In our last article about Practicum, we touched on the coding bootcamp’s strong support system. Now that you’ve got an idea of what to expect from the support system, let’s learn more about how it can impact your learning experience on a more personal level.
An Investment in Your Career Goals
Practicum always has someone available to assist you around the clock. Whether you’re struggling during class time, or when you’re finally able to start on your homework at 1 AM, you’ll always have someone happy to help you solve any issues.
What Is the Practicum Guidance Team?
Practicum recognizes that everyone doesn’t have an easy path to success. To give everyone a fair chance to succeed, the guidance team is there to meet each student’s needs whenever and wherever they may have them.
Practicum’s guidance team includes tutors, code reviewers, senior students, community managers, sprint masters, and the 24/7 platform support team. They work closely with the students and guide them through their learning journey. They’ll help you by communicating directly via Slack, reviewing your projects, holding webinars and live coding sessions, and providing emotional support.
We’ll describe these different roles in more detail using the web development course as an example, but the same structure applies to the data programs at Practicum.
Learning from Practicum’s Top Tutors
Tutors like Julian Hernandez shepherd you through the Practicum program. Julian has been teaching the web development course since February, but before that he’d worked as a software developer for five years.
Though all tutors have at least three years of experience in the field, they’re not just there because of their expertise. They’re also there to train students in the industry standards that companies expect from new coders even before they land a job.
“I’ve done pretty much all of it from freelancing, to small companies, to larger companies,” Julian said. “It’s been kind of a roller coaster ride through the whole industry.”
Though Julian enjoyed working as a full-stack developer, he discovered an enthusiasm for teaching early in his career and he never let it go. His work at Practicum is something he dreamed about doing from his first days as a developer.
Instructors with Experience
Coming from a self-taught background, Julian sees the value in a course like this – he has a chance to give students the guidance he’d never had.
“The number one thing that I think makes Practicum different from other courses and bootcamps is that they teach industry best practices,” Julian said. “When it comes to code you can write code that works, but there’s a difference between writing code that works and writing clean code. At the beginning of my career, I was writing spaghetti code, it worked and everything looked good, but once you actually looked at the code things were all over the place and it was a huge mess.”
Practicum’s tutors will guide you through the entire learning experience, helping you to zoom out and get a bird’s eye view of your future career path. They also provide guidance with weekly video sessions for your group and make themselves available to chat via Slack.
Students can arrange a one on one meeting with their tutors whenever they need help. The tutors can help them clear an obstacle with a project, or discuss strategy around a student’s educational and professional development goals.
Julian feels that the environment that this personal guidance provides is a strength of the program.
“One thing I love about Practicum is that I’ve never, in my entire time being here, heard anything about a sale,” Julian said. “It’s all about having the students graduate and be prepared for the real world. I’ve never gotten the idea that it was about money. It’s about having our students succeed. If you’re here, really take advantage of that because we really want you to succeed.”
You’ll learn how to write code that your future coworkers will appreciate, and you’ll do it in a supportive environment where everyone’s goals are aligned. Julian exemplifies the passion that Practicum values in its tutors.
A Real-World Environment With Professional Review
Practicum immerses students in a real-life working environment. The program’s project deadlines and sprint structure help set students’ expectations for their new careers after graduation.
Students submit their projects at the end of sprints that last two weeks each. During those two weeks, you can work at your own pace, but the project must be delivered on time.
The code reviewers at Practicum stand in for the veteran employees you’ll find at your first job. They’re in charge of making sure your code stands up to strict scrutiny, but in a way that gives you room to learn and grow.
Practicum doesn’t just rubber stamp student’s projects after they’re complete to keep students moving through the program. You’ll receive a review from a tech professional who will help make your projects stand out to employers – code reviewers.
The code reviewers hold students accountable for the high standards in the Practicum program. They go through each line of your code and design to make sure you’re grasping the material and learning the tools you need properly.
Code reviewers provide feedback as they work through your code. After one, two, or even three separate iterations of review and revision, your projects will be ready to show to potential employers.
“Code reviewers are web developers with lots of experience, and they give you a professional review of your code,” said Maria Shchur, Head of the International Guidance Team. “So after graduation, whether you work within a team or as a freelancer, other people can understand your code because it’s written correctly and it’s well-structured and clean.”
Reviewers don’t berate students through this process, they give them room to learn from their mistakes and become better coders. They love this process because it lets them give back to the profession by bringing up the next generation.
“We’re looking for the right motivation that fits our mission and values at Practicum,” Maria said. “We constantly improve the review process and feedback to be able to guide students gently with care.”
Practicum’s 24/7 Support Team
The support team is your first contact for technical issues on the platform or when you’re stuck on a task. They’re available 24/7 to help you through any technical problems you may be having, like questions about payment and navigating the platform. The support team also has coding knowledge which they use to help students solve problems with the code in the program’s practical tasks.
Kseniia Konduktorova is the Support Team Leader at Practicum. She manages the team that answers questions in the support chat on the platform and in the program’s Slack channels, Facebook page, or email at any time of day, any day of the week.
Solving Your Problem in 15 Minutes
The support team at Practicum’s main goal is to provide students with the best answer as fast as possible. That’s why whenever you reach out to them, you’ll get a reply within 15 minutes.
“Our students have work, families, university, and more, so they have a limited amount of time,” Kseniia said. “So they come to us for help with the answers. We encourage them to revisit the problem by engaging them with focused, effective questions. For instance, asking them to inspect the function closer and make sure it has [all of the] required arguments.”
