In this post, I am going to review one of the most popular online education platforms available on the Internet, Pluralsight. I was keen to put this Pluralsight review together, because the platform has helped me a lot (and it still does!) for my career as a software developer. This is a great tool for learning new skills quickly and keeping the knowledge up to date. It's also great because it has many advantages for all levels of learners – whether you are a pre-beginner, beginner, intermediate or a seasoned professional in some sort of area, technology or a programming language. In this Pluralsight review, I am going to cover many aspects related to the platform and hopefully you will find this Pluralsight review to be useful and thorough.
What is Pluralsight and what makes it so great
Let me start this section with the quotation from Wikipedia, so I won't be trying to re-invent the wheel in this Pluralsight Review post. If you do want to know more about the history of Pluralsight, the business model and some other information, please feel free to navigate to Wikipedia.
Pluralsight, Inc. is an American publicly held online education company that offers a variety of video training courses for software developers, IT administrators, and creative professionals through its website. Founded in 2004 by Aaron Skonnard, Keith Brown, Fritz Onion, and Bill Williams, the company has its headquarters in Farmington, Utah. As of July 2018, it uses more than 1,400 subject-matter experts as authors, and offers more than 6,500 courses in its catalog. Since first moving its courses online in 2007, the company has expanded, developing a full enterprise platform, and adding skills assessment modules.
As of today, there must be around 7k+ courses available for you to immediately access them and start learning. Of course, physically to go through each course and watch on the platform would be quite a challenge and probably impossible as the authors keep uploading new courses every day and update existing ones. The course selection is huge and keeps growing. As the technologies evolve so quickly, we need to keep our knowledge up to date too, otherwise, we'd be gone off the market as professionals.
Thanks to the army of expert Pluralsight authors for doing such a good job by creating quality content in various areas, such as:
- Software Development
- IT Ops
- Cloud Computing
- Machine Learning
- Information and Cyber Security
- Data Engineering
- Architecture and Construction
- Manufacturing and Design
Pluralsight is one of the best ways to learn new skills and keep them sharp all the time, otherwise, there wouldn't be so many companies using this platform too. There are courses for all levels of professionals, from beginners to advanced.
How can I know that a lot of companies are using Pluralsight to keep their employees' skills sharp? Well, that's a good question and there are a couple of ways to check this:
- Personal experience. I used to work in a few companies over my career in the United Kingdom and they all were purchasing Pluralsight subscription to their employees.
- See what Pluralsight itself says about that.
- Ask other people who work in companies.
- Do your research on the Internet.
The latter method I liked the most, so I did a little research on the Internet. I have checked multiple job sites for the United Kingdom and United States markets, searched for jobs that include ‘pluralsight' keyword in the descriptions, which normally means companies include Pluralsight subscription in their benefits packages, which sequentially signals that the Pluralsight is a worthy online education platform.
Here are the company numbers that include Pluralsight subscription in their benefit packages
- Indeed (United States) – 200+
- Indeed (United Kingdom) – 171
- CV-Library (United Kingdom) – 31
- Monster (United Kingdom) – 55
Another thing which you are going to love about Pluralsight is Role IQ. Role IQ will help you measure your skills that are needed for some specific role. For example, do you want to become an Angular Developer? Or maybe, you are not sure if you already fit into this role? With the Role IQ from Pluralsight, you can measure your skills! Here's a great visual presentation of what Role IQ is. I'm excited about this feature, it helps very well.
Pricing – how much does Pluralsight cost and is there a free trial?
Pluralsight is definitely worth it. It is not only my opinion, but millions of other people all over the world think the same way. Let me explain to you this. The monthly subscription price at the moment is $35. On other platforms, like Udemy, you can often get a course that only costs around $5 (with or without the discount), so in total, you can get about 6 courses for $35 on Udemy.
Which is fine in most cases, but here's the thing.
I would not recommend limiting yourselves with just a few courses, but rather go and purchase a monthly, or the better, the annual subscription, and have unlimited access to thousands and thousands of high-quality online courses.
Whether you'll purchase a monthly subscription or the annual one, you'll not only get a full access to every possible course on the platform, but you'll also get to use features like Learning Paths, Channels, Skill IQ, Role IQ, Course Learning Checks, Course Discussions, Exercise Files, Mobile, and TV Apps and of course the Offline Viewing feature, which is really handy. And all that greatness becomes available with just a simple personal subscription.
Here's a thing. If you are thinking to commit to improving your skills (or to acquire new ones), you should consider getting the premium subscription. I know what you'll say – it's quite expensive. You are right, indeed it is. But believe me, it's by far the best, most modern and the most efficient way to learn technologies these days! After all, it's all about technology, isn't it?
