Codecool and SDA merge to become a European digital skilling and sourcing powerhouse

We’re thrilled about our next chapter: we’re officially starting a new journey together with Software Development Academy (SDA) to create Central Europe’s biggest digital skilling and sourcing powerhouse. This is a huge step for both companies that will radically transform our ability to help people looking to step into the tech world.

Codecool + SDA = Central Europe’s biggest digital skilling powerhouse

By joining forces, we’ll be a big, trusted provider who can deliver a far higher number of quality candidates to our corporate partners: 15.000-20.000 individuals in a year. We’ll open up a broader portfolio of digital skilling, upskilling, and reskilling programs that our students and partners can take advantage of.

What you need to know about the two companies

We’re two leading Central-European EduTech companies who have already come a long way during the last 7 years. We share a similar vision but until now we’ve each approached it from slightly different angles.

Codecool (started in Hungary) is present in 4 countries: Poland, Austria, Hungary,  and Romania. It has more than 2000 graduates and 300+ corporate partners. The company’s main course is the Full-Stack Developer training that comes with a Job Guarantee.

SDA (started in Poland) is present in 6 countries: Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Albania. It has more than 15.000 graduates and 100+ corporate partners. The company offers a variety of shorter IT courses that prepare candidates to enter the tech industry.

Codecool provides longer courses with a job guarantee and places graduates to corporate partners in the region, while SDA offers a wide variety of shorter courses. However, both companies provide high-quality training and teach digital competencies, programming, and IT skills. Different approaches but ultimately, the shared goal of changing people’s lives through digital skilling.

In addition, both companies offer customized reskilling and upskilling projects to their corporate partners. They have also undertaken robust governmental reskilling projects: 10.000 ICT specialists in Albania by SDA and 600 engineers in Hungary by Codecool.

Put those two approaches together and what you get is the perfect product portfolio that serves all market segments.

What benefits does the merger bring to our corporate partners?

As a digital skilling powerhouse, we’ll now be present in 8 countries: Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Romania, and Albania.  We’ll have a network of more than 1600 mentors and provide 17 reskilling pathways.

 

“There is a global battle for digital talent, especially coders and programmers, so our main aim remains to provide high-quality digital skilling for employees and employers – but on a much larger scale,” said Michał Mysiak, CEO of SDA, who will lead the merged company as the CEO. “We believe that the combination of Codecool and SDA – with distinct regional and category strengths – will boost the skills level of Central Europeans who are hungry to learn and will be pivotal in the digital transformation of Europe and beyond.” 

Since we’ll have the biggest product development capacity in the region, we’ll be able to produce new courses faster and react to the ever-changing technological landscape as well as the unique needs of our business partners quicker.

“This is an exciting new chapter for both companies where we create a real powerhouse for digitalization,” said József Boda, CEO of Codecool. “Through our consolidated digital skilling programs, we confidently continue to serve the needs of individuals, companies and governments. Graduates from our courses are in high demand, especially as Western European and US organizations look to outsource or find additional talent while lowering costs.”

Combined, we’ll train 15.000-20.000 individuals in a year for our 400+ corporate partners. We’ll be able to serve partners’ needs far better, not only in terms of the variety of tech-skilled people but also on a larger scale and from more countries in the region.

We’ll also keep expanding our geographical coverage and product offering next year. This is required as the Central European region has the biggest digital talent pool on the continent, and there’s an unprecedented need for digitally skilled people in the next decade. 

We’re here to serve this!

József Boda and Michal Mysiak sign the merger contract

Looking for next-generation tech talents?

If you’re looking for digitally skilled people, consider partnering with us. We have an extensive and active network of quality tech talents and flexible recruitment processes, offering you quick access to top talents.

We are also here if you’re interested in up-skilling or re-skilling your existing employees. We’re happy to tailor our flexible training programs to your needs, turning them into your most valuable and skilled digital resources.

Interested in what our new joint company has to offer you? Let’s talk!

SMP Solutions: “We help clients move into the digital era.”

smp solutions

In our Inspiring Digital Employers series, we’re bringing you some of our 300+ business clients from 4 countries. Meet SMP Solutions from Hungary.

smp solutions

Our partners inspire us not only to become better employers ourselves but also to contribute to their success with great new tech colleagues, in line with their business needs and matching their corporate culture. We’re proud to be their tech training and hiring partners and happy to connect them with Codecool graduates, the best tech juniors on the market.

Meet SMP Solutions; a company committed to providing high-quality and efficient solutions for challenges in IT, banking and security technology for more than 30 years. They offer their customers complex, best-of-breed solutions to help them fulfil business requirements, from assessment through implementation to operational services.

This time, we sat down for a chat with their HR Manager, Ádám Varga.

Nice to meet you Ádám! Please introduce your company to us. What does SMP Solutions do for the customers?

We work in three broader areas at SMP Solutions: security, banking and IT. We help our customers in these three big areas, from product sales to system integration, custom development solutions, and pretty much everything you can imagine.

We’ve been in business for more than thirty years and we’re constantly expanding our portfolio: right now, we do a vast range of things as a company.

We also have many activities abroad but have local subcontractors there to help us, and everything is supplied from Hungary. We want to keep it that way. We don’t plan to open a separate office in each country, but rather to expand our activities here.

Why is it great to work at SMP Solutions? What is your company like as a workplace?

What’s good about working for us is that we are a “small” Hungarian company. We are now more than 250 people, which is no longer considered small, but culturally we try to keep the small company atmosphere.

We keep the best operating principles from multinational companies – because many colleagues come from this kind of company background and have a lot of experience with that type of work – and leave the ones out that are just holding us back.

We can decide how we want to operate and what is important to us. Every colleague can have an impact on their work and an even broader scale. We encourage everyone at SMP Solutions to share ideas and to take the initiative.

Can you mention some examples where colleagues took the initiative and affected how the company worked?

From day-to-day operations to technological solutions and implementations, we have many examples. Some colleagues start learning technologies independently and share the knowledge with others. One of them, for instance, has immersed themselves in Microsoft Azure and started making tutorial videos for other colleagues entirely on their initiative.

But if someone brings in a suggestion for improving efficiency, we are always open to ideas like that.

Could you please talk about developers at your company? What are they working on, and in what kind of teams?

We have two delivery organisations – one of them focuses on solutions that are closer to hardware. The other team works more on software-related stuff that is less related to hardware sales. Here we have CRM system development, DevOps, data management, big data, and several classic software development teams. Both delivery organisations consist of about 60-70 people.

Colleagues that came to our company from Codecool are working on a key front-end system development project for a large bank.

Are they working in the bank’s office?

Yes, they do. The plan was to work at least one day a week in our office, but now with the pandemic and hybrid working, these plans are constantly changing

We organise internal programmes, get-togethers, barbecues and other activities, so all the colleagues from SMP Solutions who do most of their day-to-day work at the bank’s premises can feel that they’re part of the SMP team too. Also, the two offices are really close to each other.

You can hear about the growing digital talent gap everywhere. What’s your opinion about it? How hard is it for you to find the right people nowadays?

It’s hard to find people nowadays, especially people that are pros at specific technologies. There’s a big gap now between education and job expectations. I mean that very different things are expected of students in university courses than what will be needed for work later.

Even those who graduate from a degree course may not be able to get a job right away. This is a big problem because there is a massive global shortage of technological skills.

At SMP Solutions, we have a career orientation program where our colleagues go to high schools and discuss IT career paths. This is crucial because it’s hard to find a university course that will lead you right to a developer career. And we want to help young people decide in time if IT could be a potential career path for them.

What global and local trends do you see impacting your industry?

What impacts us a lot is hybrid work. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter where your colleagues sit; they could be in London or Los Angeles. We see more and more developers take jobs at companies overseas, too.

