We identified premises in the Samara office and provided training infrastructure in it. We prepared a server with the KVM virtualization platform, installed a secure local network, and purchased personal laptops with Debian OS for students.
One of the most time-consuming stages was the formation of a training program. We started from the technologies that we use in our work every day. We are talking about administering the Linux OS and our most popular application stack, such as a web server, load balancer, mail service and others. We couldn’t help but consider DevOps practices. The red line through the learning process was the topics of virtualization, containerization, and automation.
Funnel at inlet and outlet
Let’s move on to the numbers. I conducted 50 interviews, 11 people were admitted to the entrance exam and 9 of them scored above the passing mark. Those who gave less than half of the correct answers on the following topics were not allowed to take the exam:
- data structures
- basics of programming
- basic networking principles
- Typical Linux OS administration questions
Funnel at the entrance
Of the 9 students admitted to the exam, 5 people passed both stages of training, and we hired all of them.
The reason why some students left the program was either academic failure or the inability to successfully combine university studies with an internship.
Adaptation of new employees to the workplace
We hired engineering school graduates to work for us. What’s next? Is it possible to relax and watch fire, water and how others work? No. An equally important process is adaptation. To ensure that efforts to organize training are not in vain and students do not leave on probation, it is important to pay attention to this process.
We have revised the onboarding process. We reworked the documentation, introduced reminders and checklists for tasks for the probationary period, and separated the sandbox for beginners into a separate circuit. Each new employee was provided with a personal mentor, the duration of the joint work was 3 months. The results of this work – both for the student and for the mentor – were summed up at the reporting meeting.
Previously, some MyOffice departments already had mentors, but it was after the experiment with the engineering school that the mentoring system was rolled out throughout the company. You can find out how it works from our recent article.
Replication of the training program and project economics
From the very beginning, we carefully documented all stages of training to ensure the reproducibility of the curriculum and its replication. Our company has a training organization “
“- where we transferred all the developments. Based on this information, colleagues created a special course. Now our program can be run an unlimited number of times without directly connecting engineering resources.
The implementation of the first stream is always the most expensive. But we still have a number of artifacts left for reuse: materials, infrastructure, successful experience. Thanks to this, training costs will decrease in subsequent years. In one or two years, we expect to reduce costs by two to three times. At the same time, according to our calculations, the hiring potential will reach 15 people per flow. Will we be able to integrate so many graduates into the company? Yes, because engineers with such a profile will be in demand in QA, RnD, and other departments.
Results of the first stream “MyOffice Start”
Upon completion of the first stream of training at our engineering school, we achieved the following results:
- With an initial funnel of 50 interviews, 5 engineers were hired in 3 months;
- We created our own unique training course;
- We submitted our developments to a special training organization and carried out replication;
- At the same time, we introduced a mentoring program in the company, thereby making life easier for other departments;
- Completed the task of increasing awareness of the company’s HR brand.
A retrospective of the project showed that 4 out of 5 hired engineers continue to work, one person left the company on a probationary period because he could not combine working 40 hours a week and studying at the university. We treated the situation with understanding. In addition, during this period applicants for a new recruitment appeared.
By the way, you can sign up to participate in our program at special page “MyOffice Start”. Applications for the next cohort will open in 2024.
Launch of the second stream: adjustments
In October 2023, we launched the second stream of the MyOffice Start program. We previously collected feedback from graduates, teachers, and organizers and made the following adjustments:
- 3rd year students were excluded from enrollment. As a rule, it is most important for such students to devote maximum time to the university program;
- For the purpose of horizontal growth, we gave the opportunity to participate in the program for company employees;
- We analyzed the workload on the teaching staff and concluded that we could expand the group to 20 people;
- Based on feedback from graduates of the first cohort, the course program itself was adjusted, in particular, more information was added about containerization and orchestration technologies;
- We also reviewed the literature. For the first round, we purchased paper books, and they turned out to be ineffective. Our students are buzzers, the first generation to be fully shaped by digital technology. And digital media is primary for them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of e-book recommendations, as well as a selection of video courses on our topics.
We are now receiving applications for the next round of internships. We do not rest on our laurels and constantly analyze the learning process. The following changes are already planned:
- Going online. This training format is demonstrating increasing popularity and effectiveness;
- Based on the first point: development of an educational portal for convenient interaction between the teacher and students;
- Expanding the number of internship specializations. So that students can be employed in various departments.
Drawing the line
I remember how at the start of our initiative I asked myself: where to look for interested candidates? How to create an optimal training program without making it overloaded? How to make sure that after training students do not scatter, but continue to work in the company for the long term? I tried to collect answers to these and other questions in this article. Perhaps you will take advantage of our experience and implement your own educational projects with less effort.
Additionally, I am attaching a general plan for implementing training programs. Stick with it on your journey to successfully sharing knowledge!