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Do you crave a more creative, fulfilling, and lucrative career? Are you tired of being held back by what you did or DIDN’T learn in school? Do you feel frustrated by the money you are leaving on the table by focusing on print design and not designing for the Web? Are you sick and tired of relying on developers to make your designs come alive? You CAN learn the digital skills you need to transform your career and life. You just need to get started, the RIGHT way, with the Skillcrush Web Designer Blueprint. It’s everything you need to rock this Web thing!

Course Details

Payment Plan
3 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $399
Minimum Skill Level
Basic Computer Knowledge
jQuery, Design, MobileIn PersonPart Time

Raise your hand if you've ever visited a website on your phone or tablet. Of course you have! The most in-demand web professionals understand that the majority of people in the world have a mobile device (it's true!), and that many people use a mobile device as their PRIMARY way of browsing the web. Every day, the demand for websites that are beautiful and intuitive to use GROWS. Learn the skills you need to get paid the big bucks to build the beautiful, responsive websites mobile users crave.

Course Details

Payment Plan
Make 3 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $399
Minimum Skill Level
Comfortable with HTML & CSS
JavaScript, HTML, jQuery, Ruby, CSSOnlinePart Time

Are you done making tens of thousands of dollars LESS than the technical people at your company, when you know that you are every bit as smart? You CAN learn the digital skills you need to transform your career and life. You just need to get started, the RIGHT way, with our web developer blueprint. It’s everything you need to know to become a kick-a$%, take-no-prisoners, digital native.

Course Details

Payment Plan
Make 3 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $399
MySQL, PHP, WordpressOnlinePart Time

Are you ready to learn one of the most marketable skills on the planet? Do you want to land a side project that pays more than your monthly salary? Are you sick of being dependent on expensive templates that aren’t QUITE right, or having to call your developer every single time you need to make even a tiny tweak? Then, my friend, it’s time for you to learn WordPress.

Course Details

Payment Plan
Make 3 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $399
Rails, RubyOnlinePart Time

Ask any industry pro what technology you should learn to build custom web applications and they will all say the same thing: Ruby on Rails. What makes Rails so special is that it is both incredibly complex and unbelievably simple, making it the perfect choice for beginners and experts alike. If you want to get hired full-time at a major tech company (or start your own tech company), this is the technology you must learn.

Course Details

Payment Plan
Make 3 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $399
Minimum Skill Level
A good knowledge of HTML & CSS is required.

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Our latest on Skillcrush

  • Webinar: How to Choose an Online Bootcamp (and get hired)

    Liz Eggleston1/29/2016

    There are so many options when it comes to learning to code online (we have 35 online schools just on Course Report)! From bootcamps to self-guided resources to mentor-driven courses, it can be tough to navigate. So we were excited to join Randle from Skillcrush for a webinar to talk all about choosing the right online coding bootcamp and then being really successful once you're in. And now we're sharing everything we learned!

    Continue Reading →
  • Webinar: How To Write The Perfect Developer Resume

    Liz Eggleston12/9/2015

    If you're a recent coding bootcamp graduate (or you're learning to code), you're probably already thinking about how to land your first developer job. A killer resume and LinkedIn will be crucial to getting interviews. But what should you be including (and what should you absolutely leave off)? Do you emphasize your bootcamp projects or your past work experience? And what goes into a great LinkedIn Summary?? We sat down with Randle Browning of Skillcrush to cover all of this and more. Watch the recorded webinar below!

    Continue Reading →
  • 8 Tips for Moms Learning to Code

    Liz Eggleston5/11/2017

    Let’s face it, coding isn’t for everyone. There is a certain breed that thrives from the challenges associated with programming and web development. Before you initiate the hunt for the perfect daycare find the time to take an online course or experiment with online tutorials and different software. Prepare yourself for the experience. Research front end development, web design and full-stack development. Test the waters and see if any of these spark a passion within.

