You Never Stop Learning: Top Ten Resources for Web Designers

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As a web designer, your learning doesn’t stop the minute you graduate from school. The field of web design is in constant flux, and as a web designer, it is up to you to stay on top of the latest trends and changes in the industry. The Internet has made it possible for you to keep yourself abreast with the latest trends and changes in the industry. With an enormous variety of topic just a mouse click away, it can be difficult to know which sites will help you maintain your skills and which sites you’re better off not knowing about. Rather than navigating through the mess of sites, here are ten valuable resources that can help you keep your skills sharp and you on top of your game.

Pluralsight

With over 400 web-based courses, Pluralsight is a training resource that targets professional developers that are looking to expand their current skill base. It was founded in 2004 and was originally a training program where professional instructors were sent to businesses for training events. In 2007, the founders shifted their business model from in-person training to online learning. Pluralsight is a great resource for web designers that have been at it for a while because it doesn’t focus on the DIY courses for newbies but rather its focus is on providing web-based courses for the serious developer explains Aaron Skoonard, CEO of Pluralsight. For a monthly fee of $29, users can access Pluralsight’s entire online library. Currently Pluralsight has more than 200,000 users in over 100 countries, with that number expected to grow significantly in the next few years.

Dash

Dash, an interactive online program, is designed to help teach people how to code through a series of tutorials. A project created by General Assembly co-founder Brad Hargreaves and General Assembly project manager Nathan Bradshaw, Dash is for anyone that wants to be more comfortable with code. The framework for the program is based on a fictional client where users are tasked with various projects like building a personal website, a blog theme, a small business website, and a CSS Robot. The program was originally designed to help General Assembly students get started in the immersion program, but with the positive feedback that it received from the students, the company decided to open the program to the public, explains Brad Hargreaves Chief Product Officer for Dash. The program is free to use and anyone can sign up for an account.

Android Training

With hundreds of millions of mobile devices being powered by the Android platform, you may be interested in learning how to program apps that can be distributed on the platform. While the Android Developers website has always hosted a great wealth of knowledge regarding how to develop aps for the Android platform, it has now transformed into a training portal for aspiring developers. The Android Training features a collection of free virtual classes that are aimed at helping developers with a wide variety of problems and questions explains Dustin Earley, writer for the Android and Me website. With the free tutorials you can begin developing your own Android apps and even learn how to earn money from your creations.

Hack Design

While there are plenty of places on the Internet for a designer to learn new skills in programming, there are very few places where programmers can learn design skills. One of the best sites online today to help programmers learn basic design skills is Hack Design. Launched by Wells Riley, an interaction designer and Kevin Xu, a designer/hacker, Hack Design is a sight specifically targeted to cater to programmers interested in design. Users who sign up for the design course receive a new lesson, that is hand crafted by a design pro in their inbox every week. The lessons include links to articles, tutorials, and cheat sheets as well as task lists to get users to think about good design and working toward improving upon their skills. With fun design puzzles and games, programmers will find themselves learning design concepts before they know it.

Hackety Hack

If you don’t already know about Ruby, then it’s about time you learn. Ruby is a simple yet powerful programming language from Japan, and it is revolutionizing the web. If you’ve been itching to learn Ruby, Hackety Hack is a great way for your to get your feet wet. It is an easy and fun build environment that allows you to test out the Ruby language while a step-by-step tutorial is running alongside the programming window. Through the interactive lessons in Hackety Hack you’ll be able to expand your programming knowledge in a fun and painless environment.

Drawspace

As a designer, it is important that you have a good working knowledge of space, and proportion. You need to be able to see how shapes relate to each other within their space. Even if you are working within a template, like those offered through Shopify, in order to be a good designer you have to have an eye for layout and symmetry. Drawspace is a site that provides realistic, professional and extensive drawing tutorials for anyone that is looking to learn how to draw or those that want to learn how to improve on their techniques. With your account you can keep a portfolio of the work that you’ve done and track your progress from the beginner levels to the advanced ones. Draw space includes lessons on drawing with spaces, perspective, symmetry secrets, etc.

Ontwik

Not all design resources come in the form of lessons and tutorials. Ontwik provides web designers and developers with high quality videos from the latest lectures and conferences on web design. Created to make the most out of the latest conferences and collect them in one place so designers and developers would no longer have to scour the Internet to find the latest information about new technologies relating to their field. The videos that are collected on the site cover topics on JavaScript, NodeJS, jQuery, Ruby, and more. Keeping up with the latest technology and news pertaining to web design and development has never been easier.

Treehouse

An educational platform, Treehouse uses videos, quizzes, and some gamification to help aspiring programmers and app developers learn the trade. With over 600 learning videos on file, programmers can receive high quality training in front-end programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as back-end development in Ruby, PHP, iPhone and Android applications, notes Nick Gidwani, writer for the site Skilledup. With three different ways to learn, videos, quizzes and challenges, to give users the best possible chance at succeeding. There are two different membership levels. The first is the Silver level, which costs $24 per month and includes access to the over 600 videos in the Treehouse library, plus the real-time application engine. For $49 per month, you can get the Gold membership, which includes everything in the Silver membership plus you can receive feedback on the projects that you create in the application engine.

Readwrite

Along with keeping your skills up-to-date, it is also important to keep abreast of what is happening in the field. The website Readwrite is the most widely read and respected tech news sites in the world. The site covers news pertaining to Web 2.0, and web technology in general. If you want to stay up-to-date on industry news, reviews, and read analysis regarding the industry, then you’ll want to make sure to bookmark this site and check it out daily.

Smashing Magazine

If you are looking for a fantastic resource for information on the latest trends, technology and helpful tutorials, then you don’t need to look any further than Smashing Magazine. A web design blog, it is a great resource for all aspects of the design process. The tutorials are aimed to help designers that are on the intermediate to advanced end of the spectrum while the information they deliver is great for everyone currently in the field or those that are interested in entering it. It is a great resource for designers and developers alike.

Working in the web design field can be daunting. With the new techniques that seem to come out on an almost daily basis, can be a bit overwhelming even for the seasoned professional. In order to stay on top of your respective field, you have to find a way to keep up with the latest innovations and programming languages. The Internet is a wealth of information and has a number of easy to understand and well respected training resources that you can use, many free of charge. Don’t let the constant influx of new information and technology scare you away from what you love, take in the resources that were mentioned above and use the sites that you feel comfortable with.With so many resources just a mouse click away, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date.

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