The (Not so) Hidden Benefits of Talking about Code, with Scrimba Bootcamp Lead Micha

Michaella Rodriguez (00:00):
Well, something about me and my learning style. I've always enjoyed having teachers who teach me as if I'm a kindergartner. They have a certain kind of joyfulness about it, and I think breaking it down to something rudimentary. I don't mean be condescending. I mean just could you explain this to a five-year-old? Could you talk about how this is working?

Alex Booker (00:21):
That was Michaella Rodriguez, a self-taught developer, teacher, and the leader of the Scrimba Bootcamp. I wanted to talk with Micha because the Scrimba Bootcamp has a unique model to support developers to learn to code well and land their first job in tech. If you are considering the Scrimba Bootcamp at all, this is your opportunity to learn more as well as get to know your leader, Micha, who alongside her team, will work with you hands-on. If a self-paced bootcamp is not your thing, then that is totally fair enough. There is still a lot to learn in this episode about how to accelerate your learning and stay on track in the long run. There are a few really interesting cornerstones of the bootcamp that are fascinating and productive to learn about, things like group check-ins, which are to do of accountability, the idea of working on a group project to practice working on code files alongside a team.

This other idea of code reviews, which of course everybody wants to get code reviews, but Micha is going to talk a little bit about the benefits of reviewing other people's code or otherwise helping people with code even when you're just a few steps ahead of them. So buckle in and stay tuned because Micha has a ton of interesting perspectives from her vantage points as a self-taught developer as well as the person helping other developers be successful. I'm your host Alex Booker, and you're listening to The Scrimba Podcast where we don't care who you are or where you come from. We show you that you belong in tech. Micha, welcome to the show. Was it always obvious to you that you would end up working in tech?

Michaella Rodriguez (01:57):
Well, it wasn't obvious to me. I worked in restaurants for years and years and was looking for something else I might do. I enjoyed working in that field but was looking for other things that I might do in the future. When COVID happened, I stopped working in restaurants. And I've worked a bit as a teacher, I taught English to Chinese students online. But, yeah, as things were getting back to normal, I guess, and people were going back to work, I was underemployed and not sure what to do. And a friend of mine since high school, we were talking, and he's not in tech honestly, but he asked me if I'd ever be interested in coding. And I thought, "I don't think so. It's so strange."

He actually really knows me pretty well, I think sometimes better than I do, and it turns out he was right because I looked into what it would take to become a developer and started checking out free resources and found out that it was such a good fit for me. It really combines a lot of my interests. I have a creative side to me, I like puzzles, I like math, I like languages, and so it really just ticks all the boxes for me.

Alex Booker (03:10):
Sounds like a perfect fit.

Michaella Rodriguez (03:11):
Yeah, he knew.

Alex Booker (03:13):
Tell me about how you came across Scrimba in the first instance and what were your first impressions.

Michaella Rodriguez (03:19):
I guess kind of the first stop for me with coding was freeCodeCamp, I think for a lot of people because you're looking for something free because you're not sure what you want to invest in this new interest or career possibility. And I did the responsive design course there, went through it pretty quickly, and thought, "Oh wow, yeah, I've got this. I'm going to be a full stack developer in six months." But I got to their JavaScript certificate and definitely slowed down a lot. I got really stuck and really frustrated and started looking for help, looking for other resources that could help me to learn JavaScript. And in one of the help forums, somebody mentioned Scrimba, so I followed up on that, found Per's Learn JavaScript for free course, and-

Alex Booker (04:06):
It's legendary at this point.

Michaella Rodriguez (04:08):
It is. It's such a game-changer. I always recommend it to people because it was really accessible. The interactive format was perfect for me. JavaScript seemed so abstract whenever I was working with data structures and algorithms, so then to see how you interact with the DOM, seeing changes in the mini browser, it became a lot more fun and I started learning it at a faster pace. And then I ended up just continuing to take courses with Scrimba. I ended up doing the front-end developer career path, and I did end up doing that in six months. Not full stack, but...

