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EXECUTION Teaching Developers to Build Full Applications and Help Entrepreneurs

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by PatrickWho, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    After noticing many people struggle with getting an online application created, I started this thread: Find Trustworthy Developers to Build Your MVP Without Risking Money $$

    The idea: have less-experienced developers gain experience by creating MVPs for cash-poor entrepreneurs.

    Things have been going well, and I thought a progress thread would be a great way to keep me focused.

    ================== Background

    With learning, there is no single approach that works best for everyone; there is always room for new approaches.

    In my own journey as a developer, I took note of many things that could have been done differently in existing courses. I have heard these same frustrations voiced by others, so I thought this would be a good need for me to tackle.

    Why is this a good niche?
    • high barrier to entry -- you have to have the skill in order to teach it
    • profitable -- there are a fair number of solutions in the space already, but there's lots of room for improvement / diversity
    • large market, but with numerous niche markets within
    • I know the market very well

    The End Goal

    Assist budding developers in gaining the confidence needed to create an application from scratch and put it online for real people to use.

    This means that developers will understand how to go from simple requirements documentation and an empty code editor to setting up a server and deploying production-ready code suitable for an MVP.

    That is a tall order, but diligent students will find themselves gaining experience and confidence quickly.

    Being familiar with the skills necessary to create an MVP from scratch will make them a valuable member to any team or entrepreneur(s). They'll be able to get things done without necessarily being an expert in things like server administration.

    Sub Goal: Help budding entrepreneurs validate their MVP without a large output of cash. True, it will take longer to get their applications complete, but for most, the application wouldn't have been built at all.

    My main goal does not depend on finding interested entrepreneurs, though.

    ================== Progress Update

    Unfortunately, my time is extremely limited for the next couple of months, but I have been making steady progress.

    Items Completed:
    1. Application idea chosen and scoped
    2. Full tech stack chosen (JavaScript (Vue.js + Node.js) + MySQL
    3. I have decided on the full scope of the course -- A to Z development, from server setup to production deployment. Course will also include a full professional workflow - working from requirements documentation, dev task tickets, bug tickets, using git, effective time management and dev task planning
    4. Tooling for managing the courses, students, etc. chosen.
    5. I've researched effective learning techniques to apply to my teaching approach. To the best of my knowledge, existing courses do not pay attention to these; existing courses seem to stop at the "learn by doing" approach, but there is more that can be done. It is my hypothesis that this stagnant approach is what leads to so much dissatisfaction with these courses; people do course after course and don't have the confidence to handle projects without the hand holding.

    Up Next:
    1. Plan the progression of the course to maximize retention of learned material.
    2. Complete a landing page to gauge interested. I'll invite people to an email list I'll use to post updates, more in-depth course information and stories that illustrate my motivation for producing the courses.

    Challenges:

    The biggest challenge right now is trying to get something out there without investing too much time up front.

    I will not be creating the whole course before I start gauging interest, but I at least want my ducks lined up enough that I can start filming video quickly if I start to generate enough interest.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
    daru, Aaron T, Kingmaker and 2 others like this.
  2. Aaron T
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    Aaron T Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Love this idea! I will be following this thread.
     
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  3. Bugs Bunny
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    Bugs Bunny Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    The best approach is to start teaching one hour tutorial for a small group of students. Charge them like $20. This validation is needed. You can search for meetups in your area and announce about your training. You might be able to hire a video grapher on Craigslist. Record everything and upload it to youtube. You can later link the youtube videos to the paid version of the course later.
     
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  4. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Thanks @Bugs Bunny.

    That's a good idea, though I'm more interested in validating through some other channels like Twitter, Medium, etc. I will keep the in-person workshop idea in my back pocket, though. Front End Masters does that, and it seems to work very well.
     
  5. Bugs Bunny
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    Bugs Bunny Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Creating a 10 hour course takes hundreds of hours. It is very time consuming and you don't know if enough people will buy it. Using time constraint such as one hour forces you to take more action and learn quickly.
     
  6. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Yes, I don't doubt that for a moment. I worked behind the scenes with another that was producing courses, so I got a first-hand look at what's involved.

    I'll update this thread later with my plans to validate before creating a large course.
     
  7. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    My apologies to those that subscribed to the thread expecting quick updates. I had to take some time off to complete some offline duties.

    I'm finally getting settled into a new office, and I'm gearing up to begin work again.

    I've taken some time each day to sketch out the course progression, and I hope to complete the sign up page by early next week. I've just been tweaking my course description to effectively communicate what it is I'm trying to accomplish.

    Now I need some feedback...

    I'm kinda stuck effectively communicating two main objectives of the course:

    1) Provide a course that allows devs to learn in the context of a real world project (design docs, task / bug ticket management, etc.)

    I don't want to provide another "Build this cool app" course where the focus is on the features of a particular framework or the code in general; rather, I want the focus on the entire process -- reading requirements docs, planning dev tasks, managing time / estimate delivery dates, creating clean git commits and pushing with clear messages.

    At the end, I want the student to be confident that they can build an entire app from provisioning the server, to planning out the app architecture to pushing to staging and production. I want the student to have a clear understanding of the entire picture, without necessarily becoming a master of each piece of the puzzle. Future courses can be the deep-dive required for different parts; I want to provide the experience for the entire process.

    2) Building an app that an actual person wants to validate in the market.

    Of course, the other key piece is involving a real entrepreneur in the process, and the benefit to the dev is that they get a chance to have their work used in a live project.

    ....

    Again, the struggle is communicating both.
     
  8. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Slowly making progress here.

    I've got a lot to learn as I prepare the first module for my course.

    I've also been reading a book called Expert Secrets - Russell Brunson to learn how to tell better stories and motivate people to buy into what I'm pitching.

    Rather than shoot for perfection, I shot for 'done' and got a basic landing page up. It's pretty bad, but it will just have to improve over time. It's a simple Bootstrap site with a Mailchimp email form.

    I'm not sure if the landing page is the best place to share my story. Feedback is welcome.

    See the page here - Build To Learn

    Eventually this will contain a proper signup page and a catalog of free and paid material.
     
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  9. PatrickWho
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    PatrickWho Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Update:

    1. My ugly landing page somehow convinced 8 people to sign up to my email list.
    2. I noticed my site bounce rate was pretty high, so I splurged on a commercial WordPress theme from Thrive Themes. Bounce rate dropped a good deal, and I think it will be worth the investment as I drive more people to the site for updates.
    3. Last week I did a lot of learning around API authentication and authorization using Auth0 (a paid service). This is all pretty new to me, so that took several days.
    4. I published my first post in a mini series about getting to know server admin. I'll be releasing little mini tutorials for free in order to get more attention before the big launch of the full course. These mini tutorials will also help to cut down on the time it takes to complete each new full course, since they will serve as reusable units to which I can refer new students.
    5. I've been speaking with someone on the forum here who will be working with me to scope out the first application - an application he wants to test.
    6. I also have a friend that has an idea for a second application. I don't think finding application ideas will be a problem.
    7. uploaded my first YouTube video - Build to Learn. It took a while to record a half-decent video and then I had to learn to use a basic video editor to add some notes. I'll just continue to make as many as I can, and each video will get better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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