Collaboration and automation in the frontend. What we learned from 13 schools

    Hello. Colleagues recently wrote on this blog that registration has opened for the next School of Interface Development in Moscow. I am very happy about the new set, because I was one of those who came up with the School in 2012, and since then I have been constantly studying it. It has evolved. Out of it came a whole mini-generation of developers with the broadest horizons and the ability to take on everything related to the frontend in projects. Some of the graduates work in Yandex, some do not.

    ShRI - as a service: also requires different formats of interaction, automation and experimentation. That's about it and we will talk today on Habré. There will be useful links for candidates.

    I do not want to repeat myself much: all the basic information about SRI 2019 is on the site. I’ll just remind you about opportunities for children from other cities: indicate in the questionnaire if you want to go through the first part (from September 7 to October 25) in absentia. Of course, for those who will cope with the test task, we will not refuse full-time participation - we will pay for the hostel and meals.

    We invite everyone who is interested in front-end development and experiencing an acute lack of practice to SRI. During the School, students gain experience in team development, learn systemic thinking and pump out the skills necessary for future work at Yandex and similar companies. The career track of SRI graduates looks something like this: first they become junior developers, then developers and, eventually, group leaders.

    This will be the seventh School in Moscow and the fourteenth, if we take into account all the cities where it was held - Simferopol, Minsk, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg. We have a flexible project. Each time we listen to the feedback of students: we change something, remove it, add it based on their needs and changes in the industry.

    Start date

    We make the introductory task quite difficult. In terms of meaning, the assignment for recruitment in Moscow is similar to what happened in Minsk SRI this year. We will give the task for dynamic layout, for writing JavaScript, and we will need to understand the new subject area. According to our calculations, it will take 5-7 days to complete, maybe a little more.

    After enrolling in the School, participants must go through two stages. At the first of these, students listen to lectures, do homework, and then take them apart with teachers and other students right in the classroom. It turns out a powerful synergy effect.

    One of the lectures is necessarily held in a much more intensive format than the rest. We are engaged in algorithms on it: for several hours in a row, students in practice learn the key algorithmic techniques.

    During the second stage, participants unite with each other in small teams and work in the hackathon mode (we call them shrikatons). The entire second stage, students work on real projects under the guidance of Yandex employees. In the final - protection of projects. The most successful ones have a real chance to get into production.

    This has not always been the case.

    How sri has changed

    We held the School for the first time in 2012. Initially, the idea was that we ourselves did not have enough specialists and we decided to “raise” them. But even then, we did not limit students to where they would later work. It is important to solve a high-level task - to strengthen a large ecosystem, returning graduates to it with an acquired deep understanding of the front-end. At conferences and meetings with developers, you can see how this process is paying off.

    Formats and program

    Previously, there were only lectures with homework and the defense of the graduation project. Moreover, the lectures are wide, designed for a basic level of student knowledge. Gradually, we realized that this didn’t make much sense. All information is already available online, it is more important to motivate students to find the information they need, ask them the right vector and, in general, instill a desire to learn. In addition, over the years of the SRI, we have accumulated a lot of material on basic topics, and we regularly update it.

    Now we concentrate more on public analysis of homework. This is an important part of the educational process. A joint analysis of the most common problems in each of the topics after each lecture helps to fix material in practice.

    When they came up with the shrikaton format, it gave a certain boost to the process. Before that, students prepared graduation projects at home alone. We thought it would be more efficient to pump teamwork. This skill is just hard to get if you are a beginner interface developer who works in a small company, and even more so if you are a freelancer. On shrikatons in each team there are mentors from Yandex - experienced developers, they help students to establish relationships and build a workflow.

    One of the shrikatons

    We also tried the format of joint schools when we worked in the context of “Mobilization” - the educational project of 2017 on the development of mobile products. Teams from SRI, the School of Managers, the School of Mobile Development and the School of Mobile Design were united in teams at the same time.

    This year we want to repeat something similar: we will make mixed teams from SRI and students from the School of backend development .

    Test Testing

    Each year, the test task becomes a little more difficult for applicants, and its verification is a little easier for us. Dozens of applications came to the first School - we checked them then manually. This year there will be about two thousand applications. I had to optimize the verification process: we made a single checklist and distributed the verification of tasks among a large number of people. At the previous SRI, we have already tried, and on this we will strengthen various automation and semi-automation of the verification process. For example, we will use autotests for faster verification of work before giving them for expert evaluation to the developer.


    About one hundred people are involved in the organization and conduct of ShRI. These are interface developers from all of Yandex from all departments, even from business units. Someone helps to draw up a program, someone conducts lectures or oversees shrikatons. Since there are many organizers, this does not greatly interfere with the current work tasks of employees. There is also benefit for them here: they learn to educate others, mentor and generally do more complex projects. Win-win.


