Chapter 4 — Chingu FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Photo: Jonathan Simcoe

This is Chapter 4 of the Chingu Handbook.

This will be my first time using slack, how should I prepare?

If this is your first time using slack, here is a little starter guide.

How can I join the Moonshots Lab?

The Chingu Moonshot projects are hard to define specifically. They usually start organically and then we create google doc signup sheets that explain the project, what success will look like, what tech stack is being used, etc. These will be posted in #chingu-news and people can sign up from there.

How does Chingu exist if it’s free?

For the first 6 months, it was funded by my savings, but unfortunately I am not a rich person. Now, it runs on a pay-it-forward donation system.

Last cohort session enough people donated to allow this cohort session to exist.

The people from this session gracious enough to donate will allow the next cohort session to exist, and so on. In that way, Chingu is much like Mozilla, the open-source software community famous for making Firefox, which survives off donations from people around the world to keep working towards its mission.

Is Chingu perfect?

Absolutely not. This is mainly run by one person, with the help of a lot of people along the way. Sometimes, things won’t work right, so I apologize in advance!

How long does a cohort last?

When you join the cohorts, you get access to Chingu Central and your cohort. The cohorts last 5 weeks each and then are re-organized (you can join again and again). Chingu-Central doesn’t change.

Is there a set schedule?

No, because each member’s schedule will be different based on what activities they choose to get involved in. That being said, build.to.learn projects start in the first week, pair programming and accountability will start in the second week, and Chingu-Central invites go out a few days in.

What should I do in the first few days?

Strangers aren’t known for helping other strangers. We’re more likely to help and build with people we know. So the first week your main focus should be on getting to know people. Writing your intro is extremely important, as it lets others know who you are.

Finding ways to comment or leaving emojiis on other people’s intros is another way to start to get to know people. Some really successful people in the past message people they have common interests with (ex. “Hey I saw that you love learning languages, me too! I’m learning Korean right now!”)

How should I write my intro?

When you enter into your cohort, you’ll be encouraged to write an intro. We’ve found the best way is to split your intro into 3 parts: My Backstory, Coding History, My Interests. Here is an example:

What is Chingu-Central?

Chingu-Central is where we do cross-cohort collaboration for projects, where the P1XT Study Guides Support Group is, and where you can connect to people from all the different cohorts. New members can get access to Chingu-Central 3-weeks into their first cohort.

What tools does Chingu use?

When you join the cohort ecosystem, you will get access to two places: your animal slack group and the Ching-Central slack group.

The animal slack group is your cohort. If you’re reading this, you will either be a Raccoon, Rhino or an Cheetah. The animal cohort is where you’ll be surrounded by a smaller number of people closer to your current skill-level. A strong cohort has the following: people build friendships, grow their network, showcase their work and ask for feedback, build.

Chingu-Central is the other slack we use. Think of it as the zoo of the cohorts. It has everyone from all the cohorts. It was created to allow people from different cohorts to collaborate together (we do a lot of larger style projects as well as the build.to.learns). It has evolved to house the P1XT Guides Support Group, the Moonshot project teams, and a channel for the whole cohorts to come together to discuss topics, help each other, or beta test finished team projects.

Github makes coding collaboration possible, and it’s also an industry standard for software developer jobs. We use it for all projects.

Medium Chingu Weekly (weekly updates). The weekly updates is the publication of the cohorts. It’s where we showcase member’s individual projects, launch team projects, share news, among other things. It comes out every Sunday/Monday depending on your timezone (sometimes changes based on how busy I am that week).

BONUS — Emojiis. Emojis help us to communicate in various ways, whether it is agreeing with someone’s message, celebrating another’s work, or just plain showing excitement. It makes us communicate more effectively. There’s nothing that party parrot can’t do!

What are the cohort channels all about?

Each cohort has an environment. This environment is a cross between a fitness centre, a comfy lounge, and a playground for aspiring and current developers. This is where we all congregate and where a lot of the friendships, fun and level-ups happen. This environment is broken up into specific channels. Each cohort is unique, but these are some common channels:

#general is a place to gather around a *not-real-but-there-in-spirit* fire and chat about whatever’s on your mind.

#daily-logs is where you update the cohort on whatever you worked on that day. This channel is where you celebrate your progress and cheer on your cohort-mates! This will help inspire the group, as well as allow people working on the same tutorial, projects, etc. to connect.

#resources-treasure is where you can share resources that might be helpful to your fellow coders.

#chingu-news is where I’ll post any news or useful information about the cohorts. Check here often for project or pair programming opportunities. Sometimes I can’t help myself and post motivational stuff.

#intros-my-story: This channel is one of the coolest aspects of Chingu. You add your intro and get to read about all your cohort-mates. Trust me, it’ll blow your mind how diverse your cohort is. See the FAQ chapter for tips on how to write your intro.

There will also be different pop-up channels and ones made by other members to join if they interest you. Remember, everything is in beta and these channels might evolve and change in some way.

I’m in my new Cohort, but what’s next? What should I do now?

You should review the above ways you can get involved, and pick some to get involved with. Beyond that, the number one thing you can do at any time is to get to know your cohort-mates. The people who get to know people in their cohorts get more opportunities.

What am I allowed to do in Slack? Can I create new channels? What channels should I create?

Absolutely. I have specifically set up the cohort slack so it can be customized. In the past, people have made channels for things like ‘soft-skills’, ‘ydkjs’, ‘language-exchange’, ‘react’, etc. Make sure that other people can benefit/ are interested as well. Our most popular channel, #daily-logs, was created by a member in the Wombats cohort and now we use it for every one.

How can I get into the P1XT Guides Study group?

When you get into Chingu-Central, you’ll be able to join.

What if I have a suggestion to improve the cohorts?

We are always changing and adding new ways to help each other level-up. Your ideas on how to improve the cohorts are valuable and can change how we do things.

All you need to ask when you want to try something new in the cohorts is “will this empower people and/or give them an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have?” If the answer is yes, I say go for it!

Yesterday, a member messaged me with an idea to make a live-coding Twitch account for the cohorts, which will allow members an interactive way to learn. I love it, and ideas like that are not only welcomed, they’re encouraged! :)

Can I join another cohort after this?

Yes, on the 3rd or 4th week of every cohort I’ll send out signups to join the next cohort session.

The cohorts are a “Choose-your-own-Adventure”. What does that mean?

It means you have complete control of what opportunities you want to take advantage of. You choose what opportunities are best for you based on your specific circumstance and goals. We’ve made it this way so people can adapt their goals/ time commitments to the cohorts. Flexibility is key. :)

A few cohort tips from P1XT: