Learning new skills online during the COVID-19 second lockdown

Convert the COVID-19 pandemic “lockdown” time to personal development time

Featured image: courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

This article does not have any basis on paid advertisement, affiliation, or sponsorship by any of the organizations or people mentioned below. This article expresses my opinion based on my personal experience and views.

The second Coronavirus lockdown is happening! Despite the fact that COVID-19 remains a huge threat, we need to stay positive and active and treat this situation as an opportunity for personal development.

Courtesy of Queven from Pixabay

With this in mind, I did some online research and found some interesting resources that may help anyone convert the “lockdown” time to personal development time.

The edX® platform

Courtesy of edX®. EdXis a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX Inc. is a leading MOOC provider. The edX® platform is an online learning destination offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. EdX is the only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source.

Source: edX Inc. EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved

Courses are offered in a plethora of subjects such as Computer Science, Data Science, Engineering, Economics & Finance, Math, Business & Management, Law, Medicine, Humanities, Language, and many more. edX® offerings are: the MicroBachelors® program, the MicroMasters® program, Professional Certificate programs, XSeries programs, the Global Freshman Academy, and online Master’s degrees. Students can attend courses for free or obtain certificates for a small fee. Tuition for attending Master’s degrees is quite affordable.
MicroBachelors is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MicroMasters is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.
EdX is a registered trademark of edX Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Courtesy of Udacity

For those interested in acquiring unique, cutting edge tech skills form technology experts, Udacity is the only online learning platform that offers nanodegrees such as: Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Digital Marketing, Flying Car and Autonomous Flight Engineer, Intro to Self-Driving Cars, Machine Learning Engineer, and Robotics Software Engineer. Additionally, there are numerous other subjects available to study that lead to a nanodegree.

Courtesy of Udacity

Nanodegree courses are interactive, project based and paid (Udacity offers many free courses as well). Projects are real world projects, not toy examples. For instance, when I was attending the Digital Marketing program at Udacity, some modules included Facebook and Google advertising. From my experience working at the Digital Marketing department of an agency, the only difference between the projects at the agency and the projects at Udacity was the amount of money spent by each student on ads. Moreover, Udacity offers one to one mentor support, a personal career coach, and career services to every student. There are numerous examples of successful students that advanced or changed their career completely through Udacity.

Courtesy of Coursera

“Life-transforming learning experiences”

Moreover, Coursera which was founded back in 2012 by Stanford University‘s computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller is also a leading online learning platform, offering numerous courses from top Universities such as Stanford, Penn and many others and organizations such as Google and IBM, and a plethora of others, both free and paid (at an affordable low price). There are several subjects to choose from such as: Computer Science, Data Science, Information Technology, Math and Logic, Business, Health, Arts & Humanities and many more. Potential students may also pursue (full paid) Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in fields such as Computer Science, Data Science and others. Of course there is the option to obtain a verified certificate for a relatively small fee. Since its beginning Coursera’s vision was to provide “life-transforming learning experiences to anyone, anywhere.”

Courtesy of Khan Academy

“You can learn anything”

Another amazing resource for free online learning is also Khan Academy. This resource has been quite popular to mathematics students since this is how it originally started back in 2008 by Sal Khan. Today it offers courses in math for school, high school, and college, science, arts & humanities, and reading & language arts. What is amazing about Khan Academy is that it is nonprofit and relies only on donations (I encourage anyone who finds it useful to donate and help this great organization continue existing and growing). Moreover, Khan Academy recently updated its website and now provides Distance learning resources for teachers, districts, and parents to keep everyone learning. I think during the COVID19 crisis this is a huge offering to the global community.

Courtesy of Real Python

If you are a Python lover like me, and you do not already know Real Python, you need to visit at least once this wonderful Pyhon resource. I am confident one visit is enough for you to make you stick with Real Python forever.

At Real Python you’ll learn all things Python from the ground up. Their tutorials, books, and video courses are created, curated, and vetted by a community of expert Pythonistas. With new content published weekly, custom Python learning paths, and interactive code challenges, you’ll always find something to boost your skills. Join 3,000,000+ monthly readers and take your Python skills to the next level at realpython.com. (Source: Real Python)

Please feel free to watch what Mr Dan Bader has to say at the official Real Python YouTube channel about Real Python’s mission in the video below.

