11 Apr
22
CEO of Visuality

Visuality Academy for wannabe Junior Engineers

Many years ago I wrote an article about giving junior engineers a possibility to grow. Quite recently I had a chance to review this piece, and I can say - I wish people had followed that path:) In 2022 it is very hard to find candidates with decent Ruby On Rails skills. There are several reasons as to why it’s happening:

  1. People think Ruby is dying
  2. Companies are looking strictly for MID/SENIOR engineers
  3. There is lack of organised spaces where young students of IT studies can learn more about ruby.

We’ve been hearing that Ruby and Rails were obsolete for many years, yet we are still here and we are sending clients away because we do not have enough workforce to satisfy the demand. As the first point is totally not true, the rest is unfortunately valid.

IS Ruby Dead?

Because of that situation we decided to introduce Visuality Academy - a space where inexperienced IT enthusiasts (mostly, but not only, students of IT related courses) can learn more about this language and have the opportunity to take the first step in their careers.

But let’s rewind a bit:)

The beginnings

When we first came up with the idea of training juniors at a bigger scale (as we were always doing this) we encountered the biggest problem - WHO will take care of this program? As we have a lot of talented people in our company that would be capable/willing to teach others, there is the main issue of time. As you all know, the agency model is simple - you work for the client, you get paid. If you do anything else it is treated as an investment. While sparing SOME time is not a problem, taking care of many people at once would become a huge obstacle in the business model. That would push us to take fewer candidates and therefore have limited options throughout the program.

And at that point we met Oskar Lakner from Nerds.Family. He introduced us to the idea of them managing the process with SOME help from our engineers. That seemed like a perfect solution, especially that Oskar and his people have vast experience in training people and acquiring the talent - because teaching is not the only “problem”. The other one is where to find good candidates. Again, Nerds.Family have vast experience in finding the right people - they have an abundance of connections at the universities which makes it easy to assemble the dream-team.

As for the learning process, they have planned everything for us (with help of our CTO). What’s more - they already have all the necessary tools that make it easier to assess skills. Our engineers will serve only as mentors at later stages - which is the perfect combination - because they will not spend that much time but on the other hand will be able to give good value and introduce potential candidates to our processes and values. So for those that will finish the course it will be way easier to dive into our culture and start working faster.

I guess you may be interested in how the academy works in details - for this I’d definitely forward you to the website - https://nerds.family/visuality-academy/ - most of the information is already there, and if you need to know anything else - you can simply drop a line - we will answer your questions.

What is truly important to mention here - is that during the course of Visuality Academy you will not only learn some theory, but you will dive into one of specially designed test projects - that will help you not only learn technical skills required to complete it, but also you will be able to see HOW software is build - I’m talking about workflows (mostly Agile), proper standards, etc. After finishing the academy you will have the practical knowledge (gathered with the supervision of true experts) that will allow you to be a true Junior Engineer, not an entry-level candidate with no practical or commercial experience. The idea is that during the course of academy you should be as close to real working conditions as possible.

Results

So what are the results so far? Without ANY advertisement we managed to collect over 200 candidates. You may say that is a lot, and we won’t be able to hire that many people.

That is obviously true. BUT you need to remember that:
We will be needing talented juniors every few months - so if you won’t manage to get hired now and you’re good - there is a big chance we will talk to you pretty soon; We have a network of companies sharing similar values to ours. We know that they have the means to hire junior engineers and help them grow rapidly - so we will be willing to refer you to people we know - in the end - Visuality is not the ONLY company in the world (although we are one of the best in the world, according to well-known and independent software companies aggregator - CLUTCH).
Even if you won’t get hired by us directly or get referred to one of our partners, you still will gain the necessary knowledge to find your first company by yourself.

We are very excited about this initiative and truly believe that thanks to that we will be able to train more junior engineers and show people that Ruby is not only alive, but also thriving and there are countless opportunities out there:)

So if you are interested in joining the academy, or know someone who might be, please do not hesitate to share the news around!

Since the last blog post about recruitment was written three years ago, our approach to quality hasn’t changed (we still treat it as the highest priority). But we gained some additional experience regarding recruitment - feedback from candidates suggested that our previous process was a little too long and complicated. Of course, we also accommodated pandemics and allowed remote recruitment meetings. As a result, we have a more flexible, shorter, and consistent recruitment process. Let me describe it.

I decided to break my radio silence again. I’ve just written an article about our 13th birthday and figured out I feel creative enough to write another one. I wanted to choose something that would be valuable to our clients and interesting to others as well. Hence the topic “how to approach funding as an MVP”.