This month I am studying “Creating dada posters”
This is a listing of the subjects I've studied either in college/university, Open University, random classes at various businesses and also online classes through websites such as Lynda.com, Udacity and the Gnomon graphics school.
Sometimes there is a reason to the subject I am studying, e.g. marketing or project management, and other times I just take a class in because the subject intrigues me.
Thanks to the wonders of the modern web, MOOCs and other online course ware I am able to indulge myself as much as I choose too. I prefer self-paced classes where the subject matter, tests and course work is not gated in any particular way.
I also tend to self-paced study because I am not too smart and get frustrated when the rest of the students in the class have raced ahead of me and done their assignments and I am still struggling to understand a fundamental concept or cannot do all the required reading in a timely manner. It is not fair to other people that I slow the class down or hold them back.
Over the years, since I first started to actively track and understand what I was doing, I've taken close to 400 different classes, and taken a stab at a few degrees and diplomas along the way. Some I've passed. Some I've failed.
The thing is, no matter how much I study I'm never going to be smart and I'm never going to be as educated or as literate as everyone else.
I'm always going to be below average in intelligence and education and I'm always going to be slower than everyone else in class.
It doesn't make me stop trying though.
This month I am studying “Digital inking in Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Social Media Marketing: Marketing with a social media presence”
Two full Saturdays. Starts at 8AM. Ugh. Not gonna enjoy waking up.
This month I am studying “Marketing with long-form sales letters”
I’ve always been fascinated by long-form sales letters. They are hugely powerful, but can also be formulaic.
Beyond breaking down the formula and understanding it, I want to understand the trigger points that move people towards buying something due to a long-form sales letter.
P.S. I’ve used long-form sales letters in the past for my own products and know how effective they can be.
Update: Logged 24 hours of study and practice of this on-line class.
This month I am studying “Growing a business with content marketing”
I’ve always loved content marketing and think it is an incredibly powerful technique for building up authority.
This is an in-person three day class.
Update: Logged 29 hours of class time and extra exercises.
This month I am studying “Advanced content marketing”
I want to boost my personal marketing outreach so I am setting a goal of at least three months focus on acquiring more marketing skills.
My first class will be in content marketing run by a friend in Santa Barbara. I build him a sales website, he gives me access to his six month online content marketing course ware for free.
Update: That was a lot of fun. Lots of good video, and got some great feedback on my submitted work. I can immediately start applying that new content marketing knowledge going forward with my own marketing efforts.
Logged 25 hours of class time (video tutorials and interactive Skype sessions) and extra exercises.
This month I am studying “Building cross-platform games”
Have been building cross-platform games for both console, desktop and mobile for decades. Not expecting to learn much on this course, but it will be nice to relax and just follow along and do the class work and class projects with everyone else.
Update: The three day in-person class (six hours per day even though the class starts at 9AM and ends at 5PM you cannot really count lunch and the coffee breaks) I got 19 hours of class time and one-on-one time with the instructor.
This month I am studying “Creating custom themes for Drupal”
Time to apply all that Drupal knowledge and build some custom Drupal themes that I can sell.
Update: 26 hours total study and exercises.
This month I am studying “Lullabot – Learning Drupal”
Drupal I already know. Figured I should get deeply familiar with it though. Thinking it will take me two months to do a bunch of exercises.
Update: I mostly got the videos wrapped up in under a week. I’m now going back over the videos again, and doing a bunch of specific exercises.
This month I am studying “Git essential training”
Of course I’ve used version control systems since the early 1980’s.
First methods were more process — swapping C-15 tapes and later 100KB 5 1/4″ floppy discs — and then more sophisticated methods such as RKS and CVS and on to SVN and Visual SourceSafe.
DVCS (Distributed Version Control) has been around a while, and I am very familiar with Mercurial, but have only a smattering of experience with Git — used it, but don’t really know some of the more esoteric commands.
This Git class should be a good way to acquaint myself with the arcane side of the utility.
This month I am studying “Building data driven iOS apps”
This month I am studying “Changing a portrait studio background in Photoshop”
I am thinking it will take me about two weeks, but if I allow myself a month I can do some extra free experimentation exercises.
Update: Managed to work on over a dozen different portrait studio images in my spare time. I had to go back and review some of the techniques because I wasn’t quite achieving the look I wanted.
This month I am studying “Recolorizing photographs with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Autodesk Maya scripting with MEL”
This month I am studying “Autodesk Maya”
Refresher course in the latest version of Maya
This month I am studying “Personal branding basics”
This month I am studying “Marketing for social brands”
This month I am studying “Fixing a portrait’s distracting background with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Drawing on the right side of the brain”
I’ve tried sitting down and working through the book and the video twice and just never finished it.
There’s a month long class at the local community centre I am going to take and this time, I will finish it.
This month I am studying “Photo restoration with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Advanced Photoshop techniques”
This month I am studying “Creating art nouveau posters”
This month I am studying how to create posters in the Art Noeveau style in a class called, oddly enough, “Creating art nouveau posters.”
Every time I think of art nouveau I think “art deco.”
The two aren’t exactly related and are world’s apart in their aesthetic.
Art nouveau’s period is late 19th century, circa 1880, and was in response to the industrial revolution and the societal upheaval that was wrought by that.
Art deco was early 20th century, circa 1920, and was in response (partially) to the depression of the World War I era.
Art nouveau is the flowery one.
Art deco is the streamlined one.
But it is still fixed in my head that when I hear “art nouveau” my brain flits to the “art deco” lamps in our bedroom.
Either way, it will be interesting to study the drawing style and create some overly decorated posters in the appropriate style.