Courtesy of Real Python

Products offered at Real Python

Professional developers and organizations around the world level up their programming skills with Real Python‘s online Python training resources: (Source: Real Python)

Real Python Membership

Members get unlimited access to Real Python‘s library of 1,600+ expert-made Python tutorials and video lessons. Weekly “Office Hours” virtual workshops and the Real Python Community Slack chat provide hands-on support. (Source: Real Python)

Real Python for Teams

Membership access for groups of learners through a single billing account. Team license management and progress analytics helps new developers get up to speed with Python and keeps them up-to-date with the latest best practices. (Source: Real Python)

Books

All of Real Python‘s materials are created, curated, and vetted by a team of expert Pythonistas. At Real Python, developers get the trusted resources they need on their path to Python mastery. (Source: Real Python)

I am thrilled about Real Python not only for the high quality and vast amount of content it offers, but also because Real Python is one of the most friendly connections on social media. Please feel free to connect them or get in touch. Here are all Real Python social media channels: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, for any other info their email is: info@realpython.com. The Real Python team will respond in the most friendly manner.

Courtesy of freeCodeCamp

“Learn to code at home, build projects, earn certifications”

Since I started mentioning programming I could not leave behind the freeCodeCamp. This is one of the greatest resources to learn programming. Available subjects are: Responsive Web Design, JavaScript, Algorithms and Data Structures, Front End Libraries, Data Visualization, APIs and Microservices, Quality Assurance, Scientific Computing with Python, Data Analysis with Python, Information Security, and Machine Learning with Python. What makes them unique is that freeCodeCamp offers verified certifications in the aforementioned subjects that the user earns merely by practicing (coding). There are no lectures, each section is presented in small blocks, step by step with examples and exercises. The student starts from a very simple small lesson with an example. To proceed to the next lesson, the student has to submit the answer of the corresponding exercise. What is even more interesting is that there are several freeCodeCamp successful students that advanced or changed their career and achieved their dreams.

Courtesy of Pixabay from Pexels

Those were some available online resources that offer free learning. However, this is not an exaustive list. There are numerous online platforms that offer training in almost any skill one can imagine. We are fortunate enough amid the COVID-19 lockdown to have some time at our disposal. The Coronavirus pandemic soon will be over and the world will return to normality. So, this might be the only opportunity to upgrade your skills or acquire an entirely new skill set or even change your career completely. Therefore, stay safe and happy learning!

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit London 2019

AWS Summit London is an annual event that presents Amazon’s infrastructure cloud services and a vast number of Amazon’s partners that use AWS to provide various services.

Feature image: courtesy of socialsupermanager.com

One more Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit in London is over leaving the best impressions behind. AWS Summit London is an annual event that presents Amazon’s infrastructure cloud services and a vast number of Amazon’s partners that use AWS to provide various services. For those who are not familiar with Amazon, according to Wikipedia:

Amazon is the largest e-commerce marketplace and cloud
computing platform in the world as measured by revenue 
and market capitalization, the largest Internet company
by revenue in the world and the second largest employer
in the United States. Amazon is the world’s largest provider
of cloud infrastructure services (IaaS and PaaS) through
its AWS subsidiary.

Source: Wikipedia.com

In the keynote session which you can watch in the video below, Matt Garman, Vice President, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) AWS, presents in detail the set of services AWS offers to businesses to build applications to serve various purposes.

AWS Summit London 2019

Mr Garman, presents how organizations in the UK such as Sainsbury’s and the Ministry of Justice used AWS to expand and upgrade their services. Moreover, Mr Garman emphasizes in the variety of tools that Amazon provides for Developers and Data Scientists to help them incorporate Machine Learning into their applications. To give an illustration of this, Mr Garman uses the paradigm of HSBC that built a chatbot using Amazon Translate, Amazon Lex and Amazon Comprehend in order to help the company regulatory compliance function better serve internal stakeholders reducing process time from days to seconds.

Furthermore, Mr Garman presents how Amazon helps companies like Faculty to use Machine Learning models to access large datasets to meet the needs of thousands of data scientists. Similarly, Mr Garman presents the services and infrastructure AWS is using to perform complicated AI and ML operations. Some of them are Amazon Elastic Inference, AWS Inferentia, Amazon EC2 G4 Instances and Amazon Sage Maker. Likewise, Mr Garman speaks about AI operations that AWS provides with such as recognition image and video and forecasting and recommendations.

Finally, Mr Garman introduces Deep Learning tools such as the Deep Racer the 1/18th-scale race car that uses reinforcement learning to perform actions such as to stay on track. You can see more about the Deep Racer in the video below.

AWS DeepRacer League

Except from the very interesting information during the keynote session, attendees had the chance to attend several breakout sessions bearing tittles such as: Become a machine learning developer, learning how to use a million cores, DevOps at Amazon, Innovation, building application on AWS, driving digital transformation using AI, Amazon Managed Blockchain, AWS Get IT, Java on AWS, Cloud Data Management, IOT and many more.

What’s more, at the Summit expo one could find several AWS services such as the AWS Training and Certification Startup help, Deep Racing the AWS escape room and others. Except from AWS there were several exhibitors whose subject is around cloud, AI, ML, Data processing and storage and cloud applications and cloud infrastructure management.

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