Skillcrush is an online bootcamp that offers 12-week web design and web development courses called Skillcrush Blueprints. Wanting to teach students digital skills to kickstart their career, Skillcrush provides their "Blueprint," which is a step-by-step guide preparing students for the career they desire. Students engage in learning concrete technical skills while also creating a portfolio of real projects. These 3-month blueprints are online, but offer blocks of office hours, and access to classmates, instructors, and career coaches to create a structured learning environment.
Recent Skillcrush Reviews: Rating 4.81
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Did you look through our Blueprints and think “I want to learn it ALL”? The Break Into Tech Blueprint gives you exactly that. This course covers ALL of the lessons from our signature Blueprints and you’ll work with a career counselor to design a custom learning program to prepare you for an amazing and rewarding career. This one-of-a-kind digital skill training program will teach you all the core skills every aspiring technologist needs to know and make sure you’re set up for success in the flexible, creative, and lucrative career of your dreams.
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- Make 12 monthly payments of $149 or one payment of $1499
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Whether you’re looking to supplement your current income, gain the kind of flexibility that only comes from being your own boss, or scale your existing freelance business, this is the program for you. YOU decide your hours, what you work on, and how much you make...but when you’ve only ever worked for someone else, getting started can feel overwhelming. Anxious? Don’t be: You just need to learn from people who’ve done it before! In this Blueprint you will learn how to find your first client (and then some), market and sell your services, handle legal logistics, and grow your freelance business to $50,000–100,000 in revenue per year or more.
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- Make 3 monthly payments of $199 or one payment of $499
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WordPress developers have the most versatile skill set in the world: Approximately 60 million websites run on WordPress! This course will teach you the tools to build beautiful, functional, and totally unique websites—and start making serious money.
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- Make 3 monthly payments of $199 or one payment of $499
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- A solid understanding of HTML & CSS is required for this course.
- Placement Test
Are you ready to tap into one of the fastest growing, highest paying, and most in-demand careers in tech? Are you tired of making less than everyone else at your company when you know you’re just as smart? Get the most lucrative and versatile digital skills out there in the Front End Developer Blueprint. You’ll learn how to build gorgeous, interactive websites that work perfectly on every device and mobile phone you can think of. With an explosive job market, killer salary, and tons of growth opportunities, front end development is one of the hottest jobs in tech!
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- 3 monthly payments of $199 or one payment of $499
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- Placement Test
Visual designers are the graphic designers of the digital world we live in, and they play a crucial role in designing the online experiences we interact with every day. If you’re an imaginative, creative, visual person and love sketching, drawing, pairing colors, illustrating, and calligraphy (or you just have a history with coloring books and macaroni necklaces), you’re going to love working in visual design. This course will prepare you for a career designing sites, apps, or ANYTHING you see online—and give you the tools to communicate with the development teams who will bring your designs to life.
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- Tuition Plans
- Make 3 monthly payments of $199 or one payment of $499
- Minimum Skill Level
- Comfort with HTML & CSS is required for this course.
- Placement Test
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I must say, it was hard to find the courage to break into tech if you have studied philology before, but Skillcrush did convince me that the main point here is - motivation, persistence, and belief in yourself. The course is well structured and perfect for those who don't have the whole day for study, for me - I have only 1 hour/ day max. and some free time on the weekend. It is very thoughtful and convenient that if I go for vacation e.g I can postpone the payment for the time I'm not studying.
Best choice for me!
I knew I wanted to "break into tech", so I was happy to find the "Break Into Tech Blueprint" at Skillcrush.com. I not only found the program to be very affordable compared to others that I looked at, but I also find that every class I take is fun! The videos are easy to watch and understand, and the assignments really help me build confidence in my new skills. I've been in class for just one month, and have already launched my own website. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking for a web development and design class that will keep you engaged, and build your knowledge of coding from the ground up.
