Honest review about 3 courses for developers from Yandex Practicum

In this review, I will try to tell in detail and in detail about my experience of taking courses for developers in Yandex Practicum. I will try to help the reader decide whether he needs it and what awaits him – if you are a beginner who wants to change his profession, or an already established specialist or IT specialist with experience and a great background. Since I myself was a developer, the review will focus on the Workshop courses for them, but in general the text will be relevant for other representatives of the “it-world”.

Probably someone will have a question – “Why did you appear? What, after the courses you stopped being a developer? :)”. The question is good and the answer to it will be waiting at the end of the review.

A few details about myself

A few words about myself so that you understand who you are dealing with before you start reading the review itself.

  • My name is Roman Suranov, I’m 31 years old (wow already?!)

  • Graduated from the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology with a degree in electronics engineer of integrated electronic circuits.

  • I have been working in IT for about 10 years. First, I freelanced for a couple of years as a student, then I went as a web developer for my first job in the office – and away we go.

I’ll make a reservation right away, the review will contain information only about courses for developers. Yandex Practicum has courses for designers, marketers (internet marketers, to be precise), testers, data analysts, even in English – all this will remain behind the scenes, you won’t be here for information about them.

I’ll start my review with my story. I had no goals and ambitions to become a developer. At school there were computer science lessons in Pascal, where we solved problems and coded. It was given to me quite simply, like other exact sciences – physics, algebra, geometry.

Then for the second year in the country the Unified State Examination was held, and they entered institutes based on its results. In the best way, I just passed computer science, but went to study physics (as you can see, even then there were some problems with logic …)

Programming at the institute as such was also, as far as I remember, “on the plus side”, but then it didn’t fascinate me at all.

Most likely, because the abstract problems that you solve during your training are not of practical use. You do not see the result of your labors – and therefore do not receive emotional satisfaction. An illusion is created that all this is useless, and the brain begins to resist. Therefore, learning new things is hard – and this skill must be developed and maintained constantly.

Probably, I would have remained engaged in microcircuits (although I didn’t like it at all) if not for one BUT. One ordinary evening in the 4th year of the institute, my good friend and classmate Sasha comes to my dorm and says something like this: “Hi, listen, did you know that you can just take it and without any special proger skills make a website and post it in Internet? There are ready-made platforms for this, such as wordpress. Look how cool it is.”

It was 2013 – and then I was just amazed. I never thought about how websites are made on these Internets of yours – for me it was a dark forest. Probably, most of all I was surprised how simple everything turned out to be in the end (later it turned out that it was not quite simple).

Actually, I was seized with passion, I can’t call it in another way; I began to voraciously absorb information about how websites are made. Motivation was given by a quick result from the applied efforts and the creative component of the process. A week later, the domain was bought and the first craft was published.

Still, don’t say anything, but creating something with your own hands is one of the best feelings in life. In general, at the beginning of any new path it is always easy, from the minimum effort you get the maximum result, from this the motivation only grows. But over time, this ratio changes in the opposite direction – and it is more and more difficult to find the strength to move on.

This is how my journey in IT began. Why did I decide to go to study online courses at Yandex Practicum?

At some point in my career, I realized that I lacked theoretical knowledge in my work. Usually it is not so: at first we get a bunch of theoretical knowledge, forgetting about practice. It turned out just the opposite for me: there was no time at all for theory, I had to earn money after graduation, and from practical skills there was only one thing – website development. I did not want to work as an electronics engineer at all, so I immediately went to IT.

For this reason, I began to think about how I could fill this noticeable gap. Developed a small plan for self-study. As the saying goes –

I had a plan and I stuck to it

I had a plan and I stuck to it

Self-learning is great, without it nothing. But if you are completely new, then you can easily get lost in this ocean of information called the Internet. The quality of material in public sources often leaves much to be desired – and it is difficult to understand where the author understands the issue and where not. Comments and reviews under the materials also do not always help. Yes, and many really useful materials are written in English, but I would like to read in Russian.