Alex Booker (04:42):
And now you work at Scrimba. First, you were here as a code reviewer and now you're the Scrimba Bootcamp lead.

Michaella Rodriguez (04:49):
Yes. I'm so excited. It's a dream job for me because I've always been a fan of Scrimba, really happy to give back to the community. When I finished the front-end career path, I saw an announcement on Discord, and an instructor, Guil, was talking about the new bootcamp that was starting and was looking for code reviewers. I was interested in that. I wanted to see what it was about, and I did a take-home assignment and he chose me. And there were several other people who became the first group of Scrimba code reviewers or the bootcamp code reviewers. Really enjoyed doing that. It was a chance to give back to the community to use my teaching background and help other students.

And I just over time continued to do what I could with the bootcamp help with some one-on-one mentoring, helping with office hours, and answering questions in the Discord. So almost a year ago, Guil started focusing more on creating content. He's created a lot of courses for Scrimba and wanted more time to devote to that, and so he recommended that I could be a good person to fill his shoes. And I was so honored, and I've really enjoyed this role a lot.

Alex Booker (06:03):
I believe it's been a year already. The time really flies, huh?

Michaella Rodriguez (06:06):
Yes, it does.

Alex Booker (06:07):
Well, I thought it would be fascinating to talk to you, not only to learn a little bit about your story, which is so relatable to many of us but to learn a bit more about the Scrimba Bootcamp as well. Yes, for the benefit of anybody who might be interested, but also I know there's a lot of thought that's gone into the bootcamp and the way it's structured to maximize student outcomes and productivity. And so I think there's going to be a nice theme here of actionable ideas to improve your coding journeys. Maybe we should start here. What is the Scrimba Bootcamp exactly?

Michaella Rodriguez (06:37):
So when you hear the word bootcamp, maybe you think of something that's very highly regimented, very strict, and if you're thinking of a coding bootcamp, maybe it's like 16 weeks to become a full stack developer, you've got to devote eight hours a day, five days a week for this time, and you come out and you're a developer. The Scrimba Bootcamp is not set up quite that way, but I think that it does provide a structure and support for self-directed learners who are studying the curriculum of the front-end developer career path. I recently heard on one of the podcast episodes another guest talking about a bootcamp and how learning in a bootcamp is like drinking water through a fire hose. And I think that's just such a crazy image. And I don't have that experience but I would say that our bootcamp differs from that type of bootcamp because you have the time to drink from a cup, I guess.

Alex Booker (07:35):
Actually, hydrate yourself as opposed to waterboarding yourself basically.

Michaella Rodriguez (07:39):
Yes. Our bootcamp is self-paced, it's self-directed, you are able to do it whenever you have time. It works with your schedule. But we have a lot of support that we offer. I've heard from students who've done traditional bootcamps that as they were learning, they just felt so rushed through it and didn't really know where to find support, didn't feel like they had the mentorship that they've actually found when they came to the Scrimba Bootcamp. So I like to myself touch base with all the students. I really like to connect with them and see how I can help them on their learning journey, but also our awesome team of code reviewers. And they're also mentors, are really helpful with helping to answer questions and helping students by giving feedback on their code.

Alex Booker (08:25):
Let's not forget, not everybody can commit to this sort of immersive cohort-based bootcamps. The cost is sometimes prohibitive, but also your schedule just might not fit with the bootcamp or possibly the way you prefer to learn. I do get that there's an appeal to rushing, maybe rushing is not the right word, but to accelerate the process and really commit to it for a dedicated intense period of time. But we know that learning to code is a marathon, not a sprint. So there are certainly advantages to doing it in a self-paced way.

That's not a new idea. That's what most people who teach themselves to code online do. But I guess what the bootcamp is offering is an addition to the curriculum, and as I understand it is based on the Scrimba front-end developer career path, which is really a course, it's a series. Anybody can subscribe and access that at their own pace. The really funny thing is when I talk to people who went to bootcamps, they're like, "Oh yeah, I heard of Scrimba. At my bootcamp, they told us to use Scrimba." And I'm like, "Okay, so it's the same curriculum as even some of the best bootcamps are using, but it's more of a self-paced model."