This changed a lot for us because If you care about the company you work for and you care about your team, you’ll feel comfortable with us. We try to build a great community and office environment for our colleagues here in Hungary.

But now we need to find something extra to make it fun to work for us. We put together an online chat roulette, randomly drawing colleagues together for a casual chat. We also did game clubs and virtual Christmas celebrations. But there are challenges in bringing the office vibe to hybrid workers at home.

How do you see your cooperation with Codecool? Why is it valuable for you? And what do you think of Codecoolers?

The speed and the quality that Codecool provides are precious, and we know exactly what to expect from someone who comes to us from Codecool. There is a basis, an absolute certainty of quality that we don’t have to assess or test, that we can count on. 

People who come from Codecool are always motivated, enthusiastic, and work well in a team. Generally speaking, their personality is always excellent, and they can collaborate well. They also have a piece of solid core knowledge in their approach and software development mindset.

When we interview a Codecooler, it’s usually not a classic interview per se; we tend to focus on what the person wants to do later and what motivates them in the long run.

We assess how they’d feel at a job where a lot of communication is involved instead of their skills. We try to find out more if they find the work they’ll do later at the bank promising. If they’re enthusiastic, it’s going to work out, and we know we don’t have to test their capabilities. We know Codecoolers have what it takes to do the job well.

What do you think about the communication skills of Codecoolers?

I can see that they are powerful communicators, great in interviews, and always give good answers. They are used to working in a team and don’t have the “nerd mentality” of doing a great job technically but not being able to talk about the process.

What’s your long-term digital vision for your company? What are your most important projects right now?

Our long-term plan is to help customers with their digital transformation. It’s all related to the fact that customers do most of their transactions, activities, and interactions in the digital space, especially in the banking world.

There’s vast potential to improve the traditional banks and to help them move into the digital era.

In terms of significant projects, I’d mention some innovative ones, like a smart office automation product called Soffie, that aims to connect smart solutions from different manufacturers in a vast office building. For example, a smart parking system in an office building cannot be directly integrated into the company’s internal IT system, and this product can provide a solution.

How do you see our shared digital future?

There’s a lot of talk about Metaverse, NFTs and cryptocurrencies these days, and I’m interested in these things. Still, I don’t think that they’re necessarily going to be universally used in the future. The most significant typical digital speciality will be hybrid work and “hybrid” life.

It’s going to be more of this casual, flexible working that you can’t classically separate from your personal life. I think that’s where we’re heading. 

You mentioned more developers working remotely, even for companies overseas. Do you think this will mean that the wages will rise here as well, to compensate for these opportunities?

This trend drives wages upward, but I don’t think companies should get involved in this wage competition. You have to find the people who want to work for you and care about your community and company and give them a fair compensation package.


Inspired by SMP Solutions’ example?

Reach out if you need great junior tech professionals or best-in-class training for your organisation.

Hope to talk to you soon!

5 reasons why women should go into IT

women in tech 1

We know that girls can code and we’re big on inviting more women into IT. With 9 speakers from 3 European countries, our Women’s Day event shone a light on the value and importance of women in tech. Check out the insights and immerse yourself in the topic.

women in tech 1

Looking at the digital world today, we see a strange combination of amazing progress and prolonged change.

On one hand, digitalisation happens at an impressive rate everywhere we look, especially since the pandemic hit.

On the other hand, we still have fewer women in tech training and IT jobs than men. Though it’s clear as day that women make amazing programmers, the gender gap is still very real.

On 8 March 2022 we’ve  sat down with a group of inspiring people to discuss hard facts, top trends and their personal stories:

  • Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria 
  • Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria
  • Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMATRICS in Austria
  • Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania
  • Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria
  • Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania
  • Dalma Csernok, Full-stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary
  • Eva Szalai, ex-Codecool Student &Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini

Let’s recap this uplifting discussion and explore the key takeaways, along with the 5 main reasons for women considering IT as a career option.

The moderator of the event was Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager at Codecool Austria.

1. You can learn to code

Dalma Csernok, current Full-Stack Developer Student & CoderGirl at Codecool Hungary recalled her first experience with coding: “After I graduated university and studied theatre, I was unsure what to do, so I started working as a receptionist at a hotel. It was quite fun for a short period, but I soon lost motivation and started to look for other challenges. One of my colleagues mentioned a website where I could learn basic coding. A few lessons later I realised that I was writing code that worked, and I enjoyed it. After 2 or 3 months, I decided to switch career paths.” 

It seems that Dalma is not alone with her insecurities. When it comes to tech, women can be quite unsure of their capabilities. And it seems that these insecurities are mostly rooted in childhood experiences.

Female applicants usually have more questions about the basic abilities needed for coding, the requirements for the school, and the job market in general.” – confirmed Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria. Studies on gender differences show that young girls already judge their competencies in domains such as mathematics lower than boys. Likewise, studies on the self-efficacy theory have shown that boys are more confident about their performance in maths and science.

Hauke Hinrichs, CEO of SMARTRICS added his thoughts. “The problem starts in kindergarten where we start to socialise girls differently than boys, destining them for a different career path. I’d love my daughter to become an engineer or scientist. We should start treating girls in a way that allows them to live out their fullest potentials, without any type of discrimination or predestination.”

Eva Szalai, Codecool graduate mentioned the one skill you’ll still need to be successful in tech. “You still need to have abstract thinking. That is a must. But if you have that, the field is wide open. Companies are very happy to have female developers.”

2. Your previous experience will not be lost

Claudia Tamasi, Country Manager at Codecool Romania mentioned a key insight. “When a woman decides to take a new path, there is always the thought that she must start again from zero. But it’s not true. We had a student, who had 10 years of experience in a bank’s back office. She was worried that she would have to start from zero, too, but her experience became a great advantage. She now develops banking applications, making good use of her previous experience every day. Everything we do adds to our personality and our skillset. Our experience will not be lost, we just add new things to it.”

Tanja Sternbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Community at the female factor in Austria continued the thought. “With coding, you will gain a new skill set and you’ll have a brand new combination that will open doors for you. Also, you won’t have to code 12 hours straight every day. Coding doesn’t even have to become your career path because you’ll probably need this skill for different types of jobs in the future. If you can code, nothing will stop you in the next couple of years, no matter what type of job you take.”

Another option is to transform your previous job into a side-activity and pursue it next to your new, flexible job.

Eva Szalai used to be a professional musician and music teacher before starting Codecool. Today she is a Test Automation Engineer at Cap Gemini in Hungary, but she hasn’t given up her previous career either. “I’m a pianist and I still give concerts… I can work from home with flexible working hours, which is a great help. Sometimes I have a rehearsal in the middle of the day, and it’s okay, I can do it, and still keep up with deadlines.”

women in tech 2

3. Diverse teams are more effective and fun

Eva enjoys working in her new team at Cap Gemini. “In my team of 8 there are 3 women, so the gender ratio is quite good. There is mutual respect. Advancement is knowledge-based, and it’s measurable, which is a great advantage in comparison to art. We can learn from each other. The most productive teams have been the most diverse ones at Codecool, too. Men and women in tech have different approaches and different affinities. And men appreciate having women on their team for a varied approach and new perspectives.

Claudia Tamasi added her thoughts. “We’re built differently by nature, but when we’re collaborating, we complete each other.”

Hauke opened the topic of diversity and continued with his insights. “Not just gender diversity, but all kinds of diversity are important in teams, for example religious, racial, social-economic, and age diversity, too.”

women in tech 6

4. Companies desperately need more IT professionals

Discussing the topic of career prospects for women in tech, Claudia Tamasi mentions the following: “When women decide to work in IT, they can pursue whichever field they’d like, there are no barriers anymore. Front-end, back-end, full-stack development. Project management. There’s a new world out there. At Codecool Romania, we have young ladies and mothers learning development, too. This sector is expected to grow around 20% in the next decade so it’s lucrative to enter now, no matter your background or gender. You just gotta have the courage to start.”

