The Scrimba Podcast

Meet Guil Hernandez πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ! You've heard of a learning curve, but what about the forgetting curve? Don't worry, Guil can help you not get overwhelmed. He is a developer and educator with over 15 years of experience in tech, and in this episode, he teaches you how to get better at learning. Guil and Alex also talk about Scrimba Bootcamp, a brand new study program that Guil has been working on.

Show Notes

πŸŽ™ About the episode

Meet Guil Hernandez πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ! You've heard of a learning curve, but what about the forgetting curve? Don't worry, Guil can help you not get overwhelmed. He is a developer and educator with over 15 years of experience in tech, and in this episode, he teaches you how to get better at learning. Guil and Alex also talk about Scrimba Bootcamp, a brand new study program that Guil has been working on.

Guil has developed over one hundred coding courses and workshops and comes from a teaching environment, so he also answers the dreaded question of what makes a good teacher. You'll also learn different learning techniques that might work for you, what's the Ebbinghaus' forgetting curve, and what it was like to make stuff for the web back in the early days of Web 2.0. Alex and Guil also discuss scopes, structure, and the importance of storytelling in teaching, as well as why you won't vibe with every YouTube tutorial out there... but you might still want to learn from multiple sources.

πŸ”— Connect with Guil
⏰ Timestamps
  • How Guil got into coding (01:18)
  • Web development in the early days of Web 2.0 (03:02)
  • Do you need a computer science degree to consider yourself a developer? (04:50)
  • How Guil became a teacher (06:17)
  • What makes a good teacher (07:18)
  • The science of learning (10:38)
  • What's the forgetting curve, and what you can do about it (11:54)
  • How to not make a learning process overwhelming (14:07)
  • Learning techniques that work for Guil: Scheduling study time, Pomodoro technique, Keeping a study log (16:15)
  • Scrimba now has Solo projects: What are they, and how can they help you learn better? (20:32)
  • What is Scrimba Bootcamp and the benefits of code reviews and getting feedback (25:24)
  • Quick-fire questions: Code editors, coding music, Web 3.0, and Puerto Rico (27:48)
  • Closing advice: be a librarian, not an encyclopedia 

🧰 Resources mentioned
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You can also Tweet Alex from Scrimba at @bookercodes and tell them what lessons you learned from the episode so they can thank you personally for tuning in πŸ™

Creators & Guests

Alex Booker
Host of The Scrimba Podcast
Jan Gregory Arsenovic
Producer of the Scrimba Podcast

What is The Scrimba Podcast?

Learn from inspiring developers about how they found meaningful and fulfilling work that that also pays them well. On The Scrimba Podcast, you'll hear motivational advice and job-hunting strategies from developers who've been exactly where you are now. We talk to developers about their challenges, learnings, and switching industries in the hopes of inspiring YOU. This is the podcast that provides the inspiration, tools, and roadmaps to move from where you are to work that matters to you and uniquely fits your strengths and talents.

Guil Hernandez (00:00):
In learning science, there's this thing called the forgetting curve. And I believe it's like after a certain amount of time, maybe like a couple of days after you learn something, you forget close to 90% of what you've learned. There's a lot of tendencies to feel stuck and discouraged and give up.

Alex Booker (00:16):
Hello and welcome to the Scrimba Podcast. On this weekly show, I speak with successful devs about their advice on learning to code and getting your first junior dev job. I'm Alex, and today I'm joined by Guil Hernandez, a Scrimba teacher with more than a decade of professional experience. Guil worked as a developer for a while, but for the last decade or so, he's been focused entirely on teaching developers. It's pretty exciting to see what we can learn from someone who's watched the progression of the web and the demands of web developers first hand. Not only that, but Guil has guided literally hundreds, if not thousands of students, I'm sure there is some things we can learn from his vantage point.

Alex Booker (01:00):
Now it goes without saying that Guil and I work together here at Scrimba, where we're both really passionate about teaching, education and helping new developers learn to code and break into tech. I'm glad to say our frequencies just matched on this one and we had a lot of energy for these subjects, in particular. I hope you enjoy. Let's get into it.

