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It´s Friday, 4th of June, 16:09 when I get a e-mail notification. Well, if someone sends a e-mail after 4 PM on Friday, it should be something really important… “You are one of 600, congrats!” – from the letter I read that my Online Test result was good enough and I am invited to the Selection Sprint – next phase to become a kood/Jõhvi student. Wow! But what is the Selection Sprint? E-mail answers my question: “3-week full-time onsite test period (including weekends!)”.

Selection Sprint

Wait-wait-wait… 3 weeks on-site study at Sillamäe in the middle of a short Estonian summer? But I can’t take a 3-week vacation because we have a project at work that we were working on for the last 1.5 years with hundreds of people involved and it ends in July and my colleagues need my support. But I want to try this out – this is a new type of school, I have heard a lot of good things about it and I always wanted to try myself out as an IT developer… My 3 weeks in July were exactly as organizers promised – “the most intense but also the funnest 3 weeks of your life”: I finished 87 tasks, 2 raids and 3 exams at the Sprint… and also did 120h of remote work and 25h of running, cycling and swimming – last weeks before Ironman Tallinn 70.3 and had to maintain my physical form.

Georgi during the Selection Sprint

Motivation

Already after the first week of Selection Sprint I understood that I will not be able to maintain this tempo for the next 2 years, so I decided that I will not go to school. It is OK to sleep less and have almost no free time for 3 weeks, but obviously not for 2 years! But as I really liked the atmosphere, people around and tasks that we had, I decided to stay until the end of the Selection Sprint. I was not the only one who felt the same – question “can I study remotely?” was the most popular question in the FAQ session. For me everything changed when I met Mihkel a couple of days before the final exam. “They are just testing your level of motivation… the study itself is less intensive, you have longer deadlines and can plan accordingly…I have my business, house and family in Tallinn, but I am sure that I will manage to study remotely” – don´t know which of these three sentences influenced me the most, but I decided to give myself a chance. And now I’m here, right on track with my studies, work, training and personal life. In kood/Jõhvi but in Tallinn.

2-year program

So, how the 2-year program look like in reality? We have three mandatory modules: Go, JavaScript and Rust – in total 17 mandatory tasks. Plus, everyone needs to select one of the optional modules which have 4-6 mandatory tasks. In total, there are 21-23 mandatory tasks that kood/Jõhvi students need to fulfill during the 2-year program. Also, there are plenty of optional and challenging tasks that a student can do if they want. This leaves a lot of space for self-organizing and planning studies accordingly, but also requires a certain level of discipline and motivation. So, how much time does it take a remote student to study at kood/Jõhvi? Honest answer is that it depends on a person – I am spending on average 2-4 evenings a week, but during this time I am really focused on my tasks and sometimes lose sense of time and write code until 1-2 AM.

The kood/Jõhvi team do their best to support every student – for remote students there is an available dashboard where you can compare your progress with other students. Also, there is tech support, coding sessions, motivational and partner events, study groups and soon there will be study rooms in Tallinn and Tartu for those who study remotely. So… can you study remotely at kood/Jõhvi? Absolutely, if you have enough motivation and self-discipline… But you will need them for on-site studies as well. My advice is that if you are interested in studying IT then submit your application, participate in the Selection Sprint and make your choice.

by Georgi Suikanen