Upskill @SkilStak

Upskilling is simply the process of improving your skills by supplementing them with new, related ones. For example, a software developer learning database modeling, creation, and querying.

Reskilling is when you trade a set of skills for another usually to modernize for a new career and transition out of an old skill set that has become less valuable. A nurse deciding to learn to program is an example of reskilling. So is a soldier becoming a data scientist.

Our community of interest here at SkilStak is well suited to promote both upskilling and reskilling with the flexibility to meets your learning style. Perhaps you want a more regimented course curriculum, you could follow the projects and paths outline in our SkilStak Knowledge Base that build upon one another. Maybe you are a more flexible, self-directed learner who wants to browse and build your own plan drawing on resources from our knowledge base and beyond. Either way you have a community of peers learning along with you in their own ways.

Flat Rate: $200/month

That's $8/day if you came every day for up to 7 hours a day. Just about everyone can afford this, which is the main goal. Upskilling at SkilStak will never be completely free because we want you to be serious and committed to helping everyone in that month's upskill group.

Come As Much as You Like

Building on the reality that learning happens in the lab (not the lecture hall) we have added more than 35 hours of time during any given week for upskillers to come and learn on their own terms. There is no limit whatsoever on the amount of time you can spend here, but a confirmed appointment is needed.

Higher Independence Expected

Like on the job, the expectation is that adults take greater responsibility of their own learning plan. While other upskillers and myself will always be available for questions, learning how to first research topics and then ask for counsel and direction will be expected. Occasionally a given topic will be good to present to a whole group by request, but the atmosphere will model much like a calculus lab in college.

What are You Learning?

Whatever you want related to coding and tech. In fact, your first day you need to prepare a general goal and mission statement. Want to make your work of art move using an Arduino coded in C++, how about the next great game, or learning advanced pen testing techniques, or applying your AP calculus to deep machine learning, or studying for the AP Computer Science exam? All are ok.

We want people who are motivated and focused so they can help one another. Think of it like a coder residency similar to what recurse.com has made famous but with a structured knowledge base and other educational resources as well. You will have access to all the resources we have available now, plus others provided by request, as well as the unique learning materials we have provided covering modern tech topics. You also do not need any coding ability to begin.

One of the main learning focuses will be to establish and maintain a professional learning network so that you can both know what is current and have a network of individuals and organizations to help you keep up to date, to see the waves forming, paddle fast at the right time, and catch them.

When Can I Come?

Anytime we have an open space really. The specific times reserved for upskillers are as follows (and are on the schedule as well):

Monday - Friday, 12:00-3:30, 9:15-11:00 pm

In addition, any unfilled after-school slots (4:00-5:30, 5:45-7:15, 7:30-9:00 pm) will also be available any given semester.

Keep in mind that you can attend any of the structured after-school sessions that are primarily for those 7-18 years-old. There simply needs to be a seat available. Two open seats are planned for every after-school session to accommodate make-ups, moves and such so this is usually a possibility. Not every adult wants to be in a room with that many young coders (we do have great headphones) but if that works for you that is always an option as well.

Appointment Confirmation Required

Even if you attend every single day you need to notify and receive confirmation that the time you plan is ok. There may not always be someone at SkilStak during the time you wish to be there and we are not (yet) ready to hand you a keycode for the building (but we dream of the day we can give you that including full access to the kitchen and upper floors for other project spaces).

🍵Free Coffee!

We rotate between Seattle's Best and Cafe Du Monde, a great chicory blend that is better than half-caf but easier on the nerves. We have a small fridge to store lunch and creamer and a Primo purified water dispenser.

Of course our favorite place to pay for good coffee, great craft beer, and amazing live music is Old Town Public House. It is literally a stone's throw away.

Large Restroom, But No Shower

As much as we want to encourage biking, walking, and skating to SkilStak, we do not (yet) have a shower to offer for changing. We do, however, have a rather large restroom.

Food All Around

We encourage you to check out all the places to eat and snack in our area. More than a dozen are walking distance including Food Lion and Harris Teeter (which has remarkably good sushi for a chain store).

Prerequisites

None. But, if we do get crowded one big, rather cheeky question will be, "How are you going to use your upped skills to save the world?" 😁

Field Trips for Grown Ups

Yep, we have wheels and can take grown-up field trips to tech conferences, career fairs, operations centers, startup accelerators, and more. Attending a career conference is often very informative even if you are not looking. Seeing what is out there and making new contacts is something every professional should make part of their regular schedule. Your current employer should understand.

Because we are all adults our field trips may even include an early afternoon stop at a coffee shop or different pub on the way. Learning tech and researching the industry is always more fun in a group with other motivated individuals.

Why?

Some of you are saying, "finally!" Others are wondering, "why now?"

We have always wanted to add an offering for adults that really worked. Nothing has felt right until now.

Your schedules are hard to work out. We get it. Seniors in high school and working adults and parents organizing family needs all have a hard time with scheduling.

Adults come in to SkilStak all the time with specific needs to upskill in a specific area. Others are asking about career changes. It became clear that we needed an offering with the flexibility, focus, and price that addresses the specific needs of these adults wanting to supplement their current IT skills or add them to improve their opportunities. Whether you are a home-maker wanting to break into the work-from-home IT careers, a grandmother wanting to learn "Facebook for Grannies", or already a rock star coder who just hasn't learned SQL, NodeJS ES6, or tensor flow and would enjoy a learning environment like ours, upskilling is for you.

Limited to 20 initially

To maintain the cozy community atmosphere we have always had we will initially limite participants to 20 per month. This ensures they have the maximum amount of attention and access to all SkilStak resources while also the best chance of developing close friendships.

Corporate Partnerships

More than one well-established corporation has directly contacted me asking to "bring us people." This is one way to help with that. The corporations need motivated adults and those adults often need help knowing what to learn and managing the connections with such corporations.

While SkilStak currently has no formal relationship with any corporation we intend to foster more connections with them to identify the specific skills they would like to hire immediately. [If you do represent such an organization we would be very interested in hearing from you.] Upskilling provides open opportunity for organizations to sponsor their own upskillers from their organizations in their way and pace that is significantly more approachable and valuable for most. For example, a member of an attorney's staff who would like to learn basic web development to provide improved visibility for the firm.

Many of these contacts are actually parents of SkilStak members. We have several Tech Directors, CTOs, Project Managers, IT Architects, and even some recruiters among them, some from companies and organizations you would immediately recognize.

Recruiter Contacts

It is not an exaggeration to say we are contacted bi-weekly from often random recruiters asking if we would like to consider a given position or know someone that could do the job. SkilStak members have been randomly solicited for job opportunities just based on content in their GitHub profiles as well. Until now we have had to usually respond, "I have these great candidates who are all still in High School." Hopefully, upskilling will be able to change that response soon. No one can ever guarantee any job for anyone, but we can certainly give your name to these recruiters. Every single technology professional should have a recruiter they trust in their contacts list who is actively researching new opportunities.

Do I Get a Free T-shirt?

Sure, upgrade to a hoodie for $30.

Let's Get Started

Join the mailing list and indicate your interest in upskilling. Then contact us directly at 704-310-6778 or learn@skilstak.com.

Already Signed Up?

If you have already registered for Winter semester and qualify for upskilling you have the option of switching and applying the money toward that.

What about Summer?

There is no upskilling planned for Summer (although there will likely be one in May even though there will be no other semester offerings that month).

What about Christmas?

Christmas break we make a special exception and for the two last weeks of December have $100 upskilling group with special invites to mature members under 18 as well as those returning for the holidays from college, etc.

Thanks and let us know if you have questions as we proceed to set this up further.


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