Learning Angular Quickly

When approaching the task of learning Angular, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best content with which to get started. Here are the pieces of content and the activities I think will help you get started quickly.

Listening to Podcasts

You probably have time during the day when you can’t code but can listen to a podcast. Many people listen to podcasts or audiobooks on their commute, doing yard work, or when their boss is talking to them (just kidding Andy!). I’ve been using podcasts to learn programming from the beginning. Even if the material is beyond my current understanding, I find the immersion very useful for determining what to focus on when I do sit down and code.

For podcasts, Adventures in Angular from DevChat.TV is my favorite. The podcast is released weekly and covers an array of topics including how to get started, interviews with the Angular team, and practically all other areas of using the framework. The host, Charles Max Wood, has assembled a panel consisting of the “who’s who” in the world of Angular including John Papa, Joe Eames, Lukas Ruebbelke, Aaron Frost, and Ward Bell. The show typically runs for less than an hour and I often feel as if I’m hanging out with a group of (really) senior developers at a bar or coffee shop – laughing a lot and learning a ton. The show is less than a year old at this point so I recommend starting from the beginning and getting caught up on the recent history of Angular in addition to learning from some of the best.

Using Quick Start Tutorials

By “quick start tutorial”, I mean a tutorial that succinctly covers all of the high level aspects of the framework. I have looked at a handful of these and my favorite is by Lukas Ruebbelke on egghead.io. There is a handy GitHub repo that accompanies the course so download the initial project and then write code while watching the videos. I’m a fairly experienced jQuery developer and I found this video had the right pace as I could easily duplicate the HTML and JavaScript and really focus on the Angular details and structure.

Also, Todd Motto’s Ultimate guide to learning AngularJS in one day blog post is appropriately comprehensive for someone getting started. While it’s not a tutorial, he covers the main concepts and terms in Angular accompanied with code examples. Especially in conjunction with listening to podcasts, this post can help you translate the concepts you learned from audio into code on the screen.

There are certainly other tutorials. In fact, angularjs.org has three of them incorporated into the site. There’s one on the home page itself with videos, one tutorial in the documentation, and then also prominently displayed is a link to a code school tutorial. If you want, look at them all. But remember the goal here is to learn Angular, not review quick starts – don’t ask me how I know.

Writing Code

This is really what we are here to do. The podcasts and the quick starts are great, but at some point you will be left to your own devices to write code. This is something that I’ll be writing a lot more about but it’s important to remember that as good as it is to have podcasts, video training, etc., you won’t gain expertise until you write lots of code and push yourself to solve new problems.

Once you start writing code, this is where I expect you will use the Angular Developer Guide, API Docs, and internet search as a reference to solve specific problems and deepen your understanding of the framework’s functionality.

Blogging

Blogging can be helpful in many ways. By writing, you will often find that you don’t understand things as well as you thought you did. Once you have to start choosing the right words to put down on the page, you’ll start fact checking yourself. There is an important learning opportunity when readers comment on your posts including information from their own perspective. Also when there are readers, the accountability level goes up. There’s more of an incentive to continue the conversation and learning. (PS – thanks to everyone reading here!)

You should understand that blogging takes time away from coding but I’m convinced that the time spent is worth it. If you want to take this step, I found this free mini-course by John Sonmez instrumental in getting setup quickly.

Attending Community Events

Luckily where I am located, there are many user groups where developers can link up with other developers. Take a look on meetup.com to see if there are any near you. I recently attended the Philly.NET Code Camp and learned about technologies including Angular, Ember, React, TypeScript, and ECMAScript 6.

The talks were informative but just as important is that this event had a built-in after party. This is where I hung out with some of the presenters and discussed the finer details of these technologies. For instance, how beneficial (or not) are classes in EcmaScript 6? Spoiler alert, there is no definitive answer but by being a part of this discussion, I now understand some of the finer points to consider when choosing to use this feature or not. This learning is incredibly valuable and not often found when watching pre-recorded presentations.

In addition, you may decide to speak at an event like this one day. Take notes not only on the technology you are learning but also notes about what pieces of the presentations work well or what falls flat. This will give you a head start developing your speaking style.

Video Training

Another useful set of content is video training. I use Pluralsight which currently has 1,271 video courses covering a vast array of technologies. At the time of writing, a search for ‘AngularJS’ on Pluralsight returns 42 courses. Some people really do well with video training. Because it’s not a replacement for writing code, I tend to use it during times when I can watch a video but can’t necessarily type easily such as when I’m on the treadmill. I also may listen to more conceptual courses or re-listen to courses in the car where I don’t rely on looking at the screen to absorb the information.

Some of the courses on my radar for Pluralsight are: Building a Site with Bootstrap, AngularJS, ASP.NET, EF and Azure by Shawn Wildermuth, AngularJS for .NET Developers by Joe Eames and Jim Cooper, AngularJS Patterns: Clean Code by John Papa, AngularJS In-Depth by Lukas Ruebbelke, and HTML5 Offline Applications with Angular, IndexedDB and Bootstrap by Craig Shoemaker. There are so many more that look great – it’s an embarrassment of riches.

Other Techniques

This list is by no means exhaustive. For instance, you can contribute to open source. You can start your own podcast or user group. You can analyze the Angular source code, watch YouTube videos of ng-conf, pair program, read books, and many more. These are all great ideas and I’ll write about as many of these as I can.

In summary, the community has done a great job creating content for Angular. There are almost too many choices and there are only so many hours in a day. Hopefully, I’ve been able to shed light on a selection of content and provide tips for you to learn Angular quickly. Happy coding!

One thought on “Learning Angular Quickly”

  1. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! Learning Angular 2 and TypeScript from zero with almost no docs is a real challenge. You make my life easier : )

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