I'm not exaggerating when I say that Scrimba changed my life. Well, learning to code changed my life, but if not for Scrimba I might not have made it through that first 'desert of despair.' Their interactive screencasts are really a game-changer. The way the instructors break concepts down into small manageable tasks in a fun, engaging way had me wanting to code in every spare moment, and my confidence grew day after day.
I'm currently working as a Software Engineer apprentice, getting paid to learn backend languages like Java and SQL. I'm glad I get to add more to my skillset, and it's cool to see how the server side works. I also know that frontend web development is my happy place, and I want to return to it eventually. I'm not actively job-hunting the way I was post-graduation. But.. I can't help but scan Scrimba's careers page from time to time. I don't know if you could tell, but I'm a big fan! It is a dream of mine to one day be part of their team.
One day, when I went to the Careers page, I saw there was an opening for a Coding Instructor. Wistfully I thought to myself, someday... I have teaching experience, and I also have somewhat of a mentoring role as a code reviewer for Scrimba Bootcamp students. Still, I wasn't sure if my skills were where they needed to be to work as a Coding Instructor. Something caught my eye on the job posting though! It said something to the effect of "Not sure you're ready for this job? Check out our Teacher Talent Program." And there was a link. What was this?!
I looked into it, and the Teacher Talent program ' ...aims to help aspiring coding instructors kick-start their career.' Cool! I kept reading... 'if accepted, you will get a $1000 USD grant to make audiovisual coding tutorials, and you'll have guidance from a Scrimba teacher.' Holy smokes! Yes! I must apply! And that I did. I filled out the application and completed the take-home challenge for job applicants. Within a week or two, I was accepted to the program!
Once I had decided on a topic, I had to think about how to present it. First I built a form myself, thought about all the moving parts and came up with a vague outline in my mind of how to break it all down into short, manageable lessons. I had ordered some audio equipment with the grant money, and so I practiced recording - a new learning curve for me. After getting some pointers from my mentor, I scripted out a couple of introductory scrims, took a deep (shaky) breath, and started to record!
Once I started recording, my outline began to solidify, and I thought about how many lessons I would do in total and what I would record in each one. At first I thought I might do 12-15 scrims and that recording might take 3-4 weeks (that's with me working a full-time job and spending time with my family, and you know, sleeping and eating and all that!). Well, it turned out that the task was a bit more involved and time-consuming than I was expecting.
Building a form is one challenge, explaining how to do it is another. And recording yourself explaining how to build a form is yet another! When you come across a scrim that is 5 minutes long, just know that it might take have taken me a full weekend to record! I would kind of script things out. Then I would record. Then I would listen and realize that there was background noise, or I forgot to include an important concept, or that I said 'um' a kajillion times! Sometimes I would have to re-record a scrim altogether. If I was lucky, I would have covered everything, and I all I needed to do was spend an hour or two editing the video to trim the dead air and the 'um's! I actually really enjoyed editing though, haha.
Honestly, I enjoyed the entire process, as challenging as it was. I had Guil Hernandez, Scrimba's bootcamp instructor, as my mentor. He is so awesome! He was very encouraging and offered great feedback along the way. He gave me some insight into his process when he creates content, the Scrimba 'way' of putting courses together, and how I might hone my playlist of scrims into something that could potentially be featured as a stand-alone course or as part of the career path.
I learned a lot from this experience. Watching my scrims (which I've watched dozens of times by now, probably) I definitely notice where there is room for improvement. I'm also more aware of the time that such improvements would require. I have a better understanding of the balance that must be struck when presenting material. You want the lessons to be comprehensive and detail-oriented, but you also don't want to overwhelm students with information, and you want it to be fun and engaging so that the material will stick with them! Easy, right?!
This was an awesome challenge for me, and while the final product might not be as perfect and polished as I'd like, I'm proud of all the work I put into it and I'm happy with the outcome of my first effort. I hope other Scrimbans will be too! Here is a link to my playlist - Build a sign-up form. I hope you'll check it out, and please let me know what you think! If you are part of the Scrimba Discord community, reach out to me there (I'm Micha). Or holler at me on Twitter! I'd love to hear from you!
Edit: If you are wondering how to make your own video tutorials using Scrimba's awesome interface, I definitely recommend this helpful article by Michael Larocca: https://selftaughttxg.com/2021/02-21/CreateAScrimbaScreencast/