Materialization of my desire
In the short time before registration for this training, I felt like I was marking time, and I could not move forward in my study of English. Thinking of what would help there, I concluded that creating conditions for a long-term but gentle immersion in English is necessary. And the thought flashed: “It would be nice to find some useful course with education in English.” I found it a few days later. Fortunately, my English level (Intermediate+) was enough for studying in the PM direction.
The course is not for free, but I noticed the grant program possibility. I applied for it and got into the group. For training without payment, I went through four stages of selection, including screening by a registration form, one interview, and two tests in English. And there were four months ahead of studying materials in English.
Ready to take the “anti-course”?
Even at the interview, the curator told me that Beetroot Academy uses an “anti-course” approach. In the standard teaching method, students come to a class, and a teacher explains the theory and gives examples and tasks for practice. The homework is based on what was in the lesson.
Here, it works opposite: a few days before the lesson, the teacher opens materials on the topic for self-study. Students should come to an online class already prepared and with completed homework. They have the opportunity to find out everything that was unclear or undone at home and to ask any questions.
In online classes, a teacher explains the most critical points and gives practical tasks to make them in mini-groups during a lesson. Then they talk about how to do the following homework.
The first month of training
It was a seething cocktail of thoughts, doubts, emotions, and feelings, visually reminiscent of a rollercoaster. On the one hand, it was exciting and even pleasant to study. But on the other hand, the lack of the opportunity to become a real participant or observer of the whole development process in a tech company raised doubts, fears, and questions.
It was necessary not only to study but also to cope with internal resistance, emotions, procrastination, and other companions while achieving the goal. In addition, English, which seemed familiar and even understandable, suddenly became an obstacle. A few weeks after the training, my brain decided that there was too much English and, at times, refused to accept it at all. Even with many years of experience as a manager, business trainer, and coach, I sometimes had to “talk about it” with someone. And it’s good when there is support from family or friends during a long study.
We communicated with classmates, student success managers, and a teacher via Slack. We still continue to chat and share helpful links and news.
The training program included everything you need to work as a project manager in a tech company:
And I treated the very process of learning on the course as a project implemented according to Scrum. Based on the Scrum guide-2020, I distributed the roles in this way:
Each week was a sprint, and timely homework assignments were increments that complemented the learning project. After completing the course, we had a final exam – a test in English on all course topics. Students who pass it receive a certificate.
Practice and study project
A project manager's training is built on the practical consolidation of the studied material. For this, in the first lesson, we should choose a project based on which everyone will complete homework throughout the course. As an educational project, I took the development of an informational multipage adaptive website for a private language school for children.
Topic by topic, stage by stage, I supplemented my project with documents and artifacts made using existing project management tools. Subsequently, I made my project presentation in English as a final result of my training.
One of the tasks I completed using Trello. On the presentation slide, there is a board: the columns indicate my project's document, stages, and roles in the team. Then there is the task of estimating tasks in the backlog. For this, I created a list of activities to achieve the learning goal of the course. Color labels show the level of importance of each item. The following is an abbreviated example of a structured and results-oriented work breakdown structure (WBS) that a team must complete to achieve project goals and create desired results.
The green color marks the work of a project manager. The gray is teamwork. The light blue is the team's work on creating the MVP, and the blue is the overall work on creating the MVP. The presentation contains an example of a project roadmap, where the so-called milestones, or significant stages of development delivery from project start to closure, are displayed with dates.
Jira is software that is often asked about in interviews. On the slide, there is homework with the backlog (list of tasks) to implement my educational project. And below is a project roadmap in the form of a Gantt chart with milestones.
A nice bonus
The process of basic education includes an optional English-speaking club. There are 32 hours of speaking practice + listening and grammar exercises with a professional English teacher. Toward the end of my study, I felt that my relationship with English had improved:
Yes, I have been working hard on this daily, because I have difficulties learning languages. In the end, it turned out that the wish came true. I mastered the IT project manager profession and raised my English level from B1+ to B2+.
Changing the job is not an easy process. Even during training, many students felt an emotional swing from “I can handle it” to “I can't handle it.” And that's why Beetroot Academy offers an elective career counseling course. The materials are open closer to the end of the main course. Thanks to this, you can prepare a CV and cover letter for finding a job in a new profession. And also to get a consultation, post a CV on job sites, and prepare for an interview.
Getting your first job in tech is challenging. The job search process takes several months for many graduates, and I am no exception. It's nice that Beetroot Academy supports its graduates after graduation. There is a community for alumni where you can learn about vacancies and events. Such support and the numerous success stories gave me confidence that I would soon find my dream job.
Following the Project management in IT course, I also completed a Scrum-study course to increase the chances of getting the desired result. We mainly analyzed cases and how to apply Agile and Scrum methods in tech companies. I am currently looking for a job as a project manager, scrum master, or learning specialist. I will be happy to discuss the details in a personal communication via Linkedin.
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