EPAM University Days: Educational initiative for Professors

04 May, 2016

The RD Sharing Knowledge meeting took place on April 8th. This event was held under the EPAM University Days umbrella, which is an educational initiative from EPAM Resource Development (RD) Unit.

The series of these events is targeted at professors, who aim to improve their skills, and to stay tuned with technologies. Initially, organizers decided to run those events as panel discussions. That kind of decision was chosen due to the fact, that that kind of interaction is believed to be the most comfortable and common way of communication between academicians, says Oksana – a University Days coordinator.

The first meeting took place at EPAM Kharkiv office. The moderator of that meeting was Maxim – the Director of EPAM educational programs in Ukraine. Maxim told about the targets of RD Department in terms of internal education, the education of future IT specialists, and about social initiatives the company takes responsibility for in higher educational institutions. He explained in what way EPAM sees the collaboration with professors, and shared RD best practices.IMG_5288

EPAM invited the experts in different development technologies and inner educational directions to that meeting, to cover the wide range of questions. The discussion was so energetic and informative that organizers decided to develop this initiative and to hold these kind of events on a regular basis. They also decided to change the format of the meetings and to make them more of a networking character. One more change that was decided to be made, was that the future meeting would need to take place at the higher educational institutions in Kharkiv and other cities in Ukraine. With that in mind EPAM cooperates with many universities, such as KNURE, NTU, KPI, KAI, KNU, and KNEU, most of the professors who attended the past events were teachers from those institutions.

The first external venue for University Days was KNURE, because this university was the first place where EPAM opened the lab to teach future specialists for IT Industry. This time University Days was arranged in a way of IT Share. This slight change has certainly made the event more interesting, – Maxim says. – We’ve managed to not only deep dive into educational environment, but also to determine new topics to be discussed. While the discussion panel was aimed at listening to the audience’s questions and suggestions, the second University Days IT Share event was arranged in a format of a conference. The speakers at that event were young yet successful EPAMers, who are also trainers at RD Unit.
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“We are so happy this event managed to be popular and in-demand among professors and speakers, despite the fact both are very busy with their direct duties and projects. Everyone understands how challenging it might be to speak in front of your yesterday’s teachers”, – Oksana, the leader of University Days explains.

Maxim opened the second University Days event with his talk about project education. He talked about difference between a trainer and a teacher, about how a role differs from a profession, about what is project-oriented approach, and if it is applicable in higher educational institutions.

Pavel, Lead Software Testing Engineering, the coach in RD Department, took the stage with his talk about test-design techniques, and shared the most up-to-date cases, which help to make projects better and easier to release. One more speaker at this event was Maria, Senior Java Developer, who was an RD trainee three years ago, and now is one of the sought-after coaches and mentors in pre-production.

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Despite the fact we have code coverage requirements on our project, we write tests to detect bugs far in advance. In cases when we find bugs and there is a possibility to write the test at first to reproduce those bugs, this is exactly what we do. Only after this test is written, we fix the bugs. In my talk I share best practices in testing. The majority of these best practices are applied in our projects. When I first learnt about TDD across the probation period, I really liked what I heard. The more I knew about TDD, the more I liked it, despite the fact it is not that common in our projects.

Taking into consideration how high in-demand and successful University Days managed to be, the team of organizers are not going to be satisfied with what has already been achieved. The next event is planned to take place in May. We are planning to move forward and to arrange the events in different institutions across all locations, but not only in Kharkiv. We are really eager to share our knowledge, the experience we can offer professors to improve educational process in universities, and by doing this we improve our skills as well. The next event is going to take place in one of the higher educational institutions of Kyiv. Stay tuned for more details, and more awesome events! – Maxim says.