Hauke Hinrichs adds that the demand for women developers is quite high today: “We’re searching for 20 new additions to our IT department this year. The lack of qualified labour is quite a challenge, and there are a lot of companies fighting for the best talent – especially for young, talented women.

According to our speakers, it’s important to have women where products are born and to involve both genders in business decisions.

“50% of the global population is female. If you serve women, you have to have women in your management too, to drive business decisions.” – says Tanja Sternbauer. – “Your business will do better financially too. I wonder how this aspect can still be overlooked sometimes.

Diverse skills are needed to build great things. The mix of voices, ideas, cultures and skills leads to better discussions, better decisions and better results for everyone. Teams work and perform better when they are gender diverse.” – says Christine Antlanger-Winter, Country Director of Google Austria. 

5. A tech job could be your dream job

Some women miss out on a fitting role or their dream jobs just because of preconceptions or a lack of support.

“Women tend to value different sides of the programming profession such as the independence and freedom that a programming job offers, as opposed to the high salary.” – said Lydia Jeschko, Business Development Manager at Codecool Austria.

Working in tech is a fast-paced road and some of the highest-paid professions can be found here, so it’s super lucrative to start. And there’s an opportunity to have a real impact with these professions; you can move to roles that deliver on a purpose. And women in tech tend to value this aspect a lot.

“Women aren’t driven by status or a fancy office location. They’re more interested in fulfilling a purpose and making an impact. They want to contribute to society and give back. What is the impact I can make here and how can I contribute? These are the questions women often ask when considering a job. – says Tanja Sternbauer

women in tech 4

How to get started in the world of IT

Starting fresh in IT isn’t easy, but our speakers had great insights for all young women who’re considering an IT career. The number one factor is confidence according to the panel members.

“Be confident, and just write an application. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re not ready for it and learn from it. But be confident and give it a go. Apply to jobs, go to a programming school like Codecool, and start a great career.“ –  says Hauke.

“To extend your knowledge you have to get out of your comfort zone. I learned later on that staying in that zone won’t help you. So don’t overcomplicate things and try to leave behind your insecurities” – adds Dalma Csernok

The second most important factor would be to have a mentor you can rely on.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t have a mentor when I started. That’s exactly why I wanted to become one for others. To share my knowledge and experience to make it easier for others than it was for me.” – says Iulia Iacob, Head of Mentors at Codecool Romania. – “ My advice to women seeking roles in the IT domain is to be confident, self-aware, and to find a mentor who will support them. They can share valuable past experiences and insights about navigating the tech industry.”

Last but not least, staying curious and open to new things is also key to succeeding for women in tech.

Be open to everything. If you learn a lot you can have different solutions for the same problem. There was a lady who was resisting alternative solutions often, and she got hired several months later than she expected. You must ask questions because it’s okay not to know everything first. The biggest difference between senior and junior colleagues is often that seniors already know that they don’t have an answer. They are always searching for the answers.” said Eva.

codecool berufsbegleteind

Why Codecool?

Our speakers have discussed what sets Codecool apart and why it’s worth learning to code at Codecool’s Full-Stack Development course. Eva mentions the Full-Stack Development course’s length: 

“What sets Codecool apart for me is the duration. Some other schools are too intense, fast-paced and heavily condensed into a couple of months. As an active musician, I couldn’t have done that type of course. ”

Still, with such an ideal length, there’s a wide palette of knowledge being taught at Codecool, not just frontend or backend.

“It gives you more confidence for the job interviews and more options afterwards since you get a complete set of skills. I could have applied for test automation, Java development or even frontend jobs, too.” – Eva adds.

The flipped classroom method has also added a lot of value according to Dalma and Eva: “I really enjoyed it and it makes total sense since I used to be a teacher. The first thing is that you get a task. And then you get the background materials that you can study. But it’s not set in stone how you have to handle a task. If you can find the solution some other way, then you’re done. There is never one universal solution to a problem at Codecool.”

On this note, Claudia adds: “We’re practically teaching our students how to learn because being a developer means to be in a lifelong learning process. We’re serious about quality, too. Our job is only done when we found you a job that you like. And you can also come and try us without paying for the first 10 weeks.”


Looking for the next addition to your developer team?

It’s never too late to add talented women developers to your teams. If you want Codecool to help you find the next female developer who can start to work right away in your IT team, get in touch!

We’re looking forward to helping you build a more diverse team.

Cool leaders: Miklós Beöthy, Codecool Hungary

Miklos Beothy

In this blog post series, we’re sitting down for a chat with people making the Codecool vision happen. Please meet Miklós Beöthy, Country Manager of Codecool Hungary.

Miklos Beothy

If you want to meet inspiring people, Codecool is a great place to be. Every day we meet hundreds of smart, ambitious and cool students that study with us to change their careers and our shared digital future. And we meet innovative, great leaders with a vision from hiring companies that employ our students to build a digital future.

But it’s not only our students and partner company leaders who inspire us. We also make sure to work with colleagues that are equally amazing and make the Codecool mission and vision come to life.

We had the chance to sit down with one of our colleagues to talk about his current goals, challenges and outlook on the future. Please meet Miklós Beöthy, Country Manager of Codecool Hungary.

Miki, how would you introduce yourself, if you were not allowed to mention your work?

My name is Miki, I am 40 years old, I have a two-year-old son, Bazsi, and I love mountain biking. 

I started to bike 5 or 6 years ago. At first, it was just a leisure activity, then I began to participate in amateur competitions. Last year, after loads of training, I completed the Salzkammergut Trophy B distance, which is 120 kilometres long with almost 4000 metres increase in level. I am not planning to stop here, my aim is to complete the A distance as well, which is about twice as long as the B one. 

And I can’t wait for Bazsi to be old enough for us to bike together in the woods.

What is your work now actually? What are you responsible for?

I’m the Country Manager at Codecool Hungary. As the operating manager of the Budapest campus, the online courses and the corporate business here I’m basically responsible for the success of these.

What did you do before?

I studied computer science and engineering at Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and as a sophomore I was a full-time programmer. I have quite a versatile experience, I worked at small IT companies, media outlets and agencies as well. 

For about 8 years I worked at Digital Natives, a startup company. I arrived a few months after its formation, later I became a co-owner, and I was the leader of a developer team with 12-15 members. It was an extremely exciting period for me, but in 2014 the inevitable career crisis that everyone experiences from time to time, hit me. 

A couple of years after the financial crisis of 2008 all of a sudden IT was blooming, and everyone had an “excellent” idea for a startup. At DiNa we were implementing such ideas of the clients through consultation, development and operation. Of course, there were many challenging tasks, but I often felt even during the first discussions with the partners, that it will be another project that lands in a drawer written on a DVD, because it is not going to be a huge success.

One day I woke up and said to myself: “I don’t want to do this anymore.” So, I left the company to look for new adventures.

Meet cool leaders I Miklos Beothy

Why did you decide to join Codecool?

After I broke off from DiNa, I had a one-year sabbatical. I didn’t really work except for a few side jobs, I was travelling for a while in Southeast Asia, and I started to think about what to do next career-wise. 

I loved developing. It is one of the few activities during which I can often be in a flow, and it can really pull me in. Technology was always my cup of tea. However, in the meantime I wanted to get closer to people. 

