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How We Do It: From Zero Coding Skills to Master Junior Developer in 6 Months

Alpha
24/08/2020

Do you dream of being a developer?

You are in the right place and if we may add - the right time. As a pioneer in tech education in Bulgaria, we've been grooming top IT talent for the software industry for more than 10 years. We believe that investing in personal development and upskilling has always been important, but today it is paramount. It's the only way to stand out in the talent pool. It's also the way to seize new career opportunities.

Two boys and a girl in front of a computer learning to code at telerik academy

In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through the Telerik Academy Alpha program to tell you exactly how we can help you become a Master Junior Developer after 6 months of training. 

We will go through every step of the process:

  • Preparation for a Telerik Academy Alpha program

  • Your first weeks as a Telerik Academy student 

  • Soft Skills: All the more important 

  • Real-world projects and the role of our partners from the IT sector 

  • Final projects and presentations 

  • Graduation and our continuing support to landing your dream IT job

Before we start, if you want to learn more about Telerik Academy, hop to our About page and check our Alpha programs. Or maybe you want to learn about the success of our students? We have so many great stories to share with you.

Now it’s time to write your own. And it starts with:

Preparation for Telerik Academy Alpha

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” to quote Lao Tzu.

When we talk about Telerik Academy Alpha, this step is our free preparation course and online materials curated by our experienced trainers. That’s right - your journey from zero coding skills to Master Junior Developer begins even before you are accepted into the Telerik Academy Alpha program.

It starts with your choice - which programming language you want to learn? Currently, we have four Telerik Academy Alpha programs focused on the most popular technologies and professions in the world - JavaJavaScript, .NET/C#, and Quality Assurance engineer. When you decide on your path, just apply to the program of your choice.

We carefully consider each element from your application, so don’t neglect them. We created our Alpha programs to teach you more than just the basics - we prepare you for your first job in the IT sector, we train you how to think as a developer, how to learn as a developer, and how to work in a team. We do it through personalized training and mentorship because we keep the learning groups compact (40-45 students). Can you imagine a personalized approach if each group hosts hundreds of people? Neither can we.

Two girls in front of a computer learning to code at telerik academy

That’s why we aim to create cohesive groups by evaluating our candidates’ technical knowledge and motivation.

Now, you must prepare for the entrance exam. There are two options - you either have basic programming knowledge, or you are entirely new to this world.

If you are the latter, we recommend our free preparation course. For six weeks (3-4 hours weekly per session and at least another 5-6 hours per week self-preparation), you will learn the programming fundamentals under the teaching of our trainers. They will guide you every step of the way - from setting up your development environment and learning the basics to writing your first lines of code. You’ll have homework, work in groups, and will get ready for the entrance exam.

You can also use our curated online learning materials. They are well-structured and great for self-preparation. Also, we are sharing mock exams to test what you have learned and to check if you are ready for the entrance exam, or you still have some gaps in your knowledge.

We give you everything that you need to prepare for the entrance exam. The secret is to be invested and motivated. We have countless success stories of people who didn’t have any programming skills before joining the program and today are part of some of the most successful IT companies in Bulgaria.

“I left my job to pursue a career in the IT industry. I had no time to waste, and Telerik Academy is the fastest and most effective way to become a developer. My friends who have vast experience in programming strongly recommended Telerik Academy. When you know that you are entering an important battle, you take your biggest weapon with you. That’s why I chose Telerik Academy,“ Stanimir Kolev, a Telerik Academy Graduate.

The whole preparation process usually takes around 2 months. During this time, we organize Early Bird exams for the candidates who already have some experience.

Students in front of a computer learning to code at telerik academy

Alright, you are now ready for the entrance exam!

You pass it, and you can continue your journey. Just don’t forget - you must focus on your end goal, stay concentrated all the time, and keep learning every day. You now know the basics, but this is not enough to be a Master Junior Developer.

Time for step two.

Your First Weeks as a Telerik Academy Student

We like to say that the first 5 weeks at Telerik Academy Alpha are just like the first 7 years of your life - fundamental.

The first couple of weeks during your education are very different from the rest of the program.

During that time, we divide our students into “buddy groups“ of 5-7 learners. We nurture mutual help between students and teamwork which is highly valued from the business. The buddy groups help students to get to know each other, help you build relations even if this is a hard thing for you, routine, increase motivation, makes learning fun, and of course - help each other with the new challenges.

You start with a focus on individual tasks, but slowly you begin to work more and more together with your buddies on a variety of tasks such as projects and hackathons. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have any individual tasks. The program is intensive, and we don’t hide it, but as long as you keep solving your tasks, stay motivated, and keep learning, you’ll succeed.

But your training is a gradual process - don’t worry – the learning approach is according to the level of the group.

Lectures are held Monday - Friday, and each lecture continues for 4 hours. What else will you go through?

A lot of coding, of course.

Something interesting about our Alpha programs is that we use the flipped classroom model because it emphasizes our focus on hands-on experience and mentorship. We provide you with all the necessary information for your next lecture in advance to learn it independently. During your next class, you work on your homework and projects under the mentorship of the trainers. They answer all your questions and support you during the process.

Every next day builds upon the previous one.

Thus, comes the end of the first module (your first five weeks). You did a great job, and you have one week free of classes. During that time, you have a few different activities, such as group work, and our trainers are doing personal reviews. By constantly and closely evaluating your performance, they can spot if there are things you have to work on a little more. We are open and supportive in our communication.

