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You Make Me Crazy (In a Good Way)

Behind the scenes of a Skillcrush Blueprint

The past few months have been crazy (in a good way) for our curriculum team because we’ve been busy developing not one but TWO new blueprints.

The first one, Front End Developer Blueprint, launched back in March, the second one will be launching this June. But before I tell you all about our fancy new blueprint, I want to give you a little peek behind the scenes of how we pick & create new blueprints, and most importantly, let you know how you inspire everything we do, every step of the way :)

Over the past three years, we’ve developed a three step process for creating our blueprints and it goes something like this:

Step 1: Pick the blueprint topic!

Ironically, this step is the hardest one, but it’s also my favorite because it’s the part where we get to talk YOU.

Picking a blueprint topic is a strange alchemy indeed. Eventually, we plan to create a blueprint for EVERY marketable tech skill and topic, but for now, since we are a small team bound by the space time continuum, we ruthlessly prioritize.

At Skillcrush our mission is simple: to empower our students with the digital skills they need to enter high earning and flexible careers.

Identifying what skills are marketable and lead to high earning and flexible careers is actually pretty straightforward: we research job listings, talk to employers, and work our network of expert designers, developers, and recruiters, to make sure we’re up on the latest trends.

The hard part is making sure that the skills resonate with you.

behind the scenes of a Skillcrush Blueprint

To understand THAT we talk to you. A LOT. I try to either speak to or read feedback from at least 10 students per week. Skillcrush only exists because you seem to like it, so understanding your needs and desires is my single most important duty.

That said, we also take our role as stewards very seriously, meaning: we know that you are trusting us to guide you in the right direction. But I’ve also have learned that although I can argue until I am blue in the face that learning JavaScript Frameworks is THE MOST MARKETABLE SKILL YOU CAN GET (it’s not actually, I am just saying that as an example), if you can’t imagine how it would fit into your life or don’t believe that this is something you’d enjoy doing…then, it’s not actually meeting your needs!

So that means, in order to pick a blueprint topic, we need to strike a balance between what skills we know employers want and what skills you would like to learn.

Step 2: Make learning easy

Once we’ve picked a blueprint it’s time to get to work!

What does that look like? Think lots of spreadsheets and documents and code samples and design documents and planning and work meetings and oh so many production schedule revisions :)

The curriculum team for each blueprint consists of one subject matter expert, two curriculum writers, two video editors, one video talent, and me floating around playing all kinds of different roles depending on what’s needed.

The process is extremely iterative, which means that there’s lots of outlining and drafting and reviewing and editing and more outlining and drafting. There’s so much to consider in the process: are we teaching the right things? In the right order? Is it interesting and valuable? And…fun? Do we walk through the skills in a manner that is easy to follow, relatable, makes sense, and will prepare our students for the workforce as fast as possible?!

Step 3: Focus on the fun

Ok, ok, this isn’t so much step 3 as much as it’s…something we try to do all the timez.

Why focus on the fun? Because we have this theory that if we have fun while we’re making the blueprint, our students may just have fun while they’re taking it.

Working at a startup is hard. Everyone on the Skillcrush team works long hours under tight deadlines to bring our blueprints together. So we are silly whenever we can be and try to enjoy the ridiculousness that comes with trying to do herculean tasks on a daily basis.

Adda_Outtake_Cray

So we use fluffy pink stuffed bunnies as stand-ins when we’re filming alone and we make way too many git puns and we have a serious gif problem that needs to be addressed like WHOA (can you tell?).

In conclusion…in a few weeks our crazy little blueprint making factory is going to be outputting it’s latest installment: the Visual Designer Blueprint, and we could not be more excited. If you are interested in learning more and knowing when it launches, you can sign up for the First to Know list right here.

And if nothing else, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look into the craziness—and sometimes, crazy silliness—that is working at Skillcrush. I am 100% serious about talking to you being my #1 most important job duty, so anytime you have the inkling, shoot me an email at adda@skillcrush.com.

I can’t wait to hear from you :)

Adda Birnir

Adda is not only the CEO and founder of Skillcrush, but also an instructor. With her self-taught tech skills, she’s worked on building sites for the New York Times, ProPublica and MTV.

When Adda isn’t developing or teaching on Skillcrush, she enjoys watching Hall & Oates videos on YouTube.

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