My Secret Weapon: Pluralsight

OK, this was supposed to be a review, but I can’t in good conscience call it that.

A review implies that you are going to impartially talk about something, but you can’t be impartial about something you are super-happy-fun-time enthusiastic about, now can you?

That’s how I feel about Pluralsight.

What Is Pluralsight?


Simply put, Plurasight is a library of training videos to which you can subscribe. The videos are arranged into courses based on a wide variety of programming related topics.

The courses are primarily Microsoft centric, but there is a smattering of non-Microsoft topics such as iOS and Android development, plus a number of topics that are not specific to Microsoft like HTML 5, CSS, and Javascript.

Each course is broken into a series of modules that consist of one or more screencasts. The modules are usually around 40 minutes to an hour.

Quality


The quality of the screencasts is top notch. The effect is that of watching over the shoulder of a really smart friend who is showing you how to do something. Awesome.

Price


If this were Youtube with a bunch of cute kitteh videos, the price would be exorbitant at $30/month ($25 if you pay for the whole year at once). For high quality training videos to help you be a better developer, the price is very reasonable.

Quibbles


To maintain some semblance of blogger rather than shill, I’ll try to come up with some quibbles.

Because they keep things simple, it is not easy to quibble.

One thing that would be nice, would be variable speed playback. Sometimes I watch a video that includes stuff I already know. For those sections it would be nice to crank the speed up to 2x or 4x so that I can be sure there are no hidden nuggets without devoting the full measure of time to the endeavor.

Note: Wouldn’t you know it. They killed off my quibble. Variable speed playback is now there and works great!

Wider mobile access would be nice, but I suspect that is a matter of time.




A wider range of topics outside of the Microsoft sphere would be interesting. Since there are some now, I’m guessing more will follow. Of course there is nothing wrong with a Microsoft focus. There is pretty much an army of MS devs out there.

Lunch And Learn


Despite years of research that eating at your desk is a bad idea, many of us do so.

I love to watch Pluralsight videos while I eat. I don’t do it everyday, but I find it a great way to “sharpen the saw” as the 7-Habits folks would say.

In addition to the training videos, I also enjoy the weekly webcasts. I believe these are free, and give you a chance to interact with the course authors.

If you want to watch the recorded webcasts, you need the second level of subscription also known as “The One I Don’t Have”. Tune in live, however and it is free.

Summary


Short version:

Pluralsight: good.

Subscribe: you should.

If you manage developers and need to spend a small amount of training dollars (pesos, euros, yen, etc. – I doubt they take shiny beads), then this is an excellent place to spend them.