Group session July 1st

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On Reddit, someone posted that they had finished their boot camp – and got their first interview. They said they felt like they forgot everything and were worried – because it felt like 99% of the time they were Googling for the answers.

The job they were interviewing was asking for things like  HTML, PHP, WordPress, and Photoshop.

They deleted their questions a few days later after we posted this answer. But, this is something we end up answering often so, we’re saving it here.

The fun part – is that these are all the things we teach in DFTW. If you do all the work – you’ll be much more than prepared for a job like this.


When you search on the internet for answers, what are your questions like?

Sometimes you don’t really know what to look up. That’s OK. But it’s more like “Yikes Help! It’s broken and I don’t know why.”

Other times you’re thinking: “I need to iterate over this associative array – but I need to do it with JavaScript instead of PHP. I think I can convert it to JSON. I need to find that method and also the syntax for the loop.”

The more experience and vocabulary you get, the more the questions become about understanding a new concept – or – language/framework specific syntax.

The concepts are what matters most. The syntax can always be looked up.

But let’s break down what concepts you’ll need to know – and some talking points:

HTML: Well, do you know it? Pretty good? Got any examples? WordPress themes often use Bootstrap – but you’ll still need to know which elements to use. Its important that you are up to date with semantic HTML and that you understand why using a nav vs a div – or a button vs a div is important. You’ll need to at least have cursory understanding of screen readers and accessibility. That’s also a good talking point. That’s something that can help them. How comfortable are you with layout basics like this: ? Being really clear on what elements are display: block vs inline is very important.

CSS: if ~80% of the traffic is on a phone in many cases, then small-screen-first layouts are important. How are you feeling about that stuff? Do you have examples of your work? Can you pull something out and talk about it with the interviewer? Do you know about box-sizing and flexbox and enough grid to get by? Being comfortable with custom properties would also be helpful. Here’s a checklist of some of the main responsive concepts:

PHP: You don’t have to be amazing with PHP. But you’ll certainly need to know the basics of programming. That would be the same for JavaScript. They both have ways to organize data. Then you need to be able to access it and put it into templates. PHP also helps with components. You can create partials and break the project up into reusable bits. So, being clear on what server-side templating is like will be important. Can you loop through an associative array – and then maybe shove that data into a render_card($title, $description…) type function and render all the data? That’ll be using HTML and PHP of course. PHP is basically just a programmatic way to write HTML, right? Can you make a basic form with PHP? That would be nice. If you can mirror those tasks with JavaScript, that would be nice. Does this code make sense to you? (or this Gist / if that goes away)

WordPress: WP is a PHP framework (and a whole ecosystem) – so, if you know basic PHP stuff, then – WP should really be making things easier / but you do have to learn your way around. You’ll look a lot of things up – because their API is older and also improves often. Looking up the methods in a framework is totally normal. but – you have to know generally what you want to do. So, for example – you’ll need to know about “the loop” (which is a kind of extra ugly for-loop). It gets the post from the database. But if you only want to show a particular post type – then you can look it up / and you’ll find wp_query or whatever it’s called and be off to the races. Have you built a basic custom theme f or yourself to get a lay of the land? That’s good. With the least amount of code possible – just to see how the header and footer work – and how the system works at a high level. That would be ideal / but there are tons of WP devs who just get in there and start working and learn as they go. Knowing about custom post types, and advanced custom fields would be great. You can also download a few free themes and fool around with them to see how their settings work. And – as far as woocommerce / you either have experience with it or you don’t. You can pick it up as you go. You can ask them lots of questions about what deployment strategy they use. They might just hack away live right in the theme – or use Git and MigrateWP etc. That’ll give you some things to chat about.

For Photoshop, you’ll probably just need to know how to crop things and export them. Also – maybe look up a quick tutorial on removing the background of things. And know the difference between jpeg and png. And – maybe a talking point could be about the pros of SVG. So, maybe brush up on making those. And make sure you feel confident with exporting assets. Side note on images / there’s a standard for lazy loading now.

But also – just be really nice – and excited! These are technical skills, but – what are the company’s larger goals. Figure that out. What are they missing? Be that person. Tell them you are really excited to do that. Can you look at some of their code and get an idea for their style and use that as a talking point?

[no response + question deleted]

(Probably doesn’t look so hot – if the employer looks you up on Reddit and reads a post about how afraid you are / so, maybe a good move!)

Group session July 1st