One Woman Experiments: Coding With Skillcrush (Part I)

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these mini-experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines! This experiment in web development is currently being embarked upon by OWS head-honcho, Sara Frandina.

I’m a multipassionate. I don’t believe in confining yourself to a niche; I aim to learn as much as possible about many different things; and I sure as hell don’t ever find myself bored.

Being a multi-passionate, to me, means constantly evolving and trying new things. I’ve learned to overcome my fear of public speaking and won a campus-wide contest. I’ve learned to speak fluent Italian and traveled there as part of a full-immersion program. I’ve researched carboys and the best oak to use as I learn to make wine.

My Type-A personality lends itself well to learning, sticking with something, and getting pretty good at most things. (I’m not bragging. It’s a blessing and a curse.) But there’s one thing that’s been on my bucket list for far too long now, that I simply have not been able to grasp: coding. (Web developers: you have my undying envy + awe.)

Learning to code as a One Woman Shop

I’ve putzed around with the self-teaching route for coding. When I launched my business in late 2013, I even set out to build my own site. As a copywriter + editor, it was a complete mindset shift from the creative, free-flowing words to the rules-laden, no-room-for-error world of code. But still, even after embarking upon the process and keeping the best notes possible, I just wasn’t getting the hang of it.

A lot of that came from being a One Woman Shop who really needs to spend the majority of my time doing the things I’m good at to keep my business growing — and therefore not being able to devote consistent time to a “non-essential” skill like coding. But the desire to learn to code hasn’t escaped me — especially as I have client after client ask me how to put the web copy I write to its best use.

So when one of Cristina’s online contacts connected One Woman Shop to the ladies at Skillcrush suggesting we collaborate, it seemed a match was made in heaven. What’s Skillcrush? Oh, just a company that aims to teach tech skills to people who are complete newbies in a non-invasive, self-paced way. (And it’s a company built + run by a team of women — even better.)

Learning to code, the Skillcrush way

Skillcrush has designed what they call Career Blueprints: comprehensive, three-class plans that you purchase as a package. They currently offer Blueprints for Web Design, Web Development, Freelance WordPress Development, and Ruby on Rails Development.

I know what you might be thinking: how is Skillcrush any different than the classes I can find, most likely cheaper, on Skillshare, Udemy, and the other online learning platforms that we love? Now that I’m nearly two weeks into the first module, let me count the ways:

Structure

The thing I lacked most in teaching myself to code was structure. Even going to frequent Girl Develop IT classes put on by our local chapter just didn’t provide the structure needed to learn, implement, and keep learning. With Skillcrush’s Blueprints, you have set lessons to follow — whether you do it for an hour daily, as they suggest, or at your own pace — and a road map for where you’re going. Suddenly, I understand the pieces of what I’m learning and how they’ll all work together.

Support

The community around the Skillcrush Blueprint is amazing. Not only do you have the support of your teachers, but you have constant access to fellow students running through the same program you are. They’ve built the Skillcrush community via Mightybell (basically a social intranet), which takes some getting used to, but it’s fantastically active.

Syllabi

The Blueprint is fantastic in that I know what’s coming next — and the lessons drop into my inbox every day, so I don’t have to remember to go log in and check them out. I’ve just dipped my feet in the water with the first monthly module, HTML and CSS, and I’ve got a full four weeks of lessons to help me fully immerse myself and put it into practice before the syllabus calls for the next modules, JavaScript and jQuery, and Ruby, Git, and Sinatra. Do I even know what half of those things mean at this point? Nope. But that’s the beauty of the guided syllabi — I’ve got the path laid out for me.

Why this is truly an experiment

Skillcrush makes some big promises: on the landing page for the Web Developer Blueprint, it tells me that I’ll have “everything you need to know to become a kick-a$%, take-no-prisoners, digital native.”

After years of trying to learn, I’m excited to see how true that is. And with the structure, support, and carefully-thought out syllabi, I’m dedicated to taking my hour each day to see it to fruition. Will it be perfect? I doubt it. Will I struggle? For sure. But that’s the purpose of this column: so you can learn from my mistakes and see if Skillcrush is the answer to your tech-savvy dreams.

Stick with me — I’ve started off strong and now I need you to hold me accountable. I’ll be sharing the ins-and-outs of learning to code with the Skillcrush Web Developer Blueprint over the next three months!

PS – Skillcrush isn’t just a pay-to-play learning site. I’ve encountered countless fantastic resources via the Skillcrush blog to help me in both learning to code and learning to excel as a solopreneur.

PPS – Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links + Skillcrush has comped the Blueprint for me as part of this One Woman Shop Experiment. (Aren’t they awesome?) That being said, everything I share is made of up my candid, honest opinions as I move through the Blueprint.

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Sara Frandina is a New York-based copywriter + editor with a relentless love of words and an insatiable appetite for books, travel, and popcorn. She runs her own One Woman Shop, curing the ails of lackluster copy at sarafrandina.com while also happily serving as Content Editor + Co-Head Honcho here at OWS.

6 Comments on One Woman Experiments: Coding With Skillcrush (Part I)

  1. Ashley
    October 8, 2015 at 4:07 am (2 years ago)

    I would love to know how your blueprint went. Is there a part 2? I couldn’t find it on the site.

    Reply
    • Sara Frandina
      October 8, 2015 at 5:55 am (2 years ago)

      Coming soon! (I’ve been delayed in getting it up here, apologies!)

      Reply
      • Angela moore
        October 17, 2015 at 2:18 pm (2 years ago)

        I too am so curious! I’m thinking of doing this through skillcrush and can’t wait to hear your feedback! Thank you for this information.

        Reply
        • Sara Frandina
          October 20, 2015 at 7:42 pm (2 years ago)

          Will keep you updated! In the meantime, if you have specific questions, shoot them to me at sara[at]onewomanshop[dot]com!

          Reply
  2. Shuba
    November 16, 2015 at 12:23 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m currently enrolled in skillcrush’sWebdesign blueprint. I’ve managed to fall behind and I found your blog while searching the web for some inspiration/ motivation to get back into my blueprint. I’m excited to read part II so I can hear all about how completing a Skillcrush blueprint worked for you!

    Reply
    • Sara Frandina
      November 18, 2015 at 7:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Shuba:

      Stay tuned! More coming early in the new year. But, the team at Skillcrush is fantastic if you want to reach out for support earlier than that! 🙂

      Reply

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