10 Cool Resources for IT Professionals

Work smarter, not harder!
That motto is something that helps us all in life. Not only to get tasks done but to save us time AND increase margins. We’re in business to make money and anything we can do, any resources we can find that will help with that are great.

Here is Code of Entry‘s list of tools we’ve found online that simply help get things done!

fiverr logo

1. Fiverr: Freelance Services for Business

Fiverr is a website of digital freelancers.  And believe me, you can find a TON of stuff on Fiverr!

Fiverr connects businesses with freelances offering digital services in over 300 categories. It is great for getting anything from a logo design to content creation, voice overs, intro/outros for podcasts. Fiverr allows you to find professionals from around the world and get things DONE…without spending a ton of money.

One of the interesting things about Fiverr is you can categorize based on the level of sellers. You can filter by top rated people, or maybe you want to look at new people that haven’t been rated yet.

Risk-Reward Proposition

It is a risk-reward proposition. What I’ve done a few times in the past for logo designs is to sketch out a few ideas I like, I will find some logos online for inspiration, and pick out some new people and pay $5 (ehem…sorry….that’s why it’s called Fiverr…prices start at $5) for some unproven people to give me 2 or 3 logo designs. Then, I’ll pay $25 for one level 2 seller to give me one logo design. What I’ve found is sometimes you strike gold! You find a person who is not rated because they are new to the site, not that they are not good, and you get a great graphic back quick.

Word of Warning!

I will say be careful using it for a lot of the digital marketing services, especially backlinking services. It is one of those ‘get what you pay for’ instances. You don’t want to end up with low quality backlinks that will hurt you.

Back to the positive side! Fiverr is a great place to find someone to do server maintenance, or write a custom plug-in, or even find a virtual assistant! Go check it out

upwork logo 2. Upwork

If you have a large project you want to do turnkey, end to end and want a company to help you or maybe you have tasks you complete on the regular and want to bring in a freelancer or freelance company, Upwork is for you.

From an agency perspective, I think Upwork can be really beneficial. Maybe you are trying to scale your work and just haven’t quite found the right person to hire yet, or you need to hand off a project or a phase of a project, Upwork is a great choice.

I will say that if you are a non-technical person or you don’t have a lot of expertise in a specific area, any of these outsourcing tools can fall short (Fiverr or Upwork). The goal here is to pay a bit less than you would pay a brick and mortar company to get a job done, but sometimes things may get lost in translation or there are time zone difference, and you end up spending more time managing the project that it’s worth to just pay “full price”.

 

appsumo logo 3. Appsumo

(My favorite thing on this list! ….yeah, I MAY impulse buy…)
Appsumo gives great deals on a lot of up and coming IT start up services. The gist is you are paying to come in as a beta user. You get a greatly reduced rate because you understand that product is not a mature solution…yet, or maybe the product is just going to production and they are looking stress the system.

In-depth Reviews

A lot of people in the Appsumo community, called “Sumolings”, will leave really in-depth reviews. These reviews are beneficial to you the buyer/user because….well you just bought a code and you want to give them your feedback so they can improve the product you just purchased, which seriously helps out the developers!

I’ve bought A LOT of things on Appsumo over the years. WordPress plugins that automatically manage mailing for you. An invoicing service we used for a while here at Code of Entry. A couple different versions of chatbots, simply because they did different things well. Deposit photos (stock photo codes). SEO tools like Market Muse. A webinar system that I get for LIFE!

Lifetime Deals!?

Some codes are lifetime deals. You pay $x and you get access for life. And they also often make it so you can “stack” codes. But heads up, most of these incredible deals are truly limited time deals. They will be in the shop for a month and then they are gone!

Another perk….Appsumo has pretty funny videos for each of the product showcases.

udemy logo, IT resource 4. Udemy

I talk about up-skilling a lot. I’m not a huge fan of degrees, yes I do have a couple, but I think what you learn is HOW you learn (no, doesn’t make sense? Listen my podcast with Justin Cleveland for a deeper dive) . I’ve learned that I personally learn very effectively with online videos and tutorials that I can follow along. I can figure just about anything out if you show me where to start. That is why I love Udemy!

Stay Current

What you will find with Udemy is, if you are a new customer all of the courses are ~$10! I’m not talking about a little slideshow presentation either! These courses will be  40+ hours on a full stack developer bootcamp! Or 40+ hours of content on AWS cloud certification or hours on Kubernetes (K8S), or Ansible, or Docker. It is a great way to stay current.

Right now in my box, I have courses going on for WordPress API and headless WordPress implementation, automating tasks with Ansible, 2020 full stack developer bootcamp. Why? Because it is hard to stay current, for around $10 a course, I can do just that.

Often times courses on Udemy will have thousands of people who have rated them to help you know if the class is worth it or not.

Wait for the Sale!

If you visit the website and there is not a sale…..wait! That is why I usually buy a handful of classes at one time. If you are a new student, you will more likely than not get a great sale. If you go and see a class you want to take for hundreds of dollars….just wait. There is a sale about once a month, just wait it out.