Guil Hernandez (01:18):
I kind of got into coding by accident. I never thought I would get into it. I was quite terrified of it back in the days. That stigma of, "You got to be really good at math and algorithms and programming stuff." So I kind of avoided coding at first. But before that, I was a musician and I thought I was going to get into music. I played the trumpet, a little bit of percussion. And I even made my way into getting a music scholarship, I don't know how I did that. I guess I practiced enough to do that. So I was like, "Okay." And I was part of a bunch of ensembles and performance groups and it was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of people, perform at a lot of great fun, interesting places.

Guil Hernandez (02:02):
But yeah, after a while I said, "Well, I'm not good enough to maybe be a music performer for a living." I probably couldn't gig around and play at all these major events. At least that's what I thought. So I could be a music educator, I could be a music teacher. And I thought about that for a little bit, and I said, "Nah, maybe that's not for me." Then I got into designing, like multimedia design. That's kind of like the path I took in school. By doing that, I was introduced to the world of web design, back in the day web design wasn't as cool of a thing. But it was still interesting to me. You can, by yourself, create this project and it can be interactive. Back in the day we use things like Flash and even dabbled with PHP.

Guil Hernandez (02:43):
But I could upload it to the web and share it with people, the angel fire sites and all that good stuff back in the day. And then people can interact with it and it felt really good. There was like some kind of instant gratification and like super tight feedback loop. Like I could code something, upload it and there it was. So that kind of got me hooked.

Alex Booker (03:00):
When you say back in the day.

Guil Hernandez (03:02):
So this was like back in 2005, 2004-ish, it's right before that whole web 2.0 movement. Where social media and it became more about content and all these companies like Twitter and Facebook started popping up. So then being a web designer and a web developer was like the super cool thing. But yeah, I was already doing it, so that was exciting.

Alex Booker (03:23):
It's kind of mad to imagine what things were like back then. I don't know, you didn't have flex bots, you didn't have Google fonts, you didn't have scrubber or NDM, presumably or Chrome depth tools. Like it must have been such a different world.

Guil Hernandez (03:34):
Exactly. There were so many unknowns and it was pre ... the whole web standards movement, that sort of came after that, and everything in terms of accessibility. And from then on, things kind of quickly evolved and picked up. But back in the day, I became interested in just a simple front end, like HTML, a little bit of CSS through this tool called Dream Weaver. So that kind of eased me into coding. It wasn't as scary, it was a wizzy wig. There was an interface to create all this width.

Guil Hernandez (04:04):
And then through this tool called Flash, which was for interactivity and animations and that sort of thing. Well, it was powered by something called Action Script, which is a form of ECMAScript, which is really where JavaScript came from. So, that's what kind of got me interested in that, and object oriented programming through Flash. And I said, "Hey, this looks really similar to JavaScript." It really kind of helped ease me into coding in a less scary way, I would say.

Alex Booker (04:30):
It's just fascinating, to me, how the web and interfaces have evolved. I think about the floppy disc icon that gets used for saving sometimes and how to a brand new person to computers that will mean nothing. Or they'll have no memory of Microsoft Clippy, for example, I was thinking about that recently. And nevermind Flash and Action Script and all these kind of things.

Alex Booker (04:50):
It's interesting what you mentioned about this sort of a stigma, I think you said, about maths and algorithms and computer science and degrees and things. Do you think that's kind of faded away as the years have gone by?

Guil Hernandez (05:01):
Yeah, I think in many ways it has. And like back in the day, even some of my instructors and early colleagues, a lot of them were like computer science majors or had some kind of programming background or major in school.

Guil Hernandez (05:12):
But yeah, I think the more the web, for example, has evolved and the more the tools have provided us to work with, like whether it's the HTML, CSS standards back in the day to the evolution of JavaScript with ES6 and beyond. The more those tools, I think, give us maybe the less we need to worry about some of the lower level things. That we might think we have to be concerned with, with regards to computer science and algorithm type stuff. Which is still important, it's still, I think, important to have some basis in that.

Guil Hernandez (05:42):
In my experience ... in fact, a lot of the people who I've worked with in the last decade or so, they don't have computer science degrees or backgrounds in programming. They were close to me in terms of experience. They were like had a Music background or an Art or English or Writing. But they brought a lot of these sort of transferable skills into this new venture, this new career in programming or development or designing, and it's worked out for them. So yeah, I didn't worry too much about not having a computer science degree or dabbling maybe as much as I thought I should have been with a lot of the computer science related things.

Alex Booker (06:17):
By the way, you said that during the time you were doing music, you thought about maybe doing music teaching, basically, but decided that wasn't for you. Now, of course, and for many years you've worked as a teacher, teaching people how to code and things like that. Was teaching something always like in the back of your head? Like, why might that be?

