By John Sonmez October 18, 2018

Using Pluralsight To Gain Experience?

A lot of software developers constantly search for becoming more skilled at their competencies. They start reading a lot of books, they search for courses, they read tech magazines, etc.

What most software developers fail, is that they learn without a purpose. They go through extensive technical books trying to cover all of the subjects they think they need. What if, you, instead of reading big books, switched your learning process and used Pluralsight? Would it be better?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. Tired of pushy recruiters sending you LinkedIn requests for jobs you have no interest in? Tired of blasting out resumes into the dark? If so, you should check out Hired.com. Hired.com flips job searching on its head by having top employers like Facebook come to you after you fill out one simple application. You also get your own job coach to help you on your next job search. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend you at least fill out the application. Just go to Hired.com/simpleprogrammer. When you get hired with Hired, you'll get double the normal sign-on bonus for using that link.

I got a question about Pluralsight today, about using Pluralsight to gain experience. This question is from Zezima and Zezima says, “I have decided to plan out some stuff to do for my career as a software developer. I ordered the book C# In Depth. I am completing a C# path which will take me from beginner to pro in about 50-100 hours of watching/coding along as well as applying the topics to improve my current web application. I also plan to take Pluralsight courses in other related frameworks. I'm currently a student studying computer science. My last semester was rough. I did not get to code as much as I wanted to do and also did not get an internship for the job in the summer. I'm currently at home for the next two to three months until school starts again. Does this sound reasonable or am I better off getting out of the house and working at Best Buy or a supermarket?”

Best Buy or a supermarket. No. Don't do that. Do what you're doing, that's better, but I'll tell you what. Okay, here's the thing. Let me tell you about Pluralsight, first of all, for those of you that don't know. I'm an author for Pluralsight. I've done 55 courses for them so I have to tell you about that just so you know, and check them out. Check them out by the way. I love Pluralsight. Pluralsight is awesome. That's why I'm going to tell you not to watch Pluralsight. No, I'm just kidding.

What I'm going to tell you is, first of all, sign up if you haven't. It's a really good deal. Probably, the best deal that you can as a developer. I've talked about this before. I'm not going to beat a dead horse here. If you haven't signed up for Pluralsight, you really need to. It's like ridiculously good deal. I used to buy so many technical books. I used to spend $200-$300 a month on buying technical books and reading through them, and spending a whole bunch of time, and Pluralsight is like what, like 30 bucks a month or so and you get access to thousands and thousands of courses. That's ridiculous.

Here's the thing. Your plan sounds great and I like the fact that you're going through this, the C# course, and you're focusing on one thing, but I tell people this all the time. Even though I promote Pluralsight, even though I love you to watch my videos on Pluralsight, don’t go and just watch a bunch of random videos on Pluralsight and think you're learning stuff. You're not learning stuff. You can learn stuff on Pluralsight. Pluralsight is one of the best tools as a developer, I think, to learn something quickly, but here's the thing. You have to actually write code and actually do work, and it has to be relevant to what you're doing. Okay?
What I mean by this is that if you're going to do the C# road, don't just go through the Pluralsight courses on C# and think that when you come at the end of it, you're going to become an expert C# developer. Not a chance. Not going to happen. If you go through those courses and along with those courses, you do a couple things. One, you do the exercises obviously in the course, but, two, you build your own project or application, so you're actually using what you're learning. That is what's going to make the difference there.

Again, I'm not trying to discourage you. I think you've got a really good plan, but make sure that your plan includes creating your own project, not just going through this. I've talked about how reading a book cover to cover is a very bad tragedy. That's how I used to learn things. It's the same thing with binge watching Pluralsight videos. I actually have a course called 10 Steps To Learn Anything Quickly that you can check out that teaches you how to learn something quickly, how to actually go and teach yourself. You can utilize that. That's the framework I would recommend that shortcuts a lot of this. A lot of the waste that we have when we just go and like binge watch something or we just go read books cover to cover.

Here's what I would suggest then. Your plan is great, what you've got set out. Don't go to Best Buy or work at a grocery store, and don't become a stripper, but here's what you need to do. Just make sure that with this plan that you come up with some kind of project, some kind of application that you're going to create that is going to—that you're going to need C# to do. When you're learning this language, when you're learning the courses from Pluralsight, you're learning—always think of it in these terms. Always say, “I want to learn X so I can do Y.” I want to learn C# so that I can build a web application that is a database of all of my favorite movies. Whatever it is. I don't care what your project is. It doesn’t even have to be commercially valuable, but you need to have something that you're learning for. When you do that, that's when the learning is going to stick. That's when it's going to become true understanding and that's what's going to be more valuable for you. Plus, at the end of this, you'll have a portfolio. You'll have some application that you built that you could show to employers and say, “Hey, look. I built this thing.” Right?

If I were you, I would think about maybe creating one or two, maybe even three applications that you can put in your portfolio and use this time as you're learning the language to do that. I know that what you're thinking when I say this is you're like, “Whoa. Wait a minute. I'll just go through all the Pluralsight courses and I'll just learn C# really good, and then I'll build it.” No. It doesn’t work that way. You need to be doing it. You learn by doing, okay? You have to apply. It's not just doing the exercises because that's the other thing that you might be thinking and you're saying, “Oh, okay. Fine, John. Whatever. I'm just going to do all the coding exercises in the Pluralsight courses.” No. Still not good enough because you're just copying an example. You're not solving a problem. You need to think about and try to solve your own problem.
When you get—the best knowledge that you ever have, the best understanding that you ever have of anything is questions that you answer for yourself.

When you're doing something, you're trying to create this project, you're like, “Man, how do I make this webpage, this button work and get this data from the database?” You ask that question in your head and then you go when you find the answer. You learn it through a course you're taking and it sticks. Now, you get it. Whereas before, if you did it in the reverse direction, if you heard about some information in reading or watching a course, or reading a book, it doesn’t stick because you don't know what's relevant or not and you don't even remember it. You waste your time. You have to go back and figure it out anyway. Always think in those terms. Create a project. Answer your questions. Yes, it's harder this way. It's more of a struggle, but that's how you truly learn. Unless you want to waste your time doing this over and over again and not really—and getting maybe 10% of it, because I used to do this, like I said. Again, Pluralsight is great. Awesome. I always recommend them. Definitely check out the description. Sign up if you haven't. If you haven't subscribed already, I don’t know what you're doing, click that Subscribe button below. I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

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."