As a consultant I have long stretches where I may be heads down with a single technology. In the mean time the rest of the world can be passing you by. When I get off of that project there is a lot to catch up to. I could buy a bunch of books or request time to go to a class, but the first is time consuming and the second is expensive. Pluralsight allows me to catch up quickly at the end of a project or even keep up during a project by giving comprehensive video courses for a reasonable price.
The presenters are people that I have trusted in the Microsoft community for years such as Craig Shoemaker and Brian Noyes. This greatly increases the value of the material being presented in my opinion. You can’t beat having industry leaders as your professors.
One of the hazards of these videos is that it is like drinking from a fire hose. The pace of the presentation is pretty fast. You need to find a way to digest the content. Stopping after each section and building your own projects is a great way of doing this. It is also nice to be able to backup when you miss something. Especially since the biggest problem is finding time to concentrate on the presentations.
Another thing I found helpful is that when you are studying one subject and you find that there is a detail that you don’t understand because of a prerequisite that you aren’t familiar with, there is usually a class you can go to the includes that subject as well. This is the advantage of having their entire course library available for one price.
These videos are much more verbose than is possible in blog entries and articles. It is like having an audio book with demos. There are very complete and include a lot of the history of where current technologies and approaches came from. I have also seen an effort to make sure that they highlight best practices as opposed to giving you a “Hello World” overview. I actually learned some tricks that already existed in Visual Studio but I have never come across before.
If there is one thing I would like to see added it would be the ability to ask questions of the teacher. I would think this should be something that is at least available with the Plus accounts. Overall I think that a Pluralsight account is a great addition to a developer’s toolkit and well worth the price. Be sure to take it for a spin a see for yourself.