Guil Hernandez (06:34):
Teaching has always been in the family, like my mom was my Art teacher for many years growing up. And I grew up around a bunch of folks who eventually became teachers or even some of my best friends now are music teachers, what I thought about eventually doing. So, yeah, even when I got into web design and front end web development, I would always tell folks, "You know what I really want to do at some point?" And they said, "Yeah, you probably want to teach. Because that's what you should be doing." And I was like, "Whoa, how did you know that?" And it's like, "Well, I see the way you interact with folks at work and mentor some of the juniors. And try to get people excited about what you're learning and what they maybe should be learning." That sort of thing. So, yeah, it was a kind of a natural transition from being a full-time dev and to teaching a little over 10 years ago.

Alex Booker (07:18):
What makes a good teacher?

Guil Hernandez (07:21):
I think, first of all, you have to be able to tell some story. You got to be able to kind of impart your excitement and your experience into a lesson that someone can engage with and it's clear enough, where they can internalize the concepts and not feel overwhelmed. There's also maybe got to be a little bit of humor to kind of keep them sort of captivated in what you're teaching them. Because some of these things can be dense.

Guil Hernandez (07:47):
But I think in general, when we're talking about like content creation and teaching to broader audience, it's a little bit trickier because you want to appeal to most learning styles and it's really hard to do that. So you kind of almost have to stay neutral, but still keep it short, focused and entertaining. And in some way, bring yourself into it because students really love hearing some of the teacher's insights and having them bring themselves and their background and their experiences into what they're teaching. I think, yeah, overall, it just makes for a better lesson and more engaging, for the learner, as well. I think what's great about Scrimba is that we have the community. So we're the teachers, I try to make myself accessible to folks on Discord. So, I can do quick follow ups with students.

Alex Booker (08:29):
Don't worry, we'll put your Discord username in the show notes.

Guil Hernandez (08:31):
So yeah, also just being accessible for the students, if the opportunity allows itself for that. That's also important, just showing that you're there. Because yeah, this can be a pretty intimidating and overwhelming experience for many, if you're just learning by yourself and learning to code. And there's a lot of tendencies to feel stuck and discouraged and give up. So I think, yeah, part of what I do and I want to do is just kind of help prevent that and be there for folks in any way.

Speaker 3 (08:57):
Coming up.

Alex Booker (08:59):
What does Guil think of web two versus web three?

Guil Hernandez (09:03):
MySpace profile styling. That was so much fun.

Alex Booker (09:06):
We'll get back into it in just a second. But if you are enjoying this episode of the pod, please do us at Scrimba a favor and share it with your friends on social media, like on Twitter or in your community, like on Discord. Maybe you'll write to the group chat and say, "Hey, have you seen this podcast? It's kind of cool." Or maybe you'll just DM people and let them know what you're up to. The reason why we ask and interrupt the episode is because word of mouth is really the best way to support a podcast like this. And it shows us that it's something you enjoy and we should do more of, so big thank you in advance.

Alex Booker (09:38):
Also, if you haven't already, it would be super appreciated if you headed to Apple Podcasts and/or Spotify and left the Scrimba Podcast a five star review, it really helps us reach new people. As you know, this is a weekly podcast and next week I'm talking with Ollie Church who is a recently hired junior developer.

Ollie Church (09:57):
I wanted to be an actor ever since I was really young. I auditioned for drama school, managed to get in, graduated and became an actor. And along with that comes a whole host of jobs that I've done in order to pay bills alongside being an actor. I became an escape room host and stepped up from that to become a manager. And I was bubbling along quite happily combining acting. I did a bit of performance teaching and it also fitted quite nicely. And when the pandemic hit, it was a huge shock to the system.

Alex Booker (10:29):
That's next week on the Scrimba Podcast, so make sure to subscribe as not to miss it. Back to the interview with Guil.

Alex Booker (10:38):
I wonder if a lot of people maybe underestimate just how much scale and forwards and almost science around how people learn goes into being a good teacher. And even if we can't answer like what a good teacher is, most people can think of like a bad teaching experience and it's pretty much the opposite of everything you said. Like a stuffy teacher, who's not passionate about the subject, they just overwhelm you with too much information. I really respect and appreciate how much thought you put into things. Like I think it's called cognitive load, like just how much information you can take on at once, breaking it down and making it more accessible.