Michaella Rodriguez (09:30):
Exactly. And I think that's what works for so many people is that they can fit it around their schedules and they can find support asynchronously as well as syncing up to have meetings with other students and mentors.

Alex Booker (09:45):
What challenges do coding students typically face that the Scrimba Bootcamp helps alleviate?

Michaella Rodriguez (09:51):
There's a lot of ups and downs whenever you're learning how to code, and I think that having a good community is so important to helping you whenever you find those troughs of sorrow, you find those low points where you feel like you are really stuck and that you're not going to get back up. Just getting support from other students who've been there, mentors who've also been there, encouragement from the mentors, and help kind of getting past those blockers to keep moving forward.

I think also accountability is really important. Whenever you're learning on your own, because yeah, you're only answering to yourself, but sometimes you can be kind of relaxed on yourself or let yourself slide. And then once you start sliding, maybe you go for a day or two without coding. No big deal, you can get back to it, but then, oh, well, I'll let it go for a week, or I'll let it go for a month, and then before you know it's just really hard to get back into it. So I think it's nice to be plugged into a community that's checking in regularly talking about what they're working on. And I don't know, I think it's kind of motivating for other students to see.

Alex Booker (10:57):
How does the Scrimba Bootcamp keep students accountable? Is it primarily those group check-ins you're describing? Do they happen on a kind of cadence so you're going to show up to them when they happen?

Michaella Rodriguez (11:09):
When I say accountability, I'm not hounding students down like did you finish this or anything. It's still you're answering to yourself, but we have exclusive Discord channels. The Scrimba Discord just as a whole is such a great place. I've always found it to be really supportive. And been able to find study buddies, been able to find answers to questions. But the bootcamp has some channels where it's a little bit quieter. I don't know how big the Scrimba Discord is, but it has thousands. And with the bootcamp channels, there's more like a hundred or maybe a little bit more than that. So it's much easier to connect with other students and get answers to questions.

I don't know if I fully answered the accountability question, but what I wanted to say is that in one of our Discord channels, there's a daily post on weekdays that asks students what are you working on today. That's one place where you can check in and kind of set a goal for what you want to get done that day, but then we do have regular meetups on Zoom where we get together, set goals for the week, talk about blockers, share resources, and also build networks. I like to invite people to come and visit with us and kind of talk about their journey in tech. Kind of inspired by you, Alex.

Alex Booker (12:21):
Pardon me. Say that again.

Michaella Rodriguez (12:22):
I'm kind of inspired by you, Alex. I've always been so motivated by The Scrimba Podcast and the people that you talk to, so I like to invite people to come and talk with me, but also the other students so they get a chance to pick their brains.

Alex Booker (12:38):
Oh, that's so cool. It's like a Scrimba Podcast interview except you get to ask your own questions.

Michaella Rodriguez (12:42):
Yeah, it's a lot of fun.

Alex Booker (12:43):
I definitely recognize it's a community and a network, and it's also hearing the success stories from the people who are just a few steps ahead of you. Even better, they're on the same Discord server. You can ask them follow-up questions or maybe just let them know how they made you feel.

Michaella Rodriguez (12:59):
Definitely, yeah, you're able to connect with those people after the call. Maybe they're part of our discord or maybe you can connect on LinkedIn or Twitter or X or whatever you call it these days.

Alex Booker (13:11):
The Scrimba community is a really special place. It always has been. Before I started the podcast at Scrimba, I was a community manager helping with the Discord community, just the public partner thing to do with the bootcamp actually. And we had elements of all the things you're describing, which are the accountability, we have power hours, which is a focused collective hour where people join a group call and focus on a task. And we would sometimes host community events and things as well. You could find study buddies, which I know is very possible in the bootcamp as well. And so I find it really hard to say anything bad about those things because they are all very, very possible in the Scrimba community right now.

