Blog Category: Teaching Technology

What 73 Technologists Wish They Had Learned in High School

The Backstory

I work for Bitwise Industries and Geekwise Academy, a technology education company in Fresno, California. For the past two years, we have partnered with Patino School of Entrepreneurship by providing custom courses and curriculum. The “E. School” is a completely free public “pathway” school through Fresno Unified School District. Patino is a different type of school, one I haven’t seen before.

High Schoolers begin to learn technology development skills (Javascript, PHP, SEO, SEM) and form business plans with other students. All of the classes are taught with a business and entrepreneurship lens. For example, in History, while learning about WWII, students might ask the question, “Yes he was evil but what leadership traits did Hitler utilize to come into power? How can we learn?” In Math, students are asked to find the ROI for a company. All classes are in preparation for their senior year.

Essentially the program breaks down like so:

  • Year One: Learn Entrepreneurship Traits
  • Year Two: Start Business Plans, MVP, and Pitch to Investors (real life SharkTank)
  • Year Three: Bootstrap it till you make it or die trying

Senior year is an incubator for their company. We ain’t talking about no fake companies either, like the high school projects we remember. They launch real freaking companies and make real freaking money, well at least that is the goal. Oh yeah, and they get to keep the profits. Imagine making money to pay for their college tuition while in high school. Freaking crazy.

This year, I have been co-leading the advanced online marketing and web development classes where Juniors begin to execute their plans. At the school the staff pushes experimentation, being okay with failure, ideation, pivoting, and pitching constantly.  But I wanted to know are we missing something? What are some lessons that other technologies and entrepreneurs wish they would have learned in high school? So that give me an idea, fire-up the old twitter machine and ask new followers a few questions.

What did I ask?

Through DM on Twitter, I sent hundreds of technologists and developers this message:

“Random question, I work with 70+ high school entrepreneurs. Do you have any life lessons / business advice / things you wish you would have learned in high school? I am always trying to get better and pass on inspiration.”

What happened next was remarkable.

My DM campaign got roughly a 16.67 engagement rate and participants delivered crazy insights. Most importantly it gave way to a lot of wonderful discussions. During our talks, I started to notice a few trends. Responses could be clumped into six different categories:

  • Younger: The wish that they would have started learning at a younger age
  • Network: The wish they would have learned to come better networkers or have built a better network
  • Movement: The wish they would have learned how to persevere and to continue moving forward
  • Finances: The wish they would have learned the importance of personal finances
  • Fear/Failure: Learn to overcome the fear of failure. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Other: Other meaningful responses

So what were the results?

  • 10.6% of the respondents wish high school taught them more about personal finances.
  • 12.76% wish they had better networks or started creating one sooner in life.
  • 12.76% would have liked to learn how to stay motivated and continue pushing through hard times.
  • 17% admit that they wish they would have started sooner in life be it programming, or business development.
  • 23.4% wish they would have been able to fail more, to overcome the fear of failure, and to learn that “failure” isn’t bad.
  • 23.4% of the responses don’t fall into a direct category.

Out of the 73 respondents:

  • 53% were identified as “Developers”
  • 25% were identified as “Technologists”
  • 19% were identified as “Front-end Developers”
  • 1% were identified as “Back-end Developers”
  • 1% were identified as “Other”

Some of the notable DMS.

Like this not so scientific study? Please share this infographic 🙂

 

How to Use Filezilla to Launch a HTML Website

Okay, so now you have written a basic HTML/CSS site, and you want to launch. But, there is only one problem, you have no freaking clue how. Well luckily for you here is a tutorial titled “How to use Filezilla” that shows you how to launch a basic HTML / CSS site onto the interwebs.

There are two ways you can upload your site: FTP and SSH. FTP, or more specifically sFTP, is easier to explain so let’s start there.

Before we begin there are a few basic things you need:

  1. A website domain name
  2. A website host provider
  3. Your host provider login

Your hosting provider will be where you get these items:

  1. FTP host
  2. FTP username
  3. FTP password

All sites need a domain name and host provider. Beginners sometimes think that when you buy your domain name for $9.99 a year at a company like GoDaddy that you are done. Well…. not quite.  You need a hosting package too.

What is hosting? Hosting provides access to a computer (server) that is working 24 hours a day 365 days a year. You “host,” place, your files on this computer (server). The server allows the public to view your files through your domain name.

How does that work? Well, your domain name points to an IP address. IP addresses are like street locations for the internet. For example, milessebesta.com’s IP address is 192.123.456.789 is nearly the same thing as saying Bitwise Industries is located at 700 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721.

It gets more and more complicated with DNS and NameServers. Blah blah blah. But I will give you the basic version. When starting out, buy the hosting package first. Why should you purchase the hosting package first? Well, 90% of hosting packages online provide a domain name for free if you host with their company. Only small local businesses don’t usually offer this package deal. Technically you can purchase your domain from a company like Godaddy.com and host at 1and1.com, but don’t do this. As a beginner, it is just more complications and headaches. If you purchase the hosting package and get a domain name with it for free, they will setup the DNS and NameServers correctly for you.

