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Ask HN: Are there any online trainings worth paying for?
92 points by anoldfashioned on Apr 18, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments
I'm specifically wondering about Todd Motto's Ultimate Angular, but I'd welcome any suggestions/advice on whether or not it's worth paying for courses online.

I'm usually of the opinion that anything could be learned for free if you have the patience. But I'm wondering if a well-explained training all in one place would just be easier. I'm hoping it would prevent any blindspots in learning a new framework (e.g. being unaware of useful functionality for specific cases) and reduce time looking for and evaluating different tutorials. Thoughts?

There is interesting psychology when it comes to learning. I'm a big believer that those who pay, pay attention.

Meaning, as a baseline, if I pay for a training I'm going to get more out of it because I'm psychologically motivated to do so because of the financial investment.

There are other ways to make someone "feel like they have skin in the game" but a price tag works.

The most recent online training I purchased was Brennan Dunn's "Double Your Freelancing Rate" course and it was definitely a good investment for me. It's easier to justify a course like this because it more of sales / marketing training and can quickly pay for itself in new business it helps you generate.

I used to subscribe to Avdi Grimm's Ruby Tapas which was another great investment at the time. I haven't purchased any of his courses, but Wes Bos looks to produce good premium content.

So long as we're just talking about programming stuff, I find Safari Books Online ($400/yr) to be well worth it. When you compare the value to the Angular classes mentioned in the OP at $130/each or $280 for the whole package, I'd think Safari is the obvious choice since it gives you access to so much more. While it's mostly books, there are a lot of video cources too. They have a free trial so you can see what they have first.

Before I subscribed to Safari, I subscribed to Packt Publishing's similar service ($100/yr) at the time. They also have video courses, but mostly books. All of their books are on Safari too. I found this so useful that I "upgraded" to Safari after the first year.

Outside of programming, in the days before MOOCs were popular, I had purchased a lot of The Great Courses classes. They are top notch, and live up to their name. Most of the ones I bought were on art history, general science/astronomy, and history. They are very in depth, usually anywhere from 30-60 hours of lectures, plus reading materials. I know they have a subscription service now, but last I checked the courses that would interest me most were available as part of that. They did (maybe still do) play games with their prices, having them cost $300-$400 regularly, then going on sale for $100 or so every year. You might also look for used copies on Ebay.

I've mentioned his stuff a few times here, but I've bought most of Wes Bos' paid courses. I really enjoyed them and he's a great teacher. His free and premium courses are at wesbos.com/courses - I'd check out a free one and see if you like his style first, but it works well for me.

Agree. I have definitely gotten good value out of his stuff.

I took Udacity's Deep Learning Foundations nanodegree, that combined with a significant amount of github-as-resume legwork (plus two years sysadmin exp) landed me a job as a data engineer/analytics developer at a fortune 1000 company. Not bad considering my bachelor's is basically an agro-ecosystem design degree.

So I'd say it was worth the ~400 bucks.

If you weren't after a job but rather "practical" knowledge to solve some problem - do you feel it would still be worth it?

Yes. I do feel like I legitimately learned, that I didn't just get some certificate that I had to jump through arbitrary hoops for.

Of course you get out of it what you put into and paying money to learn seems to be a good motivator to learn etc.

What do you make for github resume?

I'm not of the opinion that a thoughtfully/skillfully developed curriculum is worth little. I'm not even sure you can generally buy its equivalent with patience as payment, so to speak. Personally, I found the Udacity self-driving car 'nanodegree' program to be worth the money (and time), although I haven't reaped any financial reward from it yet. However, I have also enjoyed and learned from free online courses (Coursera ML, ludobots).

I've started many online courses. The only ones I ever finished were the ones I paid for.

I have paid for Pluralsight in the past (right now I have a free subscription).

In my experience the courses are fairly comprehensive, and the quality of the videos is high.

Pluralsight started out fairly Microsoft-heavy, but their course catalog is expanding all the time into different platforms and technologies.

For what you get I think the price is reasonable.

I second pluralsight.

Anecdotal: I tried learning angular2/TS through egghead but found I wasn't grasping simple fundamental concepts though the videos were quality. Tried pluralsight and they start from a point that gradually built my confidence in my knowledge. Been doing more and more courses on there pretty decently.

I will continue to checkout egghead first and pluralsight second if I'm not grokking it.

Disclaimer: Prior company provided egghead license, current company has a pluralsight employee license.

Third recommendation for Pluralsight. My company also pays for it. I've watched 4 classes and they were all information-dense and easy to follow, although I found myself hitting pause and rewind a lot to take notes. At the end of each I felt at least competent enough to get started and look up other details when necessary.

When i needed to learn something - I'd find relevant, quality course/content and filter it down to manageable quantity.