But what I would say that is hard and is certainly easier with the bootcamp from my point of view is that when people go through the bootcamp, I feel like they have a bit of skin in the game. You all have this collectively shared goal and you're equally committed to it. Plus you have this framework, which is like the code reviews and it's the private channels, and it's these meetings that happen every week like clockwork for the cornerstones of your week. I mean even if you slip, it's almost like a gravity pulling you back on track. And because you've invested a little bit more in terms of your time and frankly money, I think then everybody in that group is more likely to be successful and help each other be more successful.

Michaella Rodriguez (14:30):
Like I said, as a Scrimba student myself, I was part of the Discord for so long and really felt that support and community and the accountability, and so I really am just carrying a lot of that into the bootcamp. You're making more of a commitment. You've got more skin in the game. You're trying to get yourself to the next level. You're trying to level up yourself. You're investing in yourself to level up. But I think what I noticed in the bootcamp is that we're invested in each other's progress and want to see other people succeed.

Alex Booker (15:01):
That's a really cool place to be. I love it.

Jan Arsenovic (15:04):
Before we go on, if all this talk about the Scrimba Bootcamp made you curious or if you've already been thinking about joining, we have a discount for you. In the show notes, you'll find the link that gives you 20% off. That's right, 20% off of the price of the Scrimba Bootcamp just for our listeners. Coming up on the show. Beginners can't teach anybody anything, right? Well, wrong.

Michaella Rodriguez (15:28):
The best person to teach a subject is somebody who just learned it.

Jan Arsenovic (15:31):
But first, social media. Hello, I'm Jan. I'm the producer of this show, and this is the segment where I go through LinkedIn and Twitter posts mentioning our podcast as well as your reviews from various podcasting platforms. I've noticed a lot of people have been doing a hundred days of code lately. Jonathan Lawrence tweeted, "Day three. I've been listening to The Scrimba Podcast with Alex Booker quite a bit and decided to give their platform a try. I can't believe how many courses they have available for free." Well, now you know. Happy coding. Here's a tweet I initially missed somehow back in October from Emmett Pennington saying, "Scrimba courses and podcasts are game changers, learning to code and staying motivated from Alex and Jan's interviews. In one, I heard Vanessa Vun did a hackathon. That inspired me to answer my first. Placed second. Wouldn't have done it without Scrimba and Vanessa's words. Thanks." I have no idea how I managed to miss this post back in the day, but it's never too late. I hope you're still motivated and I hope you're still coding.

And if you're enjoying our show and you want to make sure we get to make more of it, the best thing you can do to support us is to share it with someone. You can do it on social media, you can do it in person. You can do it on your favorite Discord server or you can leave us a rating or review in your podcast app of choice. And as you've seen, you might get a shout-out right here on the show, but for now, let's go back to the interview.

Alex Booker (17:03):
We spoke a little bit about the features of the bootcamp, I guess I would call them. You have these group check-ins, exclusive channels, access to the community. You also get extra solo projects, which if you're doing the front-end developer career path, you will have come across solo projects and know what I mean. You get some extra unique ones if you do the Scrimba Bootcamp, which is awesome. A really key point that I want to hone in on this conversation because I think it has interest and appeal beyond just what we're talking about with the bootcamp, is this idea of code reviews and how in the bootcamp students both receive and they're encouraged to give code reviews. Why would you say code reviews are such an integral part of the bootcamp by design?

Michaella Rodriguez (17:43):
Code Reviews were kind of introduced by Guil Hernandez, one of the Scrimba instructors. I can't speak for his initial thoughts about the code reviews, but I was really excited whenever I learned about them because we get a chance to use the Scrimba platform actually to do these code reviews. We can use the interface to fork somebody's work and record on top of that. So it still has that interactive aspect that you get with Scrimba lessons where you are showing somebody something, you're working through the code, but then they can pause it at any point and try something for themselves. If suddenly a light bulb goes off, they're able to go back into their own code and try things. For me and other code reviewers both with a bootcamp, and there are other Scrimba community members that are able to do code reviews, anybody can do one.

