The annual PHP pre-employment training: sneak peek behind the scene - part III

The annual PHP pre-employment training: sneak peek behind the scene - part III

The first week of the pre-employment training is coming to an end and by now everyone’s motors are running smooth. The tone has been set, the first lessons thought and first questions asked: all in all, plenty of reasons to run off and enjoy the weekend.

But before we do just that, we wanted to bring up-front the last bit of the series we started at the beginning of the training, which is meant to introduce our trainers and some of their thoughts on the mentoring process. We’ve heard from 4 of our trainers: Calin P., Andra, Diana and Bogdan, so Razvan and Calin B. are up next and ready to close the circle.

There’s a good chance you’ve noticed by now how the same questions brought to light differing views, nuanced answers and particularities of each individual that fills the shoes of a mentor. In our bunch you’ll often find that some are more organized than others, more pragmatic or more idealistic, either brief and concise or long-winded and elaborate. It’s precisely all these differing qualities that we value and allow for our team to be successful, because time and again our differences favor us to be disruptive from the inside and not fall into groupthink. This weighs heavy, especially in the learning process, as it constantly requires innovation and flexibility.

Part of what we’re trying to accomplish in the pre-employment training is to expose the trainees to different styles of teaching and relating, so that they can get accustomed to various approaches and think critically about whatever challenge that may arise.

Perhaps the best assessment of this point is about to follow in the Q&A with Razvan and Calin B. These guys might not share the same word count, but when it comes to teaching, they definitely share the dedication.

Without further ado, we’ll let you be the judge.

Razvan - Senior Symfony Developer

What motivates you to get involved in training interns?

I like the idea of sharing my knowledge and the idea of helping people in the process of learning and understanding new things.

Which training approach do you prefer and why: “blueprints” or “freestyle”?

Freestyle.

What’s the hardest thing to teach?

I have no answer here. I haven't got myself into a situation to consider a topic hard to teach.

How does this experience benefit you?

It makes me strength my knowledge, remember some technical stuff and improve my social skills.

Tell us the story of your friendship with PHP.

I started learning PHP in the late 2007 and since then I'm working with it daily.

What advice would you give to your trainees?

Treat the internship seriously!

Calin B. - Senior Symfony Developer

What motivates you to get involved in training interns?

I try to think of a single reason, but there isn’t just one. Being a trainer is not just rewarding if you do a good job; it’s challenging, it’s breaking routine, it puts you on the spot, it’s humbling, it’s scary and exciting at the same time. On top of that experience, you get to meet a lot of people and to choose the ones that will become your colleagues. While it is empowering, it also makes you feel responsible for not only the knowledge base and skills of others, but their well being as well, and this entire process creates connections with people that will never be just ‘acquaintances’ ever again. I never thought I’ll end up doing something like this, but I have to say, I caught the taste of it pretty quickly and even if sometimes it’s not easy, it’s worth it.

Which training approach do you prefer and why: “blueprints” or “freestyle”?

I never was a fan of the serious professor type. I like talking face to face and having the feeling that we solve problems together. I like to think I’m a friendly person and that doesn’t change while I work with the trainees: also I found that a less formal environment makes everyone open up faster, get involved and try their best at whatever it is we’re doing.

What’s the hardest thing to teach?

Quantum mechanics. Well, actually I don’t find something in particular hard to teach. The hard part of teaching is not the content itself, but finding the right way to make each trainee curious, interested and dedicated to what we do. Motivation is something that’s not thought, it is inspired and some people need to find their drive on their own. Helping them do that is what I find more challenging than all the applications I’ve built.

How does this experience benefit you?

I’ve learned so much since I joined the training team, it’s almost unfair to the trainees. From public speaking to revisiting and better understanding all the technical concepts we work with to better social skills, being a trainer teaches you a lot of things. It’s honestly an opportunity you can’t miss. I’d recommended it on everyone’s bucket list.

Tell us the story of your friendship with PHP.

I think that PHP is my favorite hammer from my toolbelt, but it is just a hammer. Even though I owe PHP my career and I respect that, I also try to be pragmatic and think of the best option for the best context. That being said, PHP is best for the web. I found that PHP is a very easy language to learn, but difficult to master. The language is rewarding because it lets you build very complex systems fast, but coding standards and design principles become vital if you want to build something good because of PHP’s accessible nature, so learning constantly becomes a way of life. That very nature gives you a lot of power that also comes with a lot of responsibility. I don’t see myself changing that anytime soon.

What advice would you give to your trainees?

The answer to this question is 10 weeks long and the trainees hear it every day; they’ll hear how to be better developers, how we found our way in this technical world and we’ll help them find theirs. My advice for them is to enjoy the ride.

Couldn’t have said it better! On this note, here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the ride of getting acquainted with our trainers and if nothing else, that you can attest to why we believe them to be the right people for the job. Next time, we’ll switch shoes and try to get a glimpse of what is like to be a trainee in this pre-employment program. Stay tuned!


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