Choosing education: Putting a value on your time

Jumping into a new career like web development or UX design can be intimidating. You may start with a strong desire to pursue a new industry, but uncertainties can build up fast. How can you determine if a program is a worthwhile investment? One thing many people overlook in their decision making is the value of time – the concept of opportunity cost.

The Cost of Education

The cost of education is typically framed in terms of upfront fees – like tuition and textbooks. This fails to account for the combined investment of time and money.

Here are some of the inputs to consider:

  • Upfront: A four year Ontario university program (especially technical programs) can costs upwards of $10,000 per year, depending on the subject you study.
  • Living Expenses: Factoring in living expenses at $2,000 per month, you'll add almost $100,000 in addition cash costs you need to cover.
  • Offsetting: Assuming you work full time each summer making $15/hour, you will earn approximately $23,000 through seasonal employment.

What’s not highlighted here is opportunity cost. Every day that you are in class and not working represents a loss of possible income. Using the same earning assumption as season work, every month in school results in missing out on $2,400 of potential income. Put differently, in addition to the aforementioned costs incurred over 4 years in university, you will forego almost $100,000 of earnings.

Saving Time and Money

Accelerated programs are designed to save you time, through increased intensity. Our immersive courses teach you practical skills through hands-on assignments, with support from peers and industry professionals. Completing sooner means less overall time out of the workplace – which means a much lower opportunity cost.

Let’s break it down:

  • Outcomes: General Assembly's student outcomes report found that 99% of full-time graduates who utilized Career Services got a job within 180 days of starting their search.1
  • Upfront: Full-time learning in our accelerated programs is roughly equivalent in cost to a year of university undergraduate fees.

If you are choosing whether to pay university tuition or sign up for full-time learning with us the immediate upfront costs will look similar. What's different? You can done your eduction fast and back in the workforce 3 years earlier!

Getting Started

Our admissions team is always ready to chat about your career goals and education path. If you're looking for more info about our full-time Web Development course, join us next week to meet an alumni and some of the team!

Open House: Web Development Carousel

Wednesday, Oct 11th @ 6:30pm. Get the inside scope on full-time learning in and after Bitmaker. Bring your questions!


This is a great chance to learn more about our full-time Web Development course. Take part in group discussions with our Admissions team, and meet a program alumni, course instructor, and the career coach.

  1. Measuring What Matters, Student outcomes for General Assembly Full-Time Programs Ending Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015,* October 18, 2016.