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These findings come from real students (obviously), conversations on Career Karma – and from these video interviews by DonTheDeveloper: NuCamp coding school review and Interviewing the CEO of NuCamp.
NuCamp leans heavily on Bootstrap (a popular CSS framework) which requires students to write HTML and CSS in a specific way**. But nothing is really stopping students from learning semantic HTML and regular CSS on the side.
- Try and do everything that they do with Bootstrap – in a separate project – with your own markup and styles.
- Instead of waiting until the end of the course, start out building yourself a personal website right at the start. Use the HTML reference as a toolbox – and don’t use any Bootstrap. That’s what we do at PE.
- It can be super simple. Who are you? Why do we care? What do you want? How do we contact you? There’s some content strategy to tie it together.
- Really think about the “content” and how we describe content for browsers – but also for things like Alexa and Siri. And also for screen-readers and indexing/SEO.
- Also, learn a little about HTTP, DNS, hosting, and FTP.
As for the CSS, find some websites you like on the side. Make sure you always think “small-screen-first” – and build your side practice websites without bootstrap. You can get help in the CSS Discord.
- Practice writing clean, accessible markup and use the MDN reference for HTML and CSS.
- Here’s a video about cultivating a ‘responsive’ mindset. MAKE SURE you learn good habits now.
- Almost all layout comes down to this.
“We [nucamp] don’t teach pure CSS that much in the advanced boot camps.”
But – you are likely to find yourself at a job that doesn’t use Bootstrap. So, make sure you learn standard CSS. You absolutely need to understand that CSS frameworks are collections of prewritten CSS rules. You need to know CSS.
Your work is your “portfolio.” Everybody doesn’t need the same “portfolio website” with a big list of skills and languages…
Just make a simple “business card” style website and then tack on a few CodePens on to it as you learn and grow. See Pablo Stanley’s website as an example. Make it easy. It’s just a tool to help people understand what you do.
Your “portfolio pieces” don’t have to be 4 different CRUD apps. They can be silly little CodePen experiments.
The whole world is filled with terrible things… so, just find a few and think through how you can use your new tools to create some prototypes. Check out this video where we redesign a terrible golf-course UX.
As soon as version control starts to make sense, start using it. Just use the tools 1 by 1 as they become useful and they’ll have a special meaning. Try Git Tower or another visual app to make it more fun.
Getting the job
How to get a job: This whole process up above – is the path to getting your job. Think about what industries you want to work in. Think about what you like. Is it fishing? Painting? Traveling? Video games? Start getting an idea of what role you like (front-end/ animations /DevOps / building APIs… whatever). Make each of your little projects about that passion. They really are hiring YOU – the person. Typing the code is great, but you are the person they will be working with.
Find something you’re passionate about. Choose the job you want. Make the projects that will prove your skill and enthusiasm for that job. Then – go meet some of the employees and ask them what they are looking for. Get organized and then go tell them you are ready to start. Make it fun.
How to supplement
Instead of adding more Udemy courses (which are often full of bad practices), consider using a book like this: “Exercises for Programmers.” It will force you to think through a bunch of really great problems and really build your confidence. And you can even use those exercises to fill out your portfolio too!
If you haven’t already attended nucamp
Consider checking out what we offer at Perpetual Education. It’s not for everyone, but – maybe it’s for you. If you’d like to see Don’s interview with our “CEO” – it’s here.