The time for change is now. No matter how intimidating the thought of starting from scratch might be – my best advice is to do it. In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.
Our IT internship program in Pentalog’s Brasov office, PentaStagiu, has attracted many courageous and curious minds who had the opportunity to receive free training on one or more technical tracks – most of them students, not necessarily with a technical background. A large percentage of attendees, however, were experienced professionals in other fields, interested in career change training.
What attracted them to PentaStagiu Brasov?
Various Tech Tracks: React, Java, .NET, QA and Soft Skills
Weekly Remote Courses that took place usually after working hours
Access to video recordings of the courses to replay whenever needed
Facebook group support where we share knowledge & best practices
Detailed roadmap, explained
Continuous feedback on at-home assignments
Seasoned IT professionals as mentors
Intensive training: 3 months of hard work (November 2018 – March 2019)
Those who scored the best on tests and those who made a good impression on our mentors had their CVs sent to SkillValue for further assessment and opportunities.
PentaStagiu Brasov 2nd edition, in a Nutshell:
100+ recorded training hours
200+ assignments reviewed
200+ pieces of feedback received
In comparison with last year, when our PentaStagiu program in Brasov offered only two tracks (QA & .NET) and 100+ applicants, this year alone we received over 500 applications from which we invited 400 IT enthusiasts to study on five different tracks: React, Java, .NET, QA and Soft Skills.
The most popular track considering the number of applicants was Java, with more than 120 applications received.
The highest number of participants accepted were for the Java & React tracks. 90 for each!
For our Soft Skills track, only 50 participants were accepted. The soft skill gap in IT is real. We like to make sure our teams are well-rounded and have interpersonal capabilities like a collaborative mindset and effective communication skills.
We were impressed with the ambition of all the people interested in career change training. They were so dedicated and so hard working!
PentaStagiu – The Largest Internship Program in Romania and Eastern Europe
PentaStagiu is one of the most sought after IT training programs in Romania offering the required practical experience needed to break into the tech industry. Taking into account the growing number of applications each year, with requests coming all the way from Canada, and the positive feedback we received after each session, PentaStagiu is constantly changing to accommodate everyone’s needs.
This year, we received applications from Brasov, Iasi, Chisinau, Suceava, Sfantu Gheorghe, Bucuresti, Cluj and many other different cities, from people who were previously economists, technicians, customer support representatives, bankers or marketing specialists. We’re thinking the number of applicants would be even higher if we offered our courses in English!
Although we are considering this idea for the future, there are so few IT training programs in Romanian, at the present moment we are focused on building in this direction and helping people with a non-technical background understand what IT is all about in their mother tongue – and we’d like to think we’re doing a good job!
Since the demand for coding skills is high and growing still, this year we offered 5 instead of 2 specialized training courses and took in more people with different backgrounds and needs. Our PentaTeam in Brasov decided to increase the area of impact to help even more people discover the IT world through remote courses in the webinar format.
Pentalog Superheroes in Action
I am grateful to have dedicated colleagues who always find time to volunteer and help others. They are both independent and motivated. First, they shared responsibilities among themselves, composed a schedule and decided what kind of presentations to prepare. Then, they hosted the online courses, prepared the homework assignments, responded to different questions, offered more learning resources and stayed connected to all the participants.
In comparison to last year, with only one mentor per session, this year we paired up to make the online sessions more engaging and fun – this also helped us immensely. While one of us presented the technical subject, the other answered questions and made sure the video transmission worked properly.
Next Steps in Developing Pentalog’s IT Internship Program
This years’ PentaStagiu experience made us richer.
We met great people whose first steps we were able to guide while discovering the IT field.
We’ve strengthened our own team collaboration and worked in an Agile way, according to the needs and expectations of the group.
We learned a great deal from the feedback received and based on that decided the following:
Next year, we’ll take into account the current tech trends and provide training for the most sought after technologies and programming languages.
We’ll consider following up on the tech trends we already provided training since the first time we targeted people with little or no technical knowledge.
We also want to enlarge the remote database and set the basis of a strong PentaStagiu community.