Now hosting, which hosting packages should you use?

First thing, unless you have a developer writing a fancy ASP.net application GET LINUX HOSTING. Hosting companies usually offer two types of basic hosting, Windows or Linux.

You want to choose Linux. Odds are you will eventually migrate to a CMS (Content Management System). Most, CMS systems run off PHP and MYSQL. Yes, you can run PHP and MYSQL on a Windows machine. However, most Linux servers run Apache. And blah blah blah technical stuff… boring… sleep. Linux, technically Apache, allows mod_rewrite. Mod_rewrite allows for pretty URLs on WordPress, which is good. You are lost, just trust me. Get Linux, it is cheaper and allows you to run more.

Note* if you are hosting a simple HTML site, or basic WordPress site, generally you can get away with the cheapest option. You can always upgrade 😉

Here are some of my suggested host providers:

1and1.com (I use this provider)
Hostgator.com
Rackspace.com (Really expensive but insanely wonderful support)
Godaddy.com

I bought hosting, now what?

Having been a web developer for 7+ years, I can tell you the most typical mistake client’s make. When you ask for their FTP information or SSH, they nearly always send the username and password to their host account.

Your login for your host provider is not the same information as your FTP information. The login allows you to get into a place where you create the FTP username and password!

So this is where it get’s tricky. I don’t know what host provider you decided to purchase. There are like a billion out there. But what you need to do is login and figure out how to create an FTP username and password. Most will do this automatically for you. Check the signup email they send fir this info first.

I would suggest Googling “Setting up FTP accounts at [enter host name here]”.

Most decent host providers have support documents that will walk you through this process.

In the end, you need to find, or create, three items:

  1. FTP host (which is a URL or IP address)
  2. FTP username
  3. FTP password

Once you have these items, we can connect to your site.

Finally the real question “How to use Filezilla to launch your website”.

You have your FTP information now we need to connect. To connect we need to download an FTP client. There are lots of different ones out there, some cost money, and some are free. I prefer the free ones. Specifically, I prefer FileZilla, it is open source and stable. The only downside is that it seems like there is always a freaking update.

So to upload your site, there are four steps: Install, Connect, Upload, Check

How to use Filezilla, Step 1: Install FileZilla

How do you install FileZilla?

  1. Go to https://filezilla-project.org/
  2. Click on the button “Download FileZilla Client”
  3. Download and Install
  4. Open up FileZilla

How to use Filezilla, Step 2: Connect via FTP

Now that you have Filezilla open you should see a screen like the one below.

There are two ways to connect: “quick connect” or using the site manager.

Connecting through “Quick Connect”

On the top bar, you should see “Host:,” “Username:,” and “Password.” Place in your FTP information. Don’t worry about port. Add in your Host, Username and Password previously provided by your hosting company. Click the big “Quickconnect” button.

If you are lucky, you will see a bunch of magic happen in the box directly below “Quickconnect” and files appear on the right-hand side where it says “Remote Site.”

Connecting through “Site manager”

The button on the top left allows you to store hundreds of FTP accounts. If you are managing multiple websites, you would want to configure the FTP information using “Site Manager.” Why? “Quick connect” only saves the login credentials for the last 10 FTP accounts you have connected via FileZilla.

Common errors and their meaning

If you see this:

Filezilla Login Error

Then you have the wrong password 🙁

If it is stuck on “Connecting to” then you see this:

Filezilla Connection Error

Your internet is either bad. OR the website is behind a firewall, and the connection is being blocked (this won’t happen with a standard host package). Generally, firewalls issues like this occur with a more advanced host provider.

For a majority of the errors you just need to make sure you entered the information correctly. I would recommend typing in the credentials. NOT copy and paste? Why? Well sometimes when you copy, you accidently grab an empty space before or after an item. FileZilla sees this space and thinks it is a part of the password, username, or host entry. This will cause your site to error.

How to Use FileZilla, Step 3: Upload Your Files

We are almost done! Now we just need to upload your site’s files.

If everything connects, you should see something like the image below. Notice that files loaded under the “remote server” side. You should see “folder” icons. You want to find one that says public_html, or www, or something that sounds website-ish. Double-click on the file to open it.

how to use filezilla

Now find your web files on your desktop. Drag and Drop the files into the website-ish sounding folder. Once this happens, you should see a “Que” pop-up in the bottom of the screen.

Once everything is loaded there should be nothing left in the “Que”.

Final Step Test!

The final step is simple, just load your website page. If it works yay, if not, sorry?

 

Want that tech job? Dominate Your SERP.

As a developer, you probably love the interwebs, but I hope you recognize that recruiters are increasingly using it as a tool. A tool to determine if you are a right fit for their company. Some recruiters admit your resume is just one data point. It is becoming more of a practice to search candidates online. Why? They are looking at personality, are you who you say you are? Will you represent the brand? Work well with the other team members? Do you fit the culture? Will you be a brand advocate? All of these items are increasingly important. But most importantly, it is a quick way to see if there are any crazy red flags.