Though I do not recall receivint an e-mail each morning with goals for the day as is described here about the Skillcrush course, I still highly recommend it. I have tried other video courses that have been much more confusing and not as whole-picture goal achieving and supportive as this course is. With Skillcrush, it is expected that one goes at a MUCH quicker pace than I have, but I can finally say I know how to code a website using html and css with confidence and am finally starting real work building websites--a goal I have had for the last 7 years! I started my journey with an online community college course in html 7 years ago which I did not finish, then I was 2 courses short of a Certificate of Website Design in New York State from "brick-and-mortar" classes at Noble Desktop in Soho, but those courses were cookie cutter step one do this, step 2 do that and I got a general understanding of web design, but not proficiency and certainly not the confidence to code my own site! I've also started and not completed courses on Lynda.com and Udemy. Skillcrush is different because it is clear and it has a pattern of video, repeat in words what's on the video, then exercises and the occasional quiz that I find sticks with me to recall what I need to know to succeed.
I don't think I got the full Skillcrush experience (there was some technical difficulty at the beginning and I never recieved class emails, etc.), so I can only speak about the course material itself... which is fantastic. If you're a self-directed learner and you're motivated, these courses are perfect for learning at your own pace.
I was solid enough with HTML/CSS (and had a basic understanding of WordPress) that I jumped the gun and took on a paid WordPress design job right at the start of the first course. I ended up blitzing through the beginner and advanced WordPress course in two weeks and it gave me all the info I needed to get the job done well. Also, adding in the Git/GitHub course was one of those things I never even knew I needed, but it's come in really handy.
Since finishing the course (which I don't know if I even technically marked as completed on Skillcrush), I've learned so much more on my own, but the Skillcrush courses gave me a really solid starting point and a resource I could come back to again and again.
My only "complaint" is the way Skillcrush packages its courses together, rather than letting them simply flow as options from one to the next for continued learning. For example, if after completing this course package I had had the option to enroll in another single course like using Sass/Gulp/Bootstrap or "everything you need to know about hosting servers" (DNS records, HTTPS<HTTP, .htaccess files, etc.), I couldn't have given them my money fast enough.
I haven't tried the job coaching part of Skillcrush or working with the instructors/community, which is a bit of a bummer since I know that's part of the deal, but hopefully I'll come back to it at some point. To be honest, I've been pretty busy taking on work. :)
My website hasn't been updated since before I took the courses, but hopefully by the end of 2018 I'll have time to put up my portfolio and a new layout at www.shayladuval.ca
I signed up for the Skillcrush Break-Into-Tech blueprint a couple weeks ago and I couldn't be more pleased with my choice. I'm on my final project for the first class of the "foundation" section (HTML/CSS), and I've already created a couple projects to add to my portfolio (see https://www.kandisflick.com and https://codepen.io/kj0y/pen/YOJdJy). I'm learning so much more efficiently than I was on my own.
Last, but not least, the community is amazing. I've posted both of my projects on the community's Slack channel and have gotten only respectful feedback. Trolls aren't allowed in this community. It's also largely female, which probably helps with that!
I've been taking the "Break Into Tech Blueprint" for almost two months. So far I've been thrilled.
Skillcrush helps out totally newbies and people like me, lets them know that it's ok to not be ok in our current jobs, and it IS possible to change this.
I have loved every single video, every single "check" on my list and I am looking forward to see what's coming next. I feel like everyday I'm learning more and more things and the progress has been undeniable, not only seen by me but also people I talk to about it, some of them professionals already in the area.
I ahve no idea where this "Break into Tech" is going to lead me, but I'm really glad I took the ride!
I say ‘timely’ because I happened upon Skillcrush completely by chance, during a rough time in my career, and I almost wish I had found it sooner.
Despite my lingering self-doubt in my ability to learn coding and development skills, I was convinced that they were worthwhile skills to learn, and the pitch for the Break Into Tech Blueprint was too enticing to pass up. I’m happy to say that Skillcrush has helped start to quench that self-doubt, and that ~5 months after beginning my blueprint I can officially add “Front-end Development,” “WordPress Development,” and “Visual Design” to my skillset.
The lessons were easy to digest, and the right balance of videos, text, challenges, tutorials, resources, and quizzes – all of which helped with practicing and retaining the materials. I got the right support from my instructors when needed, where they not only helped me work thru any challenges with my code, but highlighted how to approach the same problems in the future. I also appreciated how my instructors and classmates provided design feedback in a way that challenged my choices and perspectives, but without feeling rigged, prescriptive, or overbearing.
