PluralSight vs LinkedIn Learning vs FrontendMasters vs Egghead.io vs YouTube

I use a lot of video resources to keep up to date with .NET, JavaScript and other tech like Docker, Kubernetes etc. I’ve compiled here a list of these resources and my impressions of using them and often paying for them out of my own pocket. There is something useful in all of them but I tend to find that some cater for certain technologies better than others.

PluralSight

PluralSight is the service that tries to be all things for all people. It tended to be more .NET focused in the past but things are changing on that front. In more recent times, the breadth of topics covered has definately gotten a lot wider. They’ve added IT operations courses for example (I recently watched a really good course on Bash which is not something that’s easily available on the internet strangely), as well as courses on Adobe products and like Photoshop and Illustrator which is handy.

In terms of software development, the courses are very high quality but they also take a lot of time for the authors to produce, so don’t expect long in-depth courses on newer technologies e.g. the courses on Kubernetes and Vue.js have only recently been added and are certainly more on the ‘Getting Started’ end of the spectrum. However, in time I expect the portfolio to fill out.

There is also definately still a .NET bias to the site, there aren’t as many in-depth frontend JavaScript courses as I would like for example. The ones that do exist are not from the well known frontend developers in the community. Also, some of the courses can be quite old (The tech world does move so fast). You’d think you would find some decent courses on CSS for example but the courses available are pretty ancient.

They have apps for all the usual platforms that let you download video offline which is a must for me, for when I travel on the London underground. The monthly cost is not prohibitive for the quantity of courses available at $35 per month. I’ve paid for it in the past but get it free right now as a Microsoft MVP.

I’d recommend this as a primary source of information when learning some new technology.

LinkedIn Learning

I only discovered that LinkedIn Learning existed last year when I learned that Microsoft MVP’s get it for free. Apparently LinkedIn Learning used to be called Lynda.com which I had heard of and trialed in the past. I’ve always thought of Lynda as a ‘How to use X software’ kind of resource. They’ve literally got hours and hours worth of courses on Adobe Photoshop for example.

I was surprised at how much content they actually have. The ground is a bit thin when it comes to .NET content however and the courses that I have ended up watching are pretty short and to the point with not a huge amount of depth. However, I think this varies a lot, I’ve seen Adobe illustrator courses that are 14 hours long!

In the end I’ve used LinkedIn Learning for learning Kubernetes, due to PluralSight’s library being a bit thin on that subject and also GraphQL.NET where LinkedIn Learning has the only course available on the internet.

It costs $25 per year to subscribe, so it’s cheaper than the other offerings. Overall, I probably wouldn’t pay for this service if I didn’t get it for free. At best, I might subscribe for a month at $30 to view a particular course. I also feel like I should be spending more time exploring their content.

Frontend Masters

Frontend Masters does exactly what it says on the tin. They get industry leading frontend professionals to present courses on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript mainly, although they also delve into the backend with Node.js, Mongo and GraphQL courses.

The quality and depth of these courses is extremely high. The format is unusual in that the expert is delivering the course to an actual audience of people and there are also question/answer sections at the end of each module. This means that the courses tend to be quite long. If you’re like me and you want to know every gritty detail, then thats great.

The library of courses is not very large but I’d definately recommend this service to anyone interested in frontend or GraphQL Node.js development. The price is quite steep at $39 per month, considering the smaller number of targeted courses available. I’m waiting to see if they have a sale at the end of the year to drop hard cash on this learning resource.

Egghead.io

Egghead.io is a unique learning resource. It’s USP is that it serves a series of short two minute videos that make up a course. If you run the videos at 1.5x or 2x speed, you can be done learning something in 15 minutes! In the real world, I found that each video was so concise and full of useful information, I found myself having to go back and watch things again. This is definately the fastest way to learn something.

The content is similar to Frontend Masters i.e. it’s mainly focused on the frontend, with a few forays into Node.js, ElasticSearch, Mongo and Docker. Although, they tend to have a focus on JavaScript frameworks.

The cost of this service is $300 per year but if you wait until the sale at the end of the year like I did, you can bag a subscription for $100 which I think is more reasonable. I’m coming up for renewal time and I’m not sure I will renew because I’ve pretty much watched all of the courses that I was interested in. Because the courses are very short and fairly limited in number, you can get through them pretty quickly. That said, it was definately worth investing in a years subscription. I might purchase a subscription again in a year or two when they add more content.

YouTube/Vimeo/Channel9

YouTube, Vimeo and Channel 9 have a wealth of videos that you should not ignore. Plus the best part is that it’s all free. Here are some channels I find useful:

NDC Conferences

The NDC Conferences seem to never end. They take place three times a year (at last count) but they release videos all year round, so it’s a never ending battle to keep up. For that reason, I’ve been trying to avoid watching them lately. The best place to watch them is on Vimeo where you can easily download them offline in high quality.

You have expert speakers who often repeat their talk multiple times, so you often end up wondering whether you’ve seen a talk already. The talks are often very high level and often non-technical talks about design, management, managing your career or just telling stories about how some software was built.

Honestly, it can be fun to watch but I don’t feel like I learn a lot watching these talks, so I’ve been a lot more strict about what I do watch.

Google Developers

The Google Developers YouTube channel clogs up your feed with a lot of pointless two minute videos throughout the year. Then once a year, they hold their developer conference where the talks are actually interesting. The videos are Goolge focused, so think Chrome, JavaScript, Workbox and Android.

Microsoft Conferences

Microsoft holds developer conferences like Build and Ignite all the time. You can watch them on Channel 9 or YouTube. Microsoft builds a lot of tech, so talks are fairly varied.

Azure Friday

Azure Friday is available on YouTube or Channel 9 and lets you keep up to date with Microsoft Azure’s constantly evolving cloud platform. The videos are short and released once a week or so.

CSS Day

CSS Day is a conferences that runs every year where CSS experts stand up and deliver a talk on a particular subject. Often regarding some new CSS feature or some feature that has not yet been standardised. Well worth watching, none of the resources above do a good job of covering CSS in my opinion, except maybe Frontend Masters to some extent.

.NET Foundation

The .NET Foundation videos can be found on YouTube. It’s really two channels combined. One for .NET in general and one for ASP.NET.

The .NET videos typically have very in depth discussions about what features to add to the .NET Framework. They also sometimes release a video explaining some new features of .NET. Not something I watch often but worth keeping an eye on occasionally.

The ASP.NET Community Standup releases a video on most Tuesday’s discussing new features being added to ASP.NET Core or sometimes .NET Core in general. Always worth watching.

Heptio

The Heptio YouTube channel is a bit like the ASP.NET Community Standup for Kubernetes. There are new videos every week but they vary a lot from beginner to extreme expert level and it’s difficult to tell what the level is going to be. If you’re interested in Kubernetes, it’s worth watching the first 10 mins of every show, so you can keep up to date with what’s new in Kubernetes.

Grab a Bargain

With the Christmas period approaching, most of the paid for services will offer some kind of sale. Now is the time to keep an eye out for that and grab a bargain.