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Disclaimer: Curricular's Founder, Brian Green, worked at Pluralsight from 2013 - 2018.
Pluralsight is an enterprise skills development platform, with a vast collection of video courses taught by industry practitioners. The company reports that more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies have learners on the platform and that their user base spans 180 countries.
Pluralsight's major topics of focus are:
Pluralsight’s pricing model is based on monthly or annual subscriptions, as opposed to single-course sales. As of the time of writing, monthly subscriptions start at $48.25 when billed annually.
Pluralsight offers a free trial subscription. However, unlike other platforms, which give you unlimited access for a period of time, Pluralsight gives you roughly 2 hours of learning access on the platform, as a way to evaluate what the platform offers, so you can make an informed decision on whether to purchase a subscription. Occasionally, Pluralsight offers free weekends or lengthier trials as a promotion.
Unlike a marketplace like Udemy, Pluralsight hires instructors to author for the platform, and supports them with production resources. This offers a few advantages. First, when navigating the platform, there’s typically only one course covering the specific material: for example, Pluralsight has a single React 18: Getting Started course, while Udemy has at least 50 options that are rated 4.5 stars or higher. Second, the quality stays fairly consistent across Pluralsight courses: all courses have to go through a review process, and must conform to Pluralsight’s production standards. With a marketplace like Udemy or independent course producer, you may encounter some variance in quality between instructors or even between modules within the course.
Pluralsight's focus is primarily on developing the platform and content towards enterprise learners and teams, as opposed to building for individual learners. As a result, the platform offers some reporting strengths and features specific to corporate customers. However, it is still as strong learning platform for individual customers, as Pluralsight's primary strengths are the video content and authors.
Pluralsight's library covers a vast range of topics, and there are nearly 7,000 active courses on the platform. Keep the Pareto Principle in mind: 80% of the viewership likely comes from 20% of the courses. Where Pluralsight shines is the commitment to quality and consistency across the library. With Pluralsight courses, you can trust the content is thoroughly reviewed and will be professionally produced.
Pluralsight hires some of the top experts in each field to author their courses, and employs the top authors as course reviewers to help ensure quality and to mentor newer authors. While other platforms are catching up, and some of Pluralsight's most vaunted experts no longer author, Pluralsight still has the strongest author network.
Pluralsight courses are short, typically around 3 hours long, and are divided into shorter modules and clips. This has two major benefits: 1) it helps to plan training and make progress in short bursts, and 2) it makes it easier to go back and review specific topics within the course, to solidify your understanding of the material.
Pluralsight offers paths and practice exams for some of the most popular Microsoft, AWS, Google, CompTIA, and Cisco certifications. If you're an IT Professional or DevOps Engineer, and want to advance your career with certifications, Pluralsight is a tremendous resource. According to a user survey, 94% of learners who utilized Pluralsight's Certification Prep products passed their certification exam. Some Pluralsight courses also count as continuing education credits for maintaining certifications.
With a Pluralsight subscription, you gain access to materials covering a wide variety of topics for a reasonable price. The subscription also gives you flexibility; if you only have a few weeks or months where you’re able to focus on learning, you could subscribe for a short period of time and learn the topics you’re after, and then pause or end your subscription when you don’t have as much time.
Navigating Pluralsight's 7,000 course library can be challenging. Luckily, the Pluralsight team has curated a series of paths for a variety of skills. This can help with figuring out exactly which courses are essential, and in which order you should proceed.
Typically, Pluralsight has its top authors work on courses for its paths, so you can be confident you're learning from the best.
With course runtimes between 2-4 hours, it's tempting to cram a bunch of learning into a short period of time. Some paths are around 40 hours long, so you could theoretically binge an entire learning path in a week.
But deep skills acquisition and retention happens through spaced repetition and practicing skills over time, in new contexts.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete your learning, and try to study in small chunks, with lots of hands-on practice in between your viewing sessions.
Pluralsight's course format typically involves the author explaining a concept through slide lecture, and then demonstrating the concept using a scenario. This helps guide the real-world application of skills.
It's tempting to code along with the author's demos, to see the solution working on your own system. But without solo practice, the skills won't stick as easily.
A better structure is to take notes while watching the videos, and to practice after. This simulates the "I do, We do, You do" structure of learning that's highly effective for teaching math, where the teacher demonstrates, the class walks through an exercise together, and then students practice solo. Since Pluralsight doesn't explicitly include solo practice, it's up to you to make sure you practice the skills.
If you practice coding after watching, you can go back to view the videos as a refresher or solution explanation.
While the Skill Assessments are kind of fun, and provide you with how your score ranks among others taking the same assessment, we're not confident they’re the best approximation of skill. Here are some of the flaws:
Interactive Courses, Projects, and Guides
These features are touted as a benefit of a Pluralsight subscription. However, it looks like Pluralsight hasn't invested in these products for 2 years.
If you want coding problems and projects, a premium solution like Udacity will get you a code review, which will be significantly more valuable than the fixed-end challenges on Pluralsight.
Curricular Guides are written by a team of technical professionals, course developers, and lifelong learners.
For this guide, the team spent over 40 hours testing and evaluating the Pluralsight platform, its core features, and some of its highest-rated courses.
The lead of this project, Brian Green, has worked in developer education since 2009. He built the content development teams at Pluralsight and Udacity, in the process working with hundreds of authors to build courseware, and developing quality standards and tutorials to improve course quality. As of writing, he estimates he has spent nearly a year of his life taking or reviewing online courses, on topics ranging from Web Development, Networking, Server Administration, DevOps, Cybersecurity, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence.
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