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European Vocational Skills Week
News announcement19 November 2018Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion



I'm Miki. Since I was a child, I wanted to become a programmer. My father used to be a programmer as well, ever since I remember we had a computer at home. I started programming at the age of 14, when my father came home with a book about programming and a project idea for me. I started learning programming in an autodidact way at the time, and I continued learning at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

During my studies, I felt that there was too much theory. The very few practical topics we covered were not deep enough, and I wasn’t sure I would be ready for the world of work upon finishing my studies. So, at my second year at university, I started working as a full-time junior programmer in parallel, which I thought was a good decision. I not only gained a lot of practical knowledge, but this approach often helped me with exams, as it was easier for me to understand the theory after I saw it working in practice.

I've been working for 17 years in the industry. Four years ago, I decided to exit the company I co-owned, and after a sabbatical year, I started to gather my thoughts on my future dream job. I didn't want to work on products anymore; I always liked working with people. I didn't want to let IT go, but I wanted to spend less time in front of a computer. Fortunately, a friend contacted me about a company searching for new people to start their second school in Budapest.

I accepted their offer, and I’ve been working at Codecool as a mentor for three years now. I wish I had such opportunities to learn programming during the time I was at university. We provide a 12-month long training for absolute beginners. During this time students spend one week at home, where they learn new things. Every second week, they are in the school (which isn't like a school at all). We don't do frontal education, we don't have classes, we don't have subjects. Students work on projects in teams instead, as they would do in real life. We, mentors, are not teachers; but professionals with multiple years of experience in the field, who are there for support and direction.

We know what is expected from a junior programmer from experience in our previous workplaces, so we carefully developed our own curriculum covering all relevant topics. We don't only focus on the hard skills; soft skills like communication, teamwork, presenting, giving constructive feedback, are just as important in a programmer's daily life.

Codecool and such schools are great examples for demonstrating that good VET training can prepare you for the job market, sometimes better than a university degree. Nowadays, in such changing environment lifelong learning is more important than ever, as there's a great chance you'll have to change your professional direction multiple times during your life.

Miklós Beöthy, mentor at Codecool, Hungary
EVSW Ambassador for Hungary