Teaching the World to Code, One By One

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Adda Birnir, CEO/Co-Founder Skillcrush

"One of my personal goals is to bring more women into tech. The technology skills I have learned have not only allowed me to build amazing things, but are really creative and fun! I wanted to create a way for tech skills to be accessible, easy, and fun to learn. People have so many misconceptions about what working in tech is like. I am here to bust all those silly myths." Adda Birnir, CEO/Co-Founder, Skillcrush

Adda Birnir had hit a dead-end. Five years ago she sat in a conference room surrounded by co-workers. It was a very bad day. They had all just been fired. It was during the darkest days of the recession and the only thing ahead of her was a $300 a week unemployment check.

Faced with one of the toughest job markets in decades, she made a decision that would transform her career and eventually impact hundreds of women. And she is just getting started.

She decided to learn to code.

One thing she realized when she sat in that conference room was that everyone who still had a job at the company possessed technical skills. Everyone else was sent packing.

While she spent an hour or two every day looking for another job, Adda chose to invest her time in learning new skills. Armed with books, a few knowledgeable and supportive friends and a lot of determination, she got to work. Within a few months she was making money coding websites.

It wasn't long before she knew that her calling was to help other women learn technical skills and make that process interesting and fun. There were several challenges ahead of her. This would prove to be no small task in a field that has been largely male-dominated and the available tools didn't exactly extend a warm welcome to beginners.

With all the coding boot camps, on-site classes and online courses seemingly everywhere today it is easy to forget that just four or five years years ago there were few accessible online educational options for those who wanted to learn technical skills.

Adda was determined to change that.

She wanted to bridge the gender gap by encouraging more women to code AND take the intimidation out of the process. After three years of bumps, starts, and hard work to fully develop a different kind of online tech education community, Skillcrush became a reality in August of 2012.

Skillcrush logo

As they approach their two year anniversary, Skillcrush just launched two Career Blueprints. These are each 3-month courses that immerse students in the skills and knowledge to jumpstart anyone into a technical career. There are no prerequisites and absolute beginners are very welcome.

Here's a video explaining the Skillcrush Career Blueprints.

The Web Developer Blueprint focuses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Ruby, providing the pathway to building websites and launching apps.

The Web Designer Blueprint teaches students to build websites with a strong emphasis on user experience and design.

What is remarkable about the courses is the warm, inviting tone of the lectures and class materials. From the first lesson, questions are encouraged and quickly answered. The camaraderie among students and the hands-on support and mentorship from Adda and her expert team of instructors is almost overwhelming. The classes gather and interact on the Mightybell community site. There they post code, make comments, ask questions and offer solutions. Both the teachers and fellow classmates are quick to lend a hand. It is all about learning though collaboration.

For those who aren't quite ready to dive in check out their FREE 10-Day Bootcamp that will teach you some crucial basics in just a few minutes per day.

Should you learn to code? Could it transform your career? Let's have Adda answer that question.

"The thing that is really amazing about digital skills is that you can work in ANY industry, and you are going to be relevant for a long time! The Internet is a communication medium and every single industry and company from technology to fashion to healthcare to law will need to communicate. The opportunities to put your skills to use are endless. There is literally nothing that you can do to advance your career that will have a bigger and more widely applicable impact than understanding technology."

Watch this space as I stumble my way through the Web Developer Blueprint and write up what I've learned and how I am applying it to my own career.

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