Online learning platforms and ice-cream

You’re going to get vanilla. You always get vanilla. It’s your favourite flavour. You’ve been getting since you were a kid.

You walk into the ice-cream store.

‘Hello, welcome to Pauly’s Iced Creams, what flavour would you like?’

You pause.

WTF happened?

It was vanilla. It’s always vanilla. You always choose vanilla. You’ve been here before.

You don’t say anything. Your eyes are running up and down all the other flavours. All of them have different colours.

English toffee, spearmint, strawberry, boysenberry, rum & raisin, cookie dough. COOKIE DOUGH!

Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla. You think to yourself.

But vanilla doesn’t look so great compared to all of the pretty colours.

Honeycomb, chocolate chip, chocolate, double chocolate, triple chocolate, X chocolate. What’s X chocolate? You wonder.

By this stage, there’s someone behind you.

‘You can serve them, I’m still deciding.’

The people behind you walk up to the counter.

‘2 vanilla cones please.’

They get their cones and walk out.

What? How’d they make it look so easy?

The attendant comes back.

You think. Vanilla. Vanilla. Vanilla.

You speak.

‘I’ll get a double scoop of english toffee and boysenberry, please ’

Your vanilla plan went out the window.

You want out the store and sit down. After the first few licks you realise english toffee and boysenberry are delicious.

You walk back into the store.

‘Thank you!’

‘Make the right decision?’

‘They were amazing.’

Why was choosing an ice-cream flavour so hard?

Because too many choices leads to no choices. Even when you had an idea of the flavour you wanted, when you saw how many other flavours were available, you were paralysed.

Paralysed by choice.

This is the same when choosing an online platform to learn programming or other computer skills.

I’ve used all of them, Udemy, Coursera, Plurasight, Udacity, Edx, Khan Academy and Plurasight.

I had such a hard time choosing, I had to sit down and make my own curriculum.

In came my self-created AI Masters Degree.

After I made it, I promised myself I wouldn’t do a single other course until all of the ones on the list were done.

How did I decide?

My formula went like this.

I decided what skills I needed (machine learning, data science, programming).

And then spent a day trying out every single platform.

If I didn’t enjoy it within the first 10-minutes. It got cut.

After the list was done, it wasn’t changing. Then I followed it. And 8-months later I got a job as a machine learning engineer. But that’s another story.

The platforms you listed are all great. But the real value comes from choosing something and sticking with it.

Treat it like being at the ice-cream store.

Taste test the flavours your interested in (utilise the MOOCs free-trial periods).

And then go with the one(s) you enjoyed most (sign up and commit).