    As in our vacancies and internships, there are no age restrictions. We are waiting for university students and specialists who have minimal experience in front-end development. It is important for us that a person has a desire and ability to learn.

    A student of SRI is in a borderline state: he already knows something and knows how, but he may lack system knowledge and team development experience in large companies, he lacks practice. Shri does not teach from scratch.

    At the same time, you may not be just a front-end, but engage in, for example, design, technical project management or backend development. In any case, if your knowledge and experience is enough to complete the test task, it makes sense to go to study at SRI. In-depth knowledge of the front-end will help to better understand the problems of colleagues.

    If every designer and manager with whom we work had such a level of understanding of interface development, everyone would definitely feel better.

    Over the years of the School, we noticed that the developers who come to work for Yandex from SRI show excellent results in an internal review.

    We associate this with the fact that the SRIS people have the correct way of thinking and the archetype of the student. They look at the world with open eyes, do not hesitate to ask if something is not clear. They know how to work independently and are easily combined with others.

    From other cities

    We bring students from all over Russia, because active study and cohabitation with like-minded people creates a very intensive regime - thereby taking them out of their home context. It’s like a summer camp, a student dormitory or the now popular coliving format. Some participants from Moscow are envious and asked to join the hostel to fellow students.

    Part time

    This year, the first stage with lectures and homework will be possible in absentia, remotely - right from your city. But the second step is to come to Moscow, as the magic of teamwork begins. While we do not know how many places will be available for distance learning. The psychological moment of group dynamics is important here, it is important to feel ownership of the group.

    We want students who study on the same stream to communicate with each other and become friends. If half of the applicants will study remotely, and the flow will be too large, for example, 100 people, then there will be an unpleasant effect of loneliness in the crowd. Therefore, on one stream, we usually have 30–40 students.

    Yandex conversion statistics

    From each stream of recent years, we take from 60% to 70% of graduates for internships and vacancies.

    In total, 539 students were unlearned in SRI, 244 of them became Yandex employees (not counting those who were only on the internship). Now the company has 163 graduates.

    Since last year's schools, we employed 59 people: 29 interns, 30 full-time developers. Graduates work in various Yandex services: Direct, Search, Mail, the main page, Market, Geoservices, Auto, Zen, Metric, Health, Money.

    BEM and the hybrid approach to mobile development

    SRI is not tied to BEM. Of course, if we talk about the development of interfaces, we mean the one that has developed in Yandex - that is, heavy workloads, many users, high quality standards and attention to detail. Even for the creation of small regional sites, it is important to understand the foundation of the profession, to understand what you can save on and why, and what not. At the request of students, we devoted one of the lectures to BEM, since this methodology has become the standard in many places.

    We are teaching specifically web development and related technologies, as well as mobile development and mobile layout in the context of web technologies, we use a hybrid approach to creating applications. Therefore, in SRI we do not touch on aspects of native programming in Swift, Objective-C, Cocoa, C ++, Java. We also do not touch on development for React Native.

    Open webinar

    This Wednesday, June 19, at 19:00 Moscow time, my colleagues and I will organize a webinar about the School - we will answer the questions of those who are thinking of entering or have already begun to do the assignment (of course, I will also come to comment on this post). Here is a link to YouTube, you can click "Remind".

    What to read for preparation

    Useful Sites

    - A Modern JavaScript Tutorial
    - WebReference

    - JavaScript. Detailed Guide (6th Edition), David Flanagan
    - Perfect Code, Steve McConnell
    - Refactoring. Improving Existing Code, Martin Fowler  
    - Git Book
    Courses on Udacity ( link )

    - Linux Command Line Basics
    - Browser Rendering Optimization
    - Website Performance Optimization
    - JavaScript
    - Networking for Web Developers
    - HTML5 Canvas
    - Responsive Images
    - Responsive Web Design Fundamentals
    - Offline Web Applications
    - Web Tooling & Automation
    - JavaScript Testing
    - Intro to Progressive Web Apps
    - Software Testing
    - Object-Oriented JavaScript

    - Yandex Academy Channel
    - SRI Materials
    - Screencast by Node.js
    - Screencast by Webpack 
    - Screencast by Gulp
    - ES6 Basics
    - Javascript Tutorial For Beginners
    - Javascript Fundamentals
    - Modular Javascript
    - React JS Tutorials
    - Redux Tutorials
    - CodeDojo
    - the Google Developers
    - the Microsoft Developer,
    - Facebook Developers
    - Tekhnostroy Group is with Mail.Ru

    And try yourself in solving problems can be at  CodeSignal .

    This is not a complete list, there are many more useful materials. Rather, we want applicants to pay attention to certain topics and to devote time to them. It is important that students themselves want to search for information.

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