Alex Booker (11:13):
And I also wonder what the challenges are appealing to different learning styles. Because there is this idea, isn't there, that people have different preferred ways of learning. And actually sometimes it's okay to amalgamate different learning resources because sometimes you will watch a YouTube video, for example, and kind of get it, but not completely grok the concept. Like could be a JavaScript feature like arrow functions, for example. But then you watch a scrim and all of a sudden it falls into place. It's not where the scrim was necessarily better, it's just like the combination of things. And anyway, this whole science about how we learn and how we remember things is really fascinating to me. I'm sure it's something you've given a lot of thought to, it comes across in your teaching, I think.

Guil Hernandez (11:54):
Yeah, exactly. There's so many challenges with that. And even as you said in learning science, there's this thing called the forgetting curve. And I believe it's like after a certain amount of time, maybe like a couple of days after you learn something, you forget close to 90% of what you've learned.

Alex Booker (12:08):
Is it the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve?

Guil Hernandez (12:10):
Yeah, yeah. It's related to that. And that's true, like even when I teach students or whether it's in like the bootcamp like we're doing now or just chatting with students, I always encourage them to even seek outside sources that supplement what they're learning. Just so they can get like different angles of attack or someone else's perspective on a topic. I think that always tends to help cement these skills.

Guil Hernandez (12:31):
And like you said, scoping is really, really important. Because there's a difference, if we're talking a lesson that's like 30 minutes long and like you said, arrow functions. Or something that's 30 minutes, but it's broken up in five minute digestible videos, that tends to be less overwhelming and easier to digest the concept. So yeah, scoping is really, really important and it's a really important part of being a good instructor, as well. And yeah, just taking into consideration that there are different levels of experiences that you're teaching to. And the challenge is really trying to bring everyone on board or on ramp them together. But it varies whether it's live teaching or through video, but scoping is a super, super crucial aspect of that.

Alex Booker (13:18):
It's a fantastic point because if you don't know the subject yet, you as a student are not able to break it down in a manageable way. Like if there's a 30 minute presentation, for example, and there are no sections. It could be one video say with timestamps, but if there are no timestamps or sections, you can't possibly know the best way to break that down. So like what makes a great teacher is not just presenting the information, but also defining the scope. So you can kind of break it down and take on enough to feel like you're making progress and then not so much that it can overwhelm you.

Guil Hernandez (13:48):
Yeah, absolutely. And for something like YouTube, that's important. Just come up with these logical sort of break points where like, all right, let's pause here for a moment. Even reflect back on what we learn and give the student a mental break and some momentum going into whatever the next lesson might be. It's tricky, but yeah, there's different ways to go about it, depending on the medium.

Alex Booker (14:07):
I always appreciate somebody taking the time to share something that they know. But equally it kind of sort of serves as a demonstration that not everybody who possesses knowledge is talented at imparting that knowledge to others. And one thing I remember when I was learning to code, I was like piecing together YouTube videos and reading books and things. And so often I would like open a YouTube video and it would be in the middle of some code base and I'd be like, "Okay, like where did all this boiler play come from?" Like I had no idea what any of it meant or how we got there. I was already overwhelmed from the beginning.

Alex Booker (14:38):
And then they're like, "Yeah, don't worry. This is some code from a previous video." No idea where to find that video, either. And they go on to type and they're like, "Yeah, we're going to write this here and this there and do that." And there's no real explanation behind the logic. And it sent me down a dangerous path actually, because that gave me the impression at the beginning, that to be a good coder was to like memorize code and lines of code. Because they weren't explaining their thought process or teaching me how to think like a programmer. And so, nowadays with the work we do at Scrimba, I feel very passionate, as I'm sure you do about sort of giving students the best chance of success and actually learning how to think like a programmer and solve problems logically.

Guil Hernandez (15:16):
Yeah. There's so much work that goes into making students not feel despair versus being challenged. And that's actually something that we talked about once with Bob Ziroll, that fine line between feeling despair and challenged. And how do we navigate that with our lessons is a fascinating discussion. But yeah, we don't want to drop students into something where they're like under this scary shadow of uncertainty right away. Sometimes, hey, maybe that's the way folks learn best. But yeah, when we're talking about a beginner curriculum, like what we have here at Scrimba in the front end path, for example. Yeah, we want to make that on ramp super gradual and cover everything very carefully, very deliberately. So that by the time they get to something more advanced or maybe they revisit the path after having been away for a few days to like, "Oh, okay, yeah. Yeah, I got this. This isn't scary." Because there's so many tendencies to giving up if we just overwhelm them with so many things at once. So there's a fine line and a balance.

