The ultimate online toolkit for keeping your technical skills up-to-date
The digital sector is one of UK’s fastest growing industries and is a major contributor to the economy. It is estimated that 5% of the total UK workforce are employed in the sector, many of them young, bright and ambitious graduates. Entrepreneurial spirit is also strong, with a large number of start-ups less than two years old.
Much of the growth is driven by high quality staff. Nearly two thirds of employees have a degree although many have obtained additional skills – especially those in technical roles.
Keeping your knowledge up-to-date is vital in this constantly changing and competitive industry. To help you stay ahead and stand out, we’ve compiled the ultimate online toolkit so you can learn new things, develop existing skills and connect with industry experts.
GitHub is a collaborative platform for developers. It enables users to publish and share coding projects within a community. This means GitHub also functions as a social networking platform for programmers, allowing them to share their knowledge and show off their skills.
At the heart of GitHub is Git. Developed by Linus Torvalds, this software manages changes to a project without overwriting any part of it. This is extremely useful when multiple people are working on one job. As Git can be cumbersome to use, GitHub simplifies the process by providing a visual interface. It also drives the social network features and displays your projects on the web.
For experienced coders, the platform allows you to draw upon the skills of others to improve your own. GitHub can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a strong programming background. However, the software can be used to manage other file types like Word documents or Final Cut projects.
Classes start with the basics and take you all the way through to more complex operations. To give users a sound understanding of the subject, the lessons utilise explanatory videos, interactive challenges and quizzes. Along the way, badges are earned so students can track and show off their progress. Anyone online can see these badges and there have been instances where companies have recruited based on the badges candidates have achieved.
Nearly everyone can learn something by signing up to Treehouse – from beginners through to seasoned professionals. Despite the wealth of information available, lesson plans are easy to navigate and clearly outline the skills you’ll be learning. Although you have to pay to subscribe, the platform is still affordable with two payment tiers.
Codecademy is free to join and gets you coding straight away. Once you’ve selected a lesson, you’re taken to the learning page. Instructions are displayed on the left, code is entered in the middle and the box on the right demonstrates what it does.
If you are working in the digital sector but not in a technical role, Codecademy is a good way to enhance your skillset. More experienced coders may find it a bit basic, however. In addition, the focus is very much on writing code so the underlying principles are glossed over. For those serious about learning to code, you may want to complement the courses with other resources.
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This web design and development blog regularly publishes articles about the latest trends and techniques. In-depth tutorials are also available. These detail common web development and design techniques with clear instructions and images.
CSS-tricks is a repository of information for coders. Alongside publishing blog articles about the latest developments in the digital industry, readers can interact with each other on the forum. There are also lots of tips and tricks to implement in your projects.
Stack Overflow is a question and answer website for programmers. Free to use and with no registration process, you can quickly ask your question to the community. Although anyone can reply, the best answers are voted up to the top.