Apocalypse Theory

Never Stop Learning

Continuing Education is very important for any programmer. Over the years I have been freelancing I have taken hundreds of hours of courses and read countless articles. The Development world is always moving forward and you have to keep up on the latest trends and methods or you will quickly be out of work.

There exist many free and paid methods to continue your education.

One method which is still popular which I will say I think is outdated are books. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read. However, there are many more effective ways to learn programming which allow you to try as you learn.

Free:

Free sites can be a great place to start learning. Once you get past a certain level, with the exception of Unity, I feel you should move on to paid sites. The paid sites just have the ability to go into more depths than the free sites do. That is for programming of course. Khan Academy is the best for math, and W3 is best for references.

Code Academy:

My favorite Free learning resource. In browser IDE and great range of content

MIT:

MIT has a lot of great content, however, you have to build your own path through it. You will mainly be watching lectures.

Khan Academy:

Khan Academy will let you learn nearly anything. I am not a fan of their programming courses, however, their math courses in my opinion are surpassed by none.

Unity3D:

Unity has put out so much great training material. They give you assets which you can download to follow along as you work. Highly Recommended.

Youtube:

Youtube of course is free and only video courses. The courses tend to be hit and miss on quality, however, you can virtually find anything you want here for free. If you are willing to put the effort into setting up your own environments they will have the content you want. It should be noted that Khan Academy and Unity3D make use of Youtube as their delivery platforms, so you can find their videos there. I recommend going to the sites directly though as they each have  a better setup for the courses there than just watching it on youtube.

EdEx:

Free college courses with some paid options to get certificates. I have taken a few but liked other options better.

W3Schools:

Ok I will be honest, they used to have very poor quality. In recent years their quality has went up a lot and they are a great reference site. I would avoid the paid options here as I have never seen anyone wanting their paid certificates.

Paid:

These are the paid sites I have used. Some are better than others but they all offer great content

Code School:

This is a great site, for a long time I recommended it. However, I feel that their cartoony look and feel will be better suited towards kids. Don’t let the look fool you though. Their courses are very good and their integrated IDE like Code Academy is an awesome feature.

Udemy:

Great for paid content if you need something specific. I have only found a handful of courses which were worth buying, however, I think they were some of the best courses ever.

Pluralsight:

My current favorite paid site. They have a great setup, you need to bring your own environment. However, despite that this is one of the best sites for the range and depth of courses they offer. All of it is very modern and kept up to date.

Lynda:

Lynda is one of the oldest sites I can think of for online learning. In the past I have used them and loved the courses. They just feel very dated compared to sites like Pluralsight. Still great quality of courses and depth of material. If it is anything like when I last used it some of the courses are rather dated so be careful

Community Participation

You almost have to use Stack Overflow. If you get stuck you need to be able to get help and sometimes this is the only way to find it. It is also a great way to learn because you can look at questions others have asked, and take a shot at helping people yourself!

Stack Overflow:

This is the best site to go on if you need help, and you should try to answer peoples questions when you can. This is one of the best ways to learn. I don’t use it as much as I should, however, anyone interested in locating me there can see the little I have done. Please note companies do watch. In the past I have been contacted by Twilio thanking me for my participation and asking for my feedback.

Challenge Sites

Challenge sites are some of the most fun ways to hone your skills once you get more advanced. I really wish I had more time to play on these sites.

Hacker Rank:

Great challenge site. You learn by using their IDE to build solutions to problems and then see how good they are. Some companies also use this to hire from.

Project Euler

Great site for puzzles. You have to bring your own development environment, they just ask you a question and you provide the answer. These range from very simple to very very challenging.

Code Fights:

Fight Bots and players for the chance at jobs and points! That pretty much sums it up. These sites are always so much fun.

Conclusion:

Keep Learning! Continuing Education is fun and required to be a good programmer. However, don’t stop at this list. This is designed to get people started. As you move forward you will need to look into other options.

  1. Learn By Doing! (Create your own projects)
  2. Read the Docs… when you go to learn a new library, framework, or API you will need to spend time reading all of the docs
  3. Sign up for news letters to keep abreast on the latest developments
  4. RSS may feel dated but I follow several blogs for software I use and other developers.
Author Azoloth
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Categories dev-blog
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