In ACADEMY+PLUS, one can get after passing an online test and going through a difficult selection - the 28 days Pool. The first academic year started in November 2014 and the first generation is now in the compulsory stage of internship. The flexibility of the program means also the fact that this stage can be done anytime, according to the results obtained in the academy projects. Thus, due to the achieved performances, the Academy students have started internships and they have even got employed in IT companies.
Thirteen of them fill in positions in the offices of PITECH+PLUS, in the same building as the headquarters of the academy. The story of each one of them is different. The have come to work on different positions, therefore we have decided to make their evolution known, in order for you to see what the ACADEMY+PLUS (A+) experience can mean after going through only a few steps.
Depending on the age of each of them and their professions, every candidate had their own motivation for following this academy and they found out about its existence from different sources. Each Pool is based on a diversity that helps students' formation. The different backgrounds, different levels of experience and ages are important factors, which contribute to their manifold development.
The presentations in high-school made Paul and Luca curious. They were in the 12th grade, they knew they wanted to go to the faculty of informatics; they were admitted to UBB and applied also to the Academy. Thus, they spent the last holiday month in the Pool.
"Initially, I thought it was too good to be true. They presented a platform of exercises and games to us. And it was also free! After three days in the Pool, I wanted to quit, because it wasn't easy at all", said Luca. The same happened in Vlad's case, in Targu Mures. The A+ staff also went to high-schools from other cities, to present the program. "I wanted to go to university in Cluj, anyway. The Academy was a bonus. I entered Polytechnics and I graduated from the Pool in August."
"Our teacher recommended that we go, and, as there were several of us, we all tried. In the pool, we pushed one another, we motivated each other", admits Marius, who chose to follow the courses of FSEGA, Economical Informatics.
Andrei found out about it from a link on Facebook, while he was on holiday. "Once I got back home, I took the tests; I passed them and got into the third pool. It was the best decision I could have taken. It was October, the first month of the last year in faculty. With the medical engineering, I didn't have very large perspectives, and I have always been attracted by IT. ACADEMY+PLUS seemed a good opportunity to get into this domain."
Alina graduated from the music high-school and didn't want to go to a faculty. She wanted an unconventional form of studies. "I knew about School 42 from France, I had discovered it on the internet and I began looking for something similar. That's how I came across A+. I didn't want to take the tests, I thought I wouldn't pass them, but still I tried." The Academy was promoted during the period of the BAC exams, in the high-schools which had informatics as one of the final exam subjects. "They caught me right after I got out from the exam. There were some girls in geeky messages T-shirts, who told me about A+. I took the tests and got into the pool." - remembers Daniel, laughing.
28 intense days of daily exercises, weekly exams, individual or group projects - tough deadlines, strict scores.
For Gabi, who wanted to come to the academy in order to change his profession, it was a real challenge. He had studied Installation and he had an 8 hours job. For three years, he had been trying to learn programming, taking online courses, but these "cannot be compared to what is happening in the academy, where there is a different motivation, you have colleagues who help you, whom you can ask for advice." "It was …wow, it was difficult. I would leave from work and stay until 11 or 12. In the morning, I would start it all over again, job, academy, and this was for 28 days", Gabi confesses with a smile. Ligia was also an employee, but she knew she wasn't going to remain in the domain, as she wanted more. "After I got my Master's Degree, I took up programming again, in order to remember what I had learned in high-school. I was looking for a job and I would have liked to try IT. I graduated from Constructions Engineering and I found a job in the domain. But I saw a TV show about A+ and I took the tests. The pool was a difficult period. Job, pool, job, pool. But it was all worth it. I got a job offer starting from May and I am glad to work for PITECH+PLUS."
For Andrei, it was "The best diet for losing weight, but especially the best educating regime. I learned how to see things differently, time got new dimensions, organized was the key word in order to be able to do as much as you can in one day. Several such days turn into habit." It was a little difficult for him, too, but he proved you can be studying Polytechnics in the last year, in a profile that has nothing to do with Informatics, pass all your exams and get your diploma, pass the pool and follow the academy.
