Pluralsight and Linux Academy: what’s in common?

If you remember, I’ve reviewed one educational online resource – Codeasy. If you haven’t tried it yet, I’d recommend you. Today’s article will extend these review series with 2 well-known and powerful online educational platforms – Pluralsight and Linux Academy. As usual, I’ll be talking about their pros and cons and how they may be useful for us, QA Automation Engineers. Also, if you reach the end of this boring article, I will reveal a secret way how to get access to free subscriptions on these websites.

 

Pluralsight

First of all, why I chose Pluralsight for review? Why not Udemy, Coursera or similar competitors that we know? The answer is simple – I was looking for something different than average, something that may surprise. And Pluralsight can do that! Beleive me or not but Pluralsight is huge. It has tons of courses in software development, testing, DevOps, design and the other IT-related areas. All courses are made by professional lecturers who are very well known in their areas and communities.

The very first their feature that I’d like to describe is Paths. Paths is another name for roadmaps that make a learning process easier and more organized. Actually, they make any process more organized. But Paths on Pluralsight – it’s something incredible! Except for just a logically arranged structure of courses for a specific topic (or programming language), almost every path contains the measuring skill module which allows you to understand your current level. So, whenever you start a path, you’ll be led through three different level of complexity (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and you will be able to check your knowledge even after every course of a path. So, no limits, just deep dive into a learning process. As an example of such path, I recommend having a look at the Java Path.

The second interesting and extensive thing is each course itself. Pluralsight provides a common well-designed interface where all course videos are organized into the playlist, so you can easily switch between videos, manage playback process, add notes in any place of a video, see your course and module progress. Also, there are additions like course transcription, exercise files and the discussion board where you can talk to a course author. All together makes learning interesting and allows you to enjoy the process.

After all, you can pass (or not) a test after almost each presented course and add a certificate to your LinkedIn profile. Isn’t that amazing?

Now a couple of words hot it may be useful for us, automation guys. Just for an experiment, I typed the “testing” word into the search box of Pluralsight and… got 1082 results. Okay, I agree that there might me some specific topics like unit testing for developers or security testing basis but there are still lots of test automation topics like Selenium, DevOps stuff, Docker, etc. Design patterns and clean code topics are also represented on Pluralsight.

PROS and CONS:
+ huge courses library
+ high quality of video and materials
+ professional lecturers (practicing developers & IT guys)
+ complexity levels, skills paths
+ usability features (progress tracking, bookmarks, notes, certificates)
+ skills measuring system
– price (300$ per year)

In a nutshell: Pluralsight is my favorite educational resource that I’ve been using for almost 1 year. It doesn’t make sense to buy a whole year, if you want to learn a couple of courses but you can utilize the monthly subscription as well.

 

Linux Academy

Every QA should know Linux to some extent, right? Whether it’s for deploying applications or running test services, or gathering logs, or whatever… There are 2 ways actually, if you want to play with this operation system: install it on your PC (as a main or second system, or on the virtual machine) or use a boot USB stick. In both cases, you spend some time for setting up and configuring software, booting and shutting it down. And what if you need to switch to another distributive? Linux Academy lets you throw that boring stuff aside and concentrate on learning this operation system.

How is that possible, you might ask? Guys from Linux Academy use Amazon Cloud Services for providing access to any (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, RedHat or other) Linux distributive for their students. So, you don’t have to care about what to choose and how to install, they’ve done that already. When you join, you get access to several servers with pre-installed distributives and clean machines where you can choose what to run.

But this is only the one cool thing. Another thing is that all their courses have practical tasks which are closely intertwined with the virtual Linux machines mentioned above. Thus, you will not be wandering blindly through Linux jungle but you’ll be guided how to do that or that. It makes stuff easy to remember, I checked.

And of course, knowledge checking – Linux Academy has lots of practice tests and quizzes. This is not a new feature, many educational websites have it. But Linux Academy provides also specific tests that prepare you for different LPIC exams (Linux Professional Institute Certification). The invaluable thing, if you’re really aimed at getting one. You will also get a special discount for the LPIC exam (taken separately in the third-party company).

PROS and CONS:
+ very well organized courses for specific knowledge areas
+ practical involvement
+ internal certificates that can be added to your LinkedIn profile
– price (228$ per year)
– not convenient Course Scheduler that needs to be readjusted often

In a nutshell: I liked it more than Pluralsight for learning Linux. Linux Academy has some… charm, you know? It doesn’ have too much information for QA automation guys, rather for DevOps and security specialists. But it’s very good for the start in the Linux World.

 

Bonuse for those who reached the end of this post

There is a way to try Pluralsight and Linux Academy for free. All you need is to register in the Visual Studio Dev Essentials program from Microsoft. After you register (with existing or new Microsoft account), you’ll get lots of bonuses including coupons for free 3 months subscriptions to different websites (Pluralsight, Linux Academy, WintellectNOW, etc.). See the full list of benefits by the link above.

That’s it for now! Happy learning!

 

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