The Life Experimenter : Change Your Life, One Month at a Time

Life Experiment #57: Learn Web Development Using Lynda.com

By Allen Rinehart

Lynda.com logo

I just finished up a week long Transition Assistance class as part of my soon-to-be-finished enlistment in the US Navy. The class provides all members of the military with courses in finding and applying for jobs. It made me realize that job number one for me is building the skills required to successfully transition into a new career field.  I’ve always wanted a career in web development but, for anyone transitioning to this career, where do you start? What’s important to learn right now? I’m almost finished with a Master’s Degree in Web Development from Aspen University, but I’m finding that the skills employers are asking for in job listing don’t exactly match up with the courses my degree provides. So where does one fill in the gap? That’s what lead to the online training and the wonderful website, Lynda.com.

Hypothesis: Transitioning into any new career field can be scary, but if you have the right amount of education that transition can be easier than you might think. I predict that by completing the 41 hour “Become a Front-End Web Developer” Learning Path from Lynda.com I’ll have a solid understanding of what skills I need to start a new career path in web development.

My Path From Marketing to IT administrator to Web Development

Since college, I’ve always had an interest in web development. I started my undergrad as a Marketing major but sought out every project I could in web development. I was always the go-to “web” guy for all my friends and family. Fast forward to my first few jobs outside of college where I took on web projects here and there such as editing the copy for my companies website and putting together email marketing campaigns as my role as a Marketing Manager. Finally, in January of 2009, during one of the largest recessions in US history, I got laid off from a job in marketing.

I decided that it’s time to find something where I could make a difference. I also wanted to travel the world and that’s what lead me to join the Navy. It was here that I learned my awesome IT skills. But still, I was drawn to the web. On my first ship, the USS Ronald Reagan, I volunteered to re-design their Intranet homepage. It was this terrible looking FrontPage monstrosity. I completely re-designed it with clean and updated code.

Finally, two years ago, I made a serious commitment to myself and decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Web Development. While a degree is not necessary required for this field, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the web. But what I have come to realize is that most web developers don’t have a degree in this field because the technology changes so fast that it’s hard for schools to keep up. My degree taught me the fundamentals of programming with languages like Perl, C++, UML and XML. What employers are looking for in job listings for web developers is knowledge of Sass, React.js, and Git. Enter online training

The Lynda.com Become a Front-End Web Developer Learning Path

Starting over in a new field can be scary. But I realized with enough knowledge and experience, anyone can be successful in a field. I love Lynda.com because they have literally thousands of hours of video in their library. Everything from business, leadership, and marketing to design, photography, and development. With enough time and persistence, you can learn enough to be successful in a number of fields.

My goal is to complete the entire 41 hours of training in six months. I’m dedicating at least 15 minutes a day to view the courses. My goal is not to rush through the courses as fast as I can to say that I’m done. I want to learn the material as much as I can to be able to apply it to a future job in web development.

Lynda.com Is Free For US Military Members

The best part of the site is the price tag…FREE! For military members that is. If you are an active duty service member or veteran, I highly encourage you to take advantage of the Linkedin for Good program.

Lynda.com is actually owned by Linkedin and as a military member, you get a year of free access to the premium version of Linkedin which give you a ton of job search tools if you’re like me and will be transitioning into a new career soon. But the premium membership also gives you free access to the Lynda.com website. Even if you are not a service member, the pricing is a reasonable $20-30/month.

Demonstrating Your Knowledge On Linkedin

One reason I prefer Lynda.com over other online training sites is their relationship with Linkedin. Linkedin is the parent company of Lynda.com. When you complete a course on Lynda, you are able to publish the certificate of completion to your Linkedin profile. This shows potential employers that you actually have some knowledge in your field and have the taken the time to better yourself in your career. While some people may argue about the value of online training compared to say a degree program, I would say a certificate gives the skills that you list in an online profile or resume a lot more weight.

The Best Way To Learn Is To Teach

I feel like I’ll get a lot more out of the material if I take the time to explain it to others. That’s why I’ve decided to create a separate blog for all my web development posts. My first order of business is to create my own WordPress website on allenrinehart.com. Here  I’ll post about web development topics and put up projects I’ve worked on.

 

 



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