Alex Booker (16:15):
That line between being challenged and giving up is so fine, sometimes, it's quite hard to navigate. If you go about it the wrong way, you do kind of cross that line and get to the point where you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. And then your progress slows right down, you take lots of breaks. And you could argue for consistency is more important than intensity, in that respect. And with that in mind, I wanted to ask you Guil, what are some things that students can do to maintain their mindsets and stay consistent in the long term?

Guil Hernandez (16:43):
That's a good question. And so many people tried different techniques that work for them. I would say for me, I treat learning as I'm an active learner, I treat it as an event on my calendar, let's say. So just like you have a class, for example, that you might have to go to, that you signed up for. Or you have a gym membership and at 10:00 AM every day, you got to drive to the gym and work out. I'll have dedicated slots on my calendar for learning. It might be that it's 30, 40 minutes a day, maybe an hour a day, if there's more time for it. I'll plot those in my calendar and then I would treat that time as just dedicated focus time for learning. And I found Pomodoro works pretty well. But it's mostly just being very serious about that. Yeah, this is an event that I need to commit to. And going into it, there's certain maybe items that I want to sort of check off my learning list, that I tackle and focus on for those 30, 40 minutes or however they might be.

Guil Hernandez (17:42):
And then what I like to do after is I have a notepad or I'll have a Google doc. And I'll say, "All right." Well, I think about everything I learned, and then I just try to jot it down in my own words and kind of explain and synthesize it all in my own writing, in my own voice. And that's when like the connections start to form and like, "All right, this is sinking in." And if not, I say, "All right, these are maybe some of the things I might need to revisit." I might do that tomorrow at the beginning of the next session. Or if I have a little bit of time, I might go back and revisit that.

Guil Hernandez (18:10):
And yeah, I found the more and more I do that, and obviously teaching or giving code reviews to kind of get to put those into practice. Or even just building a small project based on just one thing I learned. And sharing it with folks and getting some validation like, "Hey, that's really cool. How did you do that?" Not only does that help me learn and really internalize the new concepts I learn, but it also gives me a little validation and a lot of momentum and even confidence going forward. And that's what I try to talk with many students about who want to overcome imposter syndrome and they're feeling super challenged. Well, I always mention one of my favorite quotes by Ed Catmull and it's, "When faced with a challenge, gets smarter." So invest in yourself, whether it's 30, 40 minutes every few days to get smarter. And really share with folks what you're learning and the things you're building. And I think that's going to keep you going.

Alex Booker (18:59):
It kind of reminds me of another quote, which is like, "If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my ax."

Guil Hernandez (19:07):
Yep. I have my learning list of things that I know I don't know. And these are the things that I maybe want to take on this week. And then you're going to be amazed by how many things you just check off your learning list or further down, when you learn something new that you thought was super scary. A few weeks back, you're going to say, "Oh, this makes total sense. And I can connect it to something I learned last week." And that's when you really start to feel like you're getting over the hump and that wall that a lot of students hit when learning like JavaScript, for example.

Alex Booker (19:34):
I guess what you're describing in one way is like a learning log. Which is wicked because by reflecting on what you've been learning, that gives you a chance to internalize it more. But also sort of maybe identify where things aren't sticking. And when that happens, yes, you can get frustrated and give up. But more than likely, if you've created this system beneath you're learning where you are logging what you're learning. It introduces a point where you can ask yourself, "Okay, maybe this resource isn't working for me." Or, "Why isn't this sticking? Maybe I need to do more practice or maybe I need to give it more time."

Alex Booker (20:06):
And it just happens in life, like when you don't have a sort of log of what you're working on, you kind of mix reality with how you feel. And if something is really difficult, you feel like, "Oh, I'm just not getting this. This sucks." But then you reference your learning log and you're like, "Oh, I've only been trying to learn this thing for three days." And like, actually it takes people three years to graduate with a computer science degree. And like you just start to put things in perspective, I think. Plus by the way, the feeling of checking something off a checklist is awesome.

