Polar Cape’s 1st Graduate Program was successfully concluded this month.
2020 was a turbulent year for many businesses. It started of by bringing big uncertainties to where the market will be leading, but ended with a much bigger workload for the IT sector and with that the necessity for more qualified professionals to deliver with quality.
The roll out of our graduate program was in our strategic plans for the past 3 years. Now that we were seeing that the company is steadily growing, it was the right time to start investing in the knowledge of young and perspective colleagues that will grow with the company. Even though maybe it would have been better to start the program in some better times and not while everyone is working from home, still, we believe we made the most of this “different” situation. And the lack of direct, face to face, interaction between the graduates and their mentors had less impact in the learning process than expected.
The Graduate program rollout was in line with our company goals, both long term of creating excellent consultants and short term of maintaining sustainable growth in our MK office. We selected a group of 5 professionals that were just starting their careers in the IT business. Based on the foreseeable needs of the company we targeted for .Net backend expertise, ReactJS frontend, and QA (Quality Assurance), to build the team for the first Graduate program in the company.
The program consisted of theoretical part, practical part and client projects experience.
Our excellent mentors and supervisors of the program build up a theoretical curriculum that would cover the topics that are of most use in Polar Cape projects, encompassing tech stack courses for beginner to intermediate level. In the initial month of the program the graduates were mainly going through the curriculum and were consulting with their mentors.
Later, in the practical part of the program, they were assigned to an Internal project to work as a fully functioning Agile team on development of PC Library. Here they were learning additional skills, Agile Methodology (Scrum), Polar Cape processes and tools, CI/CD basics, Development testing (TDD).
The practical part of the program had the goal to also develop some soft skills with the graduates such as teamwork and client communication to give them close to genuine experience of working on a client project.
The Graduation project consisted of:
- Asset management (2 sprints),
- Asset type management (2 sprints),
- Planning, Review, Retrospective
- and of course Fika!
After the theoretical and practical part, and the official presentation (demo) of the Graduation project before the company, the graduates were assigned to different client projects and continue their learning and developing.
Here are the 1st official graduates of the 1st ever PC Graduate Program and their experiences with the program:
Vlatko Trpkovski: The graduate program was a really up to the mark experience. It has contributed in many ways of developing the necessary skills, from team work to technical excellence. The first, theoretical part was useful in the way of introduction with the required tools.
The actual project section was an inspiring, where you could take part in an agile team and encounter the teamwork. During this time I was able to learn a lot in different fields. The help from the project manager was excellent, the assistance from the mentors was helpful and brought me the confidence to take the next step, take the responsibilities in a client oriented project.
Maja Jovanovska: I applied to the job ad from Polar Cape because I was just finishing the Academy in Seavus and I was ready to start my first IT position.
I think the best and most challenging part from the program was the practical part where we had the opportunity to build a project from scratch, and through it to get to know the real programming world which is the teamwork. I did not have any unpleasant surprises, on the contrary, only very nice ones by the company itself, the organization, the attention we were given, the fact itself that we were not isolated from any events or happenings in the company taking into consideration that we were part of the Graduate program. I also must mention that a very pleasant surprise the people selected as part of the program, we had great communication and friendships.
I am very satisfied with the program, and I would just add the fact that in the process I was able to witness, as the program was rolling out, the improvement of my knowledge and skills.
Irena Nojkova Angelova: Before finishing the Web – Development Academy, I started searching for internship or job positions. While searching I came across a job posting looking for an Entry Level Front-End Developer from Polar Cape that I instantly applied for. After going through the interviews and testing process I was even more convinced that Polar Cape is the place I want to build a long-term career as a developer. Fortunately, I am here and I am part of this awesome group of people. The best part of the program, was the support that we received as a group, and the progress that we made. It has been a very educational experience, starting from the technical aspect like the Agile methods, the whole development process, the technologies that we worked with, finishing with the amazing teamwork that we had in the past 5 months. One other thing that I enjoyed was our weekly Fika meetings, it certainly helped us a lot to get to know each other better as a group. The coffee, oh who are we kidding, the rakija that we planned on the boat restaurant at the lake Mladost in Veles is a must in the nearest future.
The last 5 months I was quite surprised of how well the Graduate Program was put together, how we handled all of the challenges presented to us, which was a testament of how quickly we progressed as an individual and a team thanks to the program itself.
The Graduate Program is a great start for a developer, especially one without a professional background. The project that we worked on was a great challenge for us, but it was one that made us better in every way, it taught us how to overcome challenges and implement our knowledge better. (well we still have small bugs, can we have another sprint? 🙂
Simon Sterjevski: The position ad was open in just the right time for me. I was just finishing my classes at the Academy and I was certain that .Net is my first choice. So, I started to actively apply, and Polar Cape was pointed out to me as a company that is worth to try to work with. I saw a chance for a good start and development of my career and for my luck I was not wrong! I would not like to underestimate the theoretical part of the program but for me, the practical part was way more interesting, because for the first time I had the chance to work on a real IT project. I was quite positively surprised by the availability and the desire to help to anyone that I contacted with a question. This goes especially to my mentors and the team lead.
I was also surprised by the dedication, the effort and the understanding of all the colleagues in the program. I have a feeling that we have worked together for years, and we know each other forever.
I learned a lot in the program. I have new skills and I have more self-confidence when it comes to coding.
I hope I am now a better developer than I was 5 months ago. And I am especially glad that we had the opportunity to build a project from scratch and to go through all the phases. We used Agile methodology and learned how to work in a team and at the same time all of us had the chance to show their creativity.
Stefan Cvetanovski: In the last year of my studies, I decided to search for internship as a Front-End developer. And for my luck I came across the job ad in Polar Cape. Also, I have heard exceptionally good comments about the company from my colleagues which was another reason I applied. The best part of the program was the cooperation and the online hanging with the colleagues from the Graduate program and some of the other colleagues in the company. Of course, one other great part were the challenges I faced and overcame as well as the new things I learned.
I was surprised by many things. Very big surprise was that whenever we had a problem there was someone that offered help.
I am overly satisfied by the whole program, as I said the challenges, the cooperation and many other things were at the highest level. I now look forward to the new things that will come and to meet more colleagues from the company.
In the end we would just say that we are also incredibly happy to have you with us, and we hope we can build many new projects from scratch together in the future.
With this said we can officially call our first graduate program a success and we start planning the next one as soon as possible.
So, to our future next graduates – be on the lookout for the openings, we would love to meet you!