I remember the time when I was a student. It was the best time in my life - no longer parental control and no duties so far. Freedom! Constant hikes, night hangouts by the sea and so on. However, by the second year I realized that it was not promising to make a living as a steeplejack by insulating other people's apartments. What could I do? I was studying at the IT specialty and also practicing different programming tasks, which I invented myself at home. But I did not have any notion of how to find a job and what was required for that.
I was lucky once again. The curator of my group, then the thesis supervisor, then a friend, Konstantin Ramazanov introduced me to Olesya Gileva. At that time she was working as a project manager in one of the first Ukrainian product companies, Computer Systems Odessa. I enrolled in the development course within the company's student intern program. That was my first experience with IT professionals. After the training, I stayed on internship and after a while I got into the leading team of the company.
After 8 years, due to personal and professional reasons, I left the company and began experiments with personal projects. It was interesting and dangerous, because the savings were extremely small and there was no margin for error.
After some time and a series of mistakes, I managed to create a company that in a few years was named KeepSolid. We were evolving. Not always successfully, often recruited employees who had absolutely no desire to develop the company. However, there were positive examples as well, but we did not understand how to duplicate them, just trusting to chance. Now the company is 3.5 years old and we have very powerful testing tools for candidates. However, it is not so easy to find candidates who meet the minimum criteria. Unfortunately, many specialists are spoiled by companies that for various reasons are not interested in professional growth of their employees. As a result, a lot of interviews show that candidates for positions in software engineering do not have sufficient knowledge in algorithmization, Boolean algebra, binary mathematics, and design patterns.
We never stop interviews, the KeepSolid staff is regularly replenished with new professionals with unique knowledge, but the speed of recruiting while maintaining the quality of candidates is very low. I don't even know when exactly that happened, but I found a way to figure it out. On the one hand, we do not have enough candidates, on the other, I remember myself as a student, whom the Odessa Polytechnic University left to my fate. I gathered colleagues, whom I trusted the most, and we decided to arrange an internship for students in our company. We chose interesting areas: programming, design, testing, marketing. We found employees who on pure enthusiasm supported the initiative and became mentors at the internship.
Each new enrollment is a new experience for us. Every time we sort out mistakes and draw conclusions. This winter we conducted the fourth internship in our company, students immediately plunged into the practical part and by the summer we expect a beta version of their product. I hope that we will see the achievements of the students involved in their first professional project.
Working with students is a risk. The risk of investing a lot of effort and not getting the result, the time to train each student and turn him into a beginner specialist remains unknown. Not all students master the necessary disciplines, many of them have troubles with a practical part. We found that the average conversion from the incoming students to the interns is ~10%. However, apart from the risk, we get the opposite effect as well: students are like a clean sheet, so far they are not spoiled by other companies regarding the quality and speed of development, many students' eyes are glowing with regard to work, not just money. Looking at many interns I nostalgically remember myself - prospects, no limits, it all depends on me!
This summer we are opening the enrollment for internship again. Another interesting project, modern technologies, and unlimited prospects in the product company - all these are awaiting for new students!