Santa Monica Youth Tech Academy: Day 1 of Week 2

I know this is kind of jumping ahead because I didn’t document anything from the first week of the 5-week Santa Monica Youth Tech Program that I’m teaching this summer. But as part of today’s exercise, we had all the students type non-stop for 5 minutes. This was what I wrote up.

We had an awesome first day for the second week of the Santa Monica Youth Tech Program. Although I would have loved to continue covering customer development (which is what we did last week), due to the objectives of the course (to have them understand the different roles/functions of a startup), we have to move onto design this week.

For the first class, I spent the first half talking about design jobs in the tech startup world. I explained to them that design is increasingly becoming focused on the people using a product, aka UX. Looking at various job titles and median incomes it became clear to them that “graphic design” is only a small portion of the design world. Today, the best paid designers know UI/UX and even front-end development that makes them valuable.

For the second half of the class, we had Ben Fathi come in and talk about his experience as a designer, what he loves about it, and how he got into it. He then dove into a basic Photoshop tutorial and had each student do a web site mock up using layers, guides, clipping masks, and other functions he finds himself using. Because he’s been doing this for so long (and does a great job at it!), I knew the students would learn specifically the features of Photoshop that a designer actually uses (Photoshop has a lot of features and mastering all of them would take too long to fit into this course).

I’m very excited to have Chris Brereton from Picture Healing come in tomorrow and introduce them to Illustrator tomorrow. Considering these kids are building civic tech startups, I think it’ll be awesome for them to hear about his experience building a social enterprise focused on tech, the pivot he’s gone through, etc.

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