Apply for the next session

There are a few ways to look at it.

You can say “I want to learn to be a developer.” You can say “I want to get a job doing _____. ” But in either case, what does that mean? What does the industry want from you? And what do you specifically want from it? Where do you fit in?

You’ll need the following worked out in any case.

Big picture

This is an overview. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. The details are in the other list below it.

This is what you need to get a great job.

  1. Show up. On-time. Present yourself professionally and respectfully.

  2. Engage the situation with focus, enthusiasm, and humility.

  3. Develop the stamina to work through complex problems and also maintain a work/life balance.

  4. Focus on the possibilities and work towards a solution. Accept your power. Take responsibility.

  5. Have a solid command of your computer and tools. You must be efficient.

  6. Understand the medium of The Web as a whole (including some history of publishing).

  7. Understand how to break down problems and make decisions with goal-driven design thinking.

  8. Always keep the goals and the end-user in mind. Everything is UX.

  9. Be comfortable with some basic research techniques and understand how to turn your findings into actionable steps.

  10. Have solid command of tools like Google Drive, Trello, Github, and the etiquette that goes along with them.

  11. Deeply understand HTML document purpose and structure, and hierarchy. Start with SEO and Accessibility in mind.

  12. Have confidence in using graphics programs to mock out your ideas.

  13. Deeply understand CSS and how to visually style HTML documents. This includes a responsive layout.

  14. Clearly understand the various image formats. Have a solid handle on SVG and its capabilities.

  15. Have solid respect for how websites and design systems must scale.

  16. Understand style-tiles, larger systems of design patterns, and how the design team works together.

  17. Understand how the internet works enough to explain all of the moving parts. ISP, DNS, HTTP, FTP, etc.

  18. Understand why and how we write computer programs. All languages share the same core concepts.

  19. Show proficiency with data structures, control flow, loops, functions, and other common patterns of programming.

  20. Understand server-side rendering and how to employ scripts to create efficient document-building systems.

  21. … let’s stop there (for now)

Show up. On-time. Present yourself professionally and respectfully.

Pretend you are on a fancy date, or you’re receiving an award. You aren’t dead. life is good.

PE includes this from day 1 of the course. You have a full 6-months to practice it, – and it will support your growth in all of the other areas on this list.

  1. Standup

    Each day, you have an opportunity to show up. Your standup represents your level of respect for your coworkers.

    If you aren’t able to say “what I did yesterday, what I want to accomplish today, and if there are any blockers,” then you have to ask yourself why? Is it because you do not know? Is it because you don’t know how to type? Is it because you don’t have time?  {{insert standup video here}}

    If you can’t spend 1-2 minutes writing your standup, then don’t bother reading the rest of this list. If you can’t put in the incredibly small amount of effort to do your standup, then you cannot have a job in this industry.

    No matter your track record, you can start – today. Start showing up now.

  2. Meetings

    Treat people as you would like to be treated. If you book a meeting, honor that time. If you can’t make it, reschedule in advance.

    Present yourself professionally.

    If you don’t do these things, you are essentially saying: “I don’t respect you or your time.” to the other person.

  3. Prepare

    Organize your thoughts. Clarify your questions. Prepare any research, assets, and have your projects open and ready to go. Getting time with the boss or the senior developer is a gift. Use it well.

  4. Networking

    Treat everyone with the same respect. You never know who will be the one to connect you. Treat your teammates here at PE, and the people on Discord etc. – with the same respect and appreciation you’d give to [insert someone you consider a hero].

    (Beyoncé,  Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr.   – you pick. Keep that person in mind – in general – as you’re reading the rest of this list)

Engage the situation with focus, enthusiasm, and humility.

You can choose to live in reaction – or action. Rise up. Live. Greet the day. Engage.

The way we try and promote this is by making videos and projects that aren’t boring and keep a modulating energy. Small chunks are digestible if you engage and conquer.

  1. Focus

    You are in charge of your time. You are in charge of your focus. To make the most of your time (the most valuable asset) – you’ll have to make some clear decisions. Do you want to passively engage in something, get half the value – and then have to do it again later? OR do you want to turn everything off – and soak up everything you can during that time? If you’re feeling like you “don’t have time” – it’s because you’re using it unwisely.

    “People don’t have short attention spans: They finish 3 hour Joe Rogan episodes. They binge 14-hour shows.”

    – Julian Shapiro

    If you want something, then make the time and focus on it for that time.

    We’ve built this program for exactly this purpose. If you get a clear schedule and stick to it, it will work. You have to choose to be consistent. If you can’t focus for 3 hours now, then how will you focus for 8 hours when you land a job?

  2. Choose enthusiasm

    There are a TON of jobs. You could be a security guard for the president. You could dig trenches. You could be a grocery checkout clerk for 50 years.

