Continuing education for developers is important. Just when you think you’ve got a language or skill mastered, it changes on you. But instead of going back to school or joining a bootcamp, try learning online, which can prove more efficient (and often more cost-effective).
There are tons of places to learn online, but we’re outlining five that will suit a variety of needs.
A relative newcomer, Devslopes is hitting the ground running with several courses (or ‘slopes,’ as the case may be) that make sense to modern developers. It focuses on fresh languages such as Swift and Kotlin, but also gets its hands dirty with TypeScript. And if you want to get really cutting edge, Devslopes has courses on blockchain.
Courses are reasonably priced, topping out at $200 and dipping as low as free. The Devslopes team is quickly becoming respected for their quick turnaround on courses for modern technologies, and attention to detail. Courses also don’t require a huge time investment, making it a great fit for any tech pro.
If a thing exists, and someone is eager to talk about it, there’s a great chance there’s also a Udemy course to educate you in it.
Udemy is a catch-all service, which makes it both useful and fatiguing. We like Udemy because it’s wide open, and you can take several courses on a subject without investing a ton of time or money.
Courses are almost always on sale for $10, but $20 is also reasonable. We will caution Udemy’s marketing is quite clever; courses are listed at $200 or so, but ‘discounted’ to $10-20. So, don’t get suckered into paying ‘full price’ for one.
Udacity has distanced itself from the massive open online course (MOOC) field. It strikes partnerships with major companies to provide curriculums, and has courses for a ton of tech skills.
For those more attuned to ‘traditional’ education, Udacity has ‘Nanodegree’ courses that spit out a certificate on completion. We won’t endorse Nanodegrees as proper degrees (how do you get a degree in blockchain when most people barely understand it?), but it’s a badge of honor.
If there’s a drawback, it’s that Udacity courses can become expensive. It charges monthly, so Udacity is really best for eager learners who want to dive deep into topics and devote a ton of time. It might prove costly otherwise.
When LinkedIn purchased Lynda, it turned the curriculum into inLearning, a paid monthly service for eager learners.
An annual membership is $24.99 per month, which ramps up to $29.99 every 30 days if you choose to go month-to-month. If learning endlessly is your game, though, it’s actually a great deal.
You can find just about any topic you like on inLearning, which boasts over 600 courses on software development, and 700 on web development. It also has 700 courses on design, and 1,200 on ‘business.’
We also like inLearning because it has a lot of ‘legacy’ courses. If you need to dig back into Java after being a Ruby developer for a decade, there are several primers you might find useful.
If you’re really into a traditional education, Coursera is your best bet for online learning.
It partners with universities around the globe, and makes their courses available online. This is a gift and a curse: You may be able to take an entire computer science course from a major university, but you won’t get a degree. Some programs have certificates of completions, but there’s no walk across the stage.
Should you want a proper degree, Coursera has also started a program that turns it into an online portal for bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Currently, Coursera offers computer science degrees from Arizona State, the University of London, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Continuing Education – What’s Your Best Option?
For the working tech pro, a good online learning portal must sit in the center of a Venn diagram for ‘affordable,’ ‘easily accessible,’ and ‘useful.’
All things considered, we like Udemy. It’s the easiest way to pick up knowledge for less cash, and it has proper mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can learn just about anything, and we have been impressed by the speed at which instructors update curriculums and get new courses on fresh technologies published.
We will also note that several standalone sites or programs are also listed on Udemy, so we suggest using it as a comparative platform. Before you spend $200 or more on a course, see if it’s listed on Udemy!
But really, you can’t go wrong with any platform listed here. Whether you want to refresh your existing knowledge, learn a totally new skill, or switch gears to a new programming language, all the paths listed above will work for you. Skills will get you paid, and each of these platforms is an excellent first step towards your final goal.