Why would you go and read books with hundreds of pages and slowly progress through the chapters, full of information, which some of it you won't ever use or need! Such a time waste. The new and the most efficient way is to watch only necessary and condensed information in a video course and learn something by doing. I mean, with the premium subscription, you'll have access to the Projects, which you'll create yourself and these projects may become your portfolio for your future dream job, as well as you will have the access to the interactive courses, which will take your knowledge to the next level. I mean it.
If you are already a real pro and you think you know everything about some technology of interest, you can always prove that by taking a certification exam for that specific thing. It would be risky to take an exam without proper preparation, which you can get with Pluralsight's certification practice exams.
The way I think about learning – it is always a good investment that will eventually bring you more and more money, you just need to commit to learning. That is what you need to do. So, whether you purchase a simple annual subscription or the premium one and if you spread the annual amount across 12 months – that is not too bad! The value that you get for this amount of money is just invaluable.
By the way, there's a free trial option too, which is a NO-RISK OPTION!
It is important to note though, that with the free trial you'll get 10 days free to all these features and up to 200 minutes. This is not enough to learn something in-depth, but still, you can get a little bit of a taste for the platform. I'd give it a try – it's RISK-FREE anyway, you won't pay a penny! In addition to this, you can cancel your subscription before they charge anything.
Now, let's have a look at the Pluralsight subscriptions for businesses.
Business subscriptions include all personal premium features that you can get with the personal premium subscription, plus its got some analytical features, which is useful for Pluralsight administrators within the company. The Enterprise subscription has got everything you could imagine and what is best for enterprises. Unfortunately, I have never had a chance to use these enterprise features as a developer, nor the Pluralsight administrator, but having API access I can just imagine what you can do with it.
At the end of the day, it's up to you about which Pluralsight subscription you would like to get. Pricing wise – I'm not sure if you can get anything better than that.
Course quality – are Pluralsight courses good?
As the second step of this Pluralsight course quality check method, we will have a look at the table of contents of some chosen course to see what this course contains and what subjects or topics are covered. So after this, we will be able to see the depth of the course.
- Introduction – 40m 8s
- Scope – 2h 44m 43s
- Closure – 46m 41s
- Object Orienting – 1h 46m 16s
- Async Patterns – 57m 17s
I didn't want to scare you off the beginner guys with this course, I just wanted to show you how advanced it is and that you can trust this platform and the authors that they will teach you every single detail in your chosen area up to the advanced levels and beyond.
All courses on Pluralsight are in English, a lot of authors are native English speakers, but also many experts are not native English speakers but speak fluently and most courses are really engaging and put together an interesting way. Please sign-up for a free trial and see for yourself!
Course variety – what can I learn on Pluralsight and how fast
You'll be able to learn a lot of skills in many areas. Pluralsight is really good at teaching technologies as it's pure technology-based online education platform, so you won't find courses like how to become a singer, but you are definitely able to find courses related to sound production for instance, which falls into the Creative section, but once again – it's all about the technology that will help you to become a professional or create something interesting and useful.
Learning a skill takes time, of course, it usually doesn't happen overnight to learn some skill up to the advanced level. There is no simple answer to how long it will take you to learn some specific skill as it mostly depends on what skill you want to learn, as well as on you how quickly you can learn new material. Learning new skills requires a big commitment and effort. However, if you want to learn how, for example, Docker works and just start using it – this won't take long, just watch some course on that technology and you'll instantly be able to use Docker on your daily job or personal projects. It all purely depends on the technology, the learning curve it usually requires and, of course, on your ability to learn and absorb new information.
Pluralsight provides you with plenty of online courses in various areas, such as these:
Does Pluralsight give certificates and are they worth anything
Pluralsight is not a certification center. However, they do give certificates of completion of their brand. Are they worth anything? Well, not really. Pluralsight is a great technology learning platform, but they are not giving certificates that are worldwide recognized. Certificates of completion from Pluralsight – they are not the same as you can get from the technology vendors, like Microsoft, Adobe, VMWare, etc.
What are the best courses on Pluralsight
It all depends on your needs and there is no single answer to which courses are the best. These courses usually focus on different aspects of technologies, there is something that overlaps to some degree – mind you, this is not avoidable.
I have lots of favorite authors (by the way, you can follow them on the platform and get notifications when they release new courses) for my favorite technologies, once you start learning yourself – you'll have your favorite authors as well. For the time being, I don't want to point out any author in particular, nor any technology, at least not in this post, but there are tons of good material available on Pluralsight. Unlike some other platforms, on Pluralsight, you don't need to worry about whether the course will be of high quality and whether you will be able to fully understand the author, who is a non-native English speaker. So, in most cases, they are all good, it just depends on what you would like to learn and also what difficulty you can cope with.