Should you worry about that picture you took in college? Ehhh depending on the company. Some HR specialists claim it is decreasingly less important. Why? Everyone has a past. People are posting so much now, do they really want to spend the time to go down that rabbit hole? Should you try to be semi-presentable? Yes. But, while working on your Klout, you should dominate your SERP too.

As monster.com reports, “A 2006 survey of 100 executive recruiters by job search and recruiting network ExecuNet found that 77 percent use search engines to learn about candidates. Of those researching candidates online, 35 percent eliminated a candidate from consideration based on information they uncovered online — up from 26 percent in 2005. ExecuNet predicts that the number of job seekers prejudged or eliminated due to this “digital dirt” will climb.”

What is SERP?

SERP means Search Engine Results page.  It’s the listings you see on Google or Bing when doing keyword research. It is a powerful, powerful tool. We all know that. But, you need to own it. Why? Because today, you are your brand.

I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man! – Jay-Z

In the internet era, we are all famous, and the Google paparazzi is trying to document our next move. We need to start taking lessons from celebrities. We are our brand and it is becoming increasingly important to monitor your brand.

In incognito mode, if I search my name what comes up? Why should I care? Because, if recruiters are looking than it better be presentable. In incognito search your name, for example “First Name + Last Name + Location”. Or “First Name + Last Name + Current Company”. Think of different ways someone might find you online. What do you see? Is it good or bad?

Which leads to the question, “How do you own your SERP?”

The basic answer, be active, be a good person, be noteworthy, and contribute. I know that answer is pretty vague. If you are an SEO master you know what to do. For the rest of us, here are three methods that will hopefully help.

Contribute to Open Source

Find an open source group and help. Be it WordPress, a GitHub Repo, StackOverflow, find an community and start contributing. Often these profile links will show up on a SERP. Which is really really good. Why? Because contributing to open source enhances lots of great skills that companies are looking for in their candidates. But here is the kicker, your name full needs to be your profile OR your name needs to be in the profile signature.

AGAIN, you need your name someplace in the public profile. Why? Because the magic Google machine needs to know.

Not only could it help out when searching for your name it also has wonderful advantages for your personal growth. I would recommend contributing to open source communities revolving around the profession you want. Meaning, if I want to be a front end developer, writing some cool codepens or helping some JS libraries might be beneficial. If I want to be a WordPress developer, maybe you should spend some time helping out people on WordPress.org? I don’t think this is too crazy, others seem to agree:

For developers, juniors in particular, contributing to open source can give you the edge you need to land that first job. Why? again it will help you refine skills that are valuable to companies. Here are some potential benefits:

Forums – Dedicating time to an online forum shows that you care about people, are patient, and dedicated. It displays that you can communicate effectively online. Finally, that you know how to problem solve and troubleshoot dirty code. These are great qualities for remote work and online support teams.

Open Source projects found on GitHub – Spending time committing to a repo usually drastically increases your coding abilities. Why? You are under the scrutiny of others. It forces you to have very clean and well documented code. At the very least, these contributions display you know how to use git.

Another major component we need to remember is that the Internet is increasing becoming dependant on open source projects. Smart companies know that the survival of their company is also dependant on the health of these projects. Could you imagine how many dev shops would be in trouble if NPM, Linux, or WordPress decided to shut down tomorrow? Eeeeep…

As Bet Hannon elegantly puts:

Don’t be a leech, contribute to something.

Lead a local Meet-up or Talk at One

Meetup.com has some decent ranking and can show up when Googling your name.  I recommend finding a local meet-up you like. Something you are interested in or have expertise. Start a meet-up, attend one, and if you can guest speak at a few.

Why is this good? Again, it shows you care about a community and culture, you have knowledge in a field, you like trying new things, and that you might be somewhat social.

Write Articles

Again, contribute. Find a site that you enjoy that allows guest posting. Contribute. Write about items that matter to you. Contribute, contribute, contribute. But do it on an external site. Why from a site other than your own? Because generally Google will only show a few listings per source (unless you conduct a site: search). Meaning, not all of the listings will come from “yournamehere.com”. Having content with your name on it from another source is good, also good for SEO.

Bonus: Have a Personal Website

This one seems a bit obvious but I wanted to throw it in there. Have a personal website, if the domain name isn’t your name. Make sure your name appears on your about or contact pages. These pages should also have your name in the title tag.

7 Tips to Get Real Twitter Followers, Real Quick

Gaining real Twitter followers organically is hard. So hard that this is why some growth hacker experts will suggest buying your first few thousand. But, I don’t think that is very fun also it is shady. I believe it is better to have an organic and natural following rather than one you paid five bucks on Fiverr to make.

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Two Geeks Teaching – Brand Mapping

View the Brand Map Herezies.

What the heck is a Brand Map?

The version of the brand map we are working with shown to us from Bertz Rosa. It is a hybrid version of the lean module start-up geared towards designers and creatives. It is a template to learn more about client product’s and expectations for your campaign or website build.
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