Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint Review – Phase 1
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Skillcrush. This is my 100% honest review of phase 1 of the Break Into Tech Blueprint. I couldn’t find many in-depth reviews when I first started, so hopefully it will help you decide if it’s the right program for you!
Lots of people have asked me how I decided to start a new career in WordPress development, and it all started with Skillcrush. Last spring I signed up for the Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint, and I am currently in phase 3 (the final phase) of the program.
I had been on their e-mail list for quite a long time, and had received many e-mails from them advertising their blueprints. I was interested, but never seriously looked into it because I wasn’t ready to commit to any program right after my babies were born. Finally, last spring, I took their free 10-day boot camp. I enjoyed the style of their lessons, and thought, “I could do this!” I had a serious talk with my husband about it, and ultimately decided to bite the bullet and join.
I was very apprehensive about it, mostly due to the price tag. I did receive a discount code after completing the boot camp, which helped, but it was still not a small investment.
I chose Skillcrush because it seemed to be geared towards people like me – women/moms who don’t know much about tech, but are enthusiastic and eager to learn. All of the instructors so far have been women, as well as all but one of the TAs. Also, it’s completely self-paced and you receive all course updates for life. As a new-ish mom, I needed that.
The Break Into Tech Blueprint consists of three phases: Foundation, Level Up, and Go Pro. They say that the entire program may take you around 9-12 months to complete, depending on how much time you commit to it. Phase 1 (Foundation) took me just over a month-and-a-half to complete, spending no more than an hour a day on it. Some days I had more time, and some days I had no time at all.
After signing up, I went through an online orientation of the Skillcrush system. This consisted of five mini-lessons to get you started off on the right foot. It explained how to use the dashboard, how to get help when you need it, and their code of conduct. It got me used to the process of going through lessons and completing them, either by clicking a Complete button or uploading a file or screenshot.
Then I was onto phase 1! Phase 1 consists of three sections: HTML & CSS, Git & GitHub, and a milestone portfolio project.
Some time at the start of phase 1, I met with a career counselor via videoconference. I think there was one other student on the call, and then me, of course. We talked about why we were taking the course and what we were hoping to get out of it.
I mentioned my apprehension about working in tech because, as a former teacher, I didn’t want to spend all day every day all by myself in front of a computer screen. I need to interact with people and feel like I’m giving back to my community. My career counselor gave me several excellent ideas about how to connect with people in the industry both professionally and philanthropically. It was a really motivating conversation, and I left it feeling super energized and ready to take this on.
HTML & CSS
The HTML & CSS section was incredibly, incredibly useful and challenging. It starts with HTML, the building blocks of any website, and moves onto CSS, the looks of a website.
There is a project in the middle of this section where you have to put the HTML and CSS you’ve learned to use without much hand-holding, and I learned SO much in that challenge.
The lessons guide you through coding a website, and the final project is coding a website in HTML and CSS based on a design comp PSD (Photoshop) file. It was a great learning experience for me.
Git, GitHub & the Command Line
The Git & GitHub section of phase 1 of the Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint was honestly worth its weight in gold. Trust me, once you wrap your head around using Git and GitHub, you will feel like a true professional. They take very complicated material and make it fun and super easy to understand.
I’ve heard people say, “Why take a class like that? Can’t you learn everything you need to know for free by Googling?” I’m sure I could, but learning Git and GitHub just through their support documentation would have been a complete nightmare.
I could have taken hours upon hours poring through the GitHub support pages trying to figure it out on my own, but Skillcrush presented the information in such an awesome way. I learned so much about Git and GitHub SO quickly, and potential employers really do expect their employees to know how to use it. There’s no way I would have learned so much in so little time without Skillcrush.
In this section I learned what Git and GitHub are and why they are so important in a web developer’s career. I learned how to use it, practiced it, and actually got to practice collaborating with fellow programmers using GitHub repositories. I also learned how to use GitHub pages to publish my static class project websites. I still use my GitHub pages to host the projects I completed for my online portfolio.
Milestone Project: Build and Launch a Website
The final section of phase 1 of the Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint is a milestone portfolio project. In this project, I tied everything I learned so far together into my own personal portfolio website.
My website wasn’t the prettiest thing I had ever seen, but it served its purpose and I got a chance to reinforce everything I had learned.
My Honest and Unbiased Thoughts
I honestly think that phase 1 of the Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint was really wonderful. I learned SO much in SO little time. There’s no way I could have optimized my time like that just by learning from YouTube and Google. I couldn’t wait to continue onto phase 2 and get even more in-depth with coding.
Adda Birnir, the founder and CEO of Skillcrush, presents all the information in such an upbeat, friendly, and easy-to-understand way. Every time I got stuck (which was quite a lot), I either jumped into the Slack group to ask my question or shot off an e-mail.
I found both ways to be equally helpful. TAs are constantly monitoring the Slack group answering students’ questions. Other students often chime in and help each other as well, and it’s fun to get to know fellow students in there. E-mail was great for those times when I wanted to keep my question more private for whatever reason.
I always received a quick and friendly response to my questions. The TAs know exactly how to give you that push you need to help you solve your own problem, without always just giving you the outright answer. Skillcrush TAs, if you are reading this, major kudos to you guys! You are doing a GREAT job.
Lessons are presented in multiple formats, usually starting with a preview of what’s to come, a video, and then a written lesson summarizing what was just presented in the video in written form. I found that really helpful, because I tend to remember things better when I see it and then read it.
There are tons of downloadable PDFs in many of the lessons, and I have a special file folder on my computer storing all my Skillcrush documents. I also have a special Bookmarks folder with all the resources and websites that were recommended in the lessons. These have been invaluable for me to go back to as I’m starting my web development career.
Even though I was initially scared by the price tag, I am so, so, so happy that I chose to take the Skillcrush Break Into Tech blueprint, and eternally grateful to the Skillcrush team and all that they have taught me.
There is no way I could have learned so much about web technology in so little time without it.
Eight months after signing up, I am already working with paying clients and having a blast. More to come on that later!
Stay tuned for my coming reviews of phases 2 and 3 of the Skillcrush Break Into Tech Blueprint!
Have any questions about the Break Into Tech Blueprint? Feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!