In the summer of 2015, I was a volunteer at Skool, where I worked as a mentor throughout the summer camp, and I was teaching programming to 8-14-year-old girls. It was an amazing experience. I still remember biking to the Grund (where the camp was held) with a smile on my face every morning, despite the fact that I was exhausted by the end of every day. It occurred to me during that summer that maybe I could do this as a job, not just as a volunteer thing. 

I don’t really believe in destiny, but strangely enough a few weeks later Tomi Tompa, who was my colleague at DiNa, reached out to me saying that there is an IT school in Miskolc, called Codecool, and they would like to expand, and open a campus in Budapest, which is why they are looking for mentors. We sat down with the founders, and a few meetings were enough to convince me that this can be something awesome, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so we started to build the school in Budapest with Tomi. 

When we launched the first class in 2016, we had 4-5 team members at Codecool Budapest. Today we have more than 50 colleagues. Since 2020 I have supported the growth of the school as a Country Manager.

What do you like most about Codecool?

No matter what position I hold, it is always the mission of the school that matters to me. 

Throughout the years I have worked with several hundreds of students, and I ran into amazing stories. Many students eventually find their career path after completing Codecool, and they thrive as IT specialists at renowned companies. While I was a mentor, I loved when students had “eureka” moments with my help, and I managed to get them through situations where they were stuck. It is great to see the spark in their eyes, and suddenly they are just soaring.

My mentor colleagues have similar experiences, who hold training sessions for our partners in our corporate business. As a mentor this can be a challenging task, since the participants are often not too motivated at the beginning, because they need to find time for learning besides their job. But at the end of the courses, they give really positive feedback about our work and the outcome.

What's the biggest goal that you set out for yourself in Codecool?

As a Country Manager obviously my main goal is to make the school more and more successful, but I also treat it as a priority to have a professional team at Codecool Hungary. Our recruitment process is excellent, all of my colleagues are competent at their fields, and we have an incredible community culturally and personally. 

I’m striving to keep this vibe. In a community and team like that it is easier to reach our goals: to connect the best juniors of the market with the greatest companies, and take corporate tech training to the next level.

What do you see as your biggest challenge currently?

I think the biggest challenge nowadays is to grow our online full-stack development course by the end of 2022 similar in size to our offline full-stack course. This is key for us to be able to source our partners the best juniors who match their exact needs always in a matter of days. We want to encourage people to give programming a try and convince them that they should learn it at our school. 

I trust that we can reach our goals, because I believe that those who choose us make a good decision, and now anyone can study with us from anywhere in the country.

What global and local trends do you see in the world that impact your work at Codecool most?

In the past two years the pandemic accelerated certain processes that probably would have happened over the next 10 years otherwise anyway. Everyone needed to react to these unexpected changes quickly. 

Many people work from home now, they manage their whole lives online, like shopping, food ordering, official businesses, communication with friends, and everything else. Tons of IT tools are required to support these social needs, therefore you need tons of professionals as well.

Where do you think Codecool is going in the short and long term?

In the short term, we would like to expand, make our courses available to more people even by introducing courses in new forms, and launching completely new courses – including corporate programs and courses offered for individuals as well.

In the long term, our main goal is world domination, but we would settle for Central and Eastern Europe in the next couple of years. We would like to become the biggest and best programming school and corporate technological HR partner in the region.

Miklos Beothy

Why do you think hiring companies should partner up with Codecool?

All of our founders and mentors work in this field. We gathered plenty of experience as managers, IT managers and senior developers, therefore we know what kind of skillset a junior IT specialist needs to get a project delivered quickly and efficiently. 

We also strongly believe that nowadays a programmer needs to be confident not only with tech, but with a team, too. You can be the best programmer in the world, but if you cannot communicate well, you do not manage your time efficiently, you cannot prioritise tasks and deal with clients, then maybe you will not be a perfect fit for a certain position. 

No matter which course we talk about, our top priority is providing up-to-date, relevant hard skills and strengthening the soft skills. Codecoolers don’t have as much theoretical knowledge about programming as university students, but they have much more project experience instead, having worked more in a team and used the newest technologies during our courses.

We have more than 200 partners in Hungary only, and based on their feedback I think we’ve reached our goals. Codecoolers are really among the best juniors on the market, and they can easily compete with university students for the same jobs.

One last question: How do you see our shared digital future?

Incredibly exciting things are going on in the digital world. 

Artificial intelligence is one of the fields, which will be game-changing in the next 10 years. Technology has tremendous advantages, but besides climate change, I am personally concerned about AI, too: I’m afraid that it will have a negative influence on our lives, if we use its potential for the wrong purposes.

Also, I can’t even imagine how dramatically the emergence of blockchain will change certain areas. It’s enough to look at the spreading of cryptocurrencies to realise that there is a huge potential in the underlying technology. 

I think the present is thrilling, I’m looking forward to the future, and I really hope that we’ll be able to make the best of the opportunities the digital world still has to offer us.

Twice as many students and the best IT education

How could Codecool continue a steep growth in 2021? What’s in the plans for 2022? Jozsef Boda, CEO of Codecool shares the details.

When you think about just for a moment how we expected 2021 to look like in 2020 … Well, things haven’t turned out quite as we expected then, have they?

Back then, we thought that by the end of 2021 the pandemic will be long over. After the first and then several more shocks, after the first and the second wave, with the help of the vaccines our lives can get back to some kind of a new “normal”, but at least a more stable state. Well, it didn’t quite happen like that. 

Due to waves 3 and then 4 in 2021 we were “in and out” of our school in Hungary, changing from on-campus to online education several times. In Romania, it was online with minimal breaks. While in Austria, just after opening our school and our very first group of Codecoolers starting in November, we had to switch to online classes in line with restrictions. 

But there was one big difference compared to 2020: however unexpected these sudden changes were, we were already prepared for them. We have successfully overcome unexpected challenges in 2020, too, but we weren’t even surprised in 2021. And we managed to turn them to our advantage even more efficiently – for example with further improving the online version of our flagship, full-stack programmer course, reaching much more aspiring students with it then with the offline version, available only for those living close to our schools. Who would have thought in 2019 or even 2020 that we’d get there? Not us for sure.

We have never thought we’d hire new colleagues fully online, not to mention senior managers, but we solved this, too, with no problem. Obviously, most of our graduates were hired by our partners in a fully online process, too. We grew up to the new challenges together.

In the meantime, we haven’t even noticed that we’ve entered the “new normal” we’ve been waiting for – probably because it looked a little different than what we expected. It was clear in 2020 already that things will never go back to how they were before, but we were not sure what they would end up like. By today, one thing stands out as the main characteristic of our new, post-breakout world: constant, significant change. What’s also apparent is that those who are agile enough to adapt and build on change will succeed. One simply can’t afford to wait for things to stabilise. That’s a waste of time, a losing strategy.

We’re so lucky and proud to have achieved so much in 2021, too. Let me mention just a few things:

  • We’ve placed our 2000th Codecooler at one of our hiring partners. Our first students graduated 6 years ago. We’re so happy that 80% of them are still with their first employer, the one we found for them. It’s a true confirmation of our shared success.
  • We’ve launched our very first scholarship programme, the CoderGirl Scholarship. Together with our corporate partners we want to invite and motivate many more women to start tech careers. The most talented and motivated girls and women from those applying to Codecool can now get a chance to study completely for free with us.
  • We’ve opened our very first school in Western Europe, in Austria. Together with Hungary, Poland and Romania, now we’re present in 4 countries already. Another step closer to becoming a leading IT education institute in Central Europe in 1 or 2 years, and later in the wider region. 
  • We’ve launched new open courses. The one-week “Intro to IT” Course was first introduced in Vienna, while the six-month Cyber Security Specialist Course in Budapest. We’ve launched the fully online version of our Full-Stack Developer Course in all the Codecool countries, and helped more than 300 Hungarians to new, future-proof tech careers taking our short courses, fully financed by the local government. 
  • We’ve further developed our corporate re-skilling and up-skilling training services, and launched comprehensive, tailor-made digital academies at some of our corporate partners.
  • Numbers taken out of context can only tell a part of the whole story. Still, the fact that we’ve managed to grow our revenue by 40% year-on-year in 2021, might mean something. It definitely means that we’re a stable partner for our students choosing us to help them switch to a new career, and also to our corporate partners, counting on us to boost the digital skillset of their organisation in the short and long term.

