Portrait of evening students

Good day.

Since the spring of 2014, I have been combining development in the field of BI and teaching the basics of programming in the evening courses of professional (re) training. For four years I have developed a certain classification of students. Next, I will outline in general terms what people meet, what problems they have, how they can be solved. Well, and as a bonus: how to recognize potential talent in an evening course student during an interview.

I admit that such a classification is relevant only in my context, so I’ll talk a little about the organization. Courses are conducted in person. Classes begin at about 18:00 local time. Most often once a week. The time allotted for training varies from 7 to 30 lessons and depends on the solvency and desire of the student. The cost of one lesson to a student is approximately 900 rubles. We do not even have formal screening of students. Who wants to study, we work with that.

If you are interested, welcome to cat.

Hard workers

Hard workers are men and women who are currently working in some other specialty full time. For example, a lawyer, accountant, system administrator or telephone operator. Surgeons and taxi drivers have not yet met. A typical motivation for a hard worker is: “My current job does not suit me and I want to change my profile”, “I want to move, and only programmers and doctors are allowed to go to ” or “The authorities set the task to figure it out on their own”. At their main job, from time to time they have rummages or corporate schiz. This is expressed in the fact that they can often transfer classes or come to class in an untrained state. Some have shift work and they can disappear for a month and then return.

How to allocate time to study in your daily routine?

Appeal to hard workers - look for time. Workers with permanent employment will only help understanding relatives and educated children. If at home it is possible to create a working atmosphere at least for a couple of hours a week, then the courses will not be in vain. You can try to apply knowledge to your current job. True, we need not programming courses in general, but something close to life. For example, advanced Excel or SQL. It is curious that the best progress is for those who work on shifts or just sit out their pants at the workplace. Figuratively, sells ice cream in the winter.

Appeal to employers - find out how the applicant organized his time for self-study. If a person worked all day and then was able to do more in the evening, then he is * very * resistant to processing. If the applicant was engaged in self-training directly at the last workplace, then he chooses the latter when choosing from “sit back” and “develop”. With unforeseen downtime, he will continue to invest time in his skills.

How to survive a temporary drop in wages after a career change?

Appeal to hard workers - think again. Why do you need such a cardinal change as a change of profession? Maybe you need to change not a specialty at all, but a place of work? Maybe it’s better to move to another city? Maybe, in the end, you need to tighten up your skills a bit at your current job? If you have firmly decided to change everything - prepare a big financial pillow: eat easier, stop going to your favorite bar, change from your personal car to public transport or to a bicycle. Well, if you are not even ready for such small changes, how do you imagine a change in profession?

Appeal to employers - find out how a person will live after leaving his current job. Does he appropriately evaluate his resources for the coming year?


Emelets differ from hard workers in that they have not worked anywhere else. They received a diploma or even several, but have not yet settled down. The main reason is personal passivity. Emelys do not even come to courses themselves, but with parents or from the employment service. In the class they do not ask any questions. Regularly engaged in "meditation" looking at the screen. Progress on tasks only happens if I sit nearby and ask leading questions. Abstract material does not reach at all. As a rule, they don’t do their homework; they cannot find out the reason. It is curious that I have never seen Emel girls.

Where to attach your favorite child?

Appeal to parents - develop his personal, non-professional skills. In any work, an employee requires communication skills, responsibility, etc. by the list. Set at least tasks for him at home and ensure that he himself fulfills them. Do not redo it at all. Send to the army if you have not bought a warrior yet. Place an MLM company on the job as an agent; they conduct suitable free trainings out of their selfish interest.


There is another category of unemployed - Graduates. They either finish their studies, or not so long ago finished studying "for programmers." Graduates believe that they do not have enough knowledge to get a job. They may remember what branching, loop and array are, but they do not always succeed in solving a problem with their help (and my tasks are simple). They once heard about OOP, but did not understand. When viewing vacancies, they see a bunch of incomprehensible words. Moreover, in each vacancy, the words are different. And there are vacancies of enikeyschik in doubtful offices with a random set of terms. Graduates can even attend some free conferences. But there, too, people give out a bunch of incomprehensible words from their narrow working context, which does not add clarity at all.

I got a diploma. What's next?

Appeal to students - learn how to solve practical problems. Find a list of tasks for the project and choose something to your taste. If nothing is found and does not occur to you - write a mod for your favorite game, make a bot for the messenger.

I do not see the need to contact employers. Former graduates of “fundamental education” are already in the spotlight.


The fourth category is best called Housewives. As you can guess, these are mostly women. Programming courses for them are something at the level of cutting and sewing courses or clay sculpting, or family psychology. They are not going to get a job in this profession, but they are engaged quite diligently and carry out their homework in good faith. It is curious that with housewives you can easily chat the whole lesson on a topic that is not related to the course itself, and they will leave satisfied. When I had few students, housewives met often. When students became more than my time, they began to offer them courses in Photoshop or layout of web pages.


