Congratulations on your upcoming Big Nerd Ranch training course!
We are excited for you to join us. Our courses are intense (we think of them as a gentle firehose of information), engaging (we do our best to cater to multiple learning styles), and fun (our instructors are amazing and we don’t take ourselves too seriously).
To help you make the most of your experience, we encourage you to do the following. For the things in the “Before Your Class” section, we recommend doing them right away. We look forward to having you and we wish you happy coding!
Before Your Class
Join our Slack Workspace
Your instructor will use Slack to share course materials, make special announcements, and communicate with you. It’s also a great way for you to ask questions of your instructor and to collaborate with your classmates. Joining and participating in the Slack workspace will allow you to make sure you don’t miss out on important information. Your Slack invitation will be in your course registration confirmation email.
Read the Pre-course Materials
Our courses go fast so be prepared to hit the ground running. Some classes have accompanying pre-reading materials to complete before the course begins. The course pre-reading allows us to focus on the topics that are most relevant to you by having you prepare before the course starts. You’ll receive the pre-reading upon registration confirmation or in the Slack workspace. Depending on your previous experience, this pre-reading can take anywhere from 1-4 hours.
During Your Class
Create a Learning Environment
This is a chance to focus on learning, so make sure your environment sets you up for success. Reschedule meetings for another time, set your status as busy, and eliminate distractions. If your class is virtual, pay attention to your physical surroundings as well. A quiet space with few distractions will help you stay focused on the coursework.
Get in the Right Mindset
Our courses teach a lot of material in a short amount of time, which means that they move fast. Be prepared for a quick pace and a lot of material. Also be prepared that you may not understand everything right away. This is ok. Pay attention to the lectures, try the labs, and ask questions.
Do the Lab Exercises and Avoid Copy / Paste
Labs are an essential part of the Big Nerd Ranch experience. The lab exercises allow you to practice the concepts you are learning in class. They are where you read about topics and write code. It may be tempting to copy/paste code from the materials. We strongly recommend resisting this temptation. First, you lose out on the learning you get through muscle memory. By typing the code, you start to develop the learning pathways that help you to remember how it works. Second, copy and paste is error-prone because our materials include formatting and invisible symbols that can be copied by mistake. If something does not copy over exactly, it may not work, and it may be difficult for you to troubleshoot.
This material is new to you, so it’s likely you will have questions. Questions are helpful in multiple ways. Asking questions gives you the opportunity to clarify a concept you are struggling with. Asking questions helps your instructor to know if they need to revisit a topic or explain something in more detail. Asking questions helps to keep you engaged and to allow for dialogue with your instructor and your classmates. Your instructor is not only a teacher but also a professional programmer, so take the opportunity to learn from their hard-won experience.
In Virtual Classes, Enable Your Camera
While we can’t recreate the in-person classroom experience online, keeping cameras on helps the class feel more personal and encourages interaction. Your instructor can also use visual cues to slow down, pause for questions, and clarify topics.
After Your Class
Feedback helps us ensure that our course is serving the needs of our students. Your input is vital to what we do, so we ask everyone to complete a short post-course survey as their training wraps up. If you have in-depth thoughts that you want to share, you can also schedule a meeting with our Training team.
Celebrate Your Accomplishment!
You just wrapped up an intense course with Big Nerd Ranch. After finishing, you’ll receive a digital badge via Credly. Show off your badge and let folks know about your new skills on social media and across your organization!
Stay in Touch
Tech is ever-evolving, and so is our work at Big Nerd Ranch. Stay up to date with our latest books and courses by signing up for our newsletters and you can always reach out directly via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Revisit the Materials
The Slack space will stay open about 30 days after your course concludes, so make sure to save any resources you want to keep before then. You should revisit the book and try out the lab exercises again. Any skill set requires regular practice, so make sure to use what you’ve learned.