What we see is that digital transformation at companies is speeding up, now in departments and functions previously requiring only non-tech, business-side competencies. More and more capacities and skills are needed in IT, as well as in newly forming, business-side digital roles, and we can’t even come  close to meeting the market demand, due to the limited number of our graduates. We’ve managed to place each and every Codecool graduate last year who chose to take our job guarantee, while developing and delivering more fully tailor-made corporate training programs than ever before.

We would like twice as many students to  start studying with us in 2022 than in 2021. But we accept no compromise on quality, what’s more, we will further improve our courses and services, just like ourselves. 

Our Full-Stack Development Course is more than a bootcamp, and better than a university. A one-year, comprehensive programming course with a job guarantee and post-payment options not only providing a wide and deep knowledge of software development, but also a real job at one of our corporate partners. We would like to make this offer to even more ambitious and committed career-changes in 2022, so we’re extending our job guarantee to the online version of our Full-Stack Development Course in every Codecool country.

We can only be efficient and authentic at the same in what we do, if we are efficient and authentic ourselves. If all our colleagues truly believe in the mission, values and methodology of Codecool, and if they can also represent them and share them with others. The way to achieve this was different 6 years ago, when we were a young, promising start-up venture, and it is different today, when we are a mature, internationally present, and still dynamically growing scale-up company.

To increase our flexibility and innovation power despite the sudden growth of our own organisation, too, we’ve started a comprehensive mid-management development programme. And to keep up with the demand for our corporate services, a dedicated professional team will be responsible for the development and delivery of our corporate training programs and internal academy solutions from 2022.

And now that I’ve mentioned our organisation and my colleagues – let me say thank you to them for their valuable work all year in 2021. Because the thing is that it wasn’t about getting lucky. Whatever we’ve achieved as Codecool is the result of their hard work. Each and every of my Codecool colleagues has contributed to our successes with their enthusiasm, perseverance and skills, and I’m personally really grateful that I have the chance to have been working on shared goals together with them every day.

As a final conclusion, I have to say that after 2020, 2021 was another year full of challenges. The successes we’ve achieved haven’t come easy. We’ve worked for them really hard together. I admit, I got quite tired by the end of the year. I needed the holidays to recharge my batteries. 

But I’m starting the new year full of new energy and motivation, I hope you feel the same. I trust that we’ll have an as exciting and fruitful year in 2022, as we had in 2021. 

I wish a happy and successful new year to all of us, and that we make even more dreams come true, by helping even more successful, future-proof, tech careers to start, together.

Meet cool leaders: Olga Zelent, CM @Codecool Poland

Olga Zelent

In this blog post series we’re sitting down for a chat with people making the Codecool vision happen. Please meet Olga Zelent, Country Manager of Codecool Poland.

Olga Zelent

If you want to meet inspiring people, Codecool is a great place to be. Everyday we meet hundreds of smart, ambitious and cool students that study with us to change their careers and our shared digital future. And we meet innovative, great leaders with a vision from hiring companies, that employ our students to build a digital future. But it’s not only our students and partner company leaders who inspire us. We also make sure to work with colleagues that are equally amazing, and make the Codecool mission and vision come to life.

Last time we talked to Sigrid Hantusch-Taferner, Country Manager of Codecool Austria. Missed the article? Make sure to catch up now.

This time we had the chance to sit down with another inspiring Codecool leader about her current goals, challenges and outlook on the future. We’re super excited and proud to introduce you Olga Zelent, Country Manager of Codecool Poland!

Olga, how would you introduce yourself, if you were not allowed to mention your work? 🙂

I’m a bookworm, a sports-addict, a theatre junkie and a yogini :heart: I respect all beings, and strongly support equality, especially equality of women in all walks of life (and also in business, IT and boards). I am totally in love with Italy, especially the southern part of this stunning “paese”. I am super happy to be a mom of almost adult teenager Hubi, and sweet doggie Chico. 

What is your work now actually? What are you responsible for?

As a country manager, I’m responsible for the general management of the local business activities of Codecool in Poland. My main duties include scaling up the Polish branch. As always, people are the most important for me so I strongly focus on my team’s wellbeing. Motivating the team and working together is crucial to meet our ambitious targets. 

My job in the end is to make sure we attract more and more talented students, and partner up with more and more corporate partners in Poland, who focus on innovation and digitalisation, looking to either grow or re-skill their teams.

What did you do before?

Originally I’m coming from a totally different area: I am a lawyer by education and I have a background in the pharmacy market. After learning everything I could about the field in sales, operational and general management positions for 10 years, I felt I needed a change. I found information technology and the idea of taking part in shaping our digital future super exciting, so I decided to start anew in this new area. And I never looked back since. 

Why did you decide to come work for Codecool?

Before joining Codecool, I already gained experience in IT at a big digital service provider, and also as a scaling-up expert. I spent some years working for one of our competitors, another Polish programming school as well. I made my decision to join Codecool in July because I saw that my experience could come just at the right time for the local business, and also because the Codecool mission really impressed me.  

I wanted to be part of changing people’s lives for the better by providing them quality, accessible IT education and helping them land their first tech jobs. I already knew the market, I knew what it meant to grow the company from a start-up to a scale-up, and I was excited that I could contribute to closing the digital skill gap in Poland.

Olga Zelent Codecool
What's the biggest goal that you set out for yourself in Codecool?

We’re working on making Codecool the first choice for people who want to learn coding really well, but without having to study for long years. Codecool is more than a bootcamp and better than a university, and we want to grow it bigger to bring this ground-breaking type of programming education closer to even more people and companies. 

I couldn’t do all this without a great team, so my first task here was to strengthen the stability and motivation of the local team. Our next, shared goal is to make Codecool a leader in the alternative tech education market in Poland.

What do you see as your biggest challenge currently?

Our biggest challenge on the market today is to show that our offers are not empty promises, but true propositions. We offer a real job guarantee, actual post-payment options, and high quality, project-based education for our students.  And we offer quality candidates with agile project experience and advanced programming and soft skills for our partner companies. Our competitors are fast to repeat all our promises, but they fail delivering on them. The result is a loss of trust impacting the whole market, and Codecool, too, obviously. 

We are doing our best to show Polish people and companies that we can be trusted to deliver on all our promises and make no compromises about keeping our end of a learning or partnership agreement. I know it all sounds too good to be true, but we really managed to come up with a unique business model that works, and when we promise something, then we truly mean what we say.

What trends do you see in the world that impact your work at Codecool most?

We see that the pandemic brought a significant change of attitude in big companies. They’ve started to see more value in re-skilling and up-skilling their existing workforce instead of letting go employees and hiring new ones to grow the digital skillset of their organisations. They are now trying to build stable, loyal, strong in-house digital teams by retaining and  motivating their best people, as well as enriching their skillsets through quality tech training. 

Codecool is not only about open trainings, we can be valuable allies in building digital skills in-house. We have a solid track record of quality corporate re-skilling and up-skilling training programs, as well as full-scale internal academy solutions. Our courses are always tailor-made to the exact business needs of our partners, because every organisation and every digital strategy is different.

Why do you think hiring companies should partner up with Codecool?

