Online Learning Resources

I have a bunch of topics I’ve been meaning to blog about this year, and just haven’t had the time to get to too many of them. A lot of my blogging recently has been more “getting stuff off my chest” blogging or “clearing out my head” blogging. But I have a few topics to cover that might be mildly useful to other people. Today’s topic is going to be an overview of online learning resources. I had to write up some notes of this stuff for work recently, since we’re doing a review of the training resources we make available in the IT department. So this post is basically repurposed from an email I sent to my boss.

I get a fair amount of use out of Pluralsight. I have my own subscription, but we also have a department subscription at work. Pluralsight is really good for .NET stuff and other Microsoft-specific programming topics. It does cover topics outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, but not as well. It’s all video training (no books).

We also have a Percipio account at work, and I’ve poked around in it a bit, but haven’t gotten much out of it. There are a lot of books and videos available, and it covers a much wider set of subjects than Pluralsight. There’s probably a lot of useful stuff in there, but it’s not that useful for me. (Percipio seems to be a rebranding of Skillsoft, which I also have access to via my ACM membership.)

I’ve also tried out LinkedIn Learning, which we have access to at work. This platform has a much wider breadth of material than Pluralsight or Percipio, and includes a lot of non-IT oriented stuff. I’m looking at the home page now, and I’m seeing stuff like “Life Mastery: Achieving Happiness and Success”. Basically, a lot of “soft skill” stuff. There’s plenty of content for programmers too though. Like Pluralsight, it’s all video (no books). From what I’ve watched, I’d say that the quality of stuff on this platform is pretty mixed. Some of it is really good, and some of it is more on the level of what you’d get from random YouTube videos. (And LinkedIn Learning is a rebranding of Lynda, which I still (I think) have access to via the Somerset County Library.)

Through my membership in ACM, I have access to the O’Reilly learning platform (formerly Safari), which is, I think, the best one out there for programming topics. They have basically every programming-related book that gets published by any of the major publishers (and some minor ones). It used to be just an ebook platform, but they’ve adding a lot of video content too. And the ACM access used to be to just a subset of the full Safari library, but it’s now the full library, which is awesome. (See previous mention here.)

Outside of paid learning platforms, there’s a lot of free stuff out there now. Microsoft has a lot of stuff at Microsoft Learn and Channel 9. And all of their conferences went virtual (and free) in 2020. Both Build and Ignite had some good content last year. Ignite is already scheduled for March 2-4 this year, and will be free and virtual.

In terms of my own current online learning, I’m trying to finish a course on ASP.NET Core Fundamentals on Pluralsight. I’ve been really busy at work though, and haven’t watched any of it in more than a week. (And yes, I know, I could watch it at night or on the weekend, but I’ve been either tired and/or busy on weeknights and weekends lately too. But that’s a subject for an entirely different blog post.)

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