This month I am studying “Foundations of drawing light and shadow”
This month I am studying “Creating icons with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Type effects in Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Imitating oils in digital media”
This month I am studying “Scrum certification” (all of them).
Going to be studying the various Scrum certificates, that includes: Scrum Master, Scrum Product Owner, Scrum Developer, Scrum Professional, Tean Coach, Enterprise Coach, Scrum Trainer.
Certifications are 99% bullshit and the Scrum Alliance certifications are no different.
Don’t intend to get the certification and paying the yearly extortion fee for something so valueless, but gathering the knowledge is certainly worth it.
Update: Went through all the reading material, did all the exercises, took all the practice tests.
Conclusion: It’s bullshit. I did every single piece of coursework in under a month. How is this nonsense considered worthwhile?!?
This month I am studying “Advanced SEO and content marketing”
This month I am studying “Email marketing basics”
This month I am studying “SEO fundamentals”
This is a two day, in-person workshop.
Search engine optimization is already huge and it’s only going to get bigger.
Update: There’s a lot of myth, voodoo, bullshit and snake oil around SEO.
Today I studied “Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Dynamic Development.”
It is a six hour, self-paced video training course that covers how to make use of Dreamweaver in a dynamic website.
Coupled with watching the videos and working through the exercises it took me a little over 11 hours of studying and programming split over two days.
Topics I Studied
Setting up a dynamic website project in Dreamweaver CS4 using ASP and ASP.NET
Differences between static and dynamic web pages
Selecting an application server and a database server to meet my project’s needs
A brief introduction to the WAMP stack
An overview of PHP, server-side includes and connecting to databases.
Building a website with ColdFusion and MySQL
Working with PHP and ColdFusion and server bindings
How to build validated data entry forms
Authenticating users and protecting pages from unauthorised access
Demonstrate how to build a dynamic website on a Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP or Windows, Apache, MySQL, ASP/ASP.NET stack
Create secure websites requiring users to authenticate before the web pages can be accessed
Create forms that automatically validate on both client-side and server-side
Demonstrate an understanding of the SPRY XML framework
Creating dynamic user interfaces with the Spry framework
This month I am studying “Social media marketing”
The general how-to’s and wherefore’s of social media marketing. I believe this kind of micro-marketing and customer outreach will dominate in the future.
This month I am studying “Writing marketing copy”
Several pieces of coursework and a talkie video of some length
“Six month course” of writing marketing copy. Expecting it will take me about three months to work through all the writing exercises.
Update: And done, with four days of the month left over. Just handed in my final piece of course work. Six months? Really? What was the guy expecting? That I’d only work on it an hour a week?
This month I am studying “Guerrilla marketing for entrepreneurs”
It’s a week long workshop. As I closed my own start-up down less than two months ago and I am still licking my wounds from that, I figure it couldn’t hurt to take an entire week to focus on some marketing , help develop my skill set, and get back on that horse.
This month I am studying “Writing a marketing plan”
Which I familiar with how to do, because I’ve done dozens of them over the years.
But it never hurts to take a refresher course and brush up on skills that are so important in business.
Update: Was actually quite interesting. Did a bunch of case studies and got to critique each others’ plans.
This month I am studying “Fundamentals of marketing”
I think I already know quite a bit about marketing but it never hurts to know more. This is a “three-month” online class.
Update: And done in two weeks. In other news, I hate people who try to gate and pace their pre-recorded online content “just because.”
Logged 75 hours work, study and general arsing around working through the material. This is what happens when the only thing to have you occupy your brain and your time is that fact that you just closed the doors on your video game studio.
This month I am studying “Screencasting fundamentals”
This month I am studying “Beyond the PMP”
4 day workshop spread over one month
This month I am studying “Preparing yourself for the PMP”
This is a two day on-site workshop.
There is this “thing” called the Project Management Professional Certification.
Like most “professional” certificates I am not convinced the PMP is worth the paper it is written on.
If you suck at project management then you suck at project management.
Just because you have a certificate indicating you answered a bunch of multi-choice questions correctly doesn’t mean jack shit when it comes to actually interacting and interfacing with people.
However, that said, I should probably know what the PMP is all about when someone waves their credentials under my nose.
Update: Yeah, it’s bullshit. But it is actually bullshit worth knowing.
This month I am studying “Lean Project Management”
Two day instructor lead class where we go through what a “lean” project is how to “manage” said “lean” project. Yeah, I am going in to this one with the attitude of “show me.”
Update: Lean, agile, kanban, waterfall, whatever. The dance steps are the same, it’s just a different band playing the same tune.
This month I am studying “Photoshop for photographers – portrait retouching”
Just a one day workshop, though I’ve also found a video course of about 20 hours.
This month I am studying “Painting vivid illustrations with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Colour correction with Photoshop”
I’ve got a lot of technical Adobe Photoshop experience so I am not anticipating any issues with understanding how to use Photoshop to achieve the results I want.
My issues with Photoshop are always ones of aesthetics. Unless I am copying another artist’s style I am lousy at coming up with appropriate colour schemes, styles and designs that are uniquely mine. Ask me to duplicate another artist and I can do it easily. Ask me to create an original piece of art and I suck.
The class is just 7 hours long, and has only separate three exercises so I am anticipating getting done inside of a week. Actually I am anticipating getting done inside of two or three days, leaving me plenty of time to do some free experimentation in colour correction on other images.
This month I am studying “Drawing and painting in Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Digital painting with Photoshop”
This month I am studying “Painting digital portraits from photographs”
This month I am studying “Advanced typographic techniques”
This month I am studying “Foundations of colour”
This month I am studying “Documentary editing”
This month I am studying “Multiple camera video editing”