    Continue Reading →
  • Student Spotlight: Christine, Skillcrush

    Liz Eggleston3/25/2015

    Christine Oskison had a degree in counseling psychology before taking on the role of stay-at-home mom to raise her children outside of Philadelphia. She became interested in web design and development as a creative pursuit, and Christine found Skillcrush when she searched for coding programs tailored to women. Now having completed the Skillcrush Web Development Blueprint, and in the middle of the Wordpress Developer Blueprint, Christine tells us about the benefits of using MightyBell to form a community with other students, Skillcrush’s unique online model, and her goals for using her newfound developer skills.  

     

    What were you up to before you started the Skillcrush Blueprints?

    My education background is in counseling psychology; I earned an MA in counseling about 16 years ago. I held some administrative and counseling jobs, then for the last 10 years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, raising my children.

    Now that my kids are a little bit older, I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do with my career and I became interested in web design.

     

    What prompted you to look into web design and web development?

    I wanted a career that was creative and that fit my logical skillset- web design offers a lot of that. I had always been interested in product packaging and understanding why a consumer wants to buy one product over another. I started getting more interested how that interest translated to websites; why somebody would want to hire a business that had a more attractive, user-friendly website than another and how I could get involved in creating more attractive websites.

    Last year, I volunteered with my church in a technical arts committee and designed slides and keynotes for them and I really loved that. I got to play in design and be creative and actually created a pretty cool finished product.

     

    Did you start learning web design and development with Skillcrush or did you use other resources before?

    When I Googled “web design program tailored to women” I found Codecademy and Dash. Those were really good simple tutorials, but I was looking for something more interactive. I’ll probably use their tutorials to practice and brush up on my skills once I finished the Blueprints, but they didn’t have the same level of interactivity that Skillcrush offers with the videos and the interaction with the instructors and the classmates on MightyBell. The whole program with Skillcrush is a complete package – it’s fantastic.

     

    Which Blueprints have you taken on Skillcrush?

    I started in September with the Web Design Blueprint and I completed it at the end of November. Now I’m in the Wordpress Developer Blueprint and I’m in the last month of that.

     

    What was the motivation for doing an online web bootcamp instead of an in-person bootcamp or even a part-time in-person bootcamp?

    I could have gone back to school to get another degree but that would taken a lot more time and I would need childcare. The fact that Skillcrush is online really fit the flexibility of being able to do the lessons whenever you can.

    Cost is a big factor as well. Some intensive, in-person bootcamps are thousands of dollars. So when you’re not earning money yet, cost is a factor.

     

    Did you look at any other online bootcamps like Bloc, Tealeaf, Thinkful?

    I did look at another online program, Girls Guide to Web Design, but they were only working with the Thesis framework. When I researched Skillcrush, I saw we would build our own site from scratch and and I wouldn’t have to have a certain framework to work with.

    I was definitely looking for a program oriented to women. I also wanted something that was attractively presented, which I found in Skillcrush. To learn how to design engaging websites, I want to learn from somebody who can design an engaging website- some of the other coding tutorials aren’t interesting or engaging. They might be more geared toward men; women and men have different personality styles, and I guess I wanted a more personal touch and more attractive quality.

     

    Were there requirements to be accepted into the Blueprints?

    There is no application process for Skillcrush - but some of the blueprints have requirements.   For the WordPress Developer Blueprint, you need to have had experience with HTML and CSS. Either Web Design or Web Developer Blueprints lend themselves well to moving on to WordPress Developer Blueprint afterward.

     

    So you started with the Web Designer Blueprint in September.

    Right. But before that, what really hooked me was Skillcrush’s 10-day bootcamp. That’s free and I would definitely recommend that you try that first because you can get a feel for the style, the teaching videos, and the course content. Skillcrush has a very interactive, engaging writing style. The 10-day bootcamp gives you guides and gazillions of cheat sheets so you can always refer to those when you’re working on your own.

     

    Did you feel like you were part of a community? Did you interact with other students?

    A hundred percent! Skillcrush sends you daily emails with your assignments and at the end of every email, they prompt us to post questions on MightyBell, or if you’re stuck, to email directly at hello@skillcrush.com. The instructors are open to hearing your questions and helping, whether it be career questions or an issue you’re having with the content.

