What does it take to become the best engineer? Is there a formula for it? If you analyse job descriptions, you conclude it is self-evident. Proficient knowledge of a programming language plus experience with some related tools equals the best engineer, doesn’t it? Excellent leadership plus communication skills will make up the best manager?
I suspect I have slightly oversimplified it. Perhaps the best engineers are those who work for Apple, Google, Microsoft and other household companies? It may certainly be. The global IT dinozaurs always attract prominent information technology specialists. Others will argue that they also have many talented and skillful teams. Indeed they do, or otherwise the outsourcing business in Ukraine would not be booming. Still, where do you get the best specialists?
How Apple does it:
Founded by Steve Jobs in 2008, Apple University nurtures the vision as well as the spirit of the company among its employees.
On an internal website, you can choose a course matching your skills and position. The classes take place on the premises of the company and are available only for their staff. What is their goal? Judging from the article in the New York Times, they are designed to inspire attendees to keep making amazing products, and to give them a better understanding of Apple’s core values. Even though Apple will always try to outstrip others and won’t miss the opportunity to highlight their excellence, Apple University has been rarely mentioned. What is more, according to NYT, employees are not supposed to discuss it with outsiders at all. On the other hand, it may be just a hype to attract more attention without any explanations how to become the best IT specialist.
The bottom line is these classes have a profound impact on people and provide them better perspectives on the development of their products.
How Google does it:
Initially Google created their Code University, an online repository of educational materials and tutorials for everyone, but it is no longer supported. Currently it offers two programmes: Google Summer of Code and Camp Google. Google Summer of Code allows students worldwide to demonstrate their skills and contribute to various open-source projects.
Meanwhile, children can benefit from Camp Google, a free summer camp created to develop their logical thinking and awaken their curiosity. By means of establishing it, the skills of the future specialists are to be improved.
Besides, they have established numerous scholarships and grants to acknowledge capable students.
How some Ukrainian firms are doing it:
Following in their footsteps, many product and outsourcing companies have started to award scholarships and open similar establishments: IT academies, universities, schools, communities and courses. This business is booming because here the demand meets the supply. Companies take these educational measures to facilitate their recruitment process.
You choose a programming language or a subject of computer sciences that is right up your street, submit your application and if required, pass an interview or take a test to be admitted on the course. If you have completed it successfully and gained enough practical knowledge, it will pave your path into your first job.
Often during the training or internship, mentors and supervisors not only oversee students’ work but also select new people for their teams. ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’, as the saying goes. A promising team will improve the entire development and it will contribute the business in general.
One example is PLLUG Community, a free programming community of experienced developers lecturing in C++/Qt, mobile and web development to everyone keen on these subjects. You need to enroll on their Summer Camp and develop your project successfully. At the end of the course, the PLLUG partners, Vakoms and Indeema, offer jobs to the most capable students, or they are free to join other companies. Additionally, the community organizes HardPLLUG where they teach the basics of electronics and give you the opportunity to develop your own small projects.
Every company develops their own way of growing the best engineers through their courses, training, etc. The amount of knowledge that attendees gain becomes a passport to their career success. Courses also foster a sense loyalty and devotion to the company, which is crucial for staff retention.