Pluralsight features that stand out
There are quite a few features available that are worth mentioning separately. I am not trying to re-invent the wheel in this Pluralsight Review, just want to emphasize the most interesting and most useful features available to you. Here are the links to the Pluralsight website, explaining you the features the best possible way:
What is Role IQ and what does it mean?
What is Skill IQ and what does it mean?
Certifications and Exam Preparation
Certificate of Completion
You can also find a full list of Pluralsight features available on Pluralsight's website, which is also something that not all online education platforms provide. Which is really nice!
What is the User Experience like on Pluralsight
User Experience plays a very important role as well when choosing the right educational platform. Just like in real life: you don't want to go to a school which is not clean and tidy, maze-like corridors with blinking lights and that you barely can find the right classroom where your lecture is taking place.
Using the navigation menu, you'll be able to easily and comfortably navigate the platform, because there are the following buttons:
- Home. Well, this is a self-explanatory button which will take you to the home page, which will give you the ability to get back where you left off last time, course suggestions, channels, newest courses, etc.
- Browse. This will take you to the Browse page where you will see all course categories that are available on the platform, popular learning paths, popular and the latest courses.
- Paths. This will take you to the Learning Paths page.
- Bookmarks. This will take you to the bookmarked courses page.
- Search. This kind of platform without the search ability wouldn't be that good, would it? There's a great, intuitive and sophisticated search system available at your fingertips.
Pluralsight's User Experience is really good on both PC (or Mac) and mobile. I must also mention that it's very intuitive which helps you to find and watch the courses. Every course provides the table of contents, course description, transcript (if you ever need this), exercise files, discussion tab, where you can reach out to other customers watched the same course (and the author as well) and also you got the access to the ‘Recommended' tab where Pluralsight will recommend you other related courses.
Can I become a Pluralsight author
Yes, you can! This is a very controlled process though, from what I could gather, it will be pretty much the same as getting a daily job. Pluralsight cares about the course quality they provide on through the platform, and unlike some other online education platforms, Pluralsight will need to approve you as an author, so you will need to meet their requirements. To me, this approval process seems to be far more controlled than on Udemy for example, as the quality of the courses talks for itself.
So what are the rough steps that need to be taken to become a Pluralsight author?
- Fill in a form on Pluralsight to provide them some information about the course topic you are about to create.
- If a responsible Pluralsight team will be interested in your topic and if it won't be saturated already, you may be contacted by Pluralsight via email/phone call. They will explain to you about the next steps.
- The next step is the audition of your course. You will need to be able to provide them with an example course video. This would be of a couple of minutes' length, so they can evaluate the quality of the course. They will also check if you are a good enough presenter.
Here are some interesting links to articles about becoming an author of the Pluralsight:
How I create my Pluralsight courses
Becoming a Pluralsight Author
It can't be everything just perfect, can it? I think that there's no perfection whatsoever, especially in technology. Below, I'll point out some disadvantages that the Pluralsight has, purely based on my observations.
Here we go:
- Not every single course is kept up to date. This is down to the authors, but in these rare cases, you can always search for other platforms for more up-to-date materials.
- No refunds. What if you decided that the Pluralsight is just not for you after they have charged for your subscription? I have decided to point this out not because I think that this is a disadvantage, but I know some people think it is. Let me put it this way: once you have been charged for your subscription, I see this as an obligation for you as a commitment to learning skills, because that's what you wanted initially, isn't it? You knew what you were buying before you paid anything. On the other hand, in reality, there could be many different scenarios where people would like to be refunded. So, I guess, it would be nice to have a refund option as well, to be as flexible platform as possible.
If you are going to sign-up for the subscription, you may notice that some areas or technologies are covered by courses more than the others, or you might find that there's no course on some specific technology that interests you. This is pretty normal, as the technology might not be so popular or essential, maybe it's very rarely used, maybe there are some other reasons.
You are not limited to only one online education platform, you can always choose from multiple platforms (this is what I recommend for the best achievements) and I am pretty sure you will find anything you want out there. Learning is a good investment (probably the best), and good investments often require some investment in the form of money.
Pluralsight has got an intelligent skill development tool, Iris, which will help you to develop new skills wisely and as efficient as possible. Here's what they say about Iris:
Iris is a new way to measure and evolve technology skills. She powers our assessment algorithms and guides you to the skills you need now. The more you learn about technology, the more Iris learns about you. She uses data to create a smarter, personalized skill development journey.
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