    MightyBell itself is a fantastic community. You take your daily lessons, which consist of videos, activities and coding work, but a lot of your time is spent on MightyBell. I enjoyed helping others troubleshoot because it helped them and I learned a lot in the process. Each Blueprint class has about 100 students, but I'd say there are closer to 15-20 who are frequently active on our Mightybell group for our Blueprint.

     

    When you had something you needed to troubleshoot logistically on MightyBell, could you upload code and have someone review it?

    You can take a screenshot of your code and post that as an image attachment in a post or you can link up to JS Bin or CodePen. I did that a lot when we were working with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Those websites have the ability for you to post sections of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, then you can share your link on MightyBell and somebody can review it.

     

    Which technologies did you earn in the Web Design and Wordpress Blueprints?

    We learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and Photoshop. We also learn about the user experience as well as how to code your own website.

    In the Wordpress Developer class, in addition to brushing up on our HTML CSS, we’re learning some PHP, command line and Git.

    It’s very comprehensive. I think it’s really given me a great foundation.

     

    How much time did you spend on the Blueprints each week?

    I really put my all into it. It’s been more like a part-time job. I spend 20+ hours on these Blueprints each week.

     

    Did you feel there’s enough content in the Blueprints to spend 20 hours a week?

    Skillcrush says to budget about one hour per day so they expect 7 hours a week. For me, I do my lessons but I’m also thinking about my own website and what I want it to look like. It’s a lot of creative thinking and time and processing, in addition to coding it. I’m a full time mom and I can manage a part-time course experience but for people who are working full time, you may be able to work on Skillcrush on nights or weekends.

    For people working full-time or who have a part-time job out of the home, my advice is not to feel bad about getting behind because there’s no time limit on this class. That’s another benefit of working with Skillcrush: it’s self-paced. Once you pay, you have access to these courses for your lifetime.

    On MightyBell, the instructors will constantly give us resources; if you’re interested in learning more about a concept, they recommend links, books and videos.

     

    Do you have access to MightyBell for longer than three months?

    You do and you can always be a part of your group. For example, I’m in the “Web Designer January 15” group on MightyBell, so I can always talk to that group. There is also a Skillcrush alumni group and a Skillcrush community group on MightyBell. Thankfully, we always have access to this community, which is great.

    While it’s fine to be self-paced, I’ve appreciated staying current is that I could always follow along with everybody’s discussion on MightyBell. I think it can be harder sometimes for people who are going at a different pace to come back after a discussion 10 or 15 days ago and it’s not as fresh in our minds.

     

    What kinds of projects you were able to build with the Web Designer and Wordpress blueprint?

    In the web design blueprint, you’re not using a content management system. You’re coding a portfolio site from scratch, using your own CSS and HTML. The idea is that you are walking away with a page where you can showcase any future projects. The portfolio site looks really different for different people, depending on what colors you like, what fonts you like, whether you want a fun, serious, or minimalist style.

    One thing the instructors always encouraged us about was that our websites will constantly evolve and change - that helped those of us who were concerned about our site being perfect right away (very reassuring!).  They explained that the field of web design and development is constantly evolving and we'll always be learning - which I find very exciting!

     

    What is your goal once you’ve finished this Wordpress Blueprint?

    After this Blueprint is over, I’d like to brush up on some of my skills then market my services as a freelance web designer and Wordpress developer.

    Skillcrush is fantastic with encouraging us to take our first freelancing jobs. I think the Wordpress developer blueprint is particularly good at preparing us for the post-bootcamp life. As part of the class, we have a fake client whose website we develop in Wordpress. Skillcrush instructors walk alongside us as we do each and every step needed for this client. Following that, we’re going to have an apprenticeship where we do take on our first real client. Skillcrush teaches how to price your work, how to market your services, and those practical career-oriented skills. With regard to the career content in the Wordpress developer blueprint, they have guides and videos on resume writing and interviewing.

    One idea for an apprenticeship is to work with someone you know well to start off with and have a comfortable, safe experience first, then get your bearings and branch out.  Maybe that friend who’s a fitness coach needs a blog site?  Skillcrush will really help you get a jump start on working with real clients.   The more involved you are, I think the more you benefit from each course.

