HeadHunter programming school - how it really was


In early September last year, HeadHunter announced the fifth recruitment to the annual school of programmers. They promised to "teach programming" and teach back-end development. I became interested in this offer and decided to try my hand. From an official source it was not very clear how the training would take place. Now that I know how it goes, I want to talk about it so that it is easier for others to decide whether or not to go there.

I'll start with a short story about myself: I am a 4th year student of the Department of Mathematical Modeling of the Moscow Energy Institute. 2 years worked as a C ++ programmer. I am fond of development for Android, I write websites in Python, I am interested in various algorithms.

The decision to go to this school was spontaneous - I was not going to switch to web-development (the school prepares website developers), but I did not exclude this possibility. I wanted to try something new - I tried. And this is what came of it.


Admission to the school consisted of two stages:
  • Full-time interview. About a month later, they called me for an interview. Five people were invited to it, they were seated at the tables, they were given assignments and left. In total, there were three tasks that required minimal knowledge and programming skills to solve, at the level of: what is the stack and how to find the distance between 2 points and know how to evaluate the complexity of the algorithms (the tasks, although not complicated, are cumbersome, so I cannot describe them here). They handed out tasks and left. After about an hour, they began to call one at a time in the next office, where they discussed these problems from the beginning, and then asked questions about the experience, asked to solve simple tasks by ingenuity, and asked how the map works in java.

Did the same

A couple of weeks later I received an invitation to study at school.

In early November, the first lesson was held. On it we were told about the school in more detail, and most importantly - fed. Yes, there were cool sandwiches and juice. And then for two hours they sat and talked in a less formal setting, both with each other and with the developers of the company, where they could learn more about the school, the company and the stack of technologies used.

The group was not very large, 14 people. Basically, they were graduates or students of mathematical specialties of the largest universities in Moscow.


It went through in two stages. At the first, the participants listened to lectures and completed assignments, and at the second they were engaged in project activities, but it was still necessary to reach the second stage.

To teach or not to teach themselves revered?
The training was held according to the principle: we give you minimal knowledge and complex tasks, and then ourselves. This approach implies that the student will spend a lot of time on independent study of the material. Then the question arises - "why then school?" It seems to me that in order to direct the forces of self-education in the right direction, those minimal knowledge provided a sufficient basis in order to understand what queries to enter into the search engine. I like this approach - you don’t spend too much time on lectures that you can attend yourself at a convenient time. By the way, they also gave coffee and cookies, as employees, which could not but rejoice.

What was taught and how it was
Learned about the following: bash, java, git, python, postgreSQL, agile (a whole series of lectures was devoted to him, and this, in my opinion, is very good), testing, JS, etc.

Almost every new lecture is a new technology / language / principle and a new lecturer, and the company's developers were lecturers.
Some lecturers surprised me - they took training very seriously and managed to tell a huge amount of information in two or three hours. And not only to tell, but also to teach her to use.

But still, about half of the lectures were completely useless, this happened for various reasons. One of them is that the lecturer explained the topic as if he was in an exam at a university and he needed not to be taught how to work with technology, but not to be mistaken in the name, as a result of which those who knew did not learn anything new, but those who did not know - didn’t get anything. Another reason for the bad lectures was that the lecturers came absolutely unprepared and gave out phrases like this: “I was asked to give you a lecture. I don’t know what I should talk about, so I’ll tell you what I told my development team a week ago. ”

An attempt to improve lectures
Due to the low quality of some lectures, we began to write to the school management that something needed to be changed. By correspondence, it was decided to introduce feedback to each lecture. We introduced feedback, but we did not notice any changes.
This situation made me hesitate - I felt sorry for the wasted time. But after class lectures, I felt sorry for skipping subsequent lectures, in the end I went to almost everything.

Back to school?
The learning process itself exactly corresponded to the name "school": we went to classes, we were noted, we were given grades for completed tasks. Only here was another drawback: it was assumed that the tasks would revise our code, but this did not always happen. And not because it was not intended, but because the school did not calculate its strength and the lecturers did not have time to check these assignments, and therefore the assessment rules changed, and this happened after the completion.

Leaving school

Most of the tasks began to be given in January - February. In the same period, I began a session at the institute and I could not attend lectures and perform assignments, in connection with which I had a lot of setbacks and a little lost desire to return to this school because of the emergency. Why rake when you can leave? That was the end of my hesitation about whether to attend lectures or not.

Most of my classmates suffered a similar fate, and only a few people were invited to the second part.


Now there is a big lack of staff in IT, and the idea of ​​organizing a school is wonderful.

In my opinion, the organization of the school was approached rather irresponsibly. Maybe the allocated funds were not enough - the school was free.

I did not finish my studies, but despite this, I think that this school was very useful for me - I learned the technology stack for creating websites, I learned agile principles.

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