    Almost no job is as fun and rewarding as design. It’s a fact. It has the most versatility and the most impact. Choose to enjoy it. If you can’t enjoy this, then there are always those other jobs.

  3. Humility

    We are lucky to have a job like this. We have immense power. Stay humble and close to the task at hand. You can either do it – or you can’t. Be honest with yourself. Your feelings and your Ego – don’t matter as much as reality.

Develop the stamina to work through complex problems and also maintain a work/life balance.

The course (while ‘part-time’ / hours wise) is rigorous. We build stamina by working up to it – and maintaining that momentum. “Stuff” is hard. So, you’ll have to try it a lot. Then you’ll have to keep trying it – without growing crazy. We have the timer ingrained into our exercises to help you clearly separate your tasks.

  1. Daily exercises

    By trying a new set of things every day, you are able to stretch your brain and get out of your comfort zone. At the core of this course is the idea that – the goal – ultimately drives decision-making. You have to be ready to work through new problems and pick up new skills and points of view.

    This is how the job works, so – we start you off – in that real-life situation.

  2. Working smart

    Each day there is a manageable set of work to go over. If life gets in the way, then you need to work smarter. That means picking up the phone – or sharing a screen or doubling down on a Saturday. The pace of the course forces you to change your behavior – otherwise, you will fall behind.

    Use your resources well. Who can help? Who can you offload this to? Can you ask an expert? On the real job, you’ll have to work smart to get ahead / so that you can maintain a work/life balance AND have left over time to just have fun at work. Stay ahead of things. Everyone else will love you for it.

  3. Get used to "not knowing"

    Instead of learning how to complete tasks, learn how to problem-solve. It’s like asking a genie for more wishes. You’re not going to know all of this stuff. Learn how to meet new challenges with a sense of excitement vs. fear. This is a choice.

Focus on the possibilities and work towards a solution. Accept your power. Take responsibility.

You have the ability to do all of these things. Accept that universal truth.

  1. Choose to believe in yourself

    We give you ALL of the tools you need to complete each assignment. If you spend your time looking other places for faster answers – or you focus on the “feelings” that it’s hard – then that’s what you’ll end up with.

    Stick to what is possible with the tools you have at all times. The answer is NOT somewhere else. It’s already in you. If it wasn’t then – why would we need you for anything?

  2. Take responsibility for yourself and outcomes

    Nothing is anyone else’s fault. That’s that.

    Even if it is… you’re a problem-solver now… so, – solve it and keep moving forward. That is your job.

Have a solid command of your computer and tools. You must be efficient.

It doesn’t matter if you are the smartest coder on the team if you are slow and distracted – and can’t type – and have a million windows open.

This is a 100x multiplier. Learn to type – and learn the shortcuts / and figure out what gets things from your brain – to your screen as fast and efficiently as possible.

We dole out the shortcuts and all the tricks as the course goes. There’s no excuse not to be a super-user. If you aren’t doing so hot in that department, start now. Start using a new shortcut each day – and practice your typing for 10 minutes each morning.

  1. Full understanding of your computer's file system

    You need to put things in places and find things. Sometimes with a mouse / and sometimes with the command line. Is it organized? Do you understand where everything is?

    Anytime there’s a tedious task / like finding a deeply nested folder.. and you catch yourself going through the motions: fix it. Constantly work to become a better computer user.

  2. Learn the shortcuts

    They are called “shortcuts” because they are faster / but they are also much easier – and better for your body too.

    We can tell if you know how to use your computer well from across the room. If you’re in a meeting – people are going to notice if you seem pro. Just be pro.

  3. Become more and more efficient

    This goes for email, chat, time, typing, indenting – and everything.

    The more time you save / by being efficient, the more time you have to be creative about the real problems that actually matter.

    Don’t wait for some magic day where you “have time.” That’s the point. Learn how to CREATE time, now. This is a huge 10x.

We talk about enough history in the course to get you going. Then – we USE the web the whole course.

  1. Why?

    Know why things are the way they are – and not just what to type. We do certain things in certain ways – because of how the web works. If we change something too drastic – it will break ALL of the web pages. This is important to understand because it will help you with problems going forward.

  2. It's responsive by nature

    The web is shown through unknown media. Did you print the page? Dis you look at it on a tiny screen? Did you have your evil robot assistant read it to you? A giant screen? An assistive screen reader?

    Understand that the bigger picture – isn’t just “websites.”

Understand how to break down problems and make decisions with goal-driven design thinking.

The entire PE course is about this. Every day – all day. It’s what separates people who just take orders – from people who can be trusted. The people who you can trust make double the money – and get to choose their jobs.