Right now, my next step is using the skills I’ve learned from Phase 1 and 3 to begin freelancing and searching for other fulfilling jobs as I work thru Phase 3. But I feel more optimistic about my future now than I was earlier this year, and more confident that I’ll find what I’m looking for, so I have the Skillcrush team and community to fully thank for that.
(Also -- for anyone who is unsure about taking the course, try the free Bootcamp course first like I did; it’s a glimpse of what the lessons actually look and feel like, and it was what ultimately convinced me to enroll into the full blueprint).
I joined Break Into Tech Blueprint about a month ago, and I can't believe how much I have learned in this short time.
I've taken many online classes, but Skillcrush really has a unique learning environment like no other I've seen. There is variety between short videos, text, hands-on exercises, and quizzes, as well as larger projects.
I've also really enjoyed the support from the Slack community - the students are really supportive and the instructors are always there to answer any questions. I have had my first career counseling appointment, and was able to talk to someone further down the road from me who answered my questions and helped me know what is possible.
Most coding schools are 10x the cost of Skillcrush. I can't believe the value that I am getting.
The Skillcrush course is a great course to get into tech and especially what I really find great is the practical approach. There are lots of exercises, but not just to code for fun, it is always related to your personal project. For instance, you start developing a design for your portfolio website and later you learn how to program it. You will also have real clients you are doing projects for. So you can actually earn some money already. The Break into Tech Blueprint (i got a subscription with lifetime access) you can actually start with basic courses and later learn any other coding language.
What is also great with the course is the support! You have a great community where you can ask and answer questions and there is also always a teacher responding. But there are also personal chatting sessions with a teacher or other class mates.
Stumbling across Skillcrush had to have been the best possible thing to happen to me in my life. I took a whole course in front-end web development and didn't feel as confident coding as I do with only taking part of Skillcrush for a week!! I absolutely love the videos and resources provided in each lesson and I can't wait to learn much more. Thank you for such a great path to bring more women into tech.
I am interested in changing careers to become a front-end developer and I was looking into different tech boot camps that would help me level-up my skills. However, most were out of my price range AND required me to quit my job. Then I discovered Skillcrush. Even though it is self-paced, there is accountability, sound guidance, and a great sense of camaraderie.
I am new to the tech industry so I was nervous starting with Skillcrush, but it really has been so welcoming. There is always someone willing to help from instructors to fellow students. The culture here is fun, energetic, and genuinely caring. I would suggest Skillcrush to anyone. I love it so far!
I was totally hesitant about signing up for Skillcrush. I really couldn't imagine what it had to offer that isn't on all the other free sites. Having signed up, I can tell you that there's a huge difference. Skillcrush has a very systematic approach towards not just teaching coding but teaching it in a way that leads to acquiring job-relevant skills. I had read that there is too much hand-holding with the Skillcrush curriculum that would slow personal growth but I find that there is just enough hand-holding mixed with some challenging exercises to ensure you flex those coding muscles and to grow. Skillcrush also has a really awesome and supportive community, I don't ever feel alone and know that as tasks get harder and harder, I will find the support that I need. If I have only one regret, it's that I didn't sign up sooner :(. I don't know about job assistance as yet as I have not reached that phase of things but if everything continues as it is now, I expect to be very satisfied then too so I have rated it 5 in advance haha.
Skillcrush took the money from me for the course that I don't want to be in and not giving me the money back. I tried to contact Skillcrush for a refund but they refused. Now they are charging me around $200 every month for the course that I'm not using.
I already made 9 month payment for them. I had to contact my credit card company to stop paying for Skillcrush. After that, Skillcrush blocked me from the course without notifications. When I called them on the phone, it went straight to their voicemail. I feel like they didn't want to deal with me in person.
I feel like this company is treating me unfairly and oppressively. They care more about the money than helping women.
My experience so far with skillcrush has been a great! Not having any previous experience in web design I have to say it is taking me a little longer than I expected. The lessons however explain everything in great detail and if I am stuck I can generally find an answer on groups or with an instructor who is online when I am doing the lessons and I have found the response to be fairly quick. I have also done some zoom meetings and have found them to be very helpful as well. I am looking forward to the next lesson.