We’re quick, flexible and effective. We offer great junior programmers that we ourselves would be happy to work with. Who have the motivation and skills to deliver value in the jobs from day one as proactive members of any team. The hiring process of Codecoolers is fast and painless, too, while our corporate solutions are tailored to our partner’s specific needs and exact requirements. Internal academies powered by Codecool have a proven track record of re-skilling and up-skilling existing employees to work together in highly effective digital teams. 

Where do you think Codecool is going in the short and long term?

In the short term, we’re becoming the first choice for more and more people thinking about a career change to IT, and for more and more companies with ambitious digital strategies and a mature approach to tech talent recruitment and digital skill development. 

In the long term, we’re growing into being the leading programming school, and digital educational and hiring partner in Europe.

How do you see our shared digital future?

I see a bright future with our lives, economy and markets entirely built on digital solutions. And I see teams of digitally skilled people building these solutions in cooperation, using not only advanced technology, but also strong soft skills for a better, fairer, more inclusive digital future.

Your top 5 favourite Codecool blog posts from 2021

man reading blog post on mobile

Read again and get new inspiration from your favourite articles by Codecool about training, recruitment and management from last year.

man reading blog post on mobile

It’s almost the end of the year, a great time for some nostalgia. We thought we’d look back and see which of our articles you enjoyed the most last year, which ones generated the most heated discussions, and which ones inspired you most. It was great reading back all your thoughts in comments on LinkedIn under some of them, or just see how many likes and other emojis each got. 

Here goes the top 5 of your favourites. Enjoy (re)reading them!

This was by far your number one favourite post this year. It’s about what we found to be the biggest obstacles to closing the ever growing IT talent gap. The fact that it was so popular shows how important the topic today is, and how many companies struggle with the gap.

4 of the 7 main reasons we found about why it’s still there were:

  1.  Going digital beyond IT, or the fact that more and more digital positions are opening outside of IT, too, in business departments
  2.  COVID-driven digitalisation of not just those innovation areas in previously defined digital strategies, but also forced, quick digitalisation of further, business-as-usual processes
  3. Inflating prices in some countries raising salaries of anyway-not-cheap tech professionals, too
  4. Growing EU and VC funding creating more-and-more IT jobs to fill, especially from 2014 on
Curios about the remaining three? Read the article now, and get inspired about the complex background of this global challenge.

We found that quite an intense discussion started under this post on LinkedIn. It seemed that everyone has an opinion about this controversial topic, and loved seeing your arguments and examples.

Our view,  explained in the post in detail, is that university education has many values, and there are positions where it’s absolutely necessary to have as a background, but there are many more, where it is not. We looked into some statistics from a related research, looked at reasons why we’re biased towards university graduates, and how it can be harmful. We also gave practical advice on how to adjust your selection criteria, if you decide to drop the university degree from your list of primary filters for a candidate.

The article was posted last January, but it still does have its relevance. Open to consider its facts and arguments? Read it (again) here.  

Have you seen the meme, where a woman jumps from a burning building with a sign saying “2020” down into a huge round sheet stretched out by firefighters, only to bounce back and fly into another burning building through the window, with a sign saying “2021”? Well, let’s just say, 2021 didn’t really bring the relief of the pandemic situation and it’s effects that everyone hoped for in the beginning of 2020. 

Recruitment faced its own challenges, after the initial freeze in 2020 through gradual revival, but complete overturn to online and remote operation. The difficult part of writing this article wasn’t the collecting of the challenges, it was to show the opportunities. But we managed, and this became one of your favourites from our blog posts this year.

Wonder how the impersonal, tech-dependent online recruitment process can bring advantages? How the insecurity of jobs in 2020 resulting in lower number of candidate open for a change could work for you? How the digital skills gap can shake your HR strategy up in a good way? Give the article another go, and collect fresh inspiration.

Besides closing the tech talent gap in general, getting more women into tech has been a major focus for companies all over the world in the past years. Since we wanted to do something, too, we created the CoderGirl Scholarship in Q3 2021. The scholarship allows talented and determined women and girls to learn tech for free with us with a guaranteed position in the end,  matching their new skills . We even started a whole new Cyber Security Specialist Course solely for women, with scholarship places only, in November.

In the article, we brought you some facts and figures about the gender gap, as well as some interesting examples when digital product launches went bad only because there were no women involved in the development. We also asked you be part of the change and join us in inviting more women into tech. 

Doesn’t ring a bell? (Re)read the article and be inspired.  

This las one on our (your) list was actually our very first post in 2021. It was a very personal look back at 2020 and look ahead at 2021 by Jozsef Boda, global CEO of Codecool.  It’s quite interesting to reread it and see how we realised our plans (like our series B expectations and the opening of our newest campus in Austria). 

How does he evaluate 2021 and what are his expectations for 2022? You can soon find out from another similar post to come early next year. 

Until then, read (again) this article for a bigger context and some nostalgia.

The above are just a few examples, of course. There were quite a few other blog posts you really liked, like our collection of inspiring podcasts, a success story of one of our graduates featured in a BBC StoryWorks video about our school, and a behind the scenes guide to how we put our company values into practice in tech training.

If you’ve enjoyed reading our blog posts this year,  make sure to subscribe to our Codecool Business newsletter for more.

Stay with us and keep getting inspired for a better digital future in 2022, too.

Scrum in programming training – Tips and benefits

Businesses go agile for better quality products, happier customers and more productive teams. But agility and frameworks like Scrum are super advantageous during the learning process too. We’ll take you behind the scenes to show you how we implement Scrum into our teaching method, and why this is good for you.

The agile way of working is not just a buzzword in the world of IT. 

Today, more than 70% of companies worldwide use agile methods in IT or for their business processes. While IT was the first sector to implement agile values in software development, companies saw the perks, and started rethinking their whole organisation using agile principles, in the scope of large-scale agile transformations.

In software development, most companies made their pledge to the Scrum framework to implement core agile values. Scrum can be a useful addition in the learning process, too, and we’ve decided to make it an integral part of our teaching method.

But what is it about agile that makes it so effective? And why is it so beneficial to use it to teach programming? 

First, let’s see what it really means to go the agile way.

 

A quick recap on agile

Agile relies on self-organising, cross-functional teams, and it’s a more reactive, more flexible way of organising your company. 

The 4 basic agile values are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile prioritises the human element and holds your customer’s satisfaction above all. And we just have to look at the numbers to see that it’s really working. From the 70% of companies that adopted agile, 98% said that it helped to achieve their previously set business goals.

Why? Because agile frameworks can enable your team to create better products by changing specifications and designs on time. They can get up-to-date feedback from customers, and test parts of the product as the process goes. Mistakes or changes in business needs can peacefully coexist with initial plans, and everything can be dealt with on time.

This overall philosophy leads to more productive teams, higher quality products, and satisfied customers

 

Transform your business with the power of agility

Agile stopped being the IT sector’s secret ingredient a long time ago. So whatever your business profile may be, you can start an agile transformation to make your organisation respond to change better and faster. 

Going agile just for the sake of it will by no means be a guaranteed solution to all your problems. But it could break silos, and enable a more collaborative way of working within your organisation. For example, your IT, HR, and Sales departments could be working together in a more connected way to solve problems and deliver amazing products.

To go agile, you could:

  • transform one section of your company with agile and build a supportive, more traditional business structure around it, or
  • apply agile values to your entire organisation, and all the different departments within.

To start the transformation you should do a detailed assessment of your business.  And if you’ve been wondering, there’s absolutely no need for an already existing agile team within your organisation, and you might as well start from the ground up.

 

Go agile in programming training, too

To implement agile values in software development, there are a lot of different frameworks you could use. The most well-known and widely-used is definitely Scrum. To implement Scrum effectively in IT, you’ll need a team of developers who’re clear on agile values, Scrum roles, and ceremonies.