As a result, in the process of self-study, I realized three problems, namely:

  1. The absence of a knowledgeable and experienced professional nearby, who will always tell you “how it is right”;

  2. Not structured and motley information;

  3. Lack of responsibility for the result and the inability to hear the opinion from the outside.

Choosing a course for training

The solution to these three problems was online courses. I started looking for a provider, reading reviews and choosing a course. I remember that then I chose from two options, it was Hexlet and Yandex Practicum. These two online schools, according to reviews, inspired confidence, but the prices, of course, scared them off.

As a result, two points became the decisive factor in favor of the Workshop for me: experienced mentors from well-known companies and the ability to pay only for that part of the training that I had already completed. You could cancel at any time if you didn’t like something. As a result, I chose Yandex Practicum, the course “Python developer“.

Why him? Php was my main programming language, and Python was just starting to gain popularity because of its versatility, which in turn was the weak side of the “puff” (created and used to develop web applications). There were thoughts to change the stack and switch to “python”, and just to see what are the differences, what approaches and practices are used in another language, to expand the IT horizons.

Course No. 1 – “Python developer”

Any course in Yandex Practicum begins with an introductory free part. It is designed for 20 hours. During this time, your task is to understand: “do you need it at all?”. At this stage, usually everyone has a lot of motivation – and we are sure that we will easily overcome all the obstacles on the way to the diploma. I want to warn the reader in advance against this certainty, because in the end it ruined me (and not only me).

If you look at the composition of the topics of the Yandex Practicum course, you can immediately say that they are chosen correctly and fully take into account modern trends in backend development. For the study of each topic in Yandex Practicum, 2 weeks are given – equal to one sprint (you smell Agile). A week to study theory in text format and work in a coding simulator, and a week to complete a practical task, which is checked by a mentor for code review.

Training in Yandex Practicum begins with adding you to the groups of your cohort in the Pachka corporate messenger, the Russian analogue of Slack. There you get to know your mentors and curator. These people will accompany you throughout the course and help you through this difficult path to becoming a developer.

So the training began. In Yandex Practicum, the material is presented in an interesting, understandable and simple language, without congestion, but rather briefly. Many points will have to be thought out or studied by the Google method yourself – you need to be prepared for this. But remember that the ability to correctly search for information is also a skill, why not start training it right here and now.

The first six sprints in Yandex Practicum were pretty easy for me. But you need to understand that I have already worked as a backend developer for four years. The training did not cause any difficulties, and I closed each sprint before the deadline. In the course description of the Practicum it is written that the student will spend an average of 15 hours per week studying. It took me about as much, maybe a little less, but then again, even then I was far from a beginner.

Beginners in IT took at least twice as much time on the course. If you came to Yandex Practicum in order to change your profession, or you are just starting your journey, be sure that this study will become a full-fledged job. Yes, the material in the Practicum is presented rather briefly, without being distracted by details – but taking into account how much more you have to study on your own, the volume is very large.

Around the tenth sprint, despite the fact that for me the very understanding of the material did not cause difficulties, I burned out. I combined work (developer) with study (developer) – and therefore I did not have free time. My strength left me, and there were two options – either to go to the academy (to take an official break from studies and return later), or to be expelled from the Practicum. I chose the second. He considered that he had achieved his goal in understanding a new programming language for himself, learned a lot of new things – and you can stop there. What feedback do we have in the bottom line:

  • + In terms of usefulness and material, I liked the course of the Workshop, I really learned a lot of new things and revised some approaches in my work. The submission form is simple and understandable, the simulator for writing code is interesting, practical tasks are also normal.

  • + I talked several times with mentors who worked in large IT companies, and also emphasized several important things. I heard an opinion from the outside about my code and received an objective assessment.

  • – The volume of materials in the Workshop is large, and it is very difficult to manage to do everything within the deadlines. Taking into account the fact that the course lasts 9 months, the most stubborn and motivated will be able to pass it. It didn’t work out for me, but I made my conclusions. Still, the passage of such a long course is not a sprint, but a marathon, and forces must be distributed evenly over the entire distance.

Now this is probably one of the most popular courses in Yandex Practicum. Most of those who want to become a developer choose it. Therefore, it is constantly refined and honed to an ideal state. Course updates are also available to graduates of the Workshop. Another piece of advice follows from this – to be sure of the quality of the material, choose time-tested courses.

Course number 2 – “Algorithms and data structures”

After some time, I saw that Yandex Practicum began to appear courses for developers with experience. One of them – “Algorithms and data structures, lasting four months. Practice was the basis. To pass, you need to solve from 60 to 100 tasks, plus theory. Only eight sprints.

Course program "Algorithms and data structures"

Program of the course “Algorithms and data structures”

To solve problems, you must be proficient in one of the programming languages ​​offered, php was not on the list – and here the knowledge from the previous course – on Python – came in handy for me.

Training in this course is arranged as follows: each sprint also lasts two weeks, a week for studying theory and a week for solving problems. To pass the sprint, you need to solve at least half of the tasks on the topic in the Yandex Context simulator (on average, there are 12 of them in each topic) and two separate tasks that you send to the mentor for code review.

In general, given the short duration of the course and my past experience in the Practicum, I decided to take it. And in the end I didn’t regret it. I managed to complete it, which I am very proud of.

Course Diploma "Algorithms and data structures"

Diploma of the course “Algorithms and data structures”

I really liked the course. For me, it turned out to be the best of all that I took in Yandex Practicum. As a result, I can collect the following feedback:

  • + We had a very good mentor. Always helped and explained incomprehensible things. It can be seen that an experienced developer who “ate a dog” on algorithms.

  • + The main plus is the abundance of practice. After completing this course in the Practicum, logical thinking is really pumped. When solving problems at work, you start to think differently. This applies not only to software development, but to system design in general.

  • + With the theory in the Practicum, too, everything is in order. Articles are interactive and with animation, which helps a lot to better understand this or that algorithm. Topics are covered in abundance, rarely had to turn to Google.

  • – The main disadvantage (if you can call it that) is the complexity. There were only experienced developers in our cohort, and it was clear that everyone was having a hard time 🙂 This course of the Workshop was designed in such a way that it took an average of 15-20 hours to study per week. I used to take only eight tasks for one task 🙂 Then it turned out that I was not the only one – and many have a similar situation. But, again, I always tried to solve the problem myself to the very end – and did not ask for help from a mentor. But it cost me a lot of effort and a lot of wasted time. Consider this moment – and lay at least twice as much time for training.

Course #3 – “Advanced Go Developer”

Even during the choice of the first course, there was a desire to learn something related to development in Go. But it seems that at that time there were no courses in this language at all, although it was already gaining its popularity with might and main. Yandex Practicum has released three courses on Go: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Each of the following courses of the Workshop was a logical continuation of the previous one, and the first was generally free. And, given my masochism, I decided to go through them all. My review is the following:

  • + I really liked the first two courses of the Workshop in terms of their content with theory and practice. Mentors are good guys, but there was still a shortage of experts in this direction (if, for example, compared with Python). It was not always possible to get competent help in the messenger from mentors. But, given that the course is designed for experienced developers, this is not critical.

  • + Interesting concept of diploma projects. After the second and third courses, you essentially write a project from scratch, which you can then put on your github.

  • – I was a bit disappointed with the third course (advanced level). There was very little material in it, the topics are short and not fully disclosed. According to my feelings, most of them can be easily studied from open sources. If we consider that the second and third courses cost the same, and the difference in content is huge, then now I would not take the “advanced” level in the Practicum. I think it still needs improvement.

Is there life after the Practicum courses?

In total, it took me 16 months to complete the three courses in the Practicum. During this time, I was promoted twice at work – and now I am no longer a developer, as I indicated at the beginning of the article, but a software architect. Are promotions and training related? I think so – the Workshop certainly contributed. But you need to remember that no one can give you any guarantees; everything, as always, depends only on you. When choosing training at Yandex Practicum, calculate your strength correctly! Otherwise, catch a couple of burnouts, like me, and a few impulses to drop everything and go into the sunset.

I'm saying something with a smart look

I’m saying something with a smart look

But one thing in this review I can say for sure – after any course at Yandex Practicum, you will no longer be the same. This is a way out of the comfort zone, which means growth and development.

Thank you for reading my review to the end! After writing the article, I decided to create a telegram blog in which I share my experience, all sorts of useful things and just chat. If you are interested in how my future destiny develops or you want to develop in the IT field – join.

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