     

    Are there specific instructors for each class?

    For this class, our instructors are Adda Birnir and Rachel.  In my other class it was Dee and Sara. There are a few key people managing these classes. I believe there are approximately 100 people per blueprint, so they’re managing a lot of people.

     

    It’s neat for an online bootcamp to still organize students into cohorts, so you always feel like you’re part of a class.

    It’s really fantastic and a lot of times, students are helping each other on MightyBell. Skillcrush also offers webinars and Master Classes. In one of the webinars, the instructor had given me the advice to reach out and find a code buddy within our class. And I’ve done that in both my Web Designer and Wordpress Developer Blueprints. It’s just a matter of reaching out and saying, “Hey, do you want to be able to troubleshoot problems together?” I’ve developed a code buddy relationship and friendships that way.

     

    Does Skillcrush recommend that you go to meetups?

    They do recommend that we get involved with meetups. Logistically, I haven’t been able to make it to one in Philadelphia, but I did actually consider hosting a few people online and have an online meetup instead of an in-person.

    Skillcrush does have office hours which have been great. Every week they’ve been meeting with us online, usually two instructors to troubleshoot. Anybody who wants to come can hop on this Google hangout and troubleshoot issues.

     

    Do you have any advice to other stay-at-home moms learning to code?

    You can do your coursework during nap-time or school, or when the kids go to bed at night and the house is finally quiet! Or sometimes even just read an article for 5 minutes, or watch a 10 minute video when you can.  I found my children were very interested and supportive of what I was doing. They would sometimes want to code or create moodboards with me!

     

    Would you recommend Skillcrush Blueprints to a friend or someone learning web development?

    Absolutely, 100% hands-down, no questions, I would highly recommend Skillcrush to anybody who’s interested. I don’t currently have any friends looking to pursue web design or coding but I would 100% recommend it to women who want to learn to code and who are interested in pursuing a career in web design and development. I think the value is incredible. I don’t think there’s anything like it that’s offered this much value for this price!

     

    Want to learn more about Skillcrush? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Skillcrush website!

  • Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Raymond, Skillcrush

    Liz Eggleston3/10/2015

    Jamie Raymond was using her degree in Graphic Design at a startup job in New York City, but realized that working with front-end web development was the most thrilling part of her job. Jamie chose to do an online course and was impressed by Skillcrush’s commitment to teaching women. She had a successful 10-day trial with Skillcrush and took both the Web Developer Blueprint and the Web Designer Blueprint. We talk to Jamie about using Mightybell to collaborate with other Skillcrush students, the freelance work she’s getting with her new skills, and the extensive advice and support that she still receives from the team at Skillcrush.

     

    Tell us what you were up to before you decided to do Skillcrush, your career as a graphic designer and all that.

    I have a degree in graphic design- mainly print-based. I took a couple of Intro to HTML and CSS courses in college, but I didn’t use it extensively. You have to keep up-to-date with industry standards and things definitely changed since I was in college.

    I was working in New York at an e-commerce startup as the Graphic and Web Designer, although the startup had a separate development team. Occasionally, I did front-end development, but not as much as I wanted. I wanted to get more experience in the tech side of things.

     

    Had you done Codecademy or any other online self-guided learning?

    I signed up for Treehouse and Codecademy; I was trying to learn JavaScript.

     

    What were your motivations for doing a Skillcrush Blueprint?

    I did the Blueprint to further my career path as a whole. I actually ended up leaving my last position because I wanted to focus more on learning and on the roles available to me. At the time, I just knew I needed more tech skills and that I was interested in web, but I didn’t know exactly what. I have a much better idea now.

     

    When did you do the Skillcrush Blueprint?

    In October 2014.

     

    Did you ever consider doing an in-person, immersive bootcamp?

    I did look into them. I actually applied to General Assembly in New York because I saw a scholarship they had for women. They had a scholarship for women and I went and applied. Unfortunately I wasn’t accepted, but Skillcrush was a great alternative.

     

    Did it influence your decision that it was geared towards women?