Alex Booker (20:32):
You mentioned this earlier, as well, by the way, as a teacher, like you want to make things fun and engaging. And actually it's very rewarding to show people what you've built and put it in their hands. And the pride that comes with, it's the thing that gives you motivation to tackle the next problem and learn the next thing.

Guil Hernandez (20:48):
One of the things I'm just in love with about Scrimba are things like solo projects, where we give students the opportunity to, as we say, take the training wheels off, and this is where the rubber meets the road. Like, okay, I am starting with a blank slate here and let's see what I got.

Alex Booker (21:03):
For those listening, you haven't come across solo projects before, can you talk a little bit about what they are? And like the motivation behind them, like why is it something that Scrimba decided to introduce into our curriculum?

Guil Hernandez (21:14):
A solo project is well, a project that you have to build completely on your own, most of them from scratch. And they are at specific points in the front end developer career path. And so for example, the first project is in module two of the path. And it's like a hometown webpage project. You have to work with some boiler play code provided by the instructor, and then you create a project that's personal to you, it's about your hometown. And then each project after that, the more you learn, the more complex the path gets and the more concepts you're being introduced to, the more complex the projects get. All the way up to a project where you're working with APIs and tools like React.

Guil Hernandez (21:55):
But the idea is to use everything you learn up to that point to build something entirely on your own. We don't provide many hints or answers. It's up to you to get those answers, whether it's from your notes, from the community, or really mostly Googling like many developers do. But the idea is that you have a handful of portfolio pieces, really, because you built them all on your own, so each has their own sort of unique take. And that's really the basis for portfolio and eventually getting hired as a front end developer, that's a piece of it. So the solar projects is where you really get to test and push your skills. And also show people some really cool things that you built.

Alex Booker (22:38):
I guess another way of thinking about it is like a lot of courses, they teach you how to build a clone of something. Which is kind of cool. And there are always options if you want to like change it or expand it. But you're not really encouraged that way and everybody ends up with the same project.

Alex Booker (22:52):
Those solo projects, like the hometown website you're describing Guil, you get some idea about where to start, but you'll basically be challenged to take it further by yourself. And hopefully everything you've learned in the module you're watching on Scrimba will have given you the knowledge to do that. You shouldn't feel out of your depth, you should only feel challenged. And obviously the solo projects get more challenging, but also more impressive as you make more progress during the career path. And especially towards the end, if you customize them sufficiently, they could be the same like projects you put in a portfolio, potentially. Or at least can talk about during an interview.

Guil Hernandez (23:27):
Exactly. Yeah. And the idea with like the first one, like you said, is not drop students in the middle of this project where they have maybe all this overwhelming sort of boiler plate code to get with and figure out and sort through. Know it's a very simple webpage with some information that they basically just have to edit, that's personal. And we start from there and just gradually, as you said, make them a little bit more difficult all the way up to a sort of full fledged front end application.

Alex Booker (23:57):
It's kind of crazy to me, the things we do at Scrimba. Because from the outside looking in, you could sort of argue that Scrimba a little bit like a course library or something. But now you start thinking about solo projects and the community and all these other things we do to support your learning, so that you can do it consistently, all hopefully a very affordable price. I also recognize that in recent months, we launched something called The Scrimba Bootcamp, which actually Guil you head up. Can you tell us a bit more about it and what students need to know?

Guil Hernandez (24:25):
I'm glad you asked, because I'm really excited about The Scrimba Bootcamp. We're a little bit over a month in, and it really builds upon the front end developer career path. So it's the same battle tested curriculum that get folks hired. But you're part of this bootcamp program that is self-paced, it takes anywhere from three to maybe six, seven months to get through it. And you are part of a dedicated study group.

Guil Hernandez (24:53):
So if you're taking the front end path as a pro student, for example, you're going through it mostly on your own. And we do offer lots of opportunities to interact and engage with the community. But the bootcamp, itself, is a sort of mini cohorts that you're a part of, all learning along with you. Not at the same time, because it is asynchronous. But you're part of this dedicated study group where you get to really share your experiences, your challenges, your learning wins. You get to help support and unblock each other.

Guil Hernandez (25:24):
And we come together every week as a group, there's multiple sessions offered on Mondays, for example, to kick off your learning week and give it some structure. And yeah, folks talk about the week leading up to it and what went well, what they learned and, bring up any challenges, and like I said, wins for the group. We also make commitments and talk about what we're going to learn for the week and what we have ahead and what we're doing in terms of projects. So it's really great.

