Liveblog: Anatomy of a Virtual Self-Study Group

Sheeri

Disclaimer: I went to this group because as soon as I heard about a “Virtual Self-Study Group,” I realized I wanted to see it happen for beginning MySQL administration, writing queries, and optimizing queries.

At Northeast PHP.

slides are available

Gene Babon decided he was going to make an online, virtual self-study group so that folks could learn beginning PHP. He has since gone on to create virtual self-study groups for learning HTML5 and JQuery.

Define the problem: There is a talent shortage and a skills gap. [and we have this in the MySQL community as well]

Offering a solution
Maximize the “downtime” in the non-meetup, non-conference time for a virtual group.

How a virtual meetup works:
- Decide on a topic
- Purchase the same textbook
- Make a commitment to:
– read one chapter per week
– complete the exercises
– post a link to the completed work
Peer reviewed.

Right now they do it on the Boston PHP Message Board on the Meetup Group.

Virtual Self-Study Groups
Started Jan 1, 2011 – PHP Percolate – 17 alumni (a lot more that started, of course, but life happens)
Season 1 — Jan – Apr 2011
Season 2 — May – Aug 2011
Season 3 — Sep – Dec 2011

jQuery jAM (28 alumni)
Season 1 — Sep – Dec 2011
Season 1.5 (test pilot for jQuery mobile) — Apr – June 2012

HTML5 Brunch (36 alumni)
Season 1 — January thru April, 2012

They have a Wall of Accomplishment, that links each person who graduated.

6 weeks of leadup time was a good amount.

Season 4 of PHP Percolate starts in September, 2012 (through December 2012)

jQuery jAM, Season 3 – November 2012 – Apr 2013 – focus on learning jQuery mobile

No webcasts, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes people will post helpful things on the message board, others will make physical meetings to help and learn.

Before the sessions start, Gene makes the event and the Master list. He also goes to the forums a few times a day and helps encourage folks that are doing the program.

What skills to focus on
Top 20 Web Technologies in Boston – from Gene’s site Beantown Web

The # is # of open jobs in the Boston area right now:
20 Ruby | 117
19 SharePoint | 124
18 UI | 136
17 ASP.NET | 143
16 Ajax | 146
15 jQuery | 160
14 MySQL | 162
13 PHP | 182
12 Perl | 189
11 Python | 192
10 HTML + CSS | 212
9 “Web Services” | 204
8 Social Media | 223
7 XML | 264
6 C# | 274
5 SQL Server | 336
4 JavaScript | 351
3 Java | 565
2 Oracle | 609
1 SQL | 830

That’s it!