I think you find that when you're talking through somebody's code and working out how you solve problems, it really helps you to develop that skill of talking about code, which will be so useful whenever you get into your first dev job. It's really important to know how to explain things so that other people can understand. For some people, if you're just starting, it's a good chance to practice that skill to get more comfortable talking about code, and then no matter your level, whether you've just started or you've done it for a while, I think that you always learn something. I still learn things all the time. Because you see somebody else's code, they might approach it in a different way. It's like, "Oh, that's interesting. I never thought to do it that way." You can learn these alternative ways to approach problems. You can help people to optimize their code, but also encourage them that they're on the right track, that they're doing a good job.

Alex Booker (19:22):
I'm hearing two sides to this. The first is as a student, it's obviously really beneficial to have someone review your code. And if the reviewer is recording a scrim, that means you're getting to play back a video where someone is... And it's not really a video, it's a scrim, which means it's interactive and you can select the text and all of these good things. It's almost as if someone is there kind of giving you input and feedback on what you wrote, which I can totally identify with.

There are usually 10 different ways to do something in programming and you're like, "Okay, it works, but is that the right way of doing it, or could this be better in some way?" And I also feel like when you get feedback on your specific code, it's so custom and tailored. Yeah, you can read about a best practice in a book or you can learn of an anti-pattern watching a YouTube video or a TikTok, but when you see that feedback applied to your own code, it's contextualized and now you have an experience associated with it. And I think that's going to make you understand and remember it better, which is really cool. The second side I'm hearing from you is along the lines of as a student, you are encouraged to give other students code reviews even though you are still learning.

Michaella Rodriguez (20:25):
I'm a big fan of code reviews and always recommend to everyone to try giving them. I think that bootcamp students kind of have an advantage because they get those recorded code reviews for all of their solo projects, so they've kind of been exposed to the format. They see how the code reviewers break down problems, how they kind of organize their thoughts to give a code review, and so I've seen bootcamp students give code reviews to other people in the Scrimba community and have been really impressed. It makes me so happy to see.

Alex Booker (20:57):
Oh, cool. Now think about say in the Scrimba discord there is a code reviews channel that's just accessible to everybody. People post in there asking for a code review. They're not guaranteed to get one. They're kind of counting on someone else in the community, paying it forward. This is in comparison, so if you're a bootcamp student, you're going to get guaranteed code review from a teaching assistant, basically. But you are saying that you encourage students to pay it forward in that public community channel just as a way to practice their own ability to talk through code and explain it.

Michaella Rodriguez (21:27):
Yes, for all the reasons that I mentioned. Yes, pay it forward, help other students to improve their code, learn something by teaching, and yeah, foster that community.

Alex Booker (21:39):
It's funny because I say pay it forward. When I was learning to code, I used to answer a lot of questions on Stack Overflow and you could say, well, oh, that's so selfless of you, Alex, just helping people in your spare time. But to be very honest, I was not motivated at all by helping others, I was motivated by helping myself. And what I mean by that is not that I'm some selfish, evil person, but as I was forced to reflect on the question and answer it, I had to learn new things and I had to practice articulating those things. While this applies to maybe a slightly lesser extent in a private community, I really liked the idea of earning those points or reputation on Stack Overflow because I had this notion in my head that like, "Oh, if an employer sees I've got a lot of reputation on Stack Overflow, they might want to hire me."

I don't think that's the basis on which an employer would care on that reputation number, but I think they might care about the quality of my contributions. By that same logic, if you're active in a community and you are involved and you're teaching and you're helping, apart from getting better, that could be an evidence to an employer that's how you might behave in the team, right? Always trying to help and be a team player.