  1. Look to understand the problem first

    If there was a quick fix, they wouldn’t need you.

    Spend the time upfront to engage and really think about the goal. It might not even be a problem.

  2. Allow the goal to make the decisions

    Choosing a color or a font – just because it feels “good” – isn’t enough. It’s not going to sell it to the team – and really/ you aren’t even selling it to yourself.

    By focusing on the goal and making your decisions purely to satisfy it – you’ll get what you want – and you’ll have an easy time talking all of the stakeholders into it.

    Make it easy on yourself. This is not a career that will reward you for “being unique” for the sake of it.

    Use a process. Follow a mental framework and learn to LOVE constraints.

Always keep the goals and the end-user in mind. Everything is UX.

You are a user. Your friends are users. Your family is a user. Make things that would help them. Who cares what the boss thinks (unless they are a user too).

PE uses this – in everything we do.

  1. Be aware of User Experience

    It’s mostly a buzzword. It used to be called “thinking.” But corporate structure got so crappy – that there wasn’t much of that – so, they had to rebrand it to bring it back.

    That CSS file – or that JavaScript function you’re writing? Someone else is going to have to look at that later. Make it readable. Everything you do – is going to be used by someone else. Do it with them in mind.

  2. Learn from the world around you

    Walking around town, visiting a website, using a device, driving a car, ordering dinner – it’s all UX. Learn from the best school ever (life). It’s free. PAY ATTENTION. Document cool things and write about them. Talk to your friends about design. It will make you a better designer.

Be comfortable with some basic research techniques and understand how to turn your findings into actionable steps.

This isn’t just for researchers. It’s for everyone.

At PE, we tackle this by infusing research throughout the course. Just looking around the web? Taking screenshots. Sharing, getting feedback, comparing findings. The key is to turn it into something actionable.

  1. Research things

    It’s fun. Look around. Find stuff. Notice patterns. Write things down show them to people. Do it often. CTOs need to research and vet new technology stacks. Visual designers need to keep up with the latest trends so that they can avoid them (jk). Everyone on the team should be doing – at least – research lite / all the time.

  2. Make them actionable

    The “work” is sometimes just the work. You don’t use every single scene you shot in your final documentary. You don’t show every painting you ever made at your art show. You probably use about 1/100 of the stuff you find.

    Make sure that your research turns into something useful. The boss doesn’t want to see a football field-long Google Doc. They want the next steps that you figured out – after doing the research.

Have solid command of tools like Google Drive, Trello, Github, and the etiquette that goes along with them.

When you get to work, they’ll give you some tools. You should know how to use them.

That’s we take weeks to go over the computer itself. You need to be able to use it well – and learn new software quickly.

 

  1. Know Google suite well

    This translated directly into HTML and CSS. It also means that you care about legibility and you have some empathy for the other people on the team. Make it A+. Do a good job.

  2. Get comfortable with all of the tools

    Whimsical and Trello are good proxies for the other brands. Get comfortable with them. Not just playing with them for 30 minutes once or twice, but actually using them as tools. Create charts and to-do lists about your work. it will be HUGE when it’s time to use other tools / and it will make you smarter.

  3. Learn how to use Git and Github

    You can start with just a daily journal. It doesn’t even need to be code. Then just scale up – as your projects get more complicated. You’ll need it for too many reasons to explain here, but put simply: if you don’t know it well, you can’t have a job.

Deeply understand HTML document purpose and structure, and hierarchy. Start with SEO and Accessibility in mind.

HTML is the basis of the web. You have to know it. Not just a little, but – basically as well as your native language. It’s only a few concepts and maybe 3 new words.

At PE, we’re using it every day – but: we can’t force you to practice.

  1. Make 1 webpage a day until it's burnt into your brain

    Take any website and copy it. Not the style. Just the hierarchy. What is the H1? H2? Paragraphs? Then look at the code for the real site. It’s probably wrong, so – trust yourself. Get help.

    We’re only asking you to really know about 10% of HTML. You can learn the rest as you go. Take it seriously. It’s not just “the easy thing.” It’s the thing that matters most.

  2. Check your sites for accessibility all along the way

    You can use the validator. You can use a screen-reader. This is really important. Ask for help.

  3. Learn SEO

    It’s mostly just writing great HTML and having great content. But you should also understand what it is and how it effects your job.

Have confidence in using graphics programs to mock out your ideas

We’re currently writing the rest of this out —

  1. Practice

    Just like anything else in life, you aren’t going to just magically be a fantastic graphic designer. You just have to try it often enough to get the hang of the basics. You may not do it much in your job, but understanding how it works – will help you communicate – and will make you more valuable as a developer.

Deeply understand CSS and how to visually style HTML documents. This includes a responsive layout.

There's an empty list!

Apply for the next session