Free and Inexpensive Ways to Pick Up Open Source Tech Skills

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 16, 2013

This week Twitter was in the news for buying San Francisco-based company Marakana, which has focused on tech training, including training many people to use open source technology platforms and tools. As ZDNet reported, "Twitter is in the process of building its own engineering education program, dubbed Twitter University." Marakana's team will help build out this effort and the company will no longer train any individuals or organizations who want training.

However, there are a number of other places online where you can pick up valuable open source tech skills, and as we've reported these skills are very valuable in the current job market.  Here are some sites worth investigating if you want to pick up skills for free, or at very low costs.

W3Schools has a very exhaustive set of free, hands-on tutorials on both mainstream and esoteric web development topics. You can brush up on CSS, publishing your experiments to actual pages, or walk through examples of how to use everything from AJAX to PHP. Take a gander down the left rail of the home page for how complete the lesson coverage is. 

The W3Schools site has a "Try It" editor where you can do things like script AJAX tasks and then see how they would play out on a real online page. It's amazing that the training resources on this site are free.

Khan Academy, the innovative online education startup that has drawn backing from Google and Bill Gates, continues to add free online classes on various topics at a blistering rate. And, its new Computer Science portal has drawn lots of coverage, featuring free online classes on programming and development that anyone can learn from.

When acquired by Twitter, the Marakana team actually pointed to as a good site for acquiring skills with open source tools and other technologies. The site is being built out now and looks like it will focus on both free and paid training.  Classes should be available soon, but you'll have to wait for the site to make progress.

In enterprises as well as small businesses, the Big Data trend--sorting and sifting large data sets with new tools in pursuit of surfacing meaningful angles on stored information--is on the rise. For that reason, skills with Hadoop can be very valuable in the job market. Hortonworks, a spin-off of Yahoo, is addressing that problem with its Hortonworks University, which focuses on teaching Hadoop skills.

Hortonworks officials have predicted that half of the world’s data will be processed by Apache Hadoop within five years. If you've been in the market for a job emphasizing your open source skills, training through Hortonworks University, could become very valuable.  You can find a class near you and register here. Promotional discounts and groiup discounts are also currently available.

For more useful resources to use during your skillset development sessions, see our popular post More Than Five Top, Free Tools for Web Developers and the useful comments from readers there.