Revisiting IT Certification Training Subscriptions
Back in December of 2016, I wrote a piece for GoCertify titled The Era of Continuous Learning Is Here. At the time, I observed that the subscription model was emerging as a leading way to acquire and consume IT training and skills development, including for certification-related topics. Talk about a theme that has weathered the intervening years well!
This thesis is even more true today than it was when I first set it forth. In fact, in the face of today's global pandemic and the related and ongoing absence of a great deal of instructor-led training in physical classrooms, going virtual is pretty much the only choice available when it comes to taking ANY kind of training at all right now.
This goes for vendor- or sponsor-provided certification training from the organizations that "own" the certs, to the many third-party training companies that offer broad portfolios of cert-related training classes, virtual labs, simulated or virtual practice exams, and "much, much more."
Same as It Ever Was
In the 2016 story, I made mention of some specific broad-spectrum learning providers that were offering affordable subscription plans for IT professionals. These included Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning), PluralSight, and CBT Nuggets in particular. I still stand by those recommendations, and want to give you an idea of how much an ongoing, annual subscription might cost.
According to late November 2020 pricing, here's how things look:
Pluralsight — $579 (annual only; $779 for an Enterprise-level subscription)
LinkedIn Learning — $240 to $360 (paying annually saves 33 percent)
CBT Nuggets — $599 to $708 (paying annually saves more than 23 percent)
If you do the math, then you're looking at a monthly commitment of between $20 and $65 a month, where the best (and sometimes only) deals come when you pony up once a year, rather than monthly. If the thought of plunking down $600 or so all at once is daunting, then I recommend that you think about saving up for a year at the monthly rate to start an annual subscription next year.
If you save $50 a month for 12 months, then you'll be able to "prefund" this outlay, without having to struggle to cover a several-hundred-dollars one-time expenditure. Just a suggestion.
An Interesting Source of Subscription Insight
In researching the current state of the certification and training subscription market for this update, I came across a website designed to let visitor find and compare Online Course Providers. The site's sponsor, G2, describes itself as being "the world's largest tech marketplace where businesses can discover, review and manage the technology they need to reach their potential."
They also cover training providers, too, and seem to do a pretty objective and unbiased job of describing what's on offer. They rely on ratings from their membership/participants to offer rankings that should — at least theoretically — reflect some sort of collective wisdom.
Here are some links from their site that readers interested in finding, comparing, and evaluating online training subscriptions may find helpful. I was tickled to see that, here in late 2020, they still concur with my ranking and understanding of the three subscription providers that I mentioned in my 2016 article:
Best Online Course Providers — Their Top 10 reads: LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Pluralsight, HubSpot Academy, Udacity, Coursera, CBT Nuggets, A Cloud Guru, Khan Academy, and InfosecSkills.
Highest Rated This actually offers a Top 20 of Online Course Providers adding ITProTV, 101 Blockchains, Plan Academy, Codeacademy, TestOut, ServiceSkills, OpenSesame, and Dataquest to the preceding mix (in somewhat different order).
It still looks like you can get a high-quality, unlimited learning/training plan for at or under $60 a month, if this is something that appeals to you. I'd recommend digging in, and finding out which of these plans aligns with your upcoming plan for recertification and earning new certifications.
Surprisingly, most of the organizations mentioned in this story cover most of the major IT certs, and quite a few of the more offbeat or minor ones, too. Enjoy!