If you can already believe it, we’re a month into 2017! The start of each new year is filled with new goals, things we’ll change, and things we’ll continue to improve upon from the previous year – be it personal or professional. With all the hopes and admiration we have for the new year, life quickly takes over and things can get off track. Sometimes this occurs only briefly, but more often, these things don’t even get revisited until next year’s big to-do list.

I could write an entire blog post, or series, on the personal to-do list, but for now, I’ll focus on the professional to-do list, primarily emphasizing the importance of continuing education, while providing you with some great online resources. There is an endless amount of said resources, including video tutorials, that may or may not be WordPress specific, and are either free or low-cost.

A List of Resources for Inspiration and Instruction

Here at WebDevStudios (WDS), we’re all about sharing knowledge and resources, internally and externally. We have a couple of calls a week between various teams to catch up and share what’s going on, what’s new, and cool working examples and resources we’ve seen and come across recently. Everyone has their preferred methods for learning (personally I’m a video tutorial learner), but I want to share with you other options, if video is not your preferred method.

One of our Frontend Developers, Rich Edmunds, loves sharing cool resources he comes across on the web for a variety of topics. His list is one of the larger collections I’ve seen in a focused/categorized manner. So, I figured it was worth sharing since he spends a good deal of time reading and curating some excellent resources. You can check that out here and tweet him thanks if you find some useful information below:

http://www.richedmunds.com/resources/

Video Sites Worth Checking Out

There are a lot of great sites for video instruction throughout the web, as well. Some are WordPress specific and some are more broad in nature, but may still either offer specific WordPress courses or fundamentals that can be applied to code, performance, and other aspects of any WordPress site. Below, I cover a few sites that are paid, low cost, and/or free that I’ve personally used or know of other people who have had great success with them.

Paid and Low-Cost Resources

If you’ve been around the WordPress community for a bit, either at WordCamps, meetups, in the forums, used Treehouse in the past, or have hung around Twitter, there is a good chance you’ve heard of Zac Gordon. Zac’s Javascript for WordPress Course launched last year and he continues to work and build the content for the site. Although I’ve not personally yet subscribed (catching up on all the other resources I’ve got to go through first before I become a member), I think you can quickly see by the testimonials and sponsors that this is a very good resource for learning JS for WordPress. If you have the time and resources, I would say it’s definitely worth investigating.

ES6 For Everyone with Wes Bos is an excellent course, as well. This is one I’ve gone a little more than halfway through at the time of writing this post and it really goes in depth on new features in JavaScript. If you’ve ever taken one of Wes’ other courses, like What the Flexbox, you’ll notice he also has a fun approach to learning and keeps it light, practical, and useful. Although this isn’t specific to WordPress, you could certainly incorporate a lot of the fundamentals, tips, and tricks you’ll learn in this course into your themes and plugins and overall development.

udemy-appI’ve come across Udemy over the years, but it was recently brought to my attention again in Slack when they were offering a sale on any courses for $10 a piece. They also have an excellent app to take learning with you on-the-go, which is always a nice feature to have for busy people. Udemy offers a variety of courses on a wide range of topics. The nice thing here is you can pay for just the ones you want and need. They also offer WordPress specific courses on themes and plugins or more general topics like JavaScript, React, Angular and more. It’s definitely worth a look, and based on the subjects that I’ve dug into, it’s well worth the price (and they seem to have sales throughout the year as well so check back from time to time).

React for Beginners is yet again another course by Wes Bos that I highly recommend checking out. We’re starting to see more and more crossover and integration with React and WordPress, especially now that the WP REST API is a part of WordPress Core. Again, this is not necessarily WordPress specific, but principles and concepts can still be applied when creating sites and applications with these two technologies. Check out a couple of great examples below, including one example by our fellow team member here at WDS Eric Fuller.

Free – Hard to Argue with Free

Everyone loves the price of free, as it’s hard to argue with really. Sometimes they say you get what you pay for, and I believe that to be true with a few exceptions below (I’m very certain there are lots more around the web that are missing from this list).
js30

JavaScript30 is a really cool site that launched in December 2016. It’s another really great course offered for free by Wes Bos. All that’s required is your email address, which is a small price to pay. Likely, if ever, you’ll only get an occasional email about a steep discount or a note for a new course, which is pretty awesome! Each lesson covers a small project to build, which is nice and manageable.

Udacity is a site for free online learning with a varying range of courses, programs, and resources. One area I’m trying to focus on with Udadity is some of their partner courses with Google and more specifically some of the web development courses. Although you can find similar type courses on other sites, I think it’s an interesting perspective to hear about tools and resources directly from some Google employees on topics like performance and web accessibility as those are incredibly important topics and areas of focus.

Codecademy is another great option for learning. It’s a little different than a lot of the courses mentioned above, as it’s more of a read along and work versus traditional video learning. It’s also not WordPress specific in terms of course offerings but another great resource for free online learning to gain insight into a variety of web development languages, tools, and even the Watson API. Additionally, if you’re interested in things like a learning plan, quizzes and more, there is an upgrade option, too. These are a good base for learning a bit more of the fundamentals and diving into new topics and languages that you may be new to learning.

Code School has introductory courses (12 total that are free) that are worthy of a look and offer a bit of a different style in presentation and approach to learning. This is a nice feature, because it should give you a pretty good indication if this is the right fit for you, just in case you’re thinking of investing a little bit of money into some additional training. I highly recommend them, based on some of the courses I’ve taken in the past.

Additional Method for Learning – A Library Card

Library

I think the thing I’m most excited to share today though is something I found out about only a few months ago from one of our talented FED Team members, Jeffrey DeWitt. A great number of libraries will offer access to sites like Lynda.com, Treehouse, and others so long as you have a library card. As far as I know, almost everywhere, if not everywhere, library cards are free for residents. Although sometimes the process of accessing the sites can be a little bit more work, i.e., you have to log in through your library and then type your library card and pin, it’s a small price to pay for the cost of “FREE.” The only other downside is that not every library offers this service or these sites. You may find your library offers a different selection or none at all, but it’s definitely worth investigating, in my opinion. Also, don’t forget you could also check your local library for books on interesting topics, as well because, that’s still a thing these days!

Although this is by no means a comprehensive list of resources, I hope you find some of these useful or that they inspire you to check out additional learning opportunities. Whether you started the year off already learning new things or have already fallen back into the daily routine of life, hopefully, this post helps kick learning back into gear for you. I think in this industry and others, really, it’s important to push yourself and always try to learn new things, building things and sometimes even breaking them. It’s an integral part of what makes us all stronger and better developers.

Have you looked into any of these or are there some really great ones you recommend that I didn’t mention above? Let us know in the comments if you’re on board for learning more this year!

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