Continued Professional Development

Professional Training
Jonathan Purdom
10 Feb 2016

As a software developer I identify and embrace the need to evolve, develop and enhance my skills through learning and collaboration with others. Working with developers who have shared their knowledge and challenged me has been a motivation throughout my career. Other routes I have used for learning are:


Pluralsight

Pluralsight is video based training with slides and sample code. It is similar to classroom based learning where the instructor takes you through the course and highlights why you would use one technique over another and things to watch out for. A full subscription (which I have had for the last two years) allows you to have access to the code used in the examples which allows you to fully understand the skills being taught.

Each course ranges in length between two to seven hours. The course have three levels or expertise beginner, intemediate and advanced. The courses could be an introduction to a languge, deeper knowledge of a framework or various tools.

With my subscription I have been able to learn more about C# (LINQ, Generics, Collections, Security) and new languages (Javascript, C++). I have also learnt more other tools Resharper, WebStorm and Qt.

Pluralsight offers learning opportunities in a format that matches my learning style and it allows me to learn something new or to take something I know to a deeper understanding. Although copies of the slides are available, I prefer to write my notes with the course playing and add any pointers that the instructor highlights whilst explaining the slides. I also pause the videos and write the code so that I can try to run it and see if it matches the video and therefore compounds my understanding. It is through repetition and practice that I learn.


Codeschool

The philosophy of Code School is to learn by doing. The site focuses mainly on web skills and you code within the browser. The courses start at a basic level and you get tasks to complete in an interactive window. As you complete each task you can see the browser update and get hints to complete the task. It is a very quick way to try web technologies without having to setup a webserver.

Each skill is taught via a learning path with each course building on the knowledge of another. Courses I have studies include SASS, Bootstrap, Javascript and jQuery.


Skills Matter

Skills Matter is about meeting other developers and IT professionals and sharing knowledge. When I worked in central London I would go to the developer meetups to learn about coding techniques, testing, frameworks / methodologies?, Agile to name a few of the themes. The organisation holds training courses and evening lectures. One of the most informative best presentations I attended was Xanpan by Allan Kelly. It is a great way to meet other like minded professionals. They also provide skills casts of the evening which you can watch online.