Stack Overflow Recommends Training Courses
Written by Sue Gee   
Wednesday, 01 March 2023

A new feature on Stack Overflow will be helpful for anyone looking for online learning resources. Based on the questions you consult, its Online Course Recommendations Module makes personalized recommendations of learning courses from Udemy and Pluralsight.

Findings from the Stack Overflow 2022 Developer Survey  showed a 10% year-on-year increase in learning to code online. Over 70% of respondents selected "Other online resources, e..g. videos, blogs, forums" as one of the top three ways they learned to code compared to just under 60% in the previous year's survey.

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There was also clear relationship with age 84.95% of under 18-year-olds claimed to use online resources while among the over 55s only around a half did so. This age group had Books and Physical Media as the top choice with over 80%. Online courses were used by nearly half of respondents, being most popular among those aged 18 to 34 years.

Stack Overflow's research also indicated a need for help in identifying suitable online resources. Teresa Dietrich, Chief Product & Community Officer, Stack Overflow wrote in a blog post: 

“Our research shows that the first, and often most difficult challenge in a learning journey is figuring out where to start, and then finding appropriate, trusted resources for your needs".

It is to meet this need that Stack Overflow has partnered with Udemy and Pluralsight, both popular platforms according to 2022 Developer Survey to provide course recommendations based on  your activity on the Stack Overflow Site.

so learning pltforms

The recommendations appear as an ad module in the right hand side bar. Based on your cookie preferences, the courses you see will either be tailored to content you’ve visited on Stack Overflow, or courses selected based on the content of the page you’re visiting, or will be trending courses.

A couple of examples show what you can expect. The first appeared when viewing the thread AWS Lambda Python libssi C Library

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This second ad popped up during a search initiated with the keyword "asyncio" and is of Popular Online Courses rather than ones being directly relevant to the Python library 

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By providing this module Stack Overflow’s aims to make the learning process easier by providing all the resources technologists need in one place. However, clicking on a link in the ads whisks you away from to either Udemy or Pluralsight, which are quite distinct in what they offer.  

Founded in 2010, Udemy has a large catalog of courses with new additions published every month. Courses are typically very short - the majority are 1-5 hours in length and as anyone can contribute a course the quality varies - which is one reason why following Stack Overflow recomendations is a good idea. However you do need to double check. The top recommendation for Popular courses is Automate the Boring Stuff with Python Programming by Al Sweigart is, like his book of the same name, is for non-programmers with the course description reading:

A practical programming course for office workers, academics, and administrators who want to improve their productivity.

In terms of popularity, this course has a star rating of 4.6  (out of 5) based on 105,824 ratings. However it has had over a million enrollments and,high proportion that didn't give a rating suggests a large drop-out rate. This course has 9.5 hours of video and  95 downloadable resources. Its full cost is £54.99 but there are frequent price reductions and if you are keen on learning with Udemy over 8,000+ courses are included in a Udemy personal plan that cost £15 per month after a 7-day free trial.

On the other hand, for beginners wanting a quick hands-on route into Python, The Python Bible seems more promising. This course has had 151,531 students and a score of 4.6 based on 45,056 rating, it provide 9 hours of video and 3 downloadable resources.At £109.99 it is one of Udeny's more expensive courses and its blurb starts:

  • Gain a Solid & Unforgettable Understanding of the Python Programming Language
  • Gain the Python Skills Necessary to Learn In-Demand Topics, such as Data Science, Web Development, AI and more.
  • Build 11 Fun and Memorable Python Projects.

If you are beyond the beginner stage you are more likely to find useful courses on Pluralsight which is a well established training organization for developers, having been founded in 2004 by Aaron Skonaard and offering over 7,000 courses written by subject matter experts. It is subscription based with two tiers - Standard and Premium - costing $29 and $45 a month respectively, or $299/$499 if you pay for 12 months upfront.   

In choosing these partners, Stack Overflow hopes to help developers at all levels improve their skills with Teresa Dietrich saying:

We are very excited about our evolution from collective knowledge to collective learning, but it will take time. You’ll see us begin to introduce new capabilities on the platform for you to try, and we’ll update you as we leverage community feedback and user research throughout.”


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More Information

Announcing more ways to learn and grow your skills

Stack Overflow 2022 Developer Survey


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