A million and one learning platforms

A million and one learning platforms

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

So I got this idea to make a blog post on all the learning/training platforms that I used to help me out on my career journey, some are even still helping me to this day. This is not a professional review but I will try my best to give you an insight into each one that I've used.

Pluralsight (Skills)

I honestly feel like this platform has a lot to offer for folks trying to start their careers in IT or is in IT and is upskilling their skills. I love the numerous security topics like IBM QRader, planning a threat hunt, and even learning about different security compliances. I can even find study materials for CompTIA or (ISC)2 certifications which are not common.

Pluralsight even has a section called SkillsIQ where you can test your strengths and weakness.

One thing that I value when I'm learning something new is labs. I have to apply the topic that I'm learning somehow are see it done. Now with that being said I only see one lab in Pluralsight and a lot of retired courses which is a bummer but I'm sure as time goes on Pluralsight will have more.

Found this video that goes through a Javascript lab but this was over a year ago

Udemy

Udemy can be overwhelming sometimes. You have many topics to choose from, from learning how to play the guitar to coding in Javascript. Courses on one topic can vary from different instructors. Sometimes the courses can be discounted for a limited time or for free but you have to be careful sometimes because you can collect them all like pokemon and not start on one(guilty as charged 🙂).

Some courses, depending on the instructor, go through with building a lab environment and guide you on what you are learning.

LinkedIn Learning

Has a lot of potential but doesn't capture me as some of the learning platforms do. Not a lot of topics to choose from and has mostly videos. Some videos have monotone commentators. Not my learning style but don't get me wrong they are some courses that have some videos that show you real-life scenarios but don't go as deep as I would like. You can get it for free using your library card, have to go to your local one and inquiry some more, but try it out and see if it's for you 🙂

Coursera

For this platform, I only took one course which is the Google IT Support Professional certification which equals to the CompTIA A+ so I'll only talk about this one. I took this at the beginning of my IT journey to get some fundamentals. The course is broken up into weeks to give you a sense of organization. If I remember correctly you had a due date on the weekly exams which was a couple of questions to see what you have retained in that week. So the course is just a set of videos with a test at the end. Don't get me wrong the information is important and helped me in the long run but just wish they offered more, cough hands-on labs cough

Coursera has more than enough to offer, from getting a college degree to getting university certifications. I even thought about coming back to get the Google Python Automation certification someday.

A Cloud Guru

Now I know I might sound a little biased with A CloudGuru and the next platform I'm going to talk about, but you should know I love labs by now, that's how I learn, but A Cloud Guru takes a slice out of my cake. It's mostly cloud-based hench the name, but the labs are perfect when learning about any cloud provider you pick.

I even have a favorite instructor (Lars Klint). The only downside I have about A CloudGuru is they don't have a lot of Microsoft certifications study material and are very AWS biased but all in all an awesome platform to learn the cloud.

Rangeforce

This is a cybersecurity platform that’s all about labs while you learn. Spent most of my time here and got a lot of knowledge. Even completed a couple of challenges. It’s been a minute since I logged in so not sure what’s new but I know they teach regex, Cross-site scripting, and tools like Wireshark, I mean the whole shebang. Wish I can provide you guys with screenshots to show you guys what I'm talking about but I can't remember my log in 😔

Cybrary

Another cybersecurity learning platform that has the potential to stand out. I like how you can learn different topics based on which career role you are interested in.

Keeps you organized on what skills to learn and goes deep into it since there are a lot of topics around cybersecurity out there. They even have labs that teach you how to analyze Splunk logs and use PowerShell to analyze a system.

HackTheBox/TryHackMe

More of capture-the-flag type sites. You can compete with different folks around the world with leaderboards and get the world's first badges when a new CTF comes out. They do have some learning pathways with guided labs but I feel it’s more toward red team/pen testing. Yes, they are branching out more to the blue side but this is a hacker's playground and you can learn from that pov honestly.

HackTheBox even has an academy that takes a different approach to learning. You earn points by completing modules and those points can be used to unlock harder modules.

You can even take exams.

Now for TryHackMe, we have modules that have labs while you answer questions, if you have the premium version you can spin up a sandbox right then and there instead of going back and forth to your virtual machine.

Let’s Defend/Blue Teams Labs Online

This is the blue side of the house. Both platforms have actual malware files you can investigate when you're doing an incident or learning module. You can literally spin up a Flare VM (recommended) and complete the real-world scenarios carefully.

If I had to choose between the two I would pick Let's Defend just because of how close it is to being a real SOC analyst. Having practice doing tickets and documenting your findings is very important.

AWS Academy

Yes, yes, yes, yes. It’s coming from AWS so you can not go wrong with this. Has guided labs that give you real-world scenarios. The videos were cool but the thing that stick out the most was the labs, especially in the architect course. I can't remember my login for the life of me but I did find a video that shows a preview of what to expect in terms of labs.

Conclusion

I mean guys there is a lot of information out there that can help you in your career. There are so much more learning platforms out there I haven’t tried yet like Whizlabs, KodeKloud, INE, Tutorials Dojo, Cloud Academy, Security Blue Team, etc. don't even get me started with coding. If your company is a partner with the cloud providers they even have training platforms like Microsoft ESI and AWS Skill Builder that I am still going through myself. You even have independent courses out there like Adrian Cantrill and now James Lee is coming into the scene. All I can say is do your research and ask questions, if you don’t know where to ask join a Facebook IT/tech group like Black Cloud Geeks. Hopefully, this blog helps someone out there because I know how confusing it can be with picking a learning source.