After Completing 40 Online Training Courses for Pluralsight, What Have I Learned?

Wow, I can’t believe I have actually reached the milestone of authoring 40 Pluralsight courses

My first Pluralsight course, Introduction to Android Development, was released on April 12th, 2011.  That is just over two years ago.

And my latest course, which makes number 40, if you count my contribution to the Design Patterns course, is Using Glimpse With ASP.NET, MVC4, and Entity Framework, which was published on May 5th, 2013.

The total hours of video content I have published in the 2 years from my first to my latest course is around 122 hours.  That means you could watch my Pluralsight courses for about 5 days straight.

man sleeping

Thank you

But before I tell you about what I learned from this experience, I just want to take a moment to say thank you.

I couldn’t have done this by myself and I am very thankful to everyone that helped me reach this important milestone.

Fotolia_35206134_XSFirst of all, you viewers of my courses who have been so supportive and encouraging and have made it possible for me to make a living at doing this, thank you.

I have interacted with many of you over email and Twitter and I have gotten lots of positive feedback and encouragement as well as some constructive criticism which has greatly helped me to improve my courses and to feel like I am doing something that is meaningful and helpful to many people.

So, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you faithful viewers for watching my courses and I commend you on being the kind of developer that cares about learning and improving their skills.

I also want to thank Pluralsight and all of the staff and management of Pluralsight.  When I say that the folks at Pluralsight are some of the best people I have ever had the opportunity to work with, it is no lie. I have never met a more friendly group of energetic people that really care about what they do than the management and staff of Pluralsight.

The biggest lesson from creating Pluralsight courses

You may be expecting that the biggest lesson I have learned during my super-speed course creation at Pluralsight is how to learn technologies quickly, and although I have certainly learned a great deal about doing that, the biggest lesson I have learned is that we can accomplish what we put our minds to if we are willing to not let anything stand in the way.

I don’t have any special skills or talents, besides my ability to say “Hi, this is John Sonmez from Pluralsight.”  I’m just a regular guy who works really hard and stays as focused as possible.

But, I didn’t always have the work ethic that I do today.

One thing that authoring Pluralsight courses has taught me is that when you see an opportunity, you must seize it and make the most of it.Fotolia_49321484_XS

In order to do that, I had to drop many things in my life that I used to like to do, like watching TV or playing games, and focus on my opportunity.

And, yes, the opportunity to author courses at Pluralsight is an excellent opportunity, and I realize that not everyone has that opportunity.  But, we all have opportunities that sometimes are hard to see.  Opportunities that we need to seize and make the most of.

Many of these opportunities are once-in-a-lifetime, some of them come and go.  I’ve had opportunities in the past that I have let go, or I didn’t put my heart into, but with Pluralsight it was different.

I won’t bore you with the story of working a full time job for almost two years and doing Pluralsight courses every single night and weekend.  But, in order to seize this opportunity, I had to put in some hard work and be willing to make some sacrifices.

The reason why I mention this is because, if you are reading this post, you are probably the kind of programmer or IT professional who is already starting to seize an important opportunity to advance your career and skills.  I just want to encourage you that you can do whatever you want to do. You can be as successful as your willingness to work hard and believe in yourself will allow.

I hope that more than learning about a technology or development language from my courses, that I could teach you something much more valuable—the power of believing in yourself and not letting anyone put limitations on you.

Some other lessons

It is really difficult to summarize everything that I have learned over the past 2 years and 40 courses, because there is just so much, but here is a list of some of my biggest takeaways from this whole process.

  • Learning a technology effectively can be broken into 3 steps
    • Create something simple with it
    • Learn the breadth of the technology to understand what there is to know about it.
    • Determine the most important high level topics to learn and only go into details when necessary, you can always fill in the details later
  • Effective teaching is showing people something new in terms of what they already understand
  • Have a goal, make a plan to get to it, and don’t deviate from it until it is accomplished
  • If you fall off the horse get back on as soon as possible
  • Encouragement feels better than criticism, but criticism if much more valuable
  • Writing your thoughts out refines them and sands the jagged edges off of them
  • Redoing work is much harder than doing it right the first time
  • Nothing is the best.  No technology, no programming language, no way of doing things
  • No matter how much you know, everyone and everything has something to teach you, if you will only listen
  • It is very easy to type “HellWorld” and not notice until you’ve finished recording 30 minutes of video
  • The right caption can make any image funny
  • The key to efficiency a repeatable process
  • Videos with just slides are much hard than videos with demos
  • A good microphone adjusted properly makes a huge difference in audio quality
  • Quotas are proactive, metrics a reactive