Guil Hernandez (25:48):
And also what really makes it stand out from like other boot camps perhaps, and maybe even our pro subscription is that we have a dedicated team of vetted expert code reviewers on board that are part of Scrimba, The Scrimba Bootcamp. And they are dedicated to reviewing solo projects that the bootcamp students submit. I'm really excited about that, it's been working out really well and students have been getting lots and lots of great feedback. And I think it's really transformed the way they build projects and really progress through the path. That's really exciting that we were able to do that.

Alex Booker (26:21):
So with Scrimba, it sounds like you can enroll in the career path essentially and benefit from the community and some of the advice we shared in this podcast. But say you want to get a higher level of accountability and more support, as well as getting co reviews. Which is interesting because we kind of identified that it's really fun to show people your projects and get feedback, but if you show your friends or your partner or your mom and dad, your project, they'll be like, "Wow, cool." But they're not going to tell you like, "Oh, I don't know. Maybe this identifier should be more descriptive." Or like, "Your comments are too long. You should possibly write more self-expressive code and things." The point being with code review is you can sort of get that benefit, as well, and it might just help you be more successful.

Guil Hernandez (27:02):
Absolutely. And many students come from the pro subscription. Also many of them are ones who've attempted to learn a code several times and it just wasn't working for them and they got discouraged and they gave up. And they joined the bootcamp to dive back into it. So we aimed to help folks like that, as well, just to either get back into coding or yeah, learn from scratch. We have a bunch of students who've been learning from the beginning, as well. And they've been coming along and progressing nicely.

Guil Hernandez (27:29):
And a lot of students take advantage of just code reviews, as well. So they're further along in the path, they've built up a handful of solo projects and they come into the bootcamp with the intent of getting their projects reviewed, all the projects they've created so far and go from there.

Alex Booker (27:48):
You know what Guil, we have a few minutes left, actually. How about we do some quickfire questions?

Guil Hernandez (27:51):
Let's do it.

Alex Booker (27:51):
What is your favorite code editor?

Guil Hernandez (27:56):
VS code.

Alex Booker (27:57):
Actually Scrimba's editor is based on VS code. So, that's a double whammy. What music do you listen to when you're coding or working, in general? Being a musician, I'm hoping for quite an interesting answer.

Guil Hernandez (28:06):
I can't listen to anything with lyrics, so I tend to go with like movie soundtracks, very cinematic and also old school jazz. I love jazz. So, I'll dive back into some like Duke Ellington or even Louis Armstrong, just down and dirty jazz. That really kind of helps with keeping me focused.

Alex Booker (28:26):
As a teacher, I'm kind of curious, who do you learn from, or go to advice from when you're learning something new?

Guil Hernandez (28:32):
I have a lot of former colleagues that I fortunately got to build relationship with and form connections with through the years. So there's a lot of people that I've worked with, whether, like I said, at Treehouse or just through sites like Twitter and going to conferences. So yeah, those are many of the folks who I still lean on and connect with regularly, actually, just to kind of get advice from and follow up.

Alex Booker (28:54):
What about tabs or spaces in your JavaScript code?

Guil Hernandez (28:58):
Just typically lean on what's the default. I tend to use tabs recently, to be honest. No hard feelings for those who don't.

Alex Booker (29:05):
You mentioned at the beginning, you were kind of coding at the cusp of web two. So you were doing web one, you've been working and teaching during web two. And now some people would argue and say we're at the cusp of web three. And so my question to you is, web one, web two, or web three?

Guil Hernandez (29:22):
Web two, that's near and dear to me. Like, even from a design standpoint, all the transformations that were happening just in design, in general. All the like bubbly graphics and the gradients and all the cool things that we might attempt to do and recreate with CSS. So that was a fascinating and fun time, big learning moments for me happened through the web two area. And like you said, trying to emulate sites and create clones of like Facebook and MySpace profile styling. That was so much fun. So yeah, I would go with that.

Alex Booker (29:50):
I remember that to like, do a drop down navigation, which you would do entirely of CSS now in the hover pseudo. People used to use JavaScript for stuff like that.

Guil Hernandez (29:59):
Oh yeah. There were so many clever techniques and I've had a bunch of books on how to learn how to do it. Like turning a list into a dropdown menu with JavaScript. And it's evolved so much, where like you said, you can just do it with like a handful of say Flexbox properties, for instance.

