Dagar Davletov: IT Education Can Equalize the Opportunities of kazakhstani people
Now I understand that this process is called with a smart word "peer learning". There was not this term at that moment, but this teaching method really worked.
As a result, we rented an office, set up desks, installed a projector and began to be called the Method School. We decided to post ourselves as a school, not courses. So, over time, all four partners took up this project full time.
Former alumni often contact me, write on social networks, ask questions, ask for advice, or we just communicating. Recently, a guy who studied in our School in 2015 wrote on LinkedIn. Then he was in 11th grade, and now he graduated from the university and works at Oracle.
Initially, these were only professional courses for adults. By the way, in our practice there are successful cases when our graduates changed their specialty and successfully found jobs. There are graduates who, after finishing Method, have left to work abroad. Among hundreds of former students, there are several dozens of interesting career stories.
When we first started working on the Method project, there were no difficulties. There was only interest, despite the fact that we did everything ourselves on bare enthusiasm. Difficulties came when we started to grow.
Firstly, we had difficulties with hiring employees, since we did not know how to do it — we experimented.. It was difficult to find a replacement when we ourselves departed from the teaching process, because it always seemed that I would have done differently.
Over time, we switched to school education. Adult students began to ask more and more often the question: "Why are there no courses for children in Method?" And in 2017, they opened a branch of the school in Nur-Sultan.
During the teaching times, we began to notice - people study, graduate, and then get a little lost: what to do next? Where to go? How to start a career? So the idea came to try to organize something more than just training. Or rather, training with practice. And today Alem school complies with this request too.
Difficulties came when we started to grow
For me personally, this was an interesting project, after which I began to think that we should pay more attention to practice. It is useful for students not only to learn, but also to practice immediately.
I was then invited to Kiev at UNIT.City - an idea bribed us, and we began to consider this opportunity.
Before the launch, we tried to study international experience in order to understand what will work here in Kazakhstan and what will not. We decided not to rush and make an internal "pilot": we sent our guys — graduates with whom we started working — to study in Kiev and California, so that they could watch the model, study and give their feedback. As a result, we not only liked their feedback - through this study, we got a ready-made team that will contribute to the project. I also went to study, and we made a final decision.
Nicolas Sadirac, in partnership with whom we opened Alem, is considered a visionary in the field of IT education in Europe. Epitech is is his famous successful projects. This is an elite vocational school, the founder and director of which he was. Now Nicolas Sadirac is working on a new project 01 Edu System. This is a project in which the results of all experiments, successful and unsuccessful moments that were in different projects were taken into account. The Alem Programming School will be the first affiliate school in the world to open on the basis of the 01 Edu System educational platform.
Studying at Alem will only be offline. Since it was created on the basis of peer learning, the offline element is important. Education will begin in November, and from this month we will provide accommodation to all students who need it.
Talents are distributed evenly. Just some do not have the opportunity and at Alem we want to give opportunities
The Alem Project is very interesting to me in terms of impact on the industry. I don't want to say global things, but it seems to me that we will have a good impact on the local industry. I think IT education can equalize the capabilities of people. Girls, people from regions, those who did not have the opportunity to show their abilities at school or university will be able to become highly qualified specialists in a promising developing field in Kazakhstan. Talents are distributed evenly. Just some do not have the opportunity and at Alem we want to give opportunities.
The student is evaluated according to very objective criteria, all data is completely digitized - how many hours the student spent at the computer, with what attempt he passed the task, how he helped another student (because teamwork is also important).
As a result, we will see the full profile of the potential student, on the basis of which we will decide whether he can study with us.
It seems to me that this is win win - even if a person did not go to training, for him it was a cool Boot Camp. He studied programming for four weeks, and he did it in a cool team. We plan two "pools" - in September and October by 200 people each. From 400 people we will select the 200 best for training.
At the moment we have fixed age framework of 18-35 for applicants. We have several hypotheses that we must either confirm or refute - precisely from the point of view of the educational process. Plus there is a desire to gain critical mass. If we fume, removing the framework, there is a risk that we simply will not be able to organize the learning process. Therefore, we made this difficult decision with age restrictions. Perhaps, according to the results of the first year of study, we will revise them.
In my opinion, if you release a critical mass of specialists - practitioners of a good level who will be tailored specifically for our market, the problem will be solved. This is our goal.
IT specialization is interesting, but not very popular. People are interested - they heard about Elon Mask, Bill Gates, Evan Spiegel, Pavel Durov. People understand: IT is cool, it's about how you can become successful, make successful products. If in the early 2000s people were more interested in finance, oil sector, now there is more focus on IT. IT is interesting, but not popular. Because people do not know how to get into this sphere. What needs to be done to become an IT Specialist?
We have cheap Tenge, as an advantage for the IT sector - this is now very actively discussed by colleagues. Exporting IT products and intellectual work is much easier.
The Kazakh trade community is being formed. The key core of influencers is in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, and they are building a party around them. In 2012, everything was very sad - there was nobody, there was nothing and it was not clear what to do. Over the past 3-4 years, the situation is changing very well.
Alem's greatest value is the community. Yes, there is an interesting project approach, our expertise. But the community is more important than anything else. The Internet today provides the same access to information. Today you can go beyond textbooks and the school or university curriculum. But studying in a like-minded society is an invaluable experience.
By the way, it may seem that Alem and Method enter into competition among themselves, as well as with Kazakhstani universities. I believe that we are helping to warm up the industry. Just think - we take only a few hundred people in the country where 18 million live. We promote IT, education, values. We do it for free and in new educational formats - there is nothing to worry about. Neither for the method, nor for another educational institution. The market is large, there are many interested people. Everyone who can make a contribution should do it. Personally, we are doing this.