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Welcome to Beginner Boost!#

Welcome to the annual SKILSTAK Beginner Boost!

Since 2020, our community has come together to do a series of extremely casual live streams and videos to help beginners learn the fundamentals required to start careers in technology (specifically those benefiting from Linux terminal skills to develop or use applications with command-line interfaces). As masters and padwans, we begin on Star Wars day, May the 4th at 11:11:11 but anyone can follow along from previous years or join in the middle and catch up by watching videos and asking questions in our Discord.

What is the format of the video sessions?#

Each week we do two, one-hour sessions split up with a 10 minute break in between to get ads out of the way and to ask informal questions and rest a bit. Each hour long session is uploaded as a video to YouTube where it can be paused, sped up, and followed. Eventually, chapters are added to the videos (as the community can get to it).

The flow of the video content is just Rob doing stuff and talking about it along the way, occasionally taking live questions. Chat is never included in the videos for obvious reasons but can be followed by those participating live. When following YouTube videos only those with questions can ask them in the Discord where the community can help and Rob can follow up.

When are they?#

Check for times. Even though they are live on Twitch every week (usually at the same time) anyone can follow along through the YouTube videos and Discord as well. People from all around the globe regularly participate (and we thank you).

What is needed to participate?#

Boosts are always free (although donations, subs, and tips are appreciated and motivating). You will need a capable computer and minimal admin permissions and skills for installing stuff, etc.

  • Win/Mac/Linux
  • 4 Core (CPU)
  • 8 GB Memory (RAM)
  • 100 GB Free HD

Why every year?#

We do the Boost every year mostly because technology is advancing at an exponential pace. There is something substantially new every single year. A key skill as a technologist is being able to distinguish the trends from the long-term changes and invest our previous learning time on what matters. Working in tech is not unlike betting on stocks, you pick the right tech to master at the right time and you can win big, or you can quickly become irrelevant and get "down sized." Therefore, having a Boost every year allows the community to contribute their observations about what is current and—most importantly—relevant.

The Surfer Analogy

Surfing requires a well-developed ability to see the ocean's minor undulations in the distance and predicting which will crest at the optimal time. As the wave takes more form, a skilled surfer will know when to start paddling in order to match the speed of the wave. If they take too long they won't be moving fast enough to catch it, too fast and they might overshoot it. When the wave crests the surfer can then stand on the board and ride it to glory before hopping off and paddling back out to sea to watch for the next one.

Such is the life of a good technologist. Paddling equates to learning the technology as it forms and producing proof you have mastered it. Standing up on the board is like landing a lucritive tech job having prepared in advance and being one of only a few who can demonstrate mastery. Surfers wipe out, miss waves, or, on occasion, have sharks take bites out of them. Surfing is inherently risky and demands constant focus and fitness. Those who opt for tech careers commit to a similar lifestyle with its constant learning demands and very real risks. Tech jobs are not for everyone, but for many the continual challenge is exactly what they crave.

Boost is not a course#

The Beginner Boost is not a course. There's no syllabus, no certificate, no credential, no proof you did anything except your own work, notes, and knowledge. There's barely a schedule and we change that organically as we go through it.

Start thinking like a hacker

Most people need to get the old, broken ideas about learning out of their heads and start learning and thinking like a "hacker." People who require the on-a-plate, tell-me-what-to-do form of education generally do very poorly in tech careers. We'll talk more about that during the Boost itself when we discuss the nature of true learning.

What will we learn?#

Because the Boost is a live, crowd-sourced, learning event, the content is always very organic and changes based on what makes sense as we encounter it. Each year is different. (See the Overview for that specific year.)

Targeted careers#

When deciding what to include we like to keep a list of typical job titles you might see out there that either require or strongly benefit from the skills, knowledge, and abilities covered by the Boost—Security Analyst (the fastest growing tech career) being chief among them.

  • Security Analyst (Hacker)
  • Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)
  • Cloud Native Engineer
  • Machine Learning Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Platform Engineer
  • Infrastructure Engineer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Computer Scientist
  • Computer Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer
  • Rocket Scientist
  • Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • Any other career involving science and technology

Check out the Bureau of Labor and Statistics technology careers

The US BLS updates an annual collection of statistics related to career growth, demand, and pay. It's definitely worth checking out.

Take particular note of the Job Outlook indicating how fast the demand for each career is growing. For example, demand for Information Security Analysts (hackers) is growing by 35%, one of the fastest growing professions of all outpacing the next fastest growing tech career by 10% (Software Developers, 25%)! Beginner Boost skills are absolutely essential for any career in the Information Security industry and will give any Software Developer a solid advantage over all the rest.

Copyright © 2013-2023 Robert S. Muhlestein Content released under the Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND), code released under the Apache 2.0.

Contributors and project participants implicitly accept the Developer Certificate of Authenticity (DCO) giving over all intellectual property rights to the copyright owner and asserting that they have legal permission to do so.

"SKILSTAK", "SKILSTAK Beginner Boost", "SKILSTAK Boost", “Beginner Boost” and “Boost” are legal trademarks of Robert S. Muhlestein but can be used freely to refer to the this project without limitation. To avoid potential developer confusion, intentionally using these trademarks to refer to other projects—free or proprietary—is prohibited.

The reason for “no derivatives” CC requirement is to preserve the consistency of opinions throughout the content since attribution is required. Without it, forks with changed opinions and resource listings could be purposefully or accidentally taken as the opinions of the original author. This is simply too dangerous to allow. The “no derivatives” clause protects against the inevitable “consensus” problem that plagues community-created content. That said, please reach out by email if you have questions about contributing and collaborating.

Last update: 2023-05-13