I’ve been investing a lot of my time lately on learning new things. I prefer to stay a front-end developer, but I’ve always wanted to play in different languages and keep up to date with design trends. Following long how-to books really isn’t my thing, as I usually end up falling asleep before the first chapter ends.
I’ve never been a big fan of video on the web either, since I’m never at my computer unless I’m working so I never have time to watch. However, upon learning that Think Vitamin created a new membership service, called Think Vitamin Membership, I was immediately interested.
What is TVM?
Note: This is not a paid advertisement for Think Vitamin Membership, nor is it a product endorsed by Freelance Folder. This is simply an interesting tool I, Amber, have found that I thought you guys would love.
There are two levels of membership, silver, for $25 a month, and gold, for $50 a month. The major difference between the two is that the gold membership offers access to conference videos from FOWD and FOWA, as well as master classes that delve deeper into the topic of your choice. I chose to go with the gold level, since I’ve always wanted to attend FOWD and never been able to.
I’ve actually been attempting to watch all of the videos, even the beginner HTML ones, to see if they’ve come up with anything new. There’s always something new to learn. The business series alone is worth the membership cost, and I’ve used the Git series to finally set it up for one of my personal projects. Learning a bit of Django was pretty fun as well.
The design and HTML/CSS sections are the most extensive of all the topics and they do a great job going from the basics of layout, shape and color to advanced Photoshop and design techniques. While you probably won’t become an expert just by watching these videos, they do offer a lot of information to get started, and you can get pretty far just by following along.
The website itself is very simple and easy to navigate and offers the choice of allowing you to view the videos from their site, or subscribe via RSS and iTunes. You can subscribe by topic or just grab the general feed with all of the videos. Subscribing via iTunes allows you to watch the videos on your iPad, iPod or on your TV. This is really the deal clincher for me, since I never have the time or desire to watch video from my computer. I still haven’t even gotten half way through all the videos. There are well over 400 already, and they seem to add new ones quite frequently.
It’s always been my belief that no matter how good you get, you should never stop learning. The Think Vitamin Membership series makes that a bit easier. I’ve been itching to dabble in different back-end languages, since you’ll never know when you’ll find your next specialty, and it’s always good to understand the basics in case you end up coming across it in a job.
Videos vs. Books
Depending on how you learn, you might prefer videos to books or a combination or books. Personally, I love reading about theory, but I’m starting to prefer video when learning code. It’s easier to understand coming from a voice and easy to start, stop and go back as many times as you want. Plus, it tends to be more accurate since their examples actually have to work in the video. I once bought a PHP book that was so full of errors in the code, I couldn’t get past Chapter 4. Video negates that, as the whole video example wouldn’t work at all if it were incorrect.
No matter what type of media you choose, just make sure to dedicate some time every week to learning. It doesn’t even need to have anything to do with your current field. My background in design has come in handy so many times when I’m coding, it affects everything from the way I organize code to how well I’m able to match the PSD to the final product.
Have you seen anything like the TVM on the web? I would love to hear about different learning series, video or not, that teach you in depth about different areas of the web.