Michaella Rodriguez (22:42):
For sure. And I think it is definitely a skill that you can add to your LinkedIn and your resume and things like that. It's not secondary. It's really important to be able to talk about code and also to help others with your advice. And I think if you've given a code review or you've answered a Stack overflow question, you know the rabbit holes that you can go down. Whenever you're trying to explain something, it's like, "Well, okay, I know it's got to be this way, but why does it have to be this way? I'm going to follow up on this and I'm going to share this article," and that leads to another thing. Just as whenever you're learning something for the first time, you go down those Google rabbit holes, it is the same thing whenever you're giving a code review because you want to make sure you're giving somebody sound advice, so you've got to back it up.

Alex Booker (23:28):
I can totally imagine someone listening who's very new to coding or early in their journey wondering, do I really have anything to teach? Do I really have anything to share because I'm so new? At what level do you think someone has experienced enough to give a code review or answer a question or otherwise help someone else and themselves at the same time?

Michaella Rodriguez (23:50):
I think you can do it really early on. I think it's a good practice to get into early on. I think if you know some HTML and some CSS, you can give a code review. Even if somebody's working with JavaScript or React or something else, there are still things that you might notice. And I've seen people point out these things. It's like you could use semantic HTML here. You could put an alt tag on your image, your indentation, it looks really great, your code is well formatted, or maybe you could use better class naming conventions. I mean, there's just all these things. Whenever you're learning, there are so many things that come at you, and I think that different people pick up on different things that are best practices, and so it can be helpful if somebody else has missed one of those, if you share that with them.

Alex Booker (24:37):
Definitely. There is this kind of notion embedded in us just from our experience in society and growing up for somehow you have to be an authority or an expert to teach. And that is just not true. To teach at a minimum level, you just need to know something somebody else doesn't. And the way that coding works is that experience is not leveled and linear in such a way for to know something someone else doesn't, you have to be better than them. It just means you have to have happened to have explored something they haven't. And it could be quite basic. Maybe they have been starting with JavaScript and you started with CSS, you're early in your journey with CSS, but not as early as the person who focused on JavaScript. So when they're posting in Discord and they're like, why won't this box center on the page? You're like, oh, actually I'm new, but I watched a scrim or a YouTube video, or I've read a book or whatever and I know what the answer is, or I know where to find the answer. Have you come across rubber duck debugging before, Micha?

Michaella Rodriguez (25:36):
Yes, I have. And I am sad to say that I don't have a rubber duck.

Alex Booker (25:39):
That would be such good Scrimba swag, we should make a rubber duck, but somehow Scrimba branded. That would be perfect. What I was trying to say in summary is that even if you don't know the answer, you can maybe ask some probing questions and help someone figure out the answer for themselves or maybe just show them a little bit of encouragement. I'm just saying there's lots of ways to get involved without having to be an expert.

Michaella Rodriguez (26:01):
Yes, definitely. I heard somebody say recently, the best person to teach a subject is somebody who just learned it. I mean, it's going to be fresh in their mind. Hopefully, they have up-to-date information, but they've been immersed in it and they can share what they know. They can share their impression of that subject and hopefully help other people to understand it.

Alex Booker (26:22):
I love that idea. I love that quote. And I don't know if you've had this experience Micha or recognize it, but sometimes the experts, and by expert I mean someone who's been doing it for a long time. Say you've been coding JavaScript for 10 years, you've not really thought about what an if statement is or how to explain it in 10 years. You don't empathize at all with the challenge because it's so intuitive to you, it's like walking. How do you explain to someone how to walk? But if you just went through that experience yourself of having learned the basics, you can have a ton of empathy for the person who's just a few steps behind you maybe.

Michaella Rodriguez (26:53):
Yeah. Well, something about me and my learning style, I've always enjoyed having teachers who teach me as if I'm a kindergartner. I don't know how to explain it, but it's like they have a certain kind of joyfulness about it, like an enthusiasm and excitement about learning something. And I think breaking it down to something rudimentary. Explain it to me like I'm five. I don't mean be condescending. I mean just could you explain this to a five-year-old? Could you talk about how this is working? And maybe that's not the level you need to go to, maybe not a five-year-old. But just being able to think about it from somebody else's experience who hasn't encountered that before.

