Why I’m writing this article

Experience and compassion. I’m near seven years into a career in coding and development. I’ve sampled almost every online learning tool there is. It took years of painstaking trail and error for me to find what learning strategy and medium worked for me and I want to help anyone I can shorten that process. I was a bartender with little technical or transferable skill; but now, I’m well paid, working in a field I’m very passionate about, and I can give my family the life they want. If that sounds like you and where you want to be, I’ve got you. I’m here to help you dive right in to some training that works for your brain and wallet.

What you should walk away with

Direction. I meet people all the time who want to make a positive change in their life and profession but don’t know where to start. This post, among others at Skill Invest, is meant to give those people so confidence I choosing a place to start.

How to Read This Article

With intention. You’ll get the most out of this post if you know what your next step is even if it’s not a concrete idea. “I’m going to read this, sign up for a course, and start practicing Python”, is a great affirmation of your intentions, and awesome stepping stone. If you’re here and you’re serious about changing you life via education, it’s along road, but you’re way ahead of most.

In the blocks below I breakdown, not in any order of preference, my 10 favorite online learning environments. In each block you’ll get:

  • A brief platform summary
  • The pros and cons of that platform where we talk about things like
    • Is there tutoring or a means to ask questions about the material?
    • Is it a collaborative environment / good for group learners?
    • Are there partnership institutions / certification programs?
  • And then platform scores based on:
    • 💵 Value – are you getting your money’s worth?
    • ğŸŽ“ Academia – how much access is there to certification and degree programs?
    • ⌛ Time – how time consuming is the learning or how long does it take to get something tangible out of your studies.
    • 🍼 Ease of use – is the material and interface beginner friendly? Is it a good place for a complete beginner?

O’REILLY ONLINE LEARNING

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 7/10 ğŸŽ“ 4/10 ⌛ 9/10 🍼 7/10

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is easy to use, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly


COURSERA

prides itself on its institutional partnership and variety of course offerings. Coursera is in no way specific to programming and computer sciences but a quick search for “programming” and you’ll find over 200 course options.

Coursera’s offering is unmatched; whether you are ready for a multi-month degree pursuit of a new skill in a two hour crash course, there is something for your.

What we like…

👍 Probably the most partnered elearning platform

👍 Variety of payment options depending on desired learning outcomes

👍 Lots of courses offered for free

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž A lot of courses require previous knowledge

ğŸ‘Ž Free course will require payment for certification

ğŸ‘Ž A lot of courses require keeping a schedule

Between $29 and $100 per course

Specializations cost between 39 and 89 / Month

Degrees are $15,000 and up

OVERALL
💵 7/10 ğŸŽ“ 9/10 ⌛ 7/10 🍼 5/10

Coursera’s courses and user interface are well designed and easy to use. The content is challenging and is conducive to retention even if some courses require previous knowledge on the subject. Coursera has been rated the best overall Elearning platform elsewhere, so check it out.


UDACITY

is specifically design for learning skill the progress your career in tech. Their classroom is well organized and it’s easy to navigate / view your learning in one place. The actually classes are exercise based so you can learn while completing job specific tasks. Udacity boasts that 70% of graduates go on to get a promotion or new job after completion. They have highly intensive nano degrees available that are recognized by technology industry leaders.

What we like…

👍 Nano degrees and certifications are great ways to build your skill set

👍 Recognized and trusted by tech sector leaders

👍 Rare / Unique programs like self-driving cars and robotics

👍 Range of scholarship options to help fit your budget

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Highly technical courses and not very novice friendly; better for professional development than getting started

ğŸ‘Ž More expensive than other E-learning platforms

Between $120 and $399 / Month depending on scholorship.

OVERALL
💵 C ğŸŽ“ B+ ⌛ A- 🍼 C

Udacity is recognized as one of the greatest E-Learning platforms for professional development. Upon completion of one of their certifications or nano degrees, you can easily see why. The amount your pay for Udacity is well worth the content, specialization, and customer service.


UDEMY

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

What we like…

👍 Incredibly inexpensive material and lots of it.

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

Courses range from $12.99 to $199.99.

OVERALL
💵 A ğŸŽ“ C ⌛ B 🍼 C

Probably the best place to start from scratch. So many people start their programming journey with data science from free tutorials, and discounted Udemy courses.


LINKEDIN LEARNING

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 B+ ğŸŽ“ C+ ⌛ A+ 🍼 C

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is very usable, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly

PLURALSIGHT

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 B+ ğŸŽ“ C+ ⌛ A+ 🍼 C

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is very usable, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly

LAMBDA SCHOOL

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 B+ ğŸŽ“ C+ ⌛ A+ 🍼 C

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is very usable, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly

DATAQUEST

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 B+ ğŸŽ“ C+ ⌛ A+ 🍼 C

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is very usable, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly

CODE ACADEMY

is a massive technology based library for anyone looking to sharpen, or learn, highly marketable IT skills. I’ve worked my way through at least a half dozen books here; where my education fell short of specific use cases, O’Reilly has really delivered.

O’Reilly is available on desktop and mobile and includes a diverse topic offering ranging from Career Development, Data, Business, STEM Education, Software Development, Travel, Hobbies, Design (etc.); it offers books, video and audio lectures, interactive learning, and tutorials from major publishers like Pearson, Packt, Sun, Manning and more. There really is something for everyone.

What we like…

👍 Material ranges from absolute beginner to PHD level studies and is abundant

👍 3rd party authors that point you toward alternate resource; great citations

👍 Great for the self motivated; work at your own pace/ work quickly and optimize your monthly

What may be missing …

ğŸ‘Ž Learners can get lost in the abundance of information

ğŸ‘Ž Most learning mediums don’t offer tutoring or instructor feedback

ğŸ‘Ž No certification/degree process or institutional partnerships

MEMBERSHIP: $49/Month or $499/Year (15% Discount).

Free for service members and first responders!

OVERALL
💵 B+ ğŸŽ“ C+ ⌛ A+ 🍼 C

Amazing content and learning opportunities for the motivated. While the Library is very usable, the content is not always beginner friendly. You still get more than what you pay for with O’Reilly

In Closing

Closing Remarks

resource.Name

About the author:

My name’s Soren. Six years ago I put away the drawing board and just started learning. I was so caught up for so long making my master plan that I never started. My impulsive, dive into leaning, methodology was the best way I could have done it. With a soft learning outline and objective. All I knew is I wanted in-demand skills that were industry transferable. Here at Skill-Invest, I’ve put together opinions on the best resources so that you can too.