth signing up for? or is it a waste of time!…..is books included or do you have to buy books?

    Thanks

  21. Great review and update on the CareerAcademy.com content and platform. They are offering a $29/year annual membership with unlimited IT and Cyber security cert training. Have you been back to look at their program recently or do you find yourself still favoring other content providers like Treehouse, Duolingo or even printed material?

  22. Lee says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for this. I was about to sign up, but thought that I’d see what was being said of them. Needless to say, I won’t be doing business with them. My offer from them was for $29 per year, BTW. also it was automagically renewable, annually. So there’s that. My guess is that it would be harder to get them to turn it off for at least a few years. To bad, they have a lot of interesting stuff on their site.

    Thanks again.

    Lee

  23. Jim says:

    The courses seem very beneficial. The issue I have is accessing the site.The reset password section does not reply. I have tried numerous times and there is nothing but crickets, I would be cautious in proceeding.

  24. Tom says:

    Be wary of you membership. If you forget your credentials you will be locked out. The reset has not worked for me.

  25. eid says:

    Their CISA & CISM training look old to me. I am not sure what year ?
    They need to update their courses regularly.

  26. Yan says:

    Hi Bob,

    In your opinion, how do you find the quality of this membership now with the latest updates? Is it worthy it?
    Thanks,

  27. ETM says:

    Hi Bob/anyone,

    I am an another person interested to buy its yearly membership for $29. Can anyone tell if is it worth or not?

    Appreciate any concrete response.

  28. afsaneh says:

    my question is the same as the last comment from ETM. did Anyone recently tried the CareerAcademy membership for $29? any comment is more than welcome. Bob MacKay, would you please comment on this? thank you all in advance.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hi afsaneh,

      Sorry I’m afraid I haven’t used the platform for a very long time! Hopefully someone else who has can reply.

  29. Stephen says:

    Career Academy is a solid online learning platform. They are also reasonably priced for the programs that they offer. You really cannot go wrong with them as long as you put the time and effort required to complete the course work.

  30. Nick says:

    Buyers Beware! I first signed on for a year membership through a groupon. I think it was about $100. At the end of that year, I received the offer by email to extend the membership for 1 year at $29. I did not realize that the company would automatically charge me annually going forward. A year later they charge my card for the recurring annual fee. That same day, I emailed the company requesting to cancel and refund my payment. They refused, stating that I had not cancelled within the time frame specified. I have been in touch with them every day since that charge, and they continue to refuse my refund. I understand they are under no obligation to refund me, and that I should have paid more attention to the fine print, but I feel that a reputable company would send an alert prior to charging the annual membership fee, or at the very least consider refunding the payment if the customer responds within a few days of the charge. Considering I already spent about $130 with them, I’m shocked that they would treat an existing customer this way. Anyway, I’m hoping this helps to raise awareness for others…and hopefully deters at least a few of you. Best of luck with your educational pursuits.

  31. deep says:

    Thanks so much for creating this thread and forum. Question- though it seems career academy is just decent at best- it still allows you to receive 35 hours of credit which is required to sit for the exam right?

  32. Scott says:

    Just did a bit thru work (studying for 70-410 MS test)and I did like it. I like the instructor, she’s very easy to understand and explains things well. I signed on for $100 for the year (I left the job in question so they cut off my team access). That being said, I did here what I’ve done for years w/ things like this: prepaid credit card FTW! Can’t go wrong, the only time I ever had an issue was w/ a MS Azure trial as they don’t take prepaids….so they didn’t get my business lol. Oh well sorry Mr Gates!

  33. Supes C says:

    CareerAcademy is unscrupulous and shady. On signup, they force you to automatically renew membership but don’t tell you anywhere except in the fineprint at the very end. Then they don’t send you any reminders that they will auto-renew you (even though they claim they do) and when they charge your credit card again, they refuse to refund you. Everyone should question businesses that earn money by strong-arming customers through unfair contracts, rather than relying on good service and happy customers. Shady businesses like this don’t deserve your business.

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