Onward to 50

So what’s next on my agenda?  Hitting 50 courses of course. Smile

I’ve also been working with Iris Classon to produce a new podcast on programming and fitness called Get Up and CODE, because I am very passionate about fitness as well.logo300x300

I’ll be working hard for the rest of this year to keep producing courses, since I still have a pretty big list of ideas, but after this year, I’ll probably be slowing down a bit, since I can’t keep up this ridiculous pace forever.

So thanks again for to everyone for all the support and encouragement, and to Pluralsight for this awesome opportunity.

My YouTube video for the week

Get Up and CODE

And here is the latest Get Up and CODE episode, where Iris and I interview John Papa about fitness.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."

  • shahkalpesh

    I stumbled upon your blog before I subscribed to PS. Your blog is excellent, the new videos are good addition.

    Knowing that PS has great team of authors, with you added – I am a subscriber. And have learned a lot from your courses too.

    Thank you.

    • jsonmez

      Thank you very much for the comment. :)

  • Mus

    Tesekkurler, very inspirational video, also your course on PS the builder design pattern one is one of my favourite PS videos.

    • jsonmez

      Thanks, that was a fun video to make.

  • David

    Hey John, thank you for being transparent. I can tell you are ambitious. This is something I sometimes wonder if it is too late for myself to accomplish in life what I hope is not too late to accomplish. Your ambition and sacrifice is an inspiration to me. I appreciate it.

    • jsonmez

      Thanks David!

  • VladoNet

    Thank you John. I like reading your blog and watching PS courses.

    • jsonmez

      Thank you very much for the comment.

  • Martin Gustafsson

    Thank you John for shring your knowledge, I have watched a good amount of your courses. Downside is that I now feel lost trying to learning somthing new without a protein tracker :)

    • jsonmez

      Hah, I will have to create more courses with protein trackers. :)

  • ziazios konstantinos

    Thank you ! We really enjoy your lessons! We look forward for more lessons on mobile development, especially for xamarin mono! Thank you again!

  • jerriep

    Wow man, 40 is an unreal number. Congratulations!

    • jsonmez


  • Stephen Rogouski

    Your Pluralsight contributions are very well done. I like your hands-on approach to learning. I am new to Android development and enjoyed your Pluralsight courses on the subject. I am now working on saving the Note Taker information to internal storage.

    • jsonmez


  • numi numful

    hi john,

    this article is so inspiring, and i admire people that are a BOSS in this life, which you seems to be
    so what can i say?

    I wish for you that you keep on going forward for achieving your goals
    and keep on enjoying and give knowledge to others


  • order processing

    Congratulations for your very nice work.its very inspiring for a newbie.keep doing in future.40 online training courses on pluralsight was not a easy work.but you done it.thanks for sharing your experience.

    online courses

  • codiddle

    Scott’s a smart guy, I think he speaks the truth and I agree with him on this subject. The way you described success made me think of the fibonacci sequence. You’re performing calculations over and over again to get closer to the “Golden Ratio” or success.

  • Ashfaq Khan

    hey john , could u please put a video on smartGWT framework, i’d really appreciate it!

  • nedeltcho stoyanov

    Hey John,nnndo you find that authoring Pluralsight courses is more profitable than writing a book? Having done both, what would you say are some of the pros and cons?nnnNed

    • jsonmez

      Definitely more profitable to do Pluralsight courses, and easier. :)

  • u0418u043bu044cu044f u0424u043eu0444u0430u043du043eu0432

    Hello, John. A week ago I sent a letter to pluralsight and received a response. In the response they say that they want to talk with me about 20 or 30 minutes. The problem is that I’m not good at speaking english. So, it’s a little bit scary for me to talk with them. Could you be so kind to tell me what should I be prepared to talk about.

    • jsonmez

      Most likely you experience teaching, how you would go about teaching something and breaking it down and if you have ever recorded a screencast before.