Prework - Level 1 - 5-8 Hours

IMPORTANT: If you are looking for the June 2016 prework, it has been moved here!

Operating System Updates - A Few Hourse

To make sure that everyone is on the same page, we will be using OSX El Capitan 10.10.3 or greater.

Before coming to class (and if possible before starting other prework), please update your computer to the latest version of OSX El Capitan. This will make things much easier and will allow me to best replicate and figure out any issues that may come up in class.

WARNING: Upgrades on OSX are usually pretty good about not losing data, but just like any time you are modifying the operating system. I recommend that you backup your computer and documents using Time Machine and Dropbox.

The Update Process

  1. You'll need to sign in to the Mac App Store with you Apple ID. If you don't have one, sign up here.
  2. Download the El Capitan upgrade from the Apple Store: download here.
  3. Double-click "Install OS X El Capitan” to begin installation.

WARNING: The OS X upgrade can take a bit of time to complete and will require a restart. Plan on doing this in the evening or over a lunch break. If you have another computer available, all of the below assignments (except the terminal assignment) can be completed with any computer that has internet access and a web browser!

WARNING: Do not install any new programs focused on coding or recommended in some of this prework. We will install this during our install party since the order and versions that we install are very important.

Typing - ALL THE TIME!!!

Typing is incredibly vital to this course. You will be spending 8-12 hours a day on your computer coding, researching, and using the web. Now is the time to learn to type correctly if you don't already know how!

Practice up on, this will ramp up the difficulty and make you more comfortable typing properly.

Your hands should rest on what is called the "Home Row" so that your index (pointer) fingers land on the little dots on the F and J keys while your thumbs both sit on the edges of the space bar. Focus on proper technique first and work through a few of the exercises working on the keys E, A, I, and N.

Start by working on for about 30mins and then continue to the next sections of the prework. You will want to start working a bit (10-15mins a day or so) on every day you can during the prework period. Also, when working on other assignments and daily computer use, use these typing techniques so that it becomes a habit!

Git - 1 Hour

When working on projects over a log period of time and a bunch of changes, it is super helpful to be able to record and track changes along the way. Git is a tool that allows us to track these changes (think of it like MS Word revisions for your whole project). We will also be using git for our working in teams, trying new features, and it will be used to turn in and all of your assignments through the course.

To get started with git, follow the Try Git course on Github.

Don't worry too much about installing git since that is a later step in this prework.

Github - <1 Hour

Github is a hosting and collaboration tool for working with git repositories. You will need to be very comfortable with Github since all of our assignments will be assigned and delivered through this service. And, most companies use Github or a similar service to host their code for collaboration, deployment, and backup.

As we finish the course your Github profile and projects will be extremely useful when looking for a job and will serve as a large part of your portfolio.

For this Level:

  • Sign up for a GitHub account at
  • Set up your profile with First and Last name as well as a profile picture of you (not an avatar please): this will help me learn your names faster
  • Email me with the username you choose so that I can add you to the class organization

Command Line - 1 Hour

Through this course, we will be using the command line a lot! To get started learning about the command line and some of the basic commands read this article:

NOTE Don't install iTerm2 just yet, this will be included later in the prework and the built in Terminal for Mac will work just fine for learning things to get started.

HTML & CSS - 1 Hour

HTML and CSS are the foundation for getting started with Front End Engineering. Learning them is vital to working on the web as almost EVERYTHING that the user sees and interacts with in a browser boils down to HTML and CSS. Get started on your journey by completing these lessons from CodeCademy:

Javascript - 1-2 Hours

While HTML & CSS describe what the user sees, Javascript is the logic behind how your web applications change, pull in data, and interact back to the user. As a foundation, you'll need to know basic Javascript so to get started, watch the video (click the "Learn More" button) and complete the "Ready to try JavaScript?" on

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