I see representatives of the fifth category periodically with the launch of large groups of students. And I do not see it for long, because shortly after the start such students stop going to classes. They come to full-time classes primarily because they could not cope with material on a textbook or video tutorials, or with a smart friend. This greatly affects their self-confidence. Some almost from the threshold say that the student is dumber than them, I have not yet met. Any minor mistake during training only reinforces this uncertainty. But the ability to make mistakes and try further in search of a solution is very important for the developer. I try to convey the idea that mistakes happen often and you just need to work with them. That is, read the error message itself and think about the causes.

It is worth noting the importance of acceptance tests and the detailed conditions of the task. It is important for students to see what they * really * get, then it will be easier for them to master more complex matters. In some cases, it is better to give two tasks than one furiously complex.
Nevertheless, such students sometimes leave without completing their studies. There are several reasons. It may be the underestimated difficulty of learning. Perhaps with some of these students I was somewhere underworked or did not calculate the load. These are my mistakes that cannot be fixed, but can be taken into account in the future. Thanks to such students, I myself am developing as a teacher and improving my teaching materials. However, you cannot teach everyone. Simplifying learning materials below a certain threshold becomes meaningless. If a person in the courses realized that programming is not suitable for him - this is even good. Perhaps he will quickly find himself in another area.

Appeal to students - do not give up at the first difficulties. Teachers are people too. Ask questions, ask to rephrase the material if you do not understand something. Yes, it can be tricky. Remember that the moments “I don’t understand anything” will always be. You just need to learn how to deal with them.

Little by little about all

Some training features are loosely related to motivation and main employment.

In which direction is it really developing?

Appeal to students - figure out who does what. There are many real areas in IT. "Programmer" is a philistine concept. There is even a joke like this: “A programmer is a person who solves a problem about which no one knows in a way that no one understands.” If you figure out who actually can work, then in the ocean of information from the Internet you can see the large currents and swim along them.

How to get such a volume of knowledge in courses that is enough to get a job?

No way.

Appeal to students - engage in self-education. You do not have enough money for such courses where you will really be prepared for employment. Ask teachers for advice and an approximate direction. It is better to come to evening classes for the sake of consultations, and not for the sake of solving some particular problem.

Appeal to employers - find out what a person has learned on their own. If a person studied only the material of the courses themselves, but was not interested in the world beyond them, then he will go with the flow at work.

Are you sure you know how to use a computer?

Appeal to students - study (or look for courses) on basic computer administration. In universities and secondary vocational education, this is most likely incorporated into the program. Self-taught people need to rely only on themselves.

Command-line ownership, as one of the basic administrative skills, will definitely come in handy. Maybe even at your current job. It is possible that the command line will feed you in the future. To include command line mastery in every course is a luxury. Sifting out at admission those who do not own it means to remain without students. As a result, the main methods of working with the console remain for independent study. Compilation without the IDE `javac ExampleProgram.java` suffers, work with the git` commit git -m "My first commit" `, and usually it doesn’t even get to the node myfirst.js.

Few know how to open Windows Explorer. Few people have experience with network folders. These, of course, are trifles. But there are many of them, and from this students can be COMPLEX even in the first lesson in programming.

Another useful skill is quick typing and keyboard shortcuts. The press is not necessarily blind and ten-finger, but there is a good simulator for this. You will most likely have to write and rewrite a lot. If you select and copy a fragment repeating with slight differences with the mouse, then spend an awful lot of time. If you write short variable names for the sake of time, you can catch problems understanding your own code. And this leads to many errors that would be nice to avoid.

Are you sure you can record?

Often I meet students who do not know how to capture information. Some unique ones try to rewrite ALL AT ALL from a board, including code fragments. It takes quite a lot of time. At the same time, a good summary is not obtained. In the resulting entries, only full-text search with eyes works. You can deal with this if you interrupt the useless copying of letters in time and set the task of writing information to the notebook at the right moments.

How to predict the result of courses?

When working with adults, the approach is somehow individual. But this raises the question, but how to predict the result?

At one time I tried to use the Raven test to assess the potential of students, but I abandoned this matter. Problems arise either from the psychological point of view, “my hands are not on my shoulders, I never succeed,” “she’s already doing the tenth lab, but I’m only on the sixth”, or in the organizational “There was no time for homework. At work and at home a wife, children, a dog. " However, I still communicate with students before signing the contract in order to assess the level of knowledge, find out wishes, give professional guidance. If there are no certain preferences, then I try to convince instead of c / c ++ or php to take java or c #. At the training stage, they have significantly fewer pitfalls and unobvious behavior. Some comers have to dissuade from courses. For example, when a person wants to " сделать свой интернет-магазин". За 40 часов на курсах с нуля на одном php он магазин сделать не научится, а мое и свое время потратит.

I will be happy to answer your questions in the comments.