If I can become a developer you can too. Here’s the 7 best resources I use.

From time to time I’m asked “How did you start as a developer? What’s a good site to use ? Any good resources? Is it easy” My answer to these questions tend to change all the time because my career as a developer continues to evolve and so does the resources.

For the last 13 years I have gone from reading books (“…for Dummies”, O’Reilly published books, etc), to searching the web, to a more “learn by doing” approach. You’ll see me say that alot because the resources I use almost always use that approach. While this might not be the best way for some people to learn, how else can anyone become a better developer if they don’t get their hands dirty.

With so much information available I recommend these 7 resources as place to start for absolute beginners. These invaluable services helped me become the developer I am today.

Code Academy

Beginner to Advanced

Code Academy was one of the first platforms I began to use when I wanted to hone my skills. I chose this style of learning because I wanted something more than books. At the time they offered a guided program called “A Year of Code” that allowed users to take weekly courses for an entire year. It would go from learning the foundations to JS, CSS, HTML, and more advanced topics. Then by the end of the year you would be able to create a website and a web application.

Now Code Academy’s courses are broken into career and skill paths. These paths they focused on are current and trending topics such as, Data Science, Computer Science, React, SQL, Python, etc. They do a great job of updating the content as things change and introducing new topics within the industry. Each lesson is short, self-paced and digestible in a “learn by doing” approach.

There’s a monthly and annual subscription that includes, quizzes, community boards, and capstone projects. The projects are great additions to the membership because as an aspiring developer members can build on they’re portfolio.

Treehouse

Beginner to Advanced

Around the same time I discovered Code Academy there was also Treehouse. They use the same “learn by doing” approach with guided paths, quizzes, and videos. The videos make the lessons fun and very easy to understand.

Treehouse has learning paths called “Tracks”. Each track is very extensive, ranging from an estimated learning time of 5 hours up to a much as 60 hours.

These tracks are very unqiue, some topics include Digital Literacy, Algorithms and Data Structures, iOS, Android, and Django.

Another offering I found to be great for absolute beginners is the Treehouse Techdegree. It’s aimed to incentiveze users with the resources to guide them to a career in the tech industry. Consider professional development, an investment in oneself.

The Techdegree and other tiers with Treehouse are monthly or annual pricing.

Udemy

Intermediate to Advanced

At some point I wanted more information on some of the topics offered with Code Academy and Treehouse. Udemy became a source for more advanced topics at a low cost. The main difference between Udemy and the others is, Udemy’s content is video. Content is produced by people from different backgrounds and teaching styles. Each topic takes a “learn by doing” approach but it’s up the user to have the necessary tools available to complete the lessons (authors usually have a setup and tools section). Not every lesson is short and easy to understand and if time is a priority, be aware some lessons can take hours. For example a cloud computing lesson I purchased was 56 hours, filled with quizzes and downloadable content.

Also it’s up to the user in deciding who’s lesson to purchase because several authors may produce their content for the same topic. So read the reviews and the lesson syllabus.

With hundreds of topics available, it could be harder to decide a path to take but my strategy would be to build a path that expands on a particular skill you may have learn from another platform.

YouTube

Beginner to Advanced

Ahhhh YouTube. The wild west of content. I only mention Youtube because it’s possibly the only free option. There’s so much to choose from which makes it very difficult for some users to navigate if they’re trying to learn without being lead down the infamous rabbit hole. Content may not be the right quality, outdated, or just bad bad bad!!!

Sooooo how do you find the best lessons around a topic? Well most authors with the best content usually have a curated channel. Most of the time you’ll find content that’s well produced and playlists with lessons around a topic. If you’re lucky you’ll know when it’s a good channel because new content is added frequently with no degredation in quality. For intstance, I bought a RasPi and wondered “Who can show me how to use this thing?” Did some searching and that’s when I found AdaFruit’s Youtube channel. 👀

There are several channels that offer great content so take your time in deciding which path to take. Just don’t get caught in Youtube rabbit hole.

Frontend Masters

Intermediate to Advanced

I hate to say this but I found Frontend Masters from a sponsored ad. With that being said I’m glad I did. Their content dives into the more progressive topics around frameworks, both frontend/backend design and architecture, databases, etc. Basically the full stack. Some topics include React, Vue, GraphQL, Nodejs and many more.

Like the previous service described, Frontend Masters content is also a “learn by doing” approach. They do a good job of keeping things fresh by updating their older content and adding new content about every month or so. Each lesson is led by an industry professional with some background of working at a big name company such as Google and Microsoft.

While a lot of the content goes into depth on different topics it could be assumed that the user isn’t coming fresh off the street trying to learn, so it’s good to have some prior knowledge or experience with the foundations before diving in. Frontend Masters is probably my favorite resource to use because it keeps me aware of the latest and greatest. Their pricing is relatively the same as comparable platforms, but it’s definitely worth its weight in gold.

Cloud Guru

Intermediate to Advanced

While it may not be important to some, I enjoy understanding all of the many resources used to power a project in the “Cloud” and you should attempt to enjoy it too. They mostly cover all of the topics within the DevOps Industry, such as Linux, Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS.

Understanding the Cloud is an invaluable skillset to have for any organization that’s looking to do anything on the web. The “learn by doing” approach is well produced within their videos and easy to understand.

Cloud Guru has helped with several projects that requried an unique architecture. Pricing falls within the a small ball park for both monthly and annually memberships.

Medium

Beginner to Advanced

I think this is self explanatory. There’s several articles about any topic you may be looking for. In my opinion I try to avoid articles that are longer than a 7 min read. The reason why is sometimes it’s alot of fluff and too technical. Some of the best articles are written with a “learn by doing” approach around about 5 minutes. So Medium is a yes.

One last thing before leaving. Becoming a great developer requires dedication and consistency. Try everything and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

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Shelling is what they call me. A forward thinker debugging life's code line by line. Creator, crossfitter, developer, engineer

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