Alex Booker (30:15):
Which you prefer, Guil, coffee or tea?

Guil Hernandez (30:17):
Definitely coffee. I am fascinated with espresso. I have a machine downstairs that I visit regularly, although not as much anymore.

Alex Booker (30:25):
And finally, you're from Puerto Rico, right? What should people know about Puerto Rico? Like, what's it like? What's some of your favorite things?

Guil Hernandez (30:31):
I miss it, I haven't been in a while. So Puerto Rico is a small, vibrant, incredibly lively and culture, rich island. The weather is always beautiful. It is hot, though, but maybe not as humid as it is in Florida, it's more tolerable. The people are incredibly festive and the food is amazing. So just about every corner has all these different types of food and scenery and in terms of the beaches and what happens in that region. So yeah, there's never a dull moment, whether it's on the west side in Rincon, where the vibe is more like a surf Costa Rica type place. And then on the east side in San Juan, where it's more modern and it's where a lot of the tech happens and there's more activity. But either way, it's just a culture, rich, beautiful island that I missed dearly and want to revisit soon.

Alex Booker (31:16):
What a vibe and such a happy note to end on. I would be remiss if I didn't ask, based on your vast experiences as a developer, but also a teacher working at Treehouse before Scrimba. And lately, you've been doing these really interactive calls as part of the bootcamp, where every Monday bootcamp students get to hang out with you, personally, and gets advice and things like that, about their approach to learning and things like that. What would be your kind of closing advice to any new developers or aspiring web developers out there, as to how to learn to code and find success in the job markets?

Guil Hernandez (31:48):
It happens very differently for most people. But yeah, going into it, it's going to be challenging. And don't expect to have to learn all the things related to what you're learning. There's going to be many things that you know, many things that you know you don't know, and many things that you don't know that you don't know. So the trick as you learn, is to kind of move those skills from bucket to bucket. From like, these are things that I don't know that I don't know. So try to figure that out. Then move it over to like the things that I know that I don't know. And then finally into things you know and knowledge that you own.

Guil Hernandez (32:26):
And also be an active learner. I see a lot of folks who fall into that passive learning trap, where they're just watching video after video, or just reading a post. Yeah, just engage in it, lean forward, and like I said, take notes. Watch it multiple times maybe at speeds that work for you, if we're talking about video content. And yeah, really try to ... after each learning lesson, for example, just try to break that information down in your own words and even share what you're learning with others during that time. And you're going to find that yeah, a lot of the things might start sticking and clicking a little bit easier and better.

Guil Hernandez (33:02):
Going back to not feeling overwhelmed with having to know everything or memorize everything. A lot of students maybe feel like they have to, but it's the idea of we're not encyclopedias, nobody can memorize everything and have that kind of a capacity. But it's more about not being an encyclopedia and thinking of it as being librarians. Be resourceful and have, like I said, your good notes and your resources and things you can fall back on. And revisit when you're struggling or even when you're further down the road and more experienced, you're still going to struggle with remembering things. So just keep that in mind. And if you have an opportunity to kind of lean into a community like you do at Scrimba. But just take full advantage of that, it's going to pay off and it's so incredibly valuable. And yeah, just forming connections, but also just sharing folks experiences and what they're learning. It's all just kind of plays into someone's success, really, whether they're trying to get hired or they've been at it for a while. Be a librarian, not an encyclopedia.

Alex Booker (34:05):
Guil Hernandez, thank you so much for joining me on The Scrimba Podcast.

Guil Hernandez (34:06):
Indeed. I appreciate it. I was happy to be here, Alex.

Alex Booker (34:09):
That was Guil Hernandez, a Scrimba teacher and lead instructor of The Scrimba Bootcamp. You can find a link to that and all the information in these show notes, by the way. Thank you for listening.

Alex Booker (34:21):
If you've made it this far and to the very end, you might want to subscribe to the podcast for more helpful and uplifting episodes. With recently hired juniors, like Ollie next week, and industry experts like Guil. The way this works in the pod, by the way, is we alternate. Expert like Guil, new developer like Ollie and the cycle continues. You can also tweet me, your host, Alex Booker, and share what lessons you've learned from the episode, so I can thank you personally for tuning in. You can find my Twitter handle in the show notes. See you next week.