Concerning what they have each learned in the pool, theoretically and practically, they have all agreed that they have studied exactly what they needed. C is the base, and the projects they had to finish formed their way of thinking. Once the algorithm understood and settled, the logical thinking is formed, and what followed after the selection projects seemed easier, no matter their level of knowledge, which was so different.
"You have access to a great volume of information. What I liked most was the fact that you can structure the information as you wish, you can search more about whatever interests you, nothing is imposed on you", says Sami. "It was the only difficult thing that I really enjoyed" - Anca admits, a little nostalgically. Student in the second year, she wanted to add something practical to the UBB Info studies, which could help her figure out the way for her to go and on which branch to search for a job. The pool taught her how to plan her time well and how to relate to deadlines, which sometimes end up being concluded in the last minute, just like in the case of school projects.
In November, they all started the courses of the academy, where the rhythm was no longer that alert as in the pool, but the level of difficulty of the projects increased, as they all admit. They had more and more group projects, where they needed to form a team in order to evolve. They all believe in the power of the community: "Even though there are big age differences, we have all got programming in common, our passion for code, and that is our bond." - Daniel.
The Academy helped Paul, Luca, Vlad and Anca during faculty to understand better and in a more practical way what they were studying in their courses, as the projects are related to both the projects from Babes, and those from Poli. "The studied subjects are complemented."
Alina didn't find it difficult. "There were many new things and I liked the atmosphere a lot. I found many optimistic people, who believed in me."
The four modules studied during the first year are Unix, Algorithmic, Infographics and Web. "Algorithmic and Infographics are the best. In Infographics you actually see something that gets out of your hand, you see the result of your work on the monitor"- says Sami.
Marius took part also in the 3day Startup, together with colleagues from the academy and since then, with the team they formed there, he has also worked FrontEnd. "It was a web and mobile application on which the state of skiing slopes was updated through reviews and comments. I realized I like this FrontEnd part and I was glad I could already find a job, doing exactly what I like to do."
The so diverse examples make us believe that the proper moment to follow the Academy is at any time. The essential conditions are, however, the motivation and passion for programming. If you got the will, you can start at any time, no matter if you are in your last year of faculty or if you already have a job. But Paul admits that, had he still been in high-school, he may have dropped out of the Academy. But like this, in parallel with faculty, seems to him the best recipe.
"The academy in itself is a lot easier than the Pool. You can do it from your home, together with school or job", says Ligia.
Alina enjoyed all the modules they have had: "I don't know yet what I want to do, I want to learn more. I am glad I did my internship on Sys Admin, and I am looking forward to the second year to see what will further attract me."
Neither does Vlad know what he wants yet, but the internship on mobiles has helped him get a better idea. "I would like the programming part more than the web; I am more interested in the functionality of applications."
Ligia is employed, since May, as a Business Analyst, and she is looking forward to the next year to learn other languages, too. "I think it is best to learn more languages, if I have the opportunity; this will offer me more possibilities in the future. I don't want to know only what is requested now on the market."
Daniel would like to remain on Sys Admin, but he also wants to continue the academy. "I like it more that development; Sys Admin requires more general knowledge, you get to develop your power of analysis."
"I was mostly attracted by PHP and I ended up working on Zend. I hope to have the opportunity to study Typo3 further and, maybe, in the future, I will approach Symfony."- says Andrei.
Bogdan Herea, CEO PITECH+PLUS, founder of ACADEMY+PLUS, stated in relation to the activity of the academy in the year 2015:
"Year 2015 comes with changes in respect to the platform which those who will pass the Pools this summer and those who are going to continue the 2nd year will be studying on. They will be able to choose the languages they want to learn and further reinforce. Thus, they have the opportunity to enhance their level of knowledge, but also diversify it in case they don't know yet what it is they like. Moreover, we wish to conclude as much collaboration with the IT companies interested in getting more work force. In the academy, people are trained on the most varied technologies and they are the solution for the current demand on the IT market."
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