It’s been months since I last posted something online. My plan when I started was to document my journey from working a 9-5 job to becoming a freelance front-end web developer. I was in the midst of taking a part-time class for WordPress when I stopped posting and focused on my projects. Now I have finished the class (which was awesome by the way) and on top of that, my wife gave birth to a healthy and very cute baby boy. Since then, I haven’t really had much sleep, I’ve revamped my portfolio site and my wife’s site (wanderpiggy.com). This is my journey (in a nutshell) taking the part-time WordPress class with Wes Bos at HackerYou.
The WordPress Class
It started out with the introduction to PHP coding, it wasn’t a lot but enough to know the nitty gritty of what you’re going to need in order to tackle developing with WordPress. Then as the days and weeks go by, it builds up on what you’ve learned previously.
I have watched several hours of WordPress tutorials online with both Treehouse and Lynda.com. I have high praises for both online tutorials but I’m old school when it comes to learning and can absorb more information when it is with an in-class setting. We have about 3 mentors in total and in any given class day, we have 2 of them at a time. It’s a mix of lecture and code-along with mentors going around assisting people who either get stuck or have questions with the current exercise.
Class started at 6:30pm sharp with a 10-15min break around 8pm which then resumes until 9pm. With classes twice a week, it is a great way to upgrade your skills while working full time.
We had 3 projects in total for the entire course, which was progressively challenging as the class goes on. Below is a glimpse of what we did in class for our project.
First Project: Replicating a real word project (PSD conversion)
The first project was basically PSD conversion within WordPress and we were given 3 choices (blogs for an architecture firm, consultancy firm or fishing company). It was barebones WordPress coding with the focus on installing WordPress and playing around with the page templates. You still have to know a bit about HTML and CSS coding.
Second Project: WordPress Theme
The second project was a bit more challenging as we have already tackled custom loops, custom post types and advanced custom fields (which was pretty much the meat and potatoes of the entire course). It was challenging but rewarding to see everything starting to materialize. We were tasked to “build a WordPress theme from scratch that is specifically targeted at an industry”. I decided to create a theme for a restaurant in downtown GTA. You can see it live here.
Third Project: Client or Personal Website
This is the third and final project which showcases everything that we have learned during the entire run of the course. We are to create a website for ourselves (i.e. portfolio site) or a client website in real life and it should be deployed live by the time everything’s done. For my project, I decided to create a portfolio site to showcase my projects and mock up sites since I am working towards freelancing as a front-end web developer. You can check out my site here. I have already revamped my original site from the one I submitted as my 3rd project in order to look more professional.
I would definitely recommend taking the part-time WordPress class at HackerYou to anyone within the city trying to look for part-time evening classes. It was fun taking it and the instructor and mentors were very knowledgeable and helpful with any questions we have.
Personal Opinion and Tips when Taking these classes:
- Show up in all of the classes. I know we all have deadlines at work, personal stuff we want/need to do or just plain too tired to even function that day. But believe me, just by showing up in class, you’ve already guaranteed that one way or another, you will learn something new. From there, it snowballs into you fully participating in class and doing the exercises and going home feeling accomplished.
- Go over the notes when you’re home and re-trace the steps during code-alongs. Yes, this can be time consuming but let’s face it, we ARE trying to sharpen our skills or learn a new skill. I find that with any new skill, you need to put in the work, get dirty and start doing it. By going over the notes and re-tracing the steps and re-doing the code-alongs myself, I found myself wondering at time why I couldn’t replicate what we did while everything worked fine during class. The class is like riding the bike with training wheels and once you go home, you take that training wheels off and see if you can go without it.
- Code, code, and code. Do I need to elaborate? No.