And that’s exactly why we made Scrum an integral part of the Codecool way of learning, too. To make sure that our juniors will be well-prepared for individual and teamwork in any Scrum project, as well as continuous learning in their future careers.

Codecoolers learn and work with Scrum from day 1: they do sprint planning, take on the role of the Scrum Master during sprints, and even work with Product Owners (acted out by our mentors) and real customers (representatives from our partner companies). 

Through lifelike projects and real-life inspired user stories, they also learn valuable soft skills, like teamwork, time management, effective presentation, conflict resolution, and assertive communication. They continuously give and receive constructive feedback, and learn what it takes to study on their own. 

But let’s see in detail, how we do all this.

 

Scrum in action at Codecool

At Codecool we use the below elements from the Scrum methodology in our flagship Full-Stack Development course:

  • the Scrum Master and the Product Owner roles,
  • sprints (with ceremonies, like planning, standups, reviews, retros, demos),
  • the Sprint Backlog and the Product Backlog.

Let’s see how we incorporate these in our learning methodology for the best results!

Scrum Master

This title belongs to the person who facilitates Scrum to the team. A Scrum Master is committed to Scrum values and principles and ensures that the framework is followed. 

At Codecool, students select a Scrum Master from among themselves while planning their tasks and priorities for their next sprint. This role rotates by sprint so that everyone can try their hand at it.

It’s the Scrum Master’s job to administrate the team’s progress and to keep in contact with the Product Owner. If there are questions emerging or unexpected difficulties, the Scrum Master moves things further. Scrum Masters in Codecool teams also do hands-on development themselves.

Product Owner

The Product Owner acts as the project’s key stakeholder who has a clear vision of where the team should arrive at the end of the project. They’re the ones communicating with other stakeholders and the ones that understand the market, the customer, and the business too.

At Codecool, mentors act as Product Owners, and usually they create and maintain the product backlog

Sprints

A sprint is a time-boxed period when a Scrum team aims to complete a set amount of work. 

Just like professional development teams, our students work in one or two-week-long sprints to deliver projects

On self-instructed weeks, they deepen their knowledge on their own with available help from mentors. This setup supports our mastery-based learning method because it improves individual learning and teaches how to take ownership. 

On alternating, teamwork weeks students work in Scrum teams to get closer to the demands of a workplace. That’s when they actually act as any software development team in a Scrum environment.

Sprint planning

Development teams do the detailed planning of the sprint together to kick off the project. During the planning, the team defines what they can deliver in the sprint and how they will achieve it. Codecoolers do the planning, create the sprint backlog and appoint the Scrum Master on Monday.

Product backlog / Sprint backlog

A Product Backlog is a list of deliverables derived from the project roadmap and the high-level business requirements. The most important tasks are shown at the top of the product backlog. At Codecool, mentors act as Product Owners, so usually they create and maintain the product backlog. 

Sprint backlogs list tasks to be carried out in the specific sprint, taken from the Product Backlog. Sprint backlogs at Codecool are created by the student Scrum teams.

Daily standups

From Tuesdays to Thursdays students have their implementation days when they get to do the development planned out for the sprint. Each morning, they have daily standups, facilitated by the Scrum Master, where they align on daily tasks and discuss any obstacles keeping them from going on with their tasks.

Sprint reviews

During sprint reviews, development teams have a chance to check the sprint’s product, and demo the working app or feature to the customer.

Fridays are Demo Days at Codecool, and these days provide an opportunity to have the sprint reviews, and reflect upon the work that has been done during the sprint. Students demo the result of the sprint in the morning in front of teammates and real customers, who are actually guests from our hiring partner companies. 

The focus at demos is always on practising presentation skills, giving detailed, constructive feedback, and discussing learnings.

Retrospectives

Retrospective meetings are held to reflect upon what and how went down during the Sprint, facilitated by the Scrum Master They give teams a chance to learn from the setbacks that they encountered, and an opportunity to improve for the future. 

The retros at Codecool usually happen after the demos, on Friday afternoon.

Looking for your next agile developer?

After going through a year-long learning journey organised around Scrum projects, our junior developers are at the top of their game in Scrum teamwork and practices. Due to our super-fast sourcing process, your next junior agile developer could be in your team in just 5 days after you contact us. 

We are also here, if you’re rather interested in up-skilling or re-skilling your existing colleagues in Scrum software development.

If you’d like to hire new teams, and get them through an onboarding training in Scrum software development, then an internal training academy, powered by Codecool, tailored to your exact needs might be the best option for you. 

But why not visit one of our Demo Days on a Friday first, and check out the skills and capabilities of our students yourself? We’d be happy to have you.

If you’re interested, or have any questions, please contact us. Can’t wait to talk to you!

What to expect from your junior programmer – 5+1 things to look out for

Junior developers on the job market today can possess amazing skills, and can even show up to an interview with great references. To make your hiring process easier, we created an outline on the skills and hallmarks of a great junior developer in 2021.

Defining what type of professional you need in your growing IT team can be a challenge. Do you need an experienced veteran who is able to make quick decisions or is ready to mentor their colleagues? Or maybe you could achieve more by hiring a motivated junior professional, who’s willing and eager to deliver high-quality work under supervision. Your business needs both juniors and seniors to thrive because they add value on different levels.

There’s a catch: one company’s definition of “senior programmer” could be the next company’s ideal junior developer. For example, one developer could be considered “senior” with respect to Java development, but at the same time be considered “junior” at HTML5. So categorising and labelling applicants according to their experience is not a cookie-cutter process. Plus, there are many more things you can expect from your next junior colleague apart from having some experience. 

On another note, age-old hiring practices are becoming outdated. For example, university degrees are becoming less and less of an expectation, and you can expect juniors to have some experience nowadays. Plus, more and more companies are opening up their positions globally, even overseas due to the changes that the pandemic has brought. You have the option to recruit junior developers from all over the world and offer them remote positions.

But before we dive into the topic of juniors, let’s quickly explore the skills and capabilities of a senior developer for some context.

What can you expect from a senior developer?

Programmers in a senior role usually have 5+ years experience at a certain technology.

Seniors should be critical thinkers and practice full ownership. They are the ones you can trust in an organisation to keep the big picture in their minds as challenges and problems arise. Seniors ideally place responsibility on themselves first, whether or not their team is succeeding. Apart from being responsible, seniors are generally experts at:

  • Liaising with internal and external customers and stakeholders
  • Leading and mentoring teams
  • Driving projects and keeping the big picture in mind
  • Having an innate understanding of software systems and architecture 
  • Advanced understanding of frameworks, technologies, testing, and troubleshooting methods
  • Analysing business needs and user expectations
  • Ability to lead and mentor teams and drive projects

There are a number of areas where a seniors excel. However, having a team full of seniors could be an over-kill, because junior developers can also be a great addition to your organisation.

So what exactly can you expect from a junior developer?

When we talk about a “junior developer” we usually think of someone who has 1 to 3 years of experience in any given technology. 

As a general rule of thumb, we can say that juniors should be able to perform technical tasks independently,  but they will need some governance and consultation on a general basis. They should focus more on the code and sub-tasks assigned to them by seniors, and less on the big-picture, architecture and strategy.

In short, these are the things you can expect from a junior developer in the year 2021:

  • 1) Have a basic understanding of technologies and development
  • 2) Have demonstrable, relevant experience
  • 3) Understand agile practices
  • 4) Deliver high-quality work under supervision
  • 5) Possess great soft and interpersonal skills
  • +1) Have a strong drive to learn and progress

Let’s dive deeper into each point, and explore why they are important to have in a junior developer.

