Specializing in a .NET area it’s hard if not impossible. I’m saying that because the more you learn about it, the more ramifications it has. And I get it, it’s confusing, especially if you’re just starting out, like I did a few years ago. People have complained about where to start in a Microsoft Environment.
These days there are job not even asking for a university degree, or even relevant experience. Employers understand the level of free resource out there on the internet and some of them only ask applicants for a portfolio with relevant work. Having stated that, how do you get a foundation that takes you from a coding newbie to a confident programmer?
In this post, I will briefly review a recommended course for starting out programming with some of the latest web technologies the job market hunts for: Build an app with ASPNET Core and Angular from scratch on Udemy, by Neil Cummings. I will walk you through the course contents, pros, cons and my personal professional opinion along the way. The course materials can be found here.
Disclaimer: I am not paid to review this course, nor do I receive any benefits from reviewing it or linking to any relevant third-party resources. I review it because it has been recommended in the .NET community and I am of the opinion that it is worth sharing that with fellow programmers. This is my personal opinion influenced by past experience, and you should do your own research.
The course is meant to teach you how to build a web app in .NET and Angular. Specifically, you will be building a dating web app. There are roughly 28.5 hours of video material summing up a total of 259 lectures. You also get a certificate of completion at the end, so you can stick it on your portfolio (if you’re into that kind of stuff). It’s rated at 4.6/5, from a total of almost 16k reviews. Requirements: Hello world (basic) experience in ASPNET Core and Angular. This course has been taken by 66k students. At the time of writing this post (July 2021), it is ranked as the Best Seller. The price is £60, but I’m sure you could find a coupon online, to discount it (I found one that reduced it to £14, using this site, it doesn’t work 100% of the times, but it worked in this instance, fingers crossed).
Instead of walking through it section by section, I’ll pick up what I believe are the most important sections and bundle them together.
The course content is suitably structured, it begins with the basics of an API, followed by Angular and Authentication, Logging in and registration. That is followed by more moderate level concepts such as routing and error handling. The second half of the course builds on top of the first one with more advanced in-depth concepts. It is presenting the use of Bootstrap tables (with their pagination, sorting and filtering), user messaging feature with SignalR to support the server-side functionality of it. The course finishes with a section dedicated to publishing the app with Heroku and GitHub.
Below I’ve put together your journey as you would take the course, with all the sections as presented in the course contents.
Here is a synthesis of what other people had to say about the course. Keep in mind, these are people that have potentially finished the course or are half-way through it:
Nice to have commits per video lecture. Nice if lazy loading was included. Not for absolute beginners. At the end the trainer goes faster through the content. The teacher is active in the Q&A. Heroku was hard to set up and support was not given from the teacher.
- Use of CLI.
- Use of Entity Framework.
- Cross platform explanation (installing Angular for Mac or Windows)
- Teaching the repository pattern.
- Re-records the entire course to stay relevant and up to date
- Hands-on practical course. It is always beneficial, especially for a beginner, to get their hands dirty into coding, get stuck and have this entire interactive environment where they learn. So much of their senses fire up at once, this helps with memorization.
- Helpful community with lots of questions answered already. The teacher is also active in the Q&A section. This is especially useful when you get stuck, trust me, you want to find at least one person with the same issue you do.
- Uses only VS Code. I think there is tremendous value in learning how to use VS Code, which is what the app teaches, and don’t get me wrong, I love the editor. It’s light weight, free, highly customizable and open-source. However, I am of the opinion that it is beneficial for a beginner to use Visual Studio. The vast majority of SaaS businesses selling .NET web apps, have Visual Studio licenses. Meaning devs use that tool intensively. Although it’s not a deal breaker, it could help a beginner stand out or at least give them an edge when they start the job. Though the majority of the course is focused around building an Angular App, the codebase could have been split up, which leads me to the next point.
- Separation of concerns. The front-end (Angular) side, could have been separated into a separate application which could be maintained in VS Code. While the API and data access side could have been their own Visual Studio repo. This way the student learns to build apps as well as keeping separate in line with SOLID principles.
- Too lengthy. The course is 28.5 hour and it covers way more than just the basics. Maybe it could have been slightly easier to undertake if it was cut down to 15 hours, with a follow up on the teacher’s personal website, or a cheaper second part course. But Udemy is full of 30-50h courses, teachers try to stay on top of the game with plenty of material covered in one course.
- Not for absolute beginners. People have complained that it is not for absolute beginners. However, the Requirements section does specify basic experience in ASPNET Core and Angular. Which you can acquire with a 1h training on Angular and Microsoft’s websites.
- Heroku could’ve been replaced with Azure Pipelines (also free and more relevant on the marker). Students reported that Heroku was hard to set up and other people might have had issues with it.
In a nutshell, I would recommend the course. Both .NET Core and Angular are sought after on the job market and are ideal for a newbie to start off with. The course is not confusing and is kept up to date. It comprises of the main domains requested by most companies (i.e. authentication, form building, data tables, db access, APIs). The students seem to appreciate the quality of the lectures and this is the most essential factor. Beginner or not, you get a hands-on foundation of what software development could potentially be in a real-world scenario.
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