Seasonal Learning Opportunities

As we rush into the holidays, we’re all aware – and constantly reminded – of the sales and deals out there on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday season straight through New Year’s Day. Apart from the toys (electronic or other), household items, music, games,  etc. that are on sale, the season also provides tremendous opportunities for discounted learning and reference material. Related to my prior Always Be Learning post, below I’ll suggest a few places you might want to look to help improve your abilities this holiday season.

The following are simply in alphabetical order, and I’m sure only represent the tip of the iceberg of good deals. Please share any others you hear about in the comments.

Books and Videos


Cisco Press are having a Black Friday Sale with 35% off one item, or 55% off two or more items. This includes books, ebooks, video training, practice exams, and more. They also consistently offer eBook and Video Deals of the Week (which are different deals than those from Pearson).

Manning Publications

Manning typically publish development and programming focused books, though they also cover topics of more interest to non-devs like Chef, Docker, SQL Server, SharePoint, PowerShell, and Python. This year they’re having a “Green Tuesday” sale from today until the end of November where all eBook purchases under $50 are 40% off (code gt114013) and purchases over $50 are 50% off (code gt115013).

In prior years they’ve also offered deals on their entire catalog of physical books as well, and of course they normally have a Deal of the Day selected from across their entire catalog (eBooks, physical/printed books, or “MEAPs” – Manning Early Access Program books similar to O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts where books are made available as chapters are completed).


O’Reilly have been one of the premier publishers of IT books for decades, and in recent years have of course added ebooks, videos, and other media to their output. While O’Reilly have Ebook Deals of the Day (usually two) and Video Deal of the Week, their biggest sales are at this time of year. They’ll be kicking off their Cyber Monday Sales starting this Friday, and while they haven’t announced the details, I would expect to see 50-60% off a large selection of titles. And remember – O’Reilly sell/distribute books by other publishers as well including No Starch Press, Wrox, Wiley, Sybex, and many others.


Packt Publishing are “deal friendly”: their books are fairly low-priced to begin with, they have frequent sales throughout the year, and they have their regular Deal of the Day. For the past several years, they’ve also had phenomenal deals over the holidays (between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day) where their entire stock is available for $10/ebook or even as low as $5/ebook. This is a great time of the year to stock up on books you’ve been holding off on, or even (like me) to pick up something you wouldn’t normally just because it’s now so affordable. (Disclaimer: I do not know that PacktPub will be having this type of sale again this year; I’m merely going off of prior history.)

Pearson IT Certification

Pearson are having the same Black Friday Sale as Cisco Press with 35% off one item, or 55% off two or more items. On their site you’ll find not only tech books from Cisco Press but also VMware Press,  and others), and of course video training, practice exams, and more.  If you miss this sale, they also consistently offer eBook and Video Deals of the Week.



If you’re ready to take the leap for your CCIE, check out INE.  They’ve already had 5 days of deals with (at least) 2 more to go – today’s deal was 65% off CCIE study bundles which include lab workbooks, advanced training courses, and rack rental tokens.


Another option for CCIE training is iPexpert. Though none have been publicly announced yet, the site has offered Black Friday deals in the past, and likely will again this year.

Home Lab

There’s also the hands-on way of learning: use the plethora of sales on tech components and peripherals to either expand your existing lab or build out a new one. Nothing teaches like experience, so give yourself a gift that keeps on giving: forget the bigger TV or the new tablet and instead get yourself a NAS, a lab switch, a virtualization host, more RAM for your existing lab server, etc. Practically anyone who sells anything will have deals over the next few days and the next month so check out your favorite sites or dealers. For me, the usual sites will be no surprise: Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect.

Don’t limit yourself to hardware, though – many software vendors will be offering great deals as well. For example, expect to see discounts on VMware’s site for Workstation and Fusion. Other software that isn’t specifically for a lab – productivity software, backup software, etc. – may also be on sale. Prior years have seen great deals on products such as SpiderOak (highly recommended combination of backup and synch with a zero-knowledge security focus) and CrashPlan (backup software w/o synch).

Take advantage of everything that’s out there, and get prepared for a new year of learning and growth!


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