The Girl with the CSS Dreams- a Geekwise Academy Love Letter

Posted by Kim Leonard

I really like to learn new things, and I tend to go overboard.  Like when I wanted to know a few things about getting fit and I ended up becoming a certified personal trainer for kicks- just to make sure I had a handle on the material. Or when I went vegan and had read every book on the topic and watched every documentary I could find. Instead of just learning to knit I went to work for a yarn company and worked fiber arts trade shows so I could get an in-industry perspective.  I don’t like to only know the partial story of something.  I want the whole she-bang.

A screen shot of the first incarnation of my class project. It’s very 1997-ish, but it’s a start!


I passively have thought over the last few years that I might want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of websites.  Nothing I’ve actually put a ton of effort or thought into, I mean, why bother?  WordPress does everything I need, right?  Then I found out about Geekwise Academy and the second I knew that their Bootcamp 1 class existed I wanted in on it.  I mean, come on- becoming a know-it-all expert is one of my favorite things to try to do.

Of course, financially, I had to wait a few months.  Even at the crazy-affordable $250/36 hours of instruction price I needed to make sure I was able to pay everything else.  Turns out I’ll never be able to pay for everything I need so I bit the bullet and signed up for class anyway.  Sorry Comcast, PG&E and AT&T.

I still don’t really know what my expectations were entering into it.  I was doing it more as a “Oooh!  Learning!” adventure than as a career move at the time.  However, here I am 5 weeks into my 6 week course and already scheming about how I’ll be able to get into the other courses they offer.  I’m thinking about what I might be able to do with these newfound skills (WHICH ARE FREAKIN’ COOL.  I about lost it when we learned about Sprite Sheets tonight.) to make more money for myself and my family.  I’m dreaming about CSS and syntax and working through my projects IN MY SLEEP.  No, seriously.  I felt all mopey and defeated on Monday by a dropdown menu and dreamed that I had figured out my mistakes and tonight when I approached my class project I was able to accomplish everything that had baffled me.

Tonight the concepts were clicking into place.  I still don’t necessarily understand WHY a float works, but I get how to make it work for me.  I was giggling in the back of the classroom every time things worked out the way I wanted them to.  I felt that I had to apologize to my instructor for being so disruptive.  I came home from class with so much energy that I doubt I’ll be able to sleep for hours.

When we learned how to make the boxes into circles using only CSS I giggled uncontrollably. Bubbles! So cute!

So is Geekwise right for you?  (Spoiler alert- it totally is!)  Here’s a few questions I pretended to have been asked by an outside source and I answered with all the authority of an obsessive teenager writing about Hanson and their favorite colors for their toothbrushes.  Not that that was me.

Who should take Geekwise Academy Bootcamp 1?

Aspiring tech nerds, graphic designers, office managers, bloggers, stay at home moms, high school students, college students, grad students, people with a useless AA in anthropology, people who like the internet, dog lovers, cat lovers, misanthropes, poets, craft beer enthusiasts, sports fans, vegetarians, libertarians, downtowners and anyone else who might be looking to better themselves through new skills and potentially jump into a brand new career.

Who shouldn’t take Geekwise Academy Bootcamp 1?

I’d say know-it-alls and jerks, but even they can benefit from it I’m sure. Just know that even if you know everything, it might rock your world and shake your foundation to the core when you learn something new for the first time ever.

Why should I take a class from Geekwise?

Because it feels really good to master something new.  Even if you’re not looking to train for a new career, it is still incredibly helpful to know the basics of web programming- not to mention fun to figure out why things are the way they are.  If you are looking for a change you’ll discover within a few class sessions that one in technology is actually really attainable- our TA in our class is actually a product of Geekwise and she now works at Bitwise.  If you already know how to build a rad website but want to increase your value and pad your portfolio the classes include advanced concepts like Javascript and Ruby on Rails.  Whatever the heck that means.

Seriously, what are they?  And what do web developers even do?

Heck if I know.  Well, I kind of know now.  The great thing about the format is that you don’t actually have to know anything going in to Bootcamp 1.  Everything builds upon that foundation and then you can choose which directions to go in from there.

Is 6 weeks really enough time to learn anything?

Yes!  Geekwise doesn’t waste any time and you’ll begin learning code within your first hour of instruction.  Don’t worry though, the class only goes as fast as the class is able to go- the point of the pace isn’t to cram a billion concepts and move on fast.  Instead, only once the instructor is satisfied that every question is answered and ever student is caught up will he or she move on.  The TA will also circle the room and make sure that you’re grasping the concepts, too.  By the end of your course you will have created a working website- ideally something you can use as your portfolio to show off to prospective employers!

But it’s 3 hours a night. Twice a week. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I know, right? I work full time and have just enough time to hork down a sandwich and skedaddle over to class after work.  Instead of dreading sitting in a classroom for a chunk of my otherwise free time I really look forward to class nights.  Most nights time moves so quickly that I can’t actually believe that we’ve arrived at the break mid-way through class.  Even though it cuts down on my time to watch Big Bang Theory in my pajamas while drinking wine from a mason jar and knitting, I haven’t felt like it wasn’t well spent once.  Plus, it helps me really appreciate when I do get to stay home and geek out on how great a perfect MCN feels as it slips off my needles and muse on how I once wasn’t able to knit either.

Okay, so how do I sign up?

Do it here– but enroll fast.  I found out last night that there was such demand for Bootcamp 1 that the first course was at capacity and they’ve had to add another, which is also filling up.  Classes are $250 for 36 hours of instruction.

I’m sure there are questions I haven’t covered here but I’m so excited to talk about this great program that I’m glad to talk it out.  Now get geeky, Fresno!

Geekwise is part of Bitwise Industries, the brilliant shining star of the technology boom in Downtown Fresno.  With over twenty different tech companies housed within its muraled walls it has become a hub for the industry in Fresno, attracting companies locally and from out of state to relocate to be part of this rad new space. 

Disclosure: This blog is a total rip off of two blogs from my personal blog.  Blog, blog blog. Blog.


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