Here’s what PentaStagiu participants said about our IT training program:
“I joined this PentaStagiu program because I wanted to learn something new. My technical knowledge was basic, but with effort and with the help of the homework, I was able to learn a lot in a relatively short time. I think the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing and to be motivated”. – Crina, Java participant
“I really enjoyed the PentaStagiu program. I learned many things about how I can use the React framework to improve my website.” – Alexandru, React participant
“I found some information about PentaStagiu Brasov on a group where internships are presented. At first, I admit, I was a bit reluctant, as there are many remote courses one can join, however not being what one actually looks for. But then I said, why not? I heard about Pentalog, I’ve read articles about the company, so I knew there is an office in Cluj-Napoca, the city where I live. I first enrolled in the Soft Skills program and after two days, I registered to the QA and .Net tracks. To my surprise, I was accepted to all three and I began to arrange my schedule according to the PentaStagiu courses. The good thing was that I could connect from my phone, I just needed an internet connection and if I skipped one class I could watch the replay. The mentors were involved and funny and I really liked the fact that they asked for feedback after every session. I highly recommend PentaStagiu for the new things I learned. It’s never too late to learn something new.” – Alexandra, Soft skills, .Net & QA participant
“For me, the PentaStagiu QA was a great opportunity, one that came at the perfect moment – when I really needed to take a step outside of my comfort zone and to discover new things. It came not just as a new check-point on my CV but as a great experience, one from which I learned a lot. The information was very well documented and the most important aspect for me, shared in a relaxed but professional way with us. The mentors were always available, they answered all questions and collaboration with them was a pleasure. They were always in a good mood, very positive and kind. I could see from the first interactions that they are highly experienced and well trained. To me, this internship was very helpful because it was a chance to discover new opportunities, learn the base of quality assurance engineering and enlarge my career perspectives. I recommend the internship because you will learn a lot of useful things, it’s interesting and it’s a chance for you to try something different, to explore more and to develop yourself, not just professionally but also personally and at the end of the day you will be able to consider this new career opportunity, as I did.” – Alexandra, QA participant
And here’s our mentors’ feedback:
“This was the second time I attended the QA Petastagiu as a mentor. This time, it was exciting and challenging in the same time: in our presentation we used bulleted lists, graphs and other visual aids to make things easier to read and understand, all the sessions were recorded and the participants were able to watch the training seasons even if they couldn’t attend. We stayed in touch all the time with our participants and answered their questions and followed their feedback to refine our presentations for the next QA Penstagiu. It was nice to see that the results of the tests and exercises we gave were great and the participants have a good chance to pass an interview as a QA entry level after attending the QA Pentastagiu. I’m proud to be part of such a great team of mentors and a company that is trying to make a difference.”
– Mihai, QA mentor
“Participating in the PentaStagiu program was a great experience for me because I like teaching the next generation of programmers. In the .NET course, I taught the participants about the basics of the C# language, creating simple programs and how to structure the programs better. My colleagues also taught more advanced topics including the creation of a web application.” – Ovidiu, .NET mentor
“Being part of the PentaStagiu team was challenging, even though I am a trainer for more than 7 years, because I was used to seeing the participants and interacting with them. But for PentaStagiu, we had remote sessions and the first time I had to present something it felt a bit odd, because the interaction with the participants was very limited, I could not see their smiles when I made a geeky joke or their joy of understanding what I was talking about. So, we had to improvise a bit, we tried to make the presentations as interactive as they could be in writing, asked them to raise hands and made frequent pauses to check if they understood or had questions. The second edition of PentaStagiu was better from my point of view, because we would have another trainer as an assistant and at least I got some human interaction and someone who would monitor the chat and let me know if I missed any questions. I was glad to see a lot of interested participants who would ask questions during the session, and also some who would write privately, after the sessions, when they encountered issues with their homework. It was wonderful to finally meet them, in real-life, during the final meetup – they were eager to know about us and what’s it like to be a programmer and the most rewarding part was that they let us know what we taught them was useful and some of them are already using them or are eager to as soon as they get hired. One of the most impactful experiences for me was one day, when I was coming to work and someone stopped me on the street because he recognized me from the PentaStagiu and thanked me. I felt a bit like a rockstar, but at the same time I was glad I could put a face to that name that I saw during the presentations.” – Nadia, .NET mentor