Alex Booker (27:34):
You could say that explaining something to a five-year-old, it sounds so simple. But I would say explaining something to a five-year-old is actually really hard. And it's a lot harder to express something that simply when you have nothing to hang onto. And what I mean by that is if you're explaining to a five-year-old, you can't assume they know much. You have to really go back to the beginning. I think that's really hard, and yet what I'm about to say is so far out of the realm of what we do at Scrimba, which is I hope more of that joyful approach to teaching. Some teachers, they don't really care about your success, they care about sounding smart. And that's not really conducive to knowledge share or a student being successful. We're talking about communication skills.

I have a really specific example on my mind I just want to share, which is when people talk about asynchronous JavaScript, it's quite a gnarly subject if you've not come across it before. And one teacher might start explaining it in terms of like, "Oh, do you know threads?" And you're like, "Threads? Yeah. When a processor is multithreaded," and they start... Okay, explain it that way if you want to, but the way someone taught it to me was like, "Oh, imagine if you order a pizza. You don't just stand at the door and wait for the pizza to arrive. You go and do something else and then you come back. That's asynchronous." And I'm like, "Oh, yeah, that makes total..." Do you know what I mean? It didn't sound as smart. That teacher didn't sound so educated about how a CPU works and all these kind of things, but they were successful in expressing the idea. And that is a skill. That is a skill that you might have or be developing even if you're new to coding or new to a programming topic.

Michaella Rodriguez (29:00):
It is. I love analogies. I really like it when people can make those connections and explain things in a way that's really relevant.

Alex Booker (29:09):
Such an important part of teaching for sure. All right, let's change gears back. I got super excited about that. You can tell. I love talking about this stuff. I want to make sure that I get your perspective as the bootcamp leader because both your experience as a code reviewer and a learner, but also now as a bootcamp leader, I think it puts you in this kind of unique vantage point where you've worked with a lot of different students. And I just wondered if you had a sense of what are the kind of common traits of successful self-taught developers in your experience.

Michaella Rodriguez (29:41):
So I've been working with the bootcamp in total for two years, working as a lead for one almost. And I've definitely seen some success stories come out of the bootcamp and just so happy for them. And I have noticed, yes, some commonalities between them. These students are active community members. They are trying to stay accountable mostly to themselves, but they're checking in with the community to let them know what they're working on. They're building projects all the time, and they are a lot of times going beyond the basic requirements, trying to take it to the next level or put their own spin on it, really personalize it.

Something else I've noticed is that they start applying for jobs early. Maybe they aren't finished all the way with a career path, but they don't let that stop them. They're already considering I have some of these skills, I have some projects, I have a portfolio to work with, what's it going to hurt to apply? And I've seen it pay off for them. Not to say that everybody's journey is the same. I mean you're ready when you're ready and sometimes you're ready when you're not ready.

Alex Booker (30:46):
I like that.

Michaella Rodriguez (30:47):
But it's been inspiring to see their courage and their confidence to go ahead and put themselves out there.

Alex Booker (30:53):
And say, somebody wants to join those students in their success and take part in the Scrimba Bootcamp, where should they go to learn more and take the next step?

Michaella Rodriguez (31:02):
If you go to and you find the bootcamp page, you'll have a lot of information there. And on that page, you can actually schedule an info call. If you've heard some things you're interested in today, but you'd like to have a call with me or one of the other mentors and talk about your own learning journey, your own goals with web development, and see if the bootcamp is a good fit for you, you can go to and you can request an info call. I love talking to people and kind of hearing what their background is and where they want to go next, and hopefully, it's a good fit for us to help you along the way.

Alex Booker (31:40):
We'll also link the bootcamp in the show notes, and I really hope you take a moment to have a no-pressure conversation with Micha or someone else from the team. I'm sure it'd be really nice to connect in general. And in any case, the Scrimba community is open to all, and I hope that you can take away some of the ideas around teaching others to learn, finding accountability. I mean, of course, it is great to talk about the bootcamp, but isn't it true Micha that you found a coding study buddy when you joined Scrimba in the community? This was the time before the bootcamp even. How did that happen?

