Non-application to the School of Webcraft Product Manager position

Background

Flashback

I remember my very good friend Patrick telling be slightly less than a year ago that my “open web educators in schools” project (5min video) was far too ambitious for me to work on at the time. Because I was too young, not enough experienced. I remember thinking he was wrong. I remember him telling me that he wasn’t the only one thinking that. I remember not being more convinced.

However, I remember that even feeling ready, the idea of getting the grant was giving me vertigo. Like climbing some mountain. Still, head up, like facing the snow in front of me, I thought it was possible. And being one of the few project leads who had an interview made me realize that I wasn’t the only one.

Afterward

I feel like not much has changed in my life since the discussion with Patrick. Maybe I’m wrong.

First doc sprint

For the first time, I have met Mozilla employees and Mozilla contributors IRL. It was a very good and productive.

Learning freedom and the web

There I was in Barcelona. The awesome company I was doing an internship at at the time left me a week off to go to Barcelona. I will never be thankful enough to them. I will never be thankful enough to Mozilla for organizing this event. I have met so many great people related to the web and/or education. So many ideas, so much inspiration.

Time passing

And I’ve read and written. Gotten involved on es-discuss on [Harmony proxies]-related issues. I’ve participated to other doc sprints. I’ve started an Etherpad on open web technologies documentation (I’m in purple, Janet Switcher in green)

Professional opportunities

I’ve started a PhD in March. Soon after, someone asked me if I’d be interested in training his employees at JavaScript. In substance, he said “I could ask a regular training company. I’d pay, they’d come, do their stuff and leave. But I have the impression that it’d be different with you, because you seem to have a passion for that.”. I think so too.

No latter than last week, TechCrunchFR wrote an article on node.js which I commented (all in French, sorry if you can’t read it). People enjoyed my comment. I’ve got a couple of new followers on Twitter. I’ve even been contacted on LinkedIn. In a way, I find that very ironic, since I have never installed nor used node; I’ve only watched one billion one-hour long videos of Ryan Dahl talking about it🙂. Got some expertise out of these hours apparently😀

Soon teaching the web

Through my PhD, I have the opportunity to teach. I’ve been approached by a colleague who is in charge of the web classes at the engineering school I graduated from. We spent one afternoon re-starting from scratch the goals of this beginner class. Thrilling experience!

Job offer surgery

So, all I’m talking about now is a non-application to this position. A couple of points have particularly retained my attention.

  • Promote industry acceptance and recognition for the School of Webcraft.
    Understands the industry perspective. Comfortable communicating with employers.

    Since the very first second I have heard about badges, I understood they were a good alternative to the current grading/diploma system. Most reluctant are probably companies who are used to diploma systems. In France, big companies decide of your first salary based on your diploma. No way to negotiate. How ridiculous is that?
    If anything before I die (at least related to education :-p), I wish to see the world in its entirety (not only the industry) acknowledging that a diploma isn’t a proof of competence. I wish to see a globalized way of “certifying” skill.
    One of my landlord (in France) was Romanian. In Romania, he was a math teacher. Arriving in France, people told him his diploma was worth nothing here. Once, I talked with him about the difference between WEP and WPA encryption (we were sharing the wifi connection), he already knew what I was talking about; he already knew cryptography, of course! With a global acknowledged system, he probably could have been a teacher in France too.

    I have a particular interest in entrepreneurship and small companies. This would be the place to start.

  • Link with internal Mozilla partners (like the Mozilla Developer Network) to drive content development.
    I’m already often in touch with Janet and Sheppy, aren’t I? See you in earlier June for the next doc sprint!
    I’m pretty used to the MDN wiki (and following what is going on with the upcoming new platform). I even work on some content (still very drafty from my point of view) in order to explain things that people usually confuse.
  • Link with other organizations and initiatives working on web developer training and curricula (like OWEA, Opera, WaSP).
    And Khan Academy that John Resig is joining soon? and Omniversity? And to a lesser extent with HASTAC? For sure!
  • Drive regional expansion into new communities. Spread School of Webcraft to new locales and languages.
    Have I mentioned that I have an English <-> French translator built-in in my brain? Can be handy in some situations. Looking forward to learn a new language online to increase that.
  • Has a web development background. Speaks web developers’ language.
    According to the surprising success of my comment on TechCrunchFr, well, I think I can pretend to have this one.
  • Passionate about open source. Understands and loves the open web.
    Right now, I’m on Ubuntu, Firefox has a tab open on my WordPress blog post, Thunderbird pops up sometimes to tell me I have new e-mails while VLC is playing music. I care enough for the open web that I read the WHATWG mailing-list (not everything, of course) and participate on es-discuss (discussing the next version of JavaScript). I write on open web technologies when I have time. And since the first doc sprint, I have decided I wouldn’t write on my blog but rather on MDN in order to touch more people (cause very few people know my blog).
  • Has some experience with learning and educational innovation.
    This is an interesting requirement, but not strong enough. In my opinion, any applicant should have an experience with online learning. Like actually having learned something online or in a P2PU-like/open source environment. Experiencing it by doing it. I don’t consider I have done that yet.
  • Wake up every morning focused on making the School of Webcraft awesome.
    I’m not really a morning person. I’m more of the kind of thinking about it intensively before going to sleep, with the risk of making me having sleepless (yet productive) nights. I’d do naps to compensate the lack of sleep, do not worry!

Why not actually applying to the position?

Excellent question, thanks for asking. First off, I’ve recently signed a PhD contract. Hopefully, my thesis will be awesome and help the web community to have better web frameworks and better understand the web from the technical point of view. Then, as said earlier, I have an opportunity to teach in a “classical” environment. It’s not enough to criticize the current education system. I want to understand why by experiencing it. I have a unique opportunity to do so now. And by teaching web technologies.

To whoever gets the position

Please get in touch with me! I’d love to meet you!

One thought on “Non-application to the School of Webcraft Product Manager position

  1. Hmmm. I also started a PhD and then decided to rather focus on P2PU, building the things I was going to “just” think about for my researcy. Happy to talk in more detail by email. — Philipp

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