What’s in store in 2020?

What’s in store in 2020?

Before I dive into the topics you can expect me to create content about this coming year, a little background might be helpful. Let’s catch up!

What’s up with Bob nowadays?

I began creating C# videos in June, 2001. I released my first videos to the world in February 2002. I’ve been doing this a really long time. Only Lynda.com has been doing it longer (that I know of … and no one has been creating .NET content longer than me). I’ve seen this whole online training thing go from zero to a multi-billion dollar industry. Somehow I missed out on virtually all of that … not to worry, enough therapy can get you through just about anything. 🙂

But when it looked like I couldn’t sustain myself doing this full-time, I unconsciously took a couple years off. Oh, I was sitting at my desk, but I was burnt out and bitter. Hollow inside. Mentally checked out. Honestly, I just wanted to move to Colorado and do wood working and never touch a computer ever again. (I’ve never actually done wood working, however, so that wasn’t a great plan.)

Once I ran out of money, I went back to work full-time as a software developer at a tiny company. My co-worker and boss quit a week after I joined (I don’t think it was me … at least, I hope not). So, I had no real boss for most of the time I was there. I didn’t really report to anyone … except an anal retentive, condescending guy who pretended to be a Scrum master, but was really just a glorified Jira maintainer with a God complex. It feels good to say that out loud.

Working again was an eye opener — I had worked for myself and by myself for so long that I had lost touch with things like Git and Web API. But here I am learning Angular and Git and Web API and more! I was only at this job for about 5 months, but it got me through a tough time. I was able to get a little confidence back.

Then, Microsoft called and asked if I would work on a new project, Microsoft Learn. This time, they didn’t just want the milk, but the cow. I had another (better) offer from a well known training company, but how could I say no to Microsoft? I’ve had an infatuation with Microsoft since I wrote my first Visual Basic “Hello World” program in 1992.

I joined under 4 conditions … and one of them was I could continue to create video content on my own website. They agreed. So I joined.

Working at Microsoft has been an amazing experience. I’ve met and learned from truly incredible people, I’m actually part of a team(!!!), I’ve learned new ways of teaching, of managing, and I’ve seen how the sausage is really made. Most days, I’m pretty sure I’m the dumbest guy at the company.

Where do we go from here?

So while all of this is going on … I still needed to decide what to do with DevU? People were still looking at it. People were still subscribing to it. I wasn’t really sure what to do next. Not a day went by where I didn’t ask myself how what I needed to do next, and never really came up with a good answer. Not only did I not have an answer, but I simply didn’t have the mental energy. I was still burned out. There was a mental block.

The first decision I made was to change the website name and URL from DevU to bobtabor. Both the branding and the concept of DevU was a bad idea. Actually, it was a great idea that I never really executed on. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have focused on AWS certification prep … that seems to be the meal ticket for many new upstarts.

A few interactions with people I met online and offline helped me realize that people know my name, but they didn’t know my website name, “devu”. So, I decided to lean into “bobtabor” as my brand from now on. That felt right.

Next question was the biggie … in a world of YouTube, Twitch, Channel9, Udemy, and Pluralsite, is there any room for little me?

I think there is, but I have to change how I do things. And I think I just gave up too easily. I think I can still help people, and I think I can do it in a unique and compelling way. So, here we go.

What videos are you going to release in 2020?

I generally don’t like committing to what I’m going to work on — if I change my mind, I’ll have a dozen emails calling me out. Furthermore, I don’t like saying I’m going to do something. I prefer to say “I just did something” once I’m finished.

However, I get so many questions about what I’m going to do, and I’ve been away from this for a while, so I decided to go ahead, stick my neck out, and commit to the following topics 2020.

2020 Goal:

  • C# + .NET Core + ASP.NET Core RazorPages **
  • Git + Github
  • ASP.NET MVC Core Razor + Web API
  • Entity Framework Core
  • JavaScript / ES6 Refresh
  • React + Redux + GraphQL

** This will be an update for the current flagship C# course … it will be comprised of a bunch of smaller pieces that — when combined — will cover everything the current course does and more. It will offer a great segue into ASP.NET MVC Core, Web API, Entity Framework and so on. See below for the change in approach to new topics. Important: this updated version will be a free upgrade if you’ve purchased my current “C# Fundamentals via ASP.NET Web Applications” course.

Stretch goals:

  • Node JS + Express + Mongo
  • Angular + Typescript
  • HTML5 + CSS3 Refresh
  • Bootstrap 4 Refresh
  • Python + Django + Flask

Wow, that’s a lot. I think I’m up for it. I’m hungry again. And now that my kids are out of the house, my nights and weekends are painfully empty. I have no other hobbies. How else should I spend my time but to do the one thing I’m actually decent at? 🙂

Wait, but what about …

  • Blazor? Once I start seeing job listings looking for people with Blazor experience, I’ll create training for it. I love the potential. It’s too early to commit to it just yet.
  • Desktop or mobile frameworks? … this would cover a large swath of potential topics like UWP, Xamarin, etc. I just don’t believe in rich client anymore.
  • Azure? – Microsoft does a great job of evangelizing and teaching Azure (and Azure DevOps). The challenge with Azure is that it changes often. Been burned by that once, I just can’t keep up with the pace.
  • AWS? – I think I would get fired if I even touched AWS with a 10 foot pole. 🙂
  • Containers? – That’s likely not going to happen this year. Change my mind!

This time around, things will be different

So, I’m going to take a different tact in how I organize content. The courses will be tiny. Like, probably no more than 10 videos. If I can keep them small, I’m more likely to finish them, and you’re more likely to watch them.

To keep things tightly scoped, the courses will be centered on a specific outcome … a “terminal learning objective” to borrow the phraseology of Instructional Designers. The titles of the courses and video lessons will follow the format:

How do I __?

So, a few examples might include:

  • “How do I create a simple React front end site?”
  • “How do I create a simple C# application?”
  • “How do I use the Entity Framework to build an entity model?”
  • etc.

This emphasizes a solution over a concept.

Within each of those courses, there would be a variety of formats for lessons titles, like:

  • How do I X?
  • What is X?
  • When should I prefer X over Y?
  • Why would you use X?
  • Where does X fit into your application architecture?

Some of these will be more conceptual in nature, some more hands-on in nature. But all lessons will roll up to the primary “terminal learning objective” … to help you accomplish something important.

I find that this format will help me stay in scope and address the burning questions you have and help you find what you’re looking for.

All code will be in Github. All slides will be available online.

What about exercises / challenges?

The hands-on challenges are easily the most popular parts of my courses. So much so that I believe this is where the real value lies.

So, I’ll be giving away a lot of the instructional content for free to catch people’s attention … after all, YouTube.

But, I’ll also create add-on courses that consist of just challenges and solutions to help you apply what you learn. Frankly, this is where the real learning will happen, I’m convinced.

These challenge / solution courses will be exclusive to existing / new paying customers.

When can we expect to see new stuff?

Give me a few weeks to get rolling. I’m on it.

Ok, time to get cracking. Wish me luck!