    Yeah, it did. It was attractive to me. I attended a few meetups too with Girl Develop It  - and then the fact that men can join if they want but I like that it’s geared towards women.

     

    Are you still in New York?

    Presently, I am not working in NYC; I live in New Jersey. While pursuing opportunities in Web Design and Development, I am working on a freelance basis mostly from home.

     

    Which Blueprint did you take?

    First, I did the Web Developer Blueprint. I was really happy with that so I signed up for the Web Designer course. Even though I was doing web design, I had such a great experience with the Web Development Blueprint, I figured I’d take another.

     

    Were there requirements to be accepted to the Skillcrush Blueprint?

    The only requirement was wanting to learn more tech skills. As a designer, I was impressed with how the site looked. It was easy to navigate, and it wasn’t a huge price point. Skillcrush also puts out a lot of informative materials, and they let me do the 10-day trial. So I tried it for free, thought it was awesome and then I signed up.

     

    What did you learn in that first week?

    We learned HTML and possibly CSS. The way the course was laid out was very easy. I was working in New York at the time, and living in New Jersey, so I was busy from 7am-7pm. In my trial week, I was still able to complete the tasks each day, so I was confident that I could do it.

     

    Were you working with other students in the course or going through the material on your own? How much interaction did you have with other students?

    Actually, you do feel like you have a lot of interaction because there’s so much communication through Mightybell. It’s almost like an online classroom. Everyone in the Mightybell chatroom with you is in the Blueprint, so you all talk about what’s going on that week. You get daily emails from Skillcrush with your goals for the day, which makes it easy to keep up. But it’s also self-paced, so if you miss four days, it doesn’t matter; likewise, you can jump ahead and still talk about it in the chatroom.

     

    How does Mightybell work for communicating and sharing code?

    Mightybell is like Facebook, in that you’re posting on a feed that others can see. There’s also a chat section so if you see someone is online you might want to message them and get an answer immediately, or you can just post your question and wait a little while for someone to post back.

    There are a couple of ways to share code on Mightybell, but I think most often I would just take a screenshot. You could also put a link or just copy and paste the code.

    There was always someone on Mightybell, even though sometimes it was just another student; they may still have a different perspective and be able to help you out.

     

    Other than working with other students, did you work with a mentor or instructor?

    There was a main instructor who you would communicate with mainly through Mightybell.

     

    What’s in those daily emails?

    The daily emails were just great; you got your goals for each day and the material you needed to cover.

     

    How many weeks long is the Skillcrush Blueprint?

    Three months. It was structured as three, 3-week modules with a break in between them. There’s three modules: for example in the Web Developer Blueprint I learned HTML/CSS, Javascript and Ruby, and Git. I’m glad I learned Git because I just picked up a freelance job, and before Skillcrush, I had never been introduced to Git. My new freelance client expected that I knew how to commit code in Git, and I knew how to do that.

     

    Did Skillcrush assign projects in each of those modules?

    We had mini projects as we went through the materials and then at the end, we had a bigger project that we had one week to complete.

     

    So you did the Web Development Blueprint and the Web Design Blueprint. What did you learn in that Web Design course?

    I picked up a few new Photoshop tricks even though I had already been working a lot in Photoshop. I learned how to work better with developers and how to create designs that work better for developers. You might be able to design something that looks like a website but when it gets to the developer, you realize it’s not really going to work as a website. In the blueprint you learn what’s actually going to work and not work. Even as a designer, I need to know what the browser is actually capable of.

     

    How long were you spending on Skillcrush each week?

    First of all, it depends on the student; you could just cover the basics and get it done within a half hour or an hour and you would still learn something. But I think with coding you always have to teach yourself things. If you want to spend more time and take it to the next level, no one will stop you! I’m interested in web design and development so I would want to spend more time.

     

    Did you find that Skillcrush had enough content in the curriculum? If you wanted to look more in-depth at a certain topic, could you?

    They provided links to other resources as well – which is good because when you Google, you don’t know if it’s really a reliable source.

     

    How do you plan to use your new skill set?

    I’ve recently evaluated my career goals, and I have narrowed down where I want to go in my career. I am very interested in UI/UX design. These positions usually require a good understanding of technology and development, so I’m on my way.

