Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking about space exploration

9 February 2016

More resources for improving software development skills

by nickadmin

In my last post, I talked about some great resources to help build your software development skills. In this post I’m going to share some more resources that I have found very useful to both learn something new, and to get a quick refresher on a topic.

Awww, but I don’t want to read!

In my last post I talked about some great newsletters that will literally bring the most interesting projects and tutorials right to you. But not everyone learns best by reading. And sometimes there’s just no substitute for someone showing you something. This is where the magic of the internet shines, because we have tons of great video resources out there.

Pycon videos

Pycon is a great conference. I’ve was lucky enough to get to attend it a few years ago, and I had such an awesome time it convinced me I needed to switch from working in Java to working in Python. There are so many great talks and demos that are given every year, it can be really hard to catch them all! Plus as you mingle with the awesome python community it is really easy to miss out on important tidbits in the talks. But never fear, most of the talks are recorded! And the best part is THAT THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE FOR FREE.  Here’s where you need to go:

These videos cover a wide range of python topics, from frameworks to algorithms, to internals of CPython, to best practices, to inspiring hacks. They are truly great. This is why software development is a great field to be in, we love to share the knowledge. Thank you PSF for making this happen!

But I’m not a python developer!

My condolences. ;) But in all seriousness, there are a ton of videos available for a ton languages and platforms. Here’s my recipe for getting ahead of the curve in software development no matter what your language or skill:

  1. Go to youtube.com
  2. Search for just the name of your language or framework or tool
  3. Look to see if there are any “channels” dedicated to that topic
  4. Start watching!

Be sure to make a note of the sites that are creating the videos. If you then go an google for them you will find even more resources. There are other video providers out there (like Vimeo) but honestly Youtube is where you are going to get your biggest returns. Don’t overlook the others, but hit youtube first.

I need someone to hold my hand

That’s cool, we all need that from time to time. If the youtube videos aren’t quite doing it for you, and you need a little more of a guided tour on a topic? I’ve got a great resource for you: The O’Reilly Learning Paths.

Walking on a cowpath vs building a road

O’Reilly makes great technical books (I would know, I have a bunch of them) and in the last few years they have begun making videos courses. I have bought a few of these (Mastering Git and Machine Learning among other) and absolutely love them. Great instructors, great pacing, and you can rewind if you miss something! The only downside was that the video courses could get a little bit expensive. Investing in yourself is important, so you shouldn’t fret about spending $79 for a video. But… if you’ve got 5 related video courses you want watch, it will get expensive pretty quickly. O’Reilly recognized this and created bundles of these videos called “Learning Paths”. The bundles have a theme, be it mobile development, front end development, or even Python development. Each bundle seems to have at least 3 of their video courses rolled into it for a reduced price. The price varies from bundle to bundle, but basically what I’ve seen is you get at least 3 video courses (usually more) for what you normally pay for 2. That to me is a really great deal. I’ve personally purchased the “Modern Front End Development” learning path. I’m going through the videos and using it to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of how the front end works. Normally my approach to making a web page is… well, pretty ugly. This course is showing me that it is possible to use Javascript and CSS in a really sane manner to create very maintainable (and pretty!) websites. I highly recommend it. It makes front end work seem almost like… software development. :)

Wrapping it up

Videos are a great way to improve your skills when it comes to software development. I hope you can use these resources to help you become a better version of yourself! Let me know if you have any great resources or questions. I’m on twitter as @nloadholtes