Web developers and mentors of “Ш++” Nastya Pereverzeiva and Yuriy Degtyar have shared their thoughts about the following questions: “For whom is it easier to become a developer?”, “How soon can one get a job after finishing our courses?”. And also the have told us some interesting stories about our graduates.
Nastya teaches the basics of web development from 2014, Yuriy joined her in 2016.
N: I started teaching when I was learning myself. in 2014 I visited the first class, and in 2015 I became a mentor, then I was just finishing the course. Roman (co-founder of “Ш++”) asked me to cover for him. It was something like “You know this well, explain to others”. Gradually I started teaching my course at the school.
Why do you volunteer for “Ш++”? What is your motivation?
N: It helps me continue improving myself, it is easier to investigate various topics when you teach others. It is such a pleasure when your students become developers. Sometimes it is overwhelming and exhausting, but it`s worth it. Now it has become my habit and routine.
We improvise a lot. We figure out a new task ― we add it to the course, if we think that something should be removed, we remove it.
Y: Artem (Nastya’s partner mentor), was leaving to Lviv and Nastya asked for help. I was a lower-intermediate developer back then and wasn’t worthy to teach (laughing).
We try to give something new. And our home tasks are as open as it is possible. For some of them, we tell to use a specific technology, but most of the time it is not important. Moreover, this is all basics, they don’t get old.
Do you see the difference between students with humanitarian education and technical?
N: We have students from different universities. Those who study pedagogical sciences have their… thing, they like writing a lot of text, arguing, philosophizing, so sometimes we have to redirect their creativity. Speaking of critical thinking, they are all good.
Y: There are many fascinating examples among our students. For instance, a history teacher. Yes, it was hard for him, but anyone who can calculate the discriminant can become a developer (laughing). Just kidding, of course, I think it is harder for humanitarians. I also think that girls have some difficulties, due to social pressure. Not everyone is used to girls wanting to think and study. Besides the barriers that society builds, they have to cope with their own, like “I am a humanitarian”. Everything is real with us. If you believe that you will become a good developer, then you will.
Often we are asked, how much time do you need to apply for a job. Nastya and Yuriy think that half a year at their course is enough for it. It was just the case for Nastya, and Yuriy needed a bit more time, just because he was studying during the New Year holidays and our school relocation (in 2015 the school moved to a big building on the waterfront and it is still located there now. From that moment studying here is free).
Y: 8 months later I started looking for some amateur work, most of the time creating markup for a web-site. It wasn’t really programming. When I started studying in “Ш++”, I told my workmates about it, and that I would leave 1 year later. And so, 1 year had passed, and I left. I thought that I would eat Mivina (Ukrainian ramen), starve, but still code. So when I left my work, I thought that I would have a month or at least 2 weeks to have a rest, but in just 2 days I was invited to a new job.
N: Actually, you can start working even without finishing the course. It is even better if you work and study at the same time.
Y: It depends on a person, yes you can find a job not having our course finished, but the closer you get to the finish, the easier it is to get a job.
N: There were cases when people didn’t even finish Computer Science and applied for a job. Some others finished a mentor course, then another one, and another one. Some people just learn too much but think that they don’t know enough, so it’s really individual.
Y: There were a few people who passed 2-3 tasks and started working, there are also those who are studying for over a year.
What can make studying easier? Maybe some books, blogs, websites.
N: Learn English.
Y: Communication. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to people and mentors. In my case, asking questions helped me a lot. In my group, I was one of those who asked questions, and only 2 people finished the course.
As for the books, I wouldn’t recommend starting with books. You might spend too much time reading a book, and it won’t be as efficient as practicing with live coding. In my time I entered Play Market and downloaded everything related to programming, a bunch of applications that contain theory as well. I was reading those articles and applications in public transport. So my suggestion is to surround yourself with accessible information, not necessarily in English, there are a lot of Russian and Ukrainian editions as well. You need to get as much fresh information as possible. Subscribe on habr, medium and so on, consider all programming public pages on social media.
N: As much as I love fiction literature, but books in programming, maybe just for the very basics. Historical facts for the overall development. For instance, new technology has been released, it takes a long time to test it out, release a stable version, create documentation, translate and publish it. I don’t think this approach is effective. I can’t even recommend a site I think, it doesn’t make any sense. If an article helped me 20 years ago, there are so many new articles now, that are much better and more fulfilling.
What student stories are most remarkable for you?
Y: Konstantin Petkov (a developer who had been working as a bus driver for over 10 years ― https://programming.kr.ua/en/news#n45) he was a driver and became a developer. There was a student who had been studying on our course for a year, and then Nastya told him, “It’s 8th of March in 2 weeks. Could you make me a gift and find a job?”. He finished the course in a flash and applied for a job.
There are stories where students studied well, but they didn’t become developers, they chose different ways. Most of our stories are about people who want to change their lives, but here is a man who never wanted to change a thing. He has his own business, but he is bored. He did home tasks faster than others, finished both of our courses, completed some tasks on his own. It seems that he didn’t need it that much, but he came and asked a lot of questions when he needed it. He still comes sometimes, though he has graduated already.
Someone of graduates come to see us, some moved to other cities and invite us to see them. Some of them became volunteers and donators of “Ш++” and support the school financially, someone became our mentors but for kids.