     

    Were you motivated by Skillcrush to start freelancing? How did they support you getting into freelancing?

    Before my last full time position, I was doing freelance work. Skillcrush has a HUGE amount of information on freelancing and the best sites to get started.

     

    How did you get your first freelance job?

    Flexjobs.com. Flexjobs is a site like Indeed but for remote jobs. My first freelance job was for front-end development work with no design involved, using the terminal and GIT to push and pull code.

     

    How did you decide how much to charge for your first freelancing job?

    I had an hourly rate in my mind. My client told me what the project was and I estimated based on the amount of time I thought it would take me, multiplied by the hourly rate that I wanted to charge. Skillcrush actually put out a PDF on how to calculate your hourly rate.

     

    What is the alumni support like? Are you able to still ask questions?

    Yeah, it’s great. Skillcrush probably got so many emails from me because I was always emailing them questions when I was stuck. They try to answer the best they can. If you have a job interview and need to know what kind of projects you should put in your portfolio, they’re really good at responding that way.

    Once the course is done, you still have access to the content if you want to go through it again. The webinars are also great; I’ve learned a lot through those.

     

    Would you recommend a Skillcrush Blueprint to a friend?

    I would say that the Blueprints are good for all levels. You could have no experience or some experience like I did. Even though I had some technical experience, I still got a lot out of it.

    Skillcrush is honest- they tell you that you’re not going to learn everything but you’re going to have a really solid place to start, and it’s completely true. They don’t go super deep into every topic but you have the skills to go branch out and start your career.

     

    Want to learn more about the Skillcrush Blueprints? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Skillcrush website!

  • 10 Must-Do's for an Amazing Online Learning Experience

    Kelli Orrela2/19/2015

    Maybe you chose an online program to learn to code because you work full-time and need a flexible schedule. Or maybe you were looking for a lower-cost option. Or you didn’t want to re-locate but still wanted the chance to work with classmates and instructors from around the world. Whatever the reason, now that you’ve made your choice, you want to make sure you get the most out of your online course. These 10 not-to-miss tips will help you have an amazing online learning experience from start to finish. You’ll find out both why each is critical for your studying success and how to use the ideas right away so that you get the most of every part of your course starting today!

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  • Scholarship to Skillcrush Blueprints

    Liz Eggleston8/21/2014

    Skillcrush wants to teach you digital skills to kickstart your career. Choose from their "Blueprints," 12-week online courses in Web Design or Web Development; while the Skillcrush blueprints are online, they offer blocks of office hours and access to classmates and instructors to create a structured learning environment. We're happy to offer an exclusive Skillcrush discount to the Course Report community: use code CourseReport for $50 off your next blueprint

     

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  • Free Webinar: Which Online Coding Bootcamp is Best for YOU?

    Liz Eggleston8/14/2014

    Online, mentored coding bootcamps offer convenience and structure without forcing you to quit your job or move to a new city. But not all online programs were created equally, so which one is right for you? We'll learn from alumni at each online coding bootcamp, ready to answer your questions about their experience during class, how they found mentorship and community online, and how their careers have skyrocketed afterwards.  

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  • Founder Spotlight: Adda Birnir of Skillcrush

    Liz Eggleston4/24/2014

    In 2008, Adda Birnir found herself laid off with some light technical skills- she knew this was the time to learn to code and become an indespensable asset. After a few freelancing jobs and a position at MTV.com, Adda was ready to bridge the gender gap in tech and teach women (and men!) to code. She founded Skillcrush, an online community complete with courses in Web Design and Web Development, and it continues to grow. We spoke with Adda about her experience teaching herself to code, her inspiration for Skillcrush, and how students are learning with their unique Blueprint courses. 

     

    Can you give an introduction from when you were laid off to where you are now at Skillcrush?

    I started at an online magazine called Flavorpill, one of the first email newsletters. Although I came on as a photo editor, I experienced this thing while I was there that powered all the work we did and I was fascinated: I wanted to see how this “technology thing” really worked. I started sitting in on production meetings and learning how software developers work. In my experience, they were happy to have me sitting in on all their meetings if there was any chance that I could help with the workload. Soon, they actually let me start editing copy in the HTML.