1) Have a basic understanding of technologies and development

A junior shouldn’t focus on the big picture, and should rather get busy with working on specific features of a product. But having a knowledge of what processes are involved in creating a software will make everybody’s life in the team easier. So a junior should ideally know how the development cycle goes, and it’s more than ideal if they’ve been through the entire development process a couple of times before. 

Technology-wise, your business will define what skills are most valuable, but you can expect a good junior programmer to know around 4-6 programming languages. Juniors should be excited to learn the technology stack that’s relevant for your business, so expect them to be eager and willing to learn new things. 

Top junior developer candidates will have an innate understanding of the development cycle and will know their way around the processes and the roles. So expect your junior to understand the software development process and where they fit into the big picture.

2) Have demonstrable, relevant experience

In terms of hiring, experience is still golden in the eyes of companies– but the type of experience someone has is a game-changer. Experience can be gained through personal projects, at a programming school, during an internship, or at university. So experience doesn’t always have to come from a full-time job. The bottom line is to see relevant experience on your candidate’s CV because you can expect any junior to be able to demonstrate some type of work.

You can expect junior developers to show up to the interview with a solid project portfolio and relevant programming experience. 

3) Understand agile practices

Agile software development is the universal best practice in software development right now, and around 92% of business owners think that the key to their company’s success lies in agile.

Hiring a junior developer who knows their way around sprints, or is up to make a team-based decisions will prove to be a great pick when your team works in agile. Of course, you can’t expect every candidate to have worked on a live project with agile methods, however, you can expect your new junior colleague to have a basic understanding of agile practices.

A great junior candidate will be well-prepared to start working in any software development team. You can expect them to understand what Scrum, daily standups, sprints, retrospectives, client demos, and collaborative work are. 

4) Deliver high-quality work under supervision

A junior should be able to work independently, but will need some supervision, guidance, best-practices and mentoring from senior colleagues from time to time to be able to progress and deliver the best quality of work. It’s a more senior colleague’s place to make decisions and to mentor junior colleagues, but a junior should demonstrate the motivation and the energy to learn and progress. Still, you can definitely expect a junior to be able to work on their own and to find solutions to smaller issues by themselves. Having a great work ethic and a keen eye for details will prove to be amazing features in your new junior developer.

An ideal candidate will be a confident, self-sufficient professional who won’t shy away from putting in the work to solve a challenge. Still, it’s great if they know when to ask a question or look for support from their peers. You could ask your candidate: “When was the last time you had to ask for help, why, and were you able to solve the challenge then?” Expect junior developers to have a great answer to this question, and to have an inner drive to learn and excel at their work.

5) Possess great soft and interpersonal skills

Your new junior colleague should be able to adapt to your company culture and team dynamics quickly and seamlessly. This process will be a whole lot easier with a colleague who has great social skills and who possesses certain soft skills.

Imagine a scenario where your new junior developer is expected to demo their work, but appears  to be uncomfortable presenting themselves in a professional way. Or think about initial conflicts that can arise during a colleagues onboarding and first few months. How will your new junior handle constructive criticism, communicate with their colleagues, and adapt to the changes that are bound to happen?

We know that soft-skills are in the focus of many hiring managers today, and they are just becoming more and more important by the day. Skills like presenting, feedback giving and receiving, time management or conflict management will all be invaluable in your new junior colleague. So expect them to have great soft skills, and you’ll have a faster time onboarding and integrating them into your team.

+1) Have a strong drive to learn and progress

Companies work in a changing environment, and digital transformation comes with a continuous change in processes and technologies. A great junior sees changes not as a threat, but as challenges to solve. They are happy to learn and implement new technologies, processes and ways of work. 

Personality-wise, look for a demonstration of motivation and genuine energy, plus a willingness to learn from mistakes when you’re interviewing juniors. Apart from the points on our upcoming list, expect your new junior to be open to constructive criticism, and have a real drive to progress at their craft. By paying attention to these qualities, you can make sure that your new colleague is excited and ready to learn and work in your team.

During the interview, you could ask your candidate to tell a story where they were able to learn from a mistake and get them to explain how they handled the initial criticism. Or you could ask them to tell when they supported their team, even though they did not 100% agree with the direction the team wanted to take. Hearing these stories could give you a great general idea about the type of person your candidate is, and about the level of support and commitment they can give.

Ready to find your next junior developer?

If you’re looking for a candidate who has a checkmark next to every item on this list, consider partnering with Codecool. Codecool graduates are great junior developers that can tick all the boxes on your list of expectations, and help your organisation grow. Our motivated junior professionals can deliver high quality work from day 1 in your projects.

Interested? Get in touch with us and let’s talk business. We’re excited to hear from you!

One step ahead in closing the IT talent gap – the ESSA skills report is out

ESSA (European Software Skills Alliance) looked into missing skills necessary to fill about 1.6 million digital job vacancies in Europe until 2030. Codecool is on mission to close the tech talent gap by disrupting digital education, also as a working member of the ESSA Consortium.

Today in Europe, developers are the most wanted professionals in the software sector and this trend will accentuate. The companies of tomorrow will also need people that have a good understanding of the day-to-day business activities. 

That’s why soft skills and business knowledge need to be integrated — in the way we train individuals for software roles, but also in the way we think and embed software in our organisations.

Developer is the most popular software role

In its 2020 The Future of Jobs Report, the World Economic Forum listed the top 20 job roles where the demand will skyrocket. Almost all jobs on that list are ICT related — with developers firmly holding the 10th position. A trend largely confirmed by our recent findings where 45% of organisations estimated they will need extra developers in the next five years.

ESSA graph 1
2021 ESSA Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills report “Need for extra people per role profile”

Programming and professional hard skills are in high demand

The ESSA report goes further and tentatively identified the skills in highest demand among software professionals.

Needless to say, hard skills like programming are the most in-demand with Java, Javascript, SQL, HTML, PHP, C++, C#, and Python being the most needed programming languages. But what is important is for software professionals to have a solid understanding of programming principles, so that they can quickly and more easily adapt to new languages.

It has been discussed that profession-related skills are also to be developed.

“Even more important than teaching particular IT skills, like IT framework or programming languages, is teaching how to understand the business. Only if you are able to understand the purpose of the software solution that you are building, you can deliver a valuable product.”

In this regard, our report findings show that security management, agile project management, and software development lifecycle skills are needed and that software professionals with an understanding of the business are the assets organisations are looking for — now and in the future.

Soft skills are key

Again, looking at the predictions of the World Economic Forum (2020), we can only confirm and strongly advise people with software roles to not only grow their hard skills, but invest in non-technical (transversal) skills like personal soft skills or interpersonal skills: critical thinking & analysis, self-management, teamwork, and communication skills.

2021 ESSA Europe’s Most Needed Software Roles and Skills report “Soft and other skills for developers”

Of course, soft skills are harder to assimilate when only relying on theoretical knowledge. Thus, it is important to introduce more systematically real-life projects into learning and training curricula.

It's about the details

In October 2021, ESSA released a full report exploring current (and future) needs for software skills in Europe. During the next step, together with the rest of ESSA members we will contribute to addressing the conclusions of the report in a comprehensive document — the European Software Skills Strategy. Visit the ESSA website for more details about the initiative.

In the meantime, we at Codecool are already working hard on bringing better digital education to Europe. Already in 4 European countries, in Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, we’re offering mentor-led, project-based developer and other digital skills courses. We’re building on our mastery-based learning methodology and tried-and-tested curricula, and putting an extra focus on developing soft skills, both in our open courses and in our tailor-made corporate solutions. We make career changes affordable and change lives with our job guarantee, post-payment options and the CoderGirl scholarship. 

Learn more about who we are and what we do, and reach out to discuss how we can help filling your software skills needs.