Students in a classroom with laptops learning to code at telerik academy

During your first 5 weeks, your buddy group has an additional mentor who is a Telerik Academy alumnus. The mentor will guide and help you overcome challenges and tell you more about his/her experience in tech. And because your mentors are Telerik Academy graduates, they know what you are experiencing and how to support you.

This mentor program will return in your last weeks (module 4) when you work on your final assignment. This time your mentor will help you with advice on how to choose the right technology, what challenges they met during the final project, and how they managed to overcome them. Also, they will share with you their experience with the job hunting process – choosing the right company for you and preparing for the interview.

One more important thing - your first 8 weeks at the program (the first and most of the second module) are like a trial that you can terminate at any moment without any consequences if you decide to drop out. But you must know - this is a two-sided process.

During those first weeks, your trainers continuously track your performance. If they notice that you have challenges, they will talk to you, provide you with additional resources and support. If at the end of the eight weeks, they see that you don’t invest enough effort, and you are not motivated; you will have to leave the program. This happens very rarely and never to people with strong motivation and drive to learn.

As we said, we are dead serious that we will prepare you for your first IT job.

Soft Skills: All the More Important

20% of every Alpha program is dedicated to soft skills training because they are crucial to your future IT career.

Regardless of how good of a developer you become, if you are not able to work in a team and collaborate with your colleagues, you will have a difficult time at your workplace - to put it mildly.

Two Telerik Academy students discussing a task during classes

The business agrees with us: 92% of employers say that soft skills matter as much or more than technical skills, and 80% say soft skills are increasingly crucial to company success, according to Global Talent Trends 2019 report.

On every step, we encourage you to be proactive, to ask questions, seek feedback without being defensive. We built the Alpha programs with the idea of collaboration, and we never stop reminding it to you. The buddy groups are also important because they help you learn the power of teamwork and effective communication.

Furthermore, during the Soft Skill classes, our learning and development trainers help you polish skills like active learning, constructive feedback, mental toughness, personal effectiveness, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and agile thinking, among others. They prepare you for your work in the new environment. Yes, maybe you have previous work experience, but every industry has a different dynamic, and we want you to be ready for the IT sector.

A significant part of your soft skills training during the fourth module is focused on your preparation for the job hunting process, including creating your CV, portfolio, choosing the right company for you, and mock interviews.

Mock interviews, what are those?

Well, we are glad that you asked! Without spoiling the experience, this is a practice interview that we tend to keep as real as possible. The interview is conducted in front of the whole group, and when it is done, you receive useful feedback from your trainers.

The idea of the process is not to memorize pre-prepared answers. The idea is to get used to the process, receive valuable feedback so you can show the best of you during the real job interview.

Students in front of a computer learning to code at telerik academy

And your soft skills training doesn’t end up here. It continues with the Career Guidance program even after you graduate. Read more about it in our extensive blog post. 

Deep Dive: Real-world projects and partners

Welcome to the third module in your Alpha education!

From this point on, you begin your deep dive into programming. You start working on real-world projects. You will use everything that you’ve learned up until this moment and keep expanding your knowledge through those projects. This way, you will diversify your skills, you will develop your developer’s thinking - which technology to use for the specific projects, which are the most appropriate tools, and so on. Mastering this process is an essential step towards your development. Because your future employer could use different languages and technologies, and you’ll be able to utilize them quicker.

In the third module, you begin learning more complicated technologies. Everything is structured and optimized for you to develop your programming skills.

But it’s up to you to be serious about the process.

Then Telerik Academy’s partners join the program. Their involvement continues from this moment until the end of your education in different forms.

The first time you will meet some of the partners for your cohort is when they introduce themselves.

Usually, this happens through visits to their office. Now, because of the pandemic situation, this happens online. Nevertheless, companies are always eager to speak to you. They share their experience, and you have an excellent opportunity to ask their representatives anything you want - from information about their business to their hiring process and the qualities they seek in future candidates.

Students in front of a computer learning to code at telerik academy

It’s a valuable experience that you must take full advantage of. Especially if you like the company, for example, the CTO of a company can lead the presentation. You can ask questions and make a great first impression. If you apply for an open position there, maybe the CTO will already know you. It is a great opportunity, and you must use it to your benefit.

Your final project

Here we are - the last lap. You can almost see the finish line.

But just like in any fierce race, your success depends on your final push.

During the previous module, you have built a full functioning application - front and back-end. This happens step by step. The trainers give you a new assignment every week, and it builds upon the previous until you have a complete app.

For the fourth and last module in your Telerik Academy Alpha education, you build your final real-world project.

You will work on your project for the last 4-5 weeks of your training in a team of 2-3 people. During that time, you’ll benefit from continuous consultancy from your trainers and close guidance from your mentors.

In addition, you'll take part in a one-day event during which you'll talk with representatives of the business about your project, especially the technical part of it. Use this opportunity to showcase your skills and your great progress during the program!

Your final challenge is to present your project before our tech trainers with whom you’ll go through the entire process of building your application. We want to once again make sure you are equipped with all the skills needed to jumpstart your IT career. 

This is it. This is the finish line.

Telerik Academy graduates posing for a picture with t-shirts with telerik academy logo and name

Graduation and our continuing support

Congratulations, you finished your Telerik Academy Alpha education! You are a Master Junior Developer, and you are ready to start your first IT job.

Don’t worry. We’ve got your back! This is where the Career Guidance program kicks in. Read more about it in our extensive blog post.

Write your success story. Apply to Telerik Academy Alpha and join the IT industry.

Alpha
24/08/2020

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