There’s an app for that!

Udemy even has an app where you can download classes to your phone. If you are like me and tend to spend a fair amount of time on a plane…the app is pretty clutch.  I tend to get a lot of my classes watched sitting on a plane or in an airport.

matrixds logo, IT resource 5. Matrix DS

One of the things people struggle with in a data science environment is setting up things on their computer. Want to script in Python? Download Jupyter Notebook? Or learn the statistical programing language R?

Martix DS is cool because you don’t have to do any of that setup stuff! And it is already integrated with a code repository.

How it Works

Have a project you want to start? You go to Matrix DS and say you want to start a project using R, this much memory, this many CPUs and GO! It spins up an instance and you have an environment where you can create, store, and manage your code.

It is a really neat, all encapsulated system that allows you to do some data science.

Even better…there is a free tier to Matrix DS, so you can test it out with no risk.

amazon web service logo, IT resource
6. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Amazon Web Service’s free tier is ridiculous! If you are a new AWS customer, you can get on AWS and spin up servers in the cloud to use for a variety of instances.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers. 

You can spin up an Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) node and deploy just about whatever you want on it.

Remember to turn it off

Now…you have to remember to turn it off, which is the great thing about the free tier. The free tier gives you chance to spin up, spin down, and learn things before you have this big, paid for server in the cloud that you forget to turn off and get charged a bunch of money.

Data Science Sandboxes

AWS also has these cool data science sandboxes that you can use. Basically, you spin up a server that has an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with all the tools you would ever need for data science.

The biggest barrier to AWS is learning the vernacular. Going back to Udemy…I took a course on AWS.

AWS Rocks!

I feel like I am not doing AWS justice! You can send out automated text messages, push messages for mobile apps, host mobile apps….Amazon dominated everyone in the cloud space! So go use their free tier and learn!

canva logo, IT tool 7. Canva

Now for something a little more fun! I am a big fan of a website called Canva. Canva allows you to create designs for presentations, videos, social media posts, logos, and flyers. Canva has a lot of options for free.

Fun Fact: I’m a big Taekwondo fan! I originally started using Canva for taekwondo flyers, scholarship certificates, and social media posts to support by taekwondo hobby and spread the word about various events. I realize just how much power this tool has and now we create all of the Code of Entry social media graphics in Canva!

There are of course benefits to the paid version, but you get A LOT out of the free version. Canva gets an A+ from us!

envato logo, IT resource 8. Envato

If I had to rank these tools, I think Envato is second in my heart behind Appsumo. Envato has Theme Forest with WordPress themes, web templates and more. It also has Code Canyon which has different codes snippets you can buy. Code Canyon has thousands of WordPress plugins, PHP scripts, Javascript, HTML 5 templates, and even mobile app templates. Photo Dune is Envato Elements collection of royalty free stock images for a community of photographers. Audio Jungle, which is stock audio tracks.  

It is truly crazy the stuff Envato has at the price points they have them!

Envato Elements

Envato now has Envato Elements, which is an unlimited subscription service for digital resources that is tailored toward professionals who need items on a frequent basis. Envato Elements has unlimited downloads of pictures, stock video, website templates, and so much more.

Go to their website and look around, I think you will be amazed at what they have to offer.

adobe creative cloud logo, IT tools 9. Adobe Creative Cloud Suite

Adobe Creative Cloud Suite makes sure you can have access to Photoshop, Adobe Premeir, Adobe Audition, Aftereffects, Dreameweaver (if you are an oldschool website builder) and any other Adobe product you want for one subscription fee.

 I use the creative cloud suite A LOT, and definitely get my money’s worth!

If you are a student or an educator, you can put in your .edu email address and get a discount.

siteground logo 10. Hosting Provider

I’ve bumped around between hosting providers over the years.

SiteGround

For the time being, I have settled on using SiteGround for a lot of our WordPress work. I don’t think they are perfect, but they have an integrated CDN, they do pretty effective caching, the up time is reliable, and the site speed is pretty fast.

HostGator

The cheapest I’ve found out there is HostGator. I have a love-hate relationship with HostGator because I love cheap and I really like how they work on some of their lower priced shared hosting accounts. However, as soon as you go to private server land with them, it is largely unmanaged, non-performant, and disappointing.

If you are on a small, shared account and just want to get started, HostGator is a great place to go. If you are on a bigger site, I would recommend Site Ground or Amazon Lightsail.

Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail is Amazon’s VPS service. It is relatively new and has gotten a lot better since its inception. I believe you can scale up to 5 servers and do some load balancing now.

Bottom Line: 

  • HostGator Shared Account = beginner, not a lot of traffic 
  • Site Ground = intermediate, mid-range site
  • Amazon Lightsail = medium business Site

There are so many hosting providers out there. It is hard to really go wrong, there are just some that do certain things better than others.

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