Michaella Rodriguez (32:13):
I don't know if that was version one of the Discord. Previously in the Discord, there was a channel where you could reach out to find a study buddy. You can still do that in any of the channels. There isn't a dedicated channel to do that. But it was helpful for me to find a few different people that I could check in with and stay accountable. As the bootcamp lead, I make an effort to facilitate those connections. I ask students if they're interested in finding a study buddy. We find people who are at similar levels and sometimes similar time zone can be helpful.

Alex Booker (32:42):
Oh, like match them up. Yeah.

Michaella Rodriguez (32:43):
Yeah. Try to help them so that whether or not they're able to join those group meetups, they have somebody that they can be checking in with.

Alex Booker (32:51):
You jogged my memory there a little bit because I remember now that was a thing in the Scrimba Discord, and we also had this idea of groups. We really, genuinely to this day would still love to do it, this idea that you can join a smaller group. But frankly, it just was not feasible to manage. People would join a group and then a few people would drop off, and then you'd have to reorganize the groups, and it just really was not successful without somebody there to help them be successful. And as I think about it, that's exactly what the bootcamp does. It allows a person such as yourself, Micha plus your team to be there to understand everybody in the community, connect them, make sure they're successful, answer their questions, all that good stuff. I totally forgot about that to be honest, but now it makes a lot of sense why the bootcamp is so successful.

Michaella Rodriguez (33:38):
Yeah. And we didn't talk about this before, but the Scrimba Bootcamp, in addition to those extra solo projects, we also have group projects that students can work on.

Alex Booker (33:46):
Oh, cool. So they use Git and collaborate on the same project kind of thing.

Michaella Rodriguez (33:50):
Exactly, yeah. You'll take one of Scrimba's projects, but then you'll take it off the platform to work on it with Git and GitHub and get some experience that way. So students can take the initiative, connect with their study buddies to work on these, but we've also started doing mentor-led group projects. It's just something we've been experimenting with in addition to coding workshops that we give. We're always trying to bring more value to the bootcamp and help students to accelerate their learning experience.

Alex Booker (34:20):
If you see me grinning and almost wanting to jump in, it's because next week I'm speaking with Anna Skoulikari, who is the author of a book on how to learn Gits, and we're going to talk a little bit about how to get real-world experience with Git. And we were thinking about, okay, how do you get this team-like experience without actually having a job and being on a team? Well, that is your answer right there, basically. Yeah, that's so cool. I want Jan to tell us a bit more about it in the show notes, so I'm going to segue to him and say, Micha, thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. It's been a pleasure.

Michaella Rodriguez (34:57):
It was so nice to talk to you, Alex, and thank you for having me.

Jan Arsenovic (35:02):
Well, you've heard Alex, next week on the show, O'Reilly author of Learning Git, Anna Skoulikari.

Anna Skoulikari (35:08):
As a front-end dev, I had to learn Git to work with the senior developers, and I was terrified of Git. At the coding bootcamp, our Git education was, let's say, 30 minutes to an hour of git add, git commit, git push, go. Off you go. That was fine when you were in a coding bootcamp where you did individual projects and it was just you working on something. But once I got to the workplace and I was working in a team and the Git workflow was a lot more complicated than that, I was terrified that I'd break something, so I decided to conquer my fear.

Jan Arsenovic (35:41):
Tune in next week for that. And don't forget, there is a discount link for the Scrimba Bootcamp waiting for you in our show notes. That was The Scrimba Podcast. Make sure to check out the show notes for all the relevant links from this episode. If you made it this far, please subscribe. You can find the show wherever you listen to podcasts. The show is hosted by Alex Booker. I've been Jan the producer. You can find our Twitter handles also in the show notes. Keep coding and we'll see you next time.

The (Not so) Hidden Benefits of Talking about Code, with Scrimba Bootcamp Lead Micha
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