The most effective way to learn something new is to find an incentive to do it. I discovered that mine was building a school.
4 years ago I quit my investment banking job to move into programming inspired by the ambition of facing new challenges and driven by the desire to build products.
The path was very exciting but not easy . It wasn’t easy to get familiar with the basic programming concepts. It wasn’t easy to feel autonomous and complete a whole project alone. It wasn’t easy to fully understand the code I copy/pasted from StackOverflow.
After 6 months of learning coding I built an online school (lacerba.io) to teach coding and other digital skills. The goal was to offer courses that reduce the amount of pain I experienced during my programming learning process.
The school focused on the Italian market, since we spotted a huge market opportunity: most talented people were unhappy with their career, or even worse, they were unemployed, so we focused on offering them a new opportunity: move their talent into digital jobs.
My co-founders and I we were unable to cover most of the topics we were teaching in our courses, so we started to look around for impressive startups and professionals in order to have talented teachers on-board to teach in-demand skills. Now the platform has become the entry-point for everyone in Italy looking to acquire digital skills.
Today I felt like a “real developer”. I have several projects in production, 2641 contributions on Github in the last year, I run dev ops by myself and I manage a team of 4 developers.
Looking back I realize that most of my improvements are not just related to the the coding itself. What accelerated my learning curve was the chance I had to share knowledge with the teachers of our school.
The process we follow to release a new course for our school is the following:
- identify a macro topic that our users should learn to be competitive
- ask to our trusted network if they know anyone who is skilled on the topic
- brainstorm about the topic, why is it crucial, benefits, downsides, difficulty to learn and then we define a syllabus together
- record the courses together, providing real time feedback
- go for a beer after the course is recorded with the teacher ( mandatory )
- edit the course
- market the course
- assist our community
It’s a lot of work, time consuming and also not easy, but there is an opportunity to go deeper into topic we are teaching in every single step.
We went trough this process more than 100 times now and every single time we learnt new best practices, better ways to solve problems, technology trends and complementary skills.
For example, I started my developer career learning Ruby. Since then I was able to build almost anything using just Ruby on Rails and some front-end tricks. We recently decided to build a course on a front-end framework and we got in contact with a VueJS developer.
The last project I built has a ruby api only as a backend and VueJS as a front-end. This happened because I had the opportunity to discuss Vue with the teacher before creating the course. I helped him record the course watching Vue in action and I immediately realized how fast and simple it made building a project. But most importantly we had tons of discussion about this language. Learning Vue by building a project was then easy: I knew where to look, what to expect and the basic concepts behind it.
Something similar happened with complementary skills, for example SEO, basic marketing or UI and UX fundamentals.
Building a school was the most effective way to master my developer skills and acquire complementary skills.
My first step into blockchain development
In the last few years, as most of the professionals in the coding or startup industry, I started learning about blockchain technology.
At the beginning I focused on understanding the main concepts of the blockchain such as consensus, smart contracts, multisig, cryptography, …
Suddenly I felt like I was going trough the same issues I had in the past while learning to code. But this time it was even worse. Blockchain is still an emergent technology, and a reliable hub of knowledge is missing. The whole ecosystem is fragmented and there is no clear entry point for aspiring blockchain developers.
Every blockchain community has different views, which are, most of the time, are very hostile to each others’ and not open to external discussion. It’s also very common to find never-ending discussion about blockchain projects related to the currency but not much about its technology value.
The current ecosystem makes very hard to find answers to crucial questions like the following:
- Which blockchain platform fits my needs?
- What are the best practices of blockchain development?
- How can I be sure what I am building is secure?
What is the best way to get deeper into blockchain development and at the same be valuable for anyone who has the same goal?
Again, build a school.
I called Simone, a friend of mine who was involved in the blockchain space and asked him to help me building a blockchain school for developers.
The idea is to build project-based online courses on real-word applications built by blockchain platform creators. For this reason, we are teaming up with the leading blockchain projects teams in order to provide the most relevant development courses.
The goal is to create a knowledge hub where aspiring developers can learn blockchain development, understand different technologies and get the skills required to build their applications.
No matter if an aspiring blockchain developers is looking to get hired in the industry, create a DApp, build a crypto startup or just understand how blockchain works, Craftain is the entry point to learn and stay updated on the latest development trends.
Build something that gives you incentive to learn from others
You don’t have to build a school to learn something new. But if you are looking to go deeper into something, start by learn from experts and find an incentive to do it constantly.
Building a school incentivizes me to stay updated on new blockchain projects, meet talented people in this industry and have open discussions with them.
Craftain is the result of our desire to learn from experts and we firmly believe that everyone who is excited about blockchain technology will love sharing their expertise with us.