JetBrains Academy Subscription Model: Answering Your Questions

Tatiana Vasilyeva

Learning is always a challenge. We know this and we keep it in mind when developing our educational products. We believe that any challenge can be overcome if it is tackled step by step with support and feedback. That’s why all our educational products focus on learning with discrete topics and tasks, and instant feedback. The same is also true for us as product developers. We rely on a step-by-step strategy and we value our users’ feedback more than anything.

In the previous post, we announced the next step for JetBrains Academy – the move from Early Access to a subscription model – and we asked for your feedback. We’re tremendously grateful for all the questions and comments we received! In this post, we’d like to address the most common questions.

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Why become a paid service? Why not stay free forever?

We want JetBrains Academy to keep evolving. A commercial product has the means to be sustainable and continue to develop. Besides, free-to-use products still have their price and are paid for by other means. We want to be open with our price policy and with our intent. For us developers, building a paid product helps set a higher bar for the quality of the learning content and product features, and to get more straightforward and relevant feedback.

We also believe that investing their time and money helps students make a stronger commitment to their learning goals and take self-learning more responsibly.

The full price of $50 per month could be too much for those who don’t have a full-time job and still want to learn to program. Are there any discounts or free access programs?

We’re now discussing discount programs for college/university students and for users from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are going to reward the most active learners as well. We will share more details on our discount programs before the end of the year. In the meantime, we welcome everyone to register before July 1, 2020, to get free access until January 1, 2021.

Will there be an annual subscription?

We’re planning to offer an annual subscription that will cost less than 12 months of the monthly subscription. We will share more details about the annual subscription before the end of the year.

Are there any discounts for people who own a paid license for JetBrains tools? Or any plans to include JetBrains tools licenses into the JetBrains Academy subscription?

JetBrains Academy is a standalone product with its unique target audience and its own subscription plan. However, JetBrains Academy was created for current and future developers and has integration with JetBrains IDEs; that’s why we are considering introducing license bundles for JetBrains Academy and JetBrains commercial IDEs in the future. As for now, for Java and Python tracks there are IntelliJ IDEA Edu and PyCharm Edu, which are free to use.

After my subscription ends, will I be able to revise the topics and solutions that I worked on while my subscription was active?

All the code that you write in your IDE while solving code challenges or working on projects is stored locally on your machine and you can keep it without any restrictions. We’re also looking at the possibility of providing read-only access to your learning history for a period of time after your subscription ends.

Will you consider changing the pricing model and making a cost per track, per project, or add in-app purchase for gems, solutions, etc.?

JetBrains Academy is not about studying topics, completing projects, or solving code challenges as separate tasks. The value of the platform is in its holistic learning experience, which is based on learning by doing. One of the main ideas behind the platform is that all its separate elements make up a bigger picture, and you need all the pieces to build your knowledge and master new skills. That’s why we are not planning to switch from the subscription model in the near future. But we are considering free access to tracks that are under construction. We’re also discussing various subscription plans that would make more platform features available.

Who is your target audience? $50 per month seems more like a subscription for programmers with full-time jobs who want to learn a new language. But the content seems too basic for professional programmers.

Our target audience is both future and current developers. We started with Java and Python tracks that work well for professionals from other fields who want to switch careers. But we’re planning to add more advanced content that will help professional developers to close knowledge gaps as well.

How long does it take to complete your learning program?

On average, the Java track takes 134 hours and the Python track takes 63 hours to complete. This means you will need about 6 months for Java and about 3 months for Python if you study 5 hours per week. But please note that our estimates are now based on an average completion rate, and there are some professional developers who go through our basic programming tracks with ease. This means that you may need more time if you are new to programming and just getting started. We’re working on making these estimates more accurate and personalized.

Will studying on your platform lead to some chances of getting a job?

We believe that learning at JetBrains Academy will definitely help you to become more prepared for your first job interview. The more complex projects are inspired by test assignments for junior developer positions. We do not have any special agreements with IT companies and therefore can’t give any guarantees.

Will we get certificates after completing a program?

We don’t have any certification program at the moment. Please comment and vote for the corresponding feature request in our tracker.

Do you plan to bring back code review?

Code review was an experimental feature that we tried for some time. We now need to reflect on the results. We’re also considering introducing a mentorship program and code review may become a part of this program.

There was a survey about being a mentor. What are the plans for it?

Yes, we’ve started to work on a mentorship program and we are now collecting ideas. We need some time to shape and define it so we can add it as a new feature to our roadmap. You are very welcome to share your thoughts and questions in the corresponding issue in our tracker.

What are your plans regarding Android, Data Science, and Frontend tracks? Are you planning to add more programming languages?

Now our main focus is on the quality of the Java, Python, and Kotlin tracks. We received a lot of feedback during the EAP that we want to address. We will, however, proceed with new beta tracks, but they are not our first priority at the moment. We are open to your ideas about what programming languages and technologies we should cover next.

Are there any plans regarding community-driven content? It would be great if community members could produce their own content and be rewarded for it.

We want JetBrains Academy to become a community-driven platform one day. But we realize that this will be a long journey, and we need to start with baby steps. One of the first steps is already done – students can now share their solutions for each problem and learn from other community members. The next step is to allow students to suggest and contribute problems, and this feature is on the roadmap. You can also become a contributor.


We hope this post answered all the questions from the Q&A session on Reddit. If you don’t find an answer to your question here, please feel free to comment below or write to us on Reddit or Twitter.

Your JetBrains Academy team