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Pirates, projects, and the best damn JavaScript workshop on the interweb

One of the hardest things about learning how to code is being able to actually put all of your learning together to build a thing.

You can memorize JavaScript methods and browser API and understand the fundamentals, but building a project from scratch is hard.

So, a few years ago, I put together the Vanilla JS Academy, an online JavaScript workshop.

A new session starts on July 18, and enrollment opens up on Monday. A lot’s changed with the program over the last year, and today, I wanted to tell you about it.

How it works

Over the course of the 6-week workshop, you’ll get access to over 70 lessons and work on 18 projects.

  • Every other day, you get a project to work on, 1-3 short lessons that provide some background, and a template to help you get started.
  • On the in-between days, I share my approach to the project and some of the common challenges and “gotchas” that students often run into.

If you get stuck, there’s a private Slack channel exclusively for students. I hold live video office hours every two weeks, where you can ask me questions in real time, share code, and work through bigger challenges.

Two different workshops

When Academy started, it was just a single workshop. Today, there are two different programs.

  1. Vanilla JS Essentials. Learn the fundamentals of DOM manipulation and injection, working with APIs and asynchronous JavaScript, managing data with arrays and objects, and saving state with browser storage.
  2. Structure & Scale. Learn how to structure and organize your code as your projects grow and scale. Dig into concepts like utility libraries, object-oriented programing, JavaScript classes, web components, ES modules, and service workers.

The workshops run concurrently, and are designed to be taken one at a time.

I’ve had students sign up for both at the same time and it never works out well. The stuff you do in Structure & Scale assumes you’ve already have the skills you’d learn in Essentials, and the volume of work is just too high to take both together.

Structure & Scale has been completely redesigned

The Structure & Scale workshop is relatively new.

Based on feedback from past participants, I completely redesigned the program for the upcoming session. It has new projects, new lessons, and a stronger focus on how to actually manage code bases as they get bigger.

This session is very pirate themed. You’ll build…

  • A JS library for rolling dice of different sizes
  • A Treasure Chest library for managing all of your loot
  • A web component for adding digital dice to a UI with just an HTML element
  • Seven Seas, an offline-ready travel app for pirates

You’ll also learn…

  • How to more easily write libraries with JS classes
  • How to modularize a growing code base
  • How to add hooks other developers can use to extend the functionality of your code
  • How to improve performance and reliability with Service Workers
  • How to use build tools to bundle your code

If you’re growing into a more senior role (or looking to make the jump), this is an awesome program to level-up your skills!

People seem to like it

Here’s some of the nice things students have said about the program…

Making myself a little web tool and using a whole range of stuff that Chris Ferdinandi’s Vanilla JS Academy taught me.

I struggled with JavaScript for a decade so I really would recommend it for anyone who needs a big friendly confidence-booster.- Laura Kalbag
Tired of tutorials? Want to really dig in and work with other developers on how to become a vanilla JS badass? I can't tell you how much I've learned from Chris Ferdinandi and his Vanilla JS Academy.- Ben Rudolph
I was confident that I'd get something valuable from the Academy. The only only hesitation I felt was from knowing how many false starts I had with JS in the past and questioning my own commitment.

With Academy, something finally clicked in regards to both my ability to understand and write JavaScript.

I now feel pretty confident in reading other's scripts and figuring out what's going on. That's in large part due to your clear bite-sized lessons and the active discussions in Slack that quickly surfaced questions and issues that I was also experiencing. Seeing how the same problem was solved by so many others was also helpful in letting go of the pressure to get things right and shift my focus on getting things to work and adjusting later as needed.

I really liked how the lessons were broken up into quickly consumable chunks. I loved having a clean, unopinionated project file to start from that I could wreak design havoc on. :)

The Slack community was priceless.

I've taken other online classes that include a slack community and never found them to be quite as welcoming and my involvement felt much more transactional. In this community, I enjoyed seeing everyone's dedication and investment in each other. It was welcoming, inclusive, helpful, and encouraging. That made a huge difference.- Leticia O'Neill
Best investment and course I have taken. If you want a bite sized course that will hold you accountable take this course. I have reduced the amount I Google and use Stackexchange by 50% and actually feel like I understand what I am coding.- Walter Jenkins
I'm not a beginner in JavaScript but I'm really loving the Academy because I still learn new things and best practices. I think knowing best practices distinguishes a mid-level dev from a senior web dev.- Maria Blair

How can you sign up?

Registration opens up on Monday, June 27.

The first week of registration, I run an Early Bird Sale, with 40-percent off registration. If you’re thinking about joining, next week is definitely the week to do it.