I found Skillcrush while on a mission to learn marketable skills, after changing careers. I am so glad that I did! I have to admit that at first, I doubted the credibility of the site because of the cheerful music and happy instructors. But I was very quickly proved wrong, because this site is just as professional and informative as other, more...boring sites.
I love the instructional design. Skillcrush uses videos and they provide the transcripts, which is great, in case you want to go back over a point from the video without watching the whole thing again. There are great cheatsheets to download for HTML and CSS, which are much more organized than my own notes. Everything is clearly explained, and there is redundancy, which helps me learn.
Response time is excellent. In my experience, any questions that I have sent in have been replied to very promptly, and there is an actual person responding.
There are video chat times available that I find very helpful. It's a great way to feel like you are in this with other people, but you can learn on your own schedule. For me, this is the most valuable aspect of Skillcrush.
Keep up the most excellent work, Skillcrush!
For a long time that I was looking into changing my carrer, I reserached online and most of the code schools I found weren't really clear or to some extend trustwhorthy. Then I found SkillCrush. After looking into it I finally decided to apply to All-Access BluePrint.
As a complete newbie to the tech industry was a bit overwhelming to start, but the way the course is bulid it really made it easy to learn. Furthermore the help given by all instructors is great, they are really there for you giving you insightful support.
I'm almost finalizing 107 blueprint and I couldn't be happier.
I was initially intrigued to try Skillcrush because I found the 10 minute demo to be informative and captivating. The course has not disappointed! I'm enjoying the All Access class because they have pre-determined which courses I need and the best order to take them. I began with Visual Design and have now advanced through HTML and CSS.
The Visual Design class taught some design concepts and some technical tools. Although I've bumbled through Photoshop in the past, it's great to actually understand what it's all about. It's such a feature-rich tool that it was incredibly helpful to have guided instruction focusing my learning on the most important tools.
My favorite part about the class is the mix of video, text, and hands-on work. It toggles between all three which keeps me from getting bored which can so easily happen in an online class. Skillcrush is also very good about pointing you to all the extra online free resources (code validators, fonts, icons, etc.) you'll need to one day function on your own. There is also great support through both Google groups and online check-in calls where you can meet, as questions, and share your work with instructors and fellow students.
I'm not yet launched into the world of web design and coding, but based on my excellent experience thus far, I fully believe that I will be landing jobs before this class is over.
Skillcrush is an excellent resource for aspiring web professionals. The online learning environment introduces the material in a manner that is very easy for someone without any prior knowledge to understand. The instructors then help you retain that information by having you consistently recall the skills learned throughout the course with fun and challenging exercises.
Skillcrush also helps you learn the professional lingo and "best practices" of a web professional which helps you feel like a competent insider in no time. I’m a very detailed oriented person; I like to know that I have all the pieces to complete the big picture.
They provide you with everything you need to know without making you feel overwhelmed.
The quick reference documents provided with the lessons are an invaluable tool; I often refer to them while completing projects. The staff/instuctors are very encouraging, knowledgeable, and available to aid students whenever needed.
I can't remember how I stumbled on Skillcrush, but I'm glad I did. It's super accessible and easy to follow. I just finished the first section of the All-Access plan, and I can already see a marked improvement in my design work. I made things up by the seat of my pants before, and now I have methodology and a plan and it's great. My work looks and feels 1000% more professional. I am extremely confident that the investment I've made will pay off via my career.
As I go into my second section, I'm already being matched up with a career counselor. I think this will put my work in context and help keep my eyes on the prize. Thanks, Skillcrush!
I am currently enrolled in the All-Access Career Blueprint. I have only been enrolled for a couple weeks, but thus far have really enjoyed how Skillcrush breaks down the lessons to make them fun and easy to follow. I have already used and learned so many new tools that I know I can use in the future even if I don't land my dream tech job. The instructors are fun and I consider them professional encouragers. I feel supported and I am so glad I was listening to the Disrupt Yourself podcast so that I can start my career change. Glad I found Skillcrush and would recommend this program specifically for women looking to enter the tech field.
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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 email@example.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?
Which technologies did you earn in the Web Design and Wordpress Blueprints?
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!
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?
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?
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.
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.
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!Continue Reading →
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
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.Continue Reading →
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!