Those who have not tried to learn by themselves from scratch, may wonder – why do we need any courses, because there is a lot of information on the web – just take it and learn. In fact, the sea of information is not always good, because to choose from this sea of information is not always easy. The course will tell you what to study, how to study and at what pace; it will help you to distinguish good and worthy sources of information from low-quality and outdated ones; it will offer a lot of practical tasks; it will allow you to become part of a community of enthusiastic and interested people who do the same things as you do.
Throughout the course, we were constantly doing assignments: taking tests, solving problems, creating our own projects. All this was evaluated and went into a common table where you could compare your result with the results of other students. The atmosphere of competition is good, fun and interesting. But scores, while important for getting to the next stage, were not an end in themselves. The course organizers welcomed support and mutual assistance – in the chat room students discussed questions that arose during the solution of tasks and tried to find answers together. In addition, we studied with the help of mentors, which, for a free course, is unique.
The first stage lasted a little over a month. It is the most massive stage. In my enrollment, 1, 860 people started it – that is, everyone who signed up for the course. The course is taken by people of different ages, but most of the students are senior students and those who, after working for several years in another field, have decided to change careers.
The most voluminous task of the first phase was the Hexalwebsite makeup.
The most interesting – the game Code Jam on the knowledge of css-selectors "CSS Quick Draw".
Example of a first step assignment : Hexal
Based on the results of the first phase assignments, 833 students received invitations to interviews. The student’s passage to the second stage during the interview was determined by his or her future mentor. The Rolling Scopes School mentors are active developers from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Mentors help and give advice, check tasks, and answer questions. There were more than 150 mentors in our set. Depending on availability of free time, mentor can take from two to five students, but two more students are sent to the interview, so that during the interview he could choose with whom he will study.
The distribution of students and mentors was one of the most interesting and exciting moments of the course. The organizers introduced a small playful element to it – data about the mentors was kept by the distribution hat, when you click on it you can see the name and contacts of your future mentor.
When I found out my mentor’s name and looked at his profile on LinkedIn, I knew I really wanted to go to him. He is an experienced developer, senor, and has been working overseas for several years. That kind of mentor is really a great success. But I also had the impression that his requirements were going to be very high. Later it turned out that I was wrong about the overly high requirements, but at the time I thought that was it.
The questions of the upcoming interview were known, so it was possible to prepare for it in advance.
The PLO learned from the video. [J]u[S]t prototype this! Its author, Sergei Melyukov, tells an exceptionally accessible and understandable story.
The data structures and O-big notation are perfectly disclosed in the article A cheat sheet for a technical interview
It’s easy to prepare for an interview with two people at skype.com/interviews/ – ask each other questions, come up with tasks. It’s quite an effective way to prepare: when you speak in different roles, you understand better who is on the other side of the screen.
What in my mind would a job interview look like? Probably an exam with an examiner and an examinee. In fact, it certainly wasn’t an exam. Rather, it was a conversation between two enthusiastic people who are engaged in the same thing. Interview was very calm, comfortable, friendly, the questions were not very difficult, the task was quite simple, and the mentor did not mind solving it in the console and even allowed to look into Google ("at work no one forbids using Google").
As far as I understand, the main purpose of the interview was not to test our knowledge and problem-solving skills, but to give the mentor an opportunity to get to know his students and show them what an interview in general looks like. And the fact that there were only good impressions of the interview was the result of his conscious effort, his desire to show that there was really nothing intimidating about the interview, and it was a pleasure to go through it. Another question is why it was easy enough for someone with a technical background to do this, and very rarely for teachers. After all, everyone remembers with what excitement went to the exam, even if you knew the material perfectly. And now that we are talking about formal pedagogy, I will share another observation. The course was attended, among others, by senior IT students. And they claimed that the training format, which offers Rolling Scopes School, is much more useful, interesting and effective than the usual university program.
I passed the interview. Subsequently, the mentor assigned a day of the week and a time when it was convenient for him to talk to me. I prepared questions for that day and he answered them. I did not have a lot of questions about the projects in progress – most of the answers I found on Google or in the school’s chat. But he talked about his work, about possible problems and solutions, shared his observations and remarks. Overall, these conversations were extremely useful and interesting. In addition, the mentor – this is practically the only person who is interested in what you do and how you do it, the person who looks at your work, tells you what’s wrong with it, and how to improve it. Having mentors is really a huge advantage of the school, the role of which is hard to overestimate.
Next we made NeutronMail layout, did Code Jam "DOM, DOM Events", created YouTube search engine.
Other tasks of the second stage : Task: Codewars – solving problems on the website with the same name, Code Jam "WebSocket Challenge. – Sending and receiving messages using web sockets, Code Jam "Animation Player" – creating a small web application.
Quite unusual and interesting task of the second stage was the task "Presentation". Its main peculiarity was that the presentation had to be prepared and presented in English. Here you can see how the in-person phase of the presentations went.
And undoubtedly the most challenging and voluminous was the final task of the second phase, in which we were asked to create our own copy of the Piskel web application (www.piskelapp.com).
This task took about a month to complete. For the sake of objectivity, the final task was checked by another, randomly selected mentor. And the interview after the second stage was also conducted by a random mentor, because we were already used to ours and he was used to us, and in real interviews, we usually meet strangers to each other.
The second interview was much more difficult than the first. As before, there was a list of interview questions that I had prepared for, but the mentor decided that just asking the theory would not be quite right, and prepared a set of problems for the interview. The tasks, in my opinion, were quite difficult. For example he sincerely didn’t understand what prevents me from writing bind polyfill, and I also sincerely thought that the fact that I know what is bind and what is polyfill, it is already a lot. That was a problem I hadn’t solved. But there were others, which I solved. Except that the problems were not easy, and as soon as I found a solution, the tutor changed the problem, and I had to solve it again.
This said, I note that the interview atmosphere was very friendly, the problems were interesting, the mentor spent a lot of time to prepare them, and sought to make the training interview in the future to help pass the real interview for a job.
Example of a second stage assignment : PiskelClone
In the third stage, we were offered a Culture Portaltask. We did it as a group, and for the first time we learned about teamwork, distribution of responsibilities, and conflict resolution when merging branches in Git. It was probably one of the most interesting assignments of the course.
Example of a third stage assignment : Culture Portal
After the third phase, the students who applied for jobs at EPAM and made the top 120 list were interviewed by phone for English, and are now being technically interviewed. Most of them will be invited to the EPAM JS Lab and then to real-world projects. Each year more than a hundred Rolling Scopes School graduates get jobs at EPAM. It’s a pretty small percentage compared to those who started the course, but if you look at those who made it to the finals, for them the chance of getting a job is pretty great.
Of the difficulties you need to be prepared for, I will name two. The first is time. You need quite a lot of it. Guideline for 30-40 hours a week, it is possible more, if less – it is unlikely that you will have time to do all the tasks, because the course program is very intense. The second one is A2 level English. If it is lower, it will not prevent you from studying on the course, but it will be quite difficult to find a job with such level of language.
If you have any questions, ask, I will try to answer. If you know other similar free Russian-language online courses – share, it will be interesting.
Good things are never cheap.But it can be free.