When I was deciding which online bootcamp to sign up for one of the major things I was looking for was something that let me interact with people more knowledgeable than me on a regular basis but also let me go at my own pace.
Before signing up with Skillcrush I quadruple checked to make sure I was understanding the terms correctly. Initially I was confused because emails with assignments are sent every weekday but the courses are advertised as lifetime access. After looking closer I learned that you can always go in and access the material, but what you lose by going off track is the ability to stay with the your group for things like office hours and google group postings.
I was bummed about this because I am working full time and also want the freedom to be be able to explore other topics using resources like YouTube, books, Udemy, etc. I knew the chances of me making it through 9 months without departing from the schedule was pretty slim. Thankfully Skillcrush also had this part covered. I learned that Skillcrush allows you to transfer to a different class up to three times, so you have the opportunity to reset your pace and move to another group. Very cool! This final piece of information is what made me sign up.
Today I took advantage of my first transfer. The process to request was pretty painless. Just following a few simple steps outlined here: https://skillcrush.com/transfer-policy/. I AM curious though about whether I get more than three transfers since I purchased the bootcamp + an extra course. The Bootcamp contains three blueprints and it looks like folks who just buy one blueprint or one course get three transfers, so I am wondering if the policy is actually three transfers per class and not three transfers per student? If anyone knows about that let me know!
As discussed in a previous post I am currently making my way through the second course of my online WordPress bootcamp (Skillcrush), Responsive Web Development. After learning enough of the basics in the first course to launch a static site (melindagordon.online), I knew that I’d have to finally tackle responsive design next and I was (a bit still am but less so) pretty intimidated. In the first week Skillcrush introduced a simple exercise that made the topic a lot more approachable for me, and I want to share that with you.
The Skillcrush explanation in a nutshell is that the current approach is to design a site “mobile first.” Basically create a site specifically for the smallest screen your users will have. Then, use “break points” representing a jump in screen size like mobile to tablet, tablet to laptop, and laptop to desktop. You modify your design as needed for the new screen type, translate it to CSS, and then stick it at the end of your existing CSS for mobile. Set that segment of your CSS to kick in only when the user’s screen size hits a specified break point. Rinse and repeat.
If you want to know what I am talking about just minimize your browser window so it looks the size of your smartphone, then stretch it out and watch things happen (assuming you are looking at a responsive site of course).
Anyway so to make their point clear they had us to do an activity where we divided the web page into different colored blocks and then change the blocks to a different set of colors for each of the major breaking points. Very simple but also very cool for a newbie to get to see. Here is my example:
See how the “site” goes from one column, to two columns, to three? This is something I had seen many times before with actual websites but stripping out the content and just looking at the colors made it seem a lot less scary – hope it does for you too!
Skillcrush gave us a PSD (a design in photoshop) that we had to translate to HTML and CSS. I had to look through the posts on the Google group to find out how to do the ampersand and the “on matters…” lines properly but I feel pretty proud about doing everything else without help. Getting through this challenge was definitely a tough one but totally worthwhile and fun now that it is over 🙂
Wondering what I am up to? See Skillcrush 206 – Responsive Web Development.
Second Skillcrush course. Same awesome design and fun intro music! But there is something new – new host!
This may not seem noteworthy to you, but when you are watching videos every day for three weeks a small change is a big change. She is equally as pleasant as our first host though so that’s nice (read more about Skillcrush 101 here).
Day 1 started off with industry standards and coding best practices – how to name code files and how to structure the code in those files. Not the sexiest topic but the kind of detail I really appreciate.
And we still managed to end up with a cute example at the end of the day:
P.S. Please don’t call that number. It is a placeholder number and I have no idea what it is 🙂
So I have officially wrapped up my first course of the Skillcrush WordPress Bootcamp: Skillcrush 101 – HTML & CSS. It was four weeks long (this being the fourth week) with this last week dedicated to an assignment/resting/personalizing custom site.
I really, really enjoyed the course a lot. And I also learned a lot! The way the curriculum is broken out into very manageable chunks, the super cute graphics, and the fun videos I think are a pretty unique learning experience. It is great for reducing intimidation and easing newbies. Here are some examples of what I am talking about:
In the course we learned the basics of HTML and CSS, and walked away with our own static website. Next up is Skillcrush 206 – Responsive Web Development. I am super excited to make my new site mobile friendly!!
Is anyone else out there going through Skillcrush courses? I’d love to hear from you!
To make sure I take full advantage of the Skillcrush bootcamp I paid for, I don’t let myself get more than a week ahead in the courses. This way I can be asking relevant questions (and not questions from weeks ahead) in the google group discussions and office hours which is really a big part of why you pay the money (or at least why I did).
After I finish my Skillcrush lessons though I typically have some time left over that I want to dedicate to learning so I have a few other learning resources I am working through as well on the side. The main one is Code School (https://www.codeschool.com/). I actually started there before Skillcrush. Code School is one of the three main online resources people tend to point to when asked about best ways to get started with code (the others being Code Academy and Treehouse). I haven’t tried those other two yet although I plan to some day. I just didn’t want to get paralyzed when I first started trying to hunt around for the very best one so I just picked one of the three randomly and got started.
I started by reading the free Beginner’s Guide to Web Development linked on the Code School home page.
This free resource was so unbelievably helpful (you should definitely check it out!) that I decided to take the plunge and start paying the $30 a month subscription fee right away. Just want to note though that some of the Code School courses you can take without buying a subscription so if are strapped for cash right now then definitely just check those out.
I started on the HTML/CSS track and took the first course – Front-end Formations. I absolutely loved that course and especially liked that at the end there were screencasts to watch where the instructors walk you through building an example site from scratch.
Part way through the Front-end Foundations course (VERY similar name to the first course but different) I found the free Skillcrush 10 Day Bootcamp and loved the style so much that I make a bigger commitment to learning and joined their online bootcamp. Now I work on Code School in my free time instead of working too far ahead in Skillcrush. I find this helpful because it gives me a bit of variety and the Code School content reinforces the HTML & CSS learning I am doing with Skillcrush.
Personally I think Skillcrush courses are more entertaining and easier to digest, so I like to learn there first. I have since completed Front-end Formations and am working my way through the third course, CSS Cross-Country. I am finding these second and third courses less engaging than the first so if I am comparing, I would say Code School is not quite as fun as Skillcrush but definitely still worth doing, very enjoyable, and way friendlier on budget. So if you are interested in learning to code but not convinced that you should be shelling out cash for a bootcamp, I highly recommend Code School. Also I think Code Academy might be completely free so you might want to check that out also.
Are you working through online resources too? Which ones are you favorites? I’d love to hear about them!