Best Online Courses for Creative Developers
The way we use the web, the way the web is used for business and creativity and the way businesses build their own piece of the web – all this has changed dramatically over the last decade. With a massive shift from physical to digital in literally every realm of society, culture and economy, a huge chunk of consumer-brand interaction has moved to the online realm. New forms of digital production have emerged, changing the web and changing the way we shape it. And with these new forms, a lot of new web-related jobs have emerged as well. The lines between who does what have been rendered more flexible in favor of a more integrative approach to web creation, and creative developers are a fine example of this.
What Does a Creative Developer Do?
When it comes to creative development, people outside of the industry often wonder what it is precisely that creative devs do. Sure, it’s a web developer job. It involves using code to create websites. But then, there’s the creative part, so what does that mean exactly? Well, the job of a creative developer can be seen as a hybrid between a designer and a developer. For a long while, we have been used to this strict division of work – a designer is responsible for the visual part, how a website or an app will look, and a developer is the one making it work using computer code.
Being a creative developer is an exciting and inspiring job. It involves imagination, innovation, skill and inspiration, and can bear remarkable and rewarding results. If you’re thinking about a change in your professional direction but fear you lack the required skills, don’t worry. There are tons of excellent online courses created by industry experts, providing resources, insight and knowledge on a number of topics involved in the work of a creative developer. This time around we have reached out to our own team of creative developers for recommendations and asked about their favorite online courses.
We will focus on three online platforms: Frontend Masters, Udemy and Pluralsight, and talk about their best courses on topics relevant for creative development.
Animation is an extremely important aspect of user experience. It gives life to a design, it keeps the user engaged and entertained and helps bridge a number of UI gaps. Functional animation can make or break a website, so it’s imperative for it to be carried out well. For those interested in mastering web animations and transitions, Frontend Masters has prepared a course in Motion Design with CSS. Recognizing CSS as the most valuable animation instrument, the course uses innovative tools, fun demonstrations and code examples to teach the users how to set their ideas in motion. This four-hour course is part of the Frontend Masters Design to Code and CSS learning paths and can be accessed via video subscription.
SVGs are an important tool in a designer’s and a developer’s toolbox, due to their small file sizes and high quality of graphics contained in those files. SVG Essentials & Animation, v2, is the new version of a popular course by Frontend Masters, where Sarah Dresner from Netfly teaches all there is about creating SVGs and animating them using CSS and Greensock, with a focus on UX/UI animation. The course is part of the Professional, Design to Code, CSS and Data Visualization with D3.js learning paths.
Google Chrome’s Developer Tools represent a great asset for every creative coder, and one that often slips under the radar in terms of the tools for the job. In an excellent Introduction to Dev Tools, v3, Frontend Masters provide an in-depth overview of all the available tools and options for editing, debugging and profiling web apps in simulated network conditions. If you sign up for this course, you will also learn about Lighthouse site auditing, performance troubleshooting and page jank removal. This excellent starter course is part of the Beginners learning path but is also a good choice for more seasoned developers looking for a quick crash course on Dev Tools.
As one of the most popular online teaching marketplaces with over 183,000 courses and 44 million students, Udemy is an excellent place to look for creative development courses. Courses are available for individual learners, so you can take one up on your own, but the platform also offers Udemy for Business, with access to targeted course suites and learning portals for onboarding and training. While Udemy has courses for virtually any industry and topic, from business, marketing and tech to arts, academics, languages and music, software development and programming seems to constitute a particularly large chunk of their catalog– and there are dozens of them created specifically for creative coding. Here are a couple of Udemy courses that we find particularly useful for future creative developers.
Pluralsight is another popular online learning platform, focused specifically on courses for software developers, admins and various web professionals and creatives, including creative developers. It currently offers more than 7,000 courses given by 1,400 lecturers, all experts in their particular subjects. While the platform is aimed primarily at tech workforce development, which basically means enterprise courses for employee training and professional development, individual courses for professionals looking to expand their skills individually are available as well. The courses are available on a monthly and an annual level, and come in two tiers: the standard plan offers the core suite of courses and learning paths, as well as assessment, while the premium plan includes the entire library of both core and expanded courses, complete with paths, assessments, exams and interactive courses, as well as projects. The cheapest option is the monthly standard plan, which is available for $19. The core library itself is quite extensive, with 2,500 courses in software development, security, data, cloud computing and more, while the expanded library includes access to all 7,000 courses that are currently available at Pluralsight. Note that the courses you’re interested in might only be available through the expanded library, so make sure to check before you sign up for a plan.
Recognizing that CSS is possibly the best tool for creating animated designs and interfaces, Pluralsight offers Motion Design with CSS, a four-hour beginner course that covers the basics of CSS animation, debugging, and using animation to draw attention, enrich the design and increase engagement. It’s a thorough and comprehensive course that finishes with instructions on creating more complex animations using event listeners and tops it all off with performance measurement tips. This course is part of the expanded library, which means it’s only available for users with the premium plan.
An excellent course for creative developers who want to expand their skillset and learn how to add extra flair to their designs, Using SVG Filters for Web Design and Animation proposes several different ways for manipulating CSS graphics, text and images using SVG filters. Before starting work on two practical projects – creating a product page and a gooey button – the users will learn the basics of SVG filters in a simple HTML playground, as well as go through various filters and see what they do. The course is created for advanced users, lasts a little over 1.5h and can be accessed through the expanded library. It’s also a good choice for those who have completed a beginner SVG course, such as Frontend Masters’ SVG Essentials & Animation, which we mentioned earlier.
Wrapping It Up