I wouldn't pay for online course to learn technology or language that contains piles of long videos.

However succinct, compressed course that explains everything in a couple - to - few hours - would be a good candidate.

I heavily vet sources first. Reading reviews, reddit threads, about the author, looking at the curriculum, etc. Youtube and udemy have a lot of bad stuff - but there are gems as well if you're willing to wade. I've used pluralsight in the past, it was pretty good. Again, I vetted their stuff before choosing which courses to watch. I have a list of resources for learning various things, that I've been compiling for a while now. 90% of the content is free - and that's not because I have anything against paid training.

Totally, I've been working through this one and it's 100% worth it:


Having someone experienced explain not only what to do but what _not_ to do is extremely valuable.

I taught myself HTML5, CSS3, JS, and AngularJS in one month of signing up for CodeCademy Pro (mostly for the additional quizzes and live support).

Highly recommend it if you can devote a chunk of time to complete each course in one or two sessions.

The momentum in each lesson plan is significant and easily lost with a break in learning.

I find working toward a certification has helped me to learn a subject deeply. It's not about the cert itself. In the grand scheme of things, I've never used one to get a job. It's about setting a goal.

I've only done it twice. Back in 2008 I was trying to transistion from a C/C++ developer/bit twiddler to an "enterprise developer" using C#. I did the 6 test track and knew enough to have a broad overview and was a much better interviewee. I never put the certification on my resume.

Currently, I'm working on an AWS Certified Solution Architect Associate cert as a software architect, I need to know what is out there and it's forcing me to learn. I'm watching PluralSight videos, reading the books and watching YouTube videos.

From one of the last discussions here seems like "learning how to learn" is worth doing on Coursera

The stuff on https://academy.microsoft.com/ is good (and free if you don’t care about a certificate at the end). It’s a partnership with EdX, and not especially MS-centric

I find online courses not really as all in one but all-the-best in one. Meaning, all the conventional bits you need to know to be productive and, importantly, the gotchas that are often undocumented. This also means that it's not all in one and you still have to look at the docs. I usu go through an online course before a docs deep dive, and find this approach less time consuming than figuring out the docs coming in blind. I've got nearly all of Wes Bos' courses, and several Udemy courses notably Maxmilian's and Grider's. Also, 'Bash Shell Scripting' on Udemy that I usu. recommend to colleagues new to Linux.

Logged in just to say that anything Tyler McGinnis does is more than worth it. His React Fundamentals course (free at the time) was so much clearer than any other online training courses as his presentation style makes things click immediately. Learning from him saved me so much time in comprehending React.


Also of note in the React Universe is Cory House. His teaching style is good, but he cracks too many bad jokes for my taste.



Look at my comment history.

I'm a real person who benefitted from these courses. Not everything on the internet is a shill or a scam

It's not related to angular, but I want to recommend SCPD: http://scpd.stanford.edu/ It's online education which is really worth its money.

Try checking out Oreilly's offerings and video training catalogue. Modern software training often with paths.


I wouldn't evaluate the course in a vacuum. Yes, there are good and bad courses with better and worse ways of explaining but many places have high quality courses (I recommend Udacity and Coursera).

However, are you the kind of person who can power through a course? Do you need a project to work on? Do you need peers and a live tutor?

First, know thyself.

If you are willing to put in the hours, then the actual cost of the course is miniscule by comparison. Udacity and Coursera (and EDX) let you audit the courses for free anyway.

Treehouse, Lynda.com, Coursera - informative, well-designed courses, programs and certificates that have helped e quickly learn what I need to know. I cannot afford to spend time on poorly designed courses - nor do I have the time to try out unknown YouTube teachers. Udemy is ok - but I have wasted time theresearching for the quality courses. Treehouse, Lynda.com, Coursera are more professional curators and offer consistently higher quality courses in my opinion.

Also, some public libraries have partnerships with them to provide free access to anyone with a library card.

As mentioned Wes Bos has great in-depth courses on front-end stuff, also Tyler McGinnis. Frontendmasters.com is far and away the best site for front-end tutorials out there.

I tried out frontendmasters and really liked the format. Some of Kyle Simpsons stuff was great. Currently persuading employer to pay the annual fee for me. Although the courses are latest popular JS frameworks which although i'm kean to dabble. Aren't my employers first choice for paid training.

Usually only works for me if I start building something myself and learn it by doing and then afterwards take a class to fill the holes I missed. Usually I will learn a new trick or some alternative way of doing something.

Depending on how much you're needing, knowledge-wise, I've heard incredibly good things about Lambda School.

Although if you're already in tech, it probably would be less than productive.

I just completed Udemy's Nuxt.js - Vue.js on Steroids and it was awesome. Convinced me to try Nuxt on my next project.

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