5 great resources to boost your IT skills this #StayHome April

Most of the world is told to stay at home. Many IT companies are working remotely and are introducing changes / reduction in working agreements and hours. If anything, this has freed-up extra time for a lot of people. What better use of it than to sharpen your skills, catch-up on great learning materials and prepare for the rainbow coming after this storm virus? Here are some of the resources I can’t wait to indulge in this #StayHome April.

1. Dr. Venkat Subramaniam’s presentations

If you don’t know the name or you haven’t seen his talks – definitely start here! His energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Venkat is highly proficient in the craft of software development & architecture, and his presentations are packed with knowledge. You can see a list of his talks HERE. As a frequent conference speaker, most of them are freely available in YouTube.

All of Venkat’s talks are totally worth your time, but here are my top 3 favourites:

2. PluralSight’s #FreeApril

PluralSight is offering their high-quality video courses for free this month (April 2020), transforming it to a MOOC you shouldn’t miss. Although the majority of courses are focused on IT development, Architecture and Creative, there are lots of good tracks about soft-skills, interviewing, career management, etc. Gamification is used throughout the platform, so you’ll get the extra nudge to finish that course you started.

3. Stanford’s CS 253 Web Security course

The FULL COURSE as thought in the prestigious university in the Fall 2019 is now available online, for free. If you haven’t done web development in a while and need a refresher on web security – this is a great resource to bring you up-to-speed. The course covers the most common web attacks and their countermeasures. #Security #OWASP

4. AWS Certification courses

If you are interested in AWS you can get official recognition of your knowledge this month. There are multiple certifications available depending on your interests and skill level. Check out the AWS Certification website to select a goal. Then head over to A Cloud Guru or BackSpace Academy for the best AWS training resources. If a long-term subscription is not your thing, some of their courses are also available as a one-off purchase via Udemy.

Bonus – if you get hooked to AWS training, you can check the highlights of AWS Re:Invent 2019, the biggest AWS conference of last year.

5. Bump your Microservices knowledge

The microservices architectural pattern is so widely used nowadays that general knowledge about it is essential for every software engineer. I recommend Chris Richardson’s presentations (and books) to get up-to-speed. THIS video is a good starting point if you’re new to the concept. If you want to dig deeper – start HERE. Then head to Chris’s website to select your next learning resource.

There is plenty of great content available. Make the most out of the weeks of social distancing and learn something new. Two very simple tips that work great for me:

  • Resist the temptation to jump between content. When you start with a resource – see it through to the end (unless of course you deem it will be a waste of your time).
  • Increase the playback speed. Most content platforms and apps support this feature. Do it gradually and give your brain enough time to adjust to a new speed without loosing comprehension. My new norm is 1.7x, which adds up. I use the “extra” time practicing what I learned, thus keeping the knowledge stick even better.

Happy learning!

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