    In 2008, everything just fell apart -- it was like the apocalypse -- in New York. I survived the layoffs at Flavorpill (I was actually spared because I had dug my heels into the technology side and I was considered “technical staff”). But I was worried that working there was not stable, so I decided to get another job. I hadn’t pursued a job in the technical division. I was there for 7 weeks when they laid off ⅓ of their company. And this time, I found myself on the other side of that divide where I was a non-technical employee. This was a company of well over 30 employees and they laid off 12 of us: only one was a developer.

    When you’re working in a company where the internet is the bread and butter of what they do and you are not a technical person, you’re expendable.

    After getting laid off, I had the fortune of a lot of time on my hands and nothing to do. Somebody had told me that when you’re unemployed, spend only an hour a day sending out resumes and the rest of the time working to make yourself more marketable by learning something. So I learned how to code.

     

    How did you manage that learning? Did you use books or online resources?

    I mostly used really dry, boring books! It’s unbelievable how much the resources have changed in the time since I learned to code and even since the time that we started Skillcrush. I bought some books at my bookstore and got to work. I was very lucky because I had some people who I could ask to point me in the right direction from my job at Flavorpill. They would sit down with me for an hour and show me the right stuff to focus on and learn. That personal touch in the learning process was priceless.

     

    How long did it take you to learn to code on your own?

    It’s hard to answer that question but within a couple months I was building websites for people for money. Then, the next job I landed was working as a technical producer where I was working with developers all day. I’d ask them questions about coding, and they would help me, look at my work and give me advice. I’ve been really blessed in having a lot of people who were willing to help me through my learning process.

    I think having mentors and real people helping you is why the bootcamp style of class works so well. It is also why you’re seeing more and more companies like Bloc and Thinkful and Skillcrush try to bring that experience to people online!

     

    What inspired you to actually start Skillcrush?

    I got hired by MTV to work as a technical producer for their integrated marketing team. The team was very good at sales and coming up with great ideas, but didn’t necessarily know how to use digital tools, nor understand the production time and costs of the things they were pitching. What was interesting to me was that it was very gendered: all the women were on the marketing side and all the guys were on the technical side. It just felt like there was this huge divide, so they hired me to bridge that gap.

    I had just gone through the process myself of moving from non-technical to technical and had found it to be nowhere near as scary or difficult as I had thought it would be. For me, understanding more about the technical side of things was empowering and it opened up a new world of creativity that I hadn’t associated with technical skills before. I felt like these women on the marketing team were very intimidated by coding, didn’t understand it, and didn’t see the value in taking the time to try and understand it. That was really where I got the inspiration for Skillcrush.

     

    So did you do the dev work for Skillcrush, the site?

    Yes! I have had a little help from my developer, Emily, and the two of us have built the entire Skillcrush site on our own. Running a startup is so hard, but the site, our classes, and our processes have been getting better and better.

     

    Skillcrush is a resource and a community- what sort of audience are you catering to? Has it changed over the years?

    It’s grown, thank God. There’s this whole question about whether we’re made for women, and the answer is that we’re not exclusively for women. One of the things you have to do when you start a company is be really targeted about who you’re speaking to. Otherwise, you’re just making decisions in a crazy black hole. Our initial target market was professional women, 25 to 45 who were working in companies where technology was a big part of the business.

    It’s been really interesting to see the reality of our audience. The people who were most likely to get started on Skillcrush are women who are either graphic designers or web designers. 10 years ago, you could be a web designer and not code, and that really doesn’t work anymore. So we get a lot of designers who need to up their game.

    After that, the next big group is people who work in media: bloggers, writers, editors. The third demographic is women who are underemployed, unemployed or in positions where there is really no upward career trajectory: women who work in customer service, assistant positions, and even secretaries. I’m truly excited about reaching them because that’s the group that we have the biggest opportunity to help change their careers.

     

    After completing one of the Skillcrush Blueprints, have you seen people actually get new jobs in technical roles?

