Tag Archives: mentor

I will teach myself to code. A 90 challenge.


Last week, I signed up to learn coding with Thinkful.

What’s Thinkful?

Thinkful is an online school where you can learn web development and coding.

The cornerstones of the Thinkful model are curriculum, community and mentorship.

One of my people, Ian White, had posted something on his Facebook page about learning to code in 90 days.

And I was immediately intrigued.

Learn to code in 90 days?

Where do I sign up?

I’ve always played around on the periphery of coding – managing web, mobile and app development projects – but never actually coded myself.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I did have a DOS/ASCII class in high school.

And I’ve messed around in the code on WordPress for a couple of sites I’ve developed over the years.

And one of my friends did create his own web platform Upl1nk, which I made a few pages with.

But I can’t say that I actually know or am conversant in any programming languages.

So I’m a little excited to get started.

Now this isn’t your ordinary 90 day challenge.

For one, I’m paying for the Thinkful course.

For $300 a month, I can learn the ins-and-outs of front end web development.

The course is broken up into modules, and there’s an online curriculum, which, if you follow strictly, will allow you to complete the course within the prescribed time frame.

There is nothing to preclude you from completing the course in a shorter span of time, of course, but it’s all about pacing and comprehension.

Mind you, Thinkful isn’t all self-study.

You’re assigned a Thinkful Mentor, who you chat with (via Google Hangouts) once a week for 30 minutes.

And if you get stuck or need help, Thinkful has a host of online resources and links to loads more, like StackOverflow.com, to get you straight.

What’s more, Thinkful has taken advantage of Google Plus, creating a community of coding newbies, like your’s truly, as a sort of coding support system.

At this point, I’m about five days in and loving it.

I’m on my first module, Unit 1: Structure and Style with HTML and CSS, and I’m almost done.

I’m soooo lying.

I am not almost done.

I’m about 40% done.

Truth be told, I’m very a little behind where I’m supposed to be.

I didn’t actually look at the syllabus after I enrolled.

I sat back waiting for my mentor to call me to get started.

Completely ignoring the flood of emails from Thinkful, welcoming me to the course and setting me on the path to get started.

I thought they were a bunch of marketing drivel you get after you give up your email, so I kinda tuned out.

By the time I got my head out of my ass and checked in, I realized I was several days behind.

Yes. I know. I’m a jackass.

I should have been more diligent.

Cut me some slack.

It’s my first online self-study course – what did I know?

Point is, I’m chugging right along.

I’m all syntax and structure, and I’m starting to get it.

If you’re interested in learning how to code, there are a host of other self-study courses out there, besides Thinkful.

Many of the lessons in my course come from Code Academy, which has a really good learning interface.

And I’m sure that there are others.

For the time being, though, I’m sticking with Thinkful.

And I’m confident that when my 90 days is up, I’ll be a front end coding fool.

No. I’m not going to assault you with updates along the way.

Yes I am.

But don’t worry.

It will only be the cool shit I’m really proud of.

At this point, you would have seen that I was adding a bit of code to show off, but since WordPress is an HTML platform, all my lovely code was hidden.

I know. I’m a dork

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iMentor Interactive: The New Face of Mentoring

I just completed an interview to become a mentor with iMentor Interactive.

iMentor is an organization whose mission is to improve the lives of high school students from under-served communities through evidence-based, technology-enabled mentoring.

iMentor Interactive uses technology, curriculum, and targeted support to create a new, more powerful mentoring model.

A few weeks ago, I sat through a training session with twelve other potential mentors, and my telephone interview today brought me one step closer to being a full-fledged mentor.

What makes iMentor unique, is its perspective on mentoring.

Rather than focus on the time mentors can’t give, iMentor developed a program that works around the time a mentor can give.

iMentor mentors commit to meeting their mentees in person at least once a month, and corresponding with their mentees via email, at least once a week.

iMentor envisions a nation in which all youth are connected to college-educated mentors who can provide the support and guidance they need to graduate from high school and succeed in college.

The iMentor Interactive model is so compelling that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced during his State of the City address, that iMentor is partnering with 10 leading New York-based companies.

Each company will recruit 100 of their employees to serve as mentors for high school students in low-income communities.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also recently gave the organization $500,000 to support iMentor’s programming.

I’m still in the vetting process (iMentor screens their mentors very carefully), but hopefully I’ll be matched with a mentor soon.

I signed up for a three year mentorship, which means that (if I’m matched) I’ll mentor a student from their sophomore or junior year of high school, through their senior of high school or freshman year of college.

If you’ve ever wanted to mentor, but never thought you could, definitely check iMentor out.

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