They won’t explain why the code has to be written in a particular way, but they will run an auto-test to help struggling students find errors in their codes. After the auto-test, the support team can see if there’s a problem with the task or if it’s on the student’s side and then point out which line of code is causing the problem.
In addition to their technical help, they’re a supportive ear in moments when students are struggling with grasping the material and more.
“If a student can’t solve a test on the platform, no problem. We can help, we can explain how it works in the intro course,” Kseniia said. “If they can’t figure out how to pay for the course, we can send instructions on how to pay. If they don’t know their tutor or community manager, we can find them and help the student.”
They’re your main source of the information for urgent questions on the platform and guidance you need to break into your dream career. But your tutors are the main source of information on the tools you’ll use in your new career path.
Building a Successful Environment With Community Managers
The community managers at Practicum help build a collaborative environment where students can learn and network comfortably.
The community managers organize schedules, events, and hack-a-thons to give students a chance to grow as programmers and professionals. They also keep an eye on student’s progress and provide even more emotional support via direct communication in Slack.
They happily answer any questions that applicants may have about the Practicum organization, webinars, program structure, or choosing a career path before they enroll. If you’re interested in learning more about IT professions or the Practicum program itself, you can schedule a 30-minute call with the community managers for a personal education consultation.
The environment that the community managers help build is conducive to student success. And some students are so successful that they feel the need to give back to the program before they’ve even graduated.
Collaborating With Fellow Students
You’ll be working with both current students and graduates of the Practicum program for even more support on your learning journey.
Senior students are classmates that support you technically and emotionally. This peer collaboration makes you a better coder and prepares you for the tech workforce, where you’ll often work with your colleagues to complete projects.
Maria is always on the lookout for committed pupils that’d make great senior students. These students excel in the program, and they’re looking to develop skills beyond coding by helping others reach the level they have.
“They always meet deadlines, they like to help other students in the Slack channels,” Maria said. “And if they’re good at that and they want to develop their soft skills, become part of the program, and make an impact, we want them to become senior students and give them opportunities to do those things.”
The sprint masters are currently only available for students in the web development department. Normally, sprint masters work closely with students during the first three sprints to help them better adapt to the learning environment.
These Practicum grads function almost like teaching assistants. They have some experience in web development, so they can also answer more specific technical questions than senior students. Sprint masters help students overcome obstacles whenever their tutor’s expertise isn’t urgently needed.
The Practicum program isn’t just here to pass along the basic skills you need to be a junior tech professional. The entire guidance team is there to train people to be future leaders, strong coders, and all-around professionals that can share the same care and guidance they received in the program.
But when it’s time to finally launch your career, Practicum’s career service team steps in.
Cashing in on Your Effort With Career Services
After you’ve learned to code, you’ll be ready to start hunting for your dream job. And thanks to the Practicum Career Services team, you won’t be alone. Practicum’s career program is designed by HR professionals and web development team leads, so it’s strongly oriented towards the real job market.
This team will guide you from graduation to wherever you may land. Whether you land a job at a big corporation in Silicon Valley, a promising start-up in Denver or Brooklyn, or a remote desk anywhere around the world, they’ll support you all the way.
Career support is optional, but there’s no additional cost for students who choose to use it. Students can request to start career support early, but it becomes available to all students at Sprint 10 of the main program.
Students‘ first step in the program comes in the form of the Career Prep course. This course is available on the interactive platform where you’ll find the rest of your learning materials.
As graduation approaches, students will have the opportunity to enroll in the Career Acceleration Program to work with the career coaching team and tech experts at Practicum. They help hone the grads’ talents with mock interviews and link students with tech experts who provide feedback on their portfolios.
“How does your resume look? We’ll make it shine! Have you ever sold yourself in just 30 seconds in a one-in-a-life-time opportunity? Can you write a cover letter that won’t bore your prospective employers to tears? We got you!” said Anastasia Cherepanova, a product manager for the Student Acceleration & Employment program.
“We’re passionate about helping our students to make the right choices about their career,” Anastasia said. “We’ll boost their networking skills, help them get to know their job opportunities with the career map, as well as identifying and presenting the unique value proposition that will help them to become a valuable contributor to the tech community.”
Practicum continues to support its grads after they leave the program. During their first months at their new job, students may have technical or communication challenges in their new workplaces that they may want Practicum’s help with, and it’s no problem.
All of these support roles are just part of the strong Practicum experience.
The Practicum Experience
The great support that students get from Practicum makes the challenging curriculum less stressful. Though the program won’t be easy, you’ll always have someone to speak to that can help you make that next leap.
From the moment you start your program of choice, the staff at Practicum will welcome you with open arms.
You’ll never be alone, from your first line of code until the day you land your first job. There’s someone there every step of the way who is committed to helping you succeed. As Maria notes, they often feel the success of students personally.
“I feel inspired every day when I’m at Practicum,” Maria said. “Sometimes, I literally can jump when this amazing student who has really been struggling finds a job with a great company in a nice position. Because I remember how much we talked about it and how hard this student worked to achieve that goal. Sometimes I feel like I did it myself, I am very proud of our students.”
If you’re interested in seeing if this program works for you, visit the Practicum site for more information. The first 20 hours of every course are free, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide if this supportive program is a good fit.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.