    This is the first time we’ve run a Blueprint, so I can’t say anything specific about that just yet. I can say that we’ve seen our students get work and even entry-level technical jobs after taking individual classes, which is amazing. Our goal is to create a program where you can start as a total beginner and become hireable in a junior position. A big part of being hired in that type of position is your confidence in interviews and your willingness to learn on the job -- we are incredibly proud to cultivate these characteristics in our students as a byproduct of our community and unique class approach, as well. I can’t promise that you’ll get a job after taking a Skillcrush class, but we have built our program with that goal in mind if that’s the outcome you desire.

     

    How did you develop the curriculum for the two Blueprints?

    It is very much based on what I’ve seen in practice, in terms of what skills I needed in order to do dev work and also talking to people in the industry and seeing what the minimum is. And then of course, we have to decide what’s reasonable to teach people. We are looking at a beginner population that generally doesn’t self-select into Computer Science: we don’t want to throw them into the deep end without a flotation device.

    The classes are three weeks each and you do three of them in succession for a Career Blueprint. What’s realistic for you to learn in three weeks? How far can we get you? A big part of what we’re trying to do is to open a lot of doors for you and then you’re going to have to walk through them.

     

    There are specific start dates for these classes, right?

    Yes, classes and Blueprints start on a monthly or bi-monthly cycle. We have been running online classes for over a year, and we think that the structure of a schedule is crucial to the learning process.

     

    Do the students get some sense of a cohort or a community? How do cohorts communicate with each other?

    We use Mightybell, which is an online social networking platform. When you enroll in a Blueprint, you get invited to a Mightybell circle, where you can post questions or to get to know the other people taking the class with you.

    Our Skillcrush instructors monitor the groups and respond to questions as they come in all day. Mightybell is very personable and is a really beautiful product. It is designed for multimedia sharing, which includes the ability to share code. They actually have a feature where they format your code so that you can share code samples. It’s awesome!

    The community in Mightybell is definitely one of the most important parts of the class.

     

    How many students are in the cohort now?

    There are 116 in our Web Developer Blueprint. The Web Designer Blueprint has 75 enrolled. We’ve had over 1,500 students go through all of our programs.

     

    How do you compare your Skillcrush Blueprints to Thinkful or Bloc programs (two other online programs)?

    I think what differentiates us is our focus on beginners. Our environment is really friendly for pure beginners. We spend a lot of time thinking about what turns people off to technology and how can we make a radically different experience of it. Our tone is super friendly, warm and inviting, and encouraging.

    The second important thing we’ve found is that you have to make the projects and exercises as interesting as possible, and still educationally valuable. For example, we do a Web Font challenge, where students recreate the Holstee Manifesto. This exercise gets our students excited about practicing with colors and web fonts, because it’s relatable, beautiful, and fun. They get really into it! Several students have written their own manifestos and we have built an amazing collection for students to look at each other’s work. Exercises like this make sene and really work.

     

    Your whole leadership team is women, right?

    Yes. And what’s really cool is that we’ve graduated over 80% women.

     

    So even though men are obviously welcome, you clearly have an overarching commitment to helping women learn coding skills. What’s been your experience as a female CEO?

    It’s been very mixed. I don’t know what it’s like to raise money as a man, but I think I have a million things going against me: I’m a woman, I’m young, blond, I talk like a Valley girl. I run this company for women to learn to code. I’m every investor’s worst nightmare.

    I’m horribly put off by a lot of the tech scene. However, I’ve been the recipient of an unbelievable amount of kindness and mentorship from men and women alike in the industry.

    I think the women who have it the hardest are the women in technical roles on big technical teams in big corporations. It definitely feels like the “insider” tech community doesn’t take women developers as seriously. This lack of diversity means that they are very myopic and insular in the way that they do things, the solutions they come up with and the companies that they start. Think of how much opportunity that creates to do things differently!!

     

    Any plans to take Skillcrush offline and do some in-person courses?

    That’s a good question. I think in the short term it’ll be more along the lines of meetups, but we’ve toyed with the idea!

     

    Want to learn more about Skillcrush and their Blueprints? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the Skillcrush website