Proshore Bootcamp #3: A premier IT mentorship program in Nepal

Krishma Shrestha
HR Manager

Proshore Bootcamp addresses many of the shortcomings when compared to a regular coding bootcamp, IT training classes, or even, IT undergraduate. and graduate courses in Nepal.

If we have to single out the glaringly obvious, Proshore Bootcamp provides selected participants with real-world experience working as part of a development team for tech projects. Moreover, as Nepal is a growing tech hub for remote software development, our learn-on-the-project methodology follows international standards.

Simply put, Proshore Bootcamp is a mentorship program like no other that improves on regular coding bootcamps, IT training, and programming courses in Nepal. This is a unique opportunity to kickstart your career in just three months. Grow yourself as a developer, designer, QA, or Project Manager with global demand!

Proshore Bootcamp: 3rd edition recap

The 3rd edition of our software development bootcamp started on July 18, 2022, and ended on November 14, 2022. Usually a 3-month mentorship program, we had a refreshing gap during the Dashain and Tihar break for all mentors and bootcampers.

Similar to our insights into the 1st and 2nd edition, find the highlights of the 3rd edition as follow,

  • We received a whopping 180 applications for the 3rd edition of our mentorship program.
  • Initially, we had planned for 20 seats but due to the sheer number of quality applications, we selected 24 bootcampers for the program.
  • We received increased enthusiasm for the QA stream and through an enthusiastic mentor lead, implemented it with a focus on ‘automation’.
  • We divided the 24 bootcampers into two groups to work on two separate projects.
    1. One group continued the ‘Ticker’ project from the 2nd edition of Proshore Bootcamp. They rebranded to ‘Proshore Time Tracker’ and developed the product to be as ready for the market as possible within the bootcamp duration.
    2. The other group worked on a new project where they would develop a new tool called ‘Proshore Asset Management’ which like its name was a directory to list and manage an organization’s tangible assets.
  • There were 41 sessions across 6 sprints conducted throughout the bootcamp.
  • 14 out of 25 Bootcampers graduated from the program.
  • 2 Bootcampers were offered jobs by us, in QA and PHP, based on our requirements and their capability to execute the role right away.

Let’s now hear from the mentor leads and select bootcampers about their experience of Proshore Bootcamp’s 3rd edition.

Proshore Bootcamp: The mentorsโ€™ point of view

One of the reasons that Proshore Bootcamp stands out from other coding or software development bootcamps and IT training or programming courses is mentorship. While we had 23 different mentors in the 3rd edition, from the 23 we had 5 as mentor leads for each of our streams.

  • Frontend Development stream was led by our PHP Developer, Rikesh Shrestha.
  • Backend Development stream was led by Full Stack Web Developer and Community Contributor, Sakar U. Khatiwada.
  • QA stream was led by our PHP Developer and QA Automation enthusiast, Ashish Shakya.
  • Project Management stream was led by our Scrum Master, Simon Shrestha.
  • Soft skills stream was led by our HR Manager, Krishma Shrestha.

To get a point of view of the 3rd mentorship program, we talked with Rikesh, Ashish, and Simon – Frontend, QA, and Project Management mentor leads respectively.

How was your experience as a mentor lead for the 3rd edition of Proshore Bootcamp?

Rikesh: It was my second time as a mentor in Proshore Bootcamp but my first time as a stream lead. We planned the sessions as per the current market needs in Frontend development and I am glad to see 6/7 bootcampers graduate from the stream.

Ashish: This was the first time automation was implemented in the QA stream. Since I was also exploring automation in Cypress at the time, mentoring the same topic to enthusiastic bootcampers allowed me to grow my own technical skills in QA and also my soft skills as a ‘mentor’.

Simon: Used to managing small growing teams in client projects, having to manage 24 new faces with no to less prior work experience, was definitely out of my comfort zone. Additionally, there were challenges like illnesses, holidays, and resignations. By the end of the program, I felt like a mother who had been nurturing children and seeing them grow up!

How did your stream progress from a real-world project perspective?

Rikesh: Keeping ‘learning’ at the core of every task and session, we promoted that it is a necessity throughout one’s career. However, we created a space for teamwork to flourish as it is crucial in a workplace. The bootcampers themselves felt the importance of teamwork as they worked together on the two projects. We also saw the basics of professionalism picked up by the end of the program.

Ashish: With the ‘time tracker’ project continued from the previous bootcamp, the QA stream was learning from the get-go. We implemented automaton and open-ended research to decrease learning dependency on other streams – who were facing complications themselves due to resignations and changes in requirements. However, through trial and error, the QA bootcampers had learned from mistakes and got an insight into OOP patterns even before development handed over work for QA testing.

Simon: To be honest, it was very similar to how we normally work with clients โ€“ from understanding the requirements of the project to capacity changes after resignation to coping with angry clients (in this case – the leads). Although, I would say that the main takeaway for Bootcamper was learning how to work in a team despite their individual brilliance.

What could have been executed better?

Rikesh: There was a gap between our assumption that the bootcampers would have or pick up knowledge of real-world working processes. For example, we faced an issue with GIT where Bootcampers were not used to it and had to request additional sessions to understand it. We have since made changes in the session plan to ease Bootcampers into a real-world working environment and its processes.

Ashish: Since a QA’s work starts after development, it is not ideal to introduce the QA stream until considerable development work is done and can be tested. If there was a stable project and working module then more effective learning could have taken place. Since the 4th edition plans to continue and finish the ‘time tracker’ project we can optimally implement the QA stream along with automation.

Simon: We had increased our seats for the 3rd edition to 20, selected 4 more, and planned for 2 simultaneous projects to engage all Bootcampers equally. But, the number of mentor leads remained the same. The balance in capacity was hindered, however, through agile methods we somehow made it work. For the 4th edition, we will be keeping in mind the mentorship capacity so that selected candidates receive optimal growth opportunities.  

What tips would you give to early-stage IT professionals?

Rikesh: You need to have a learning attitude and believe there is always room for growth in FE or any coding field. With a variety of existing, obsolete, and new technologies you should know when to step back, take a break, and take another path instead of going down the wrong one and getting stuck.

Ashish: IT is a field where knowledge is never enough. With new tech coming out every other day, even freshers may have more knowledge than seasoned professionals! So never stop learning. As for QA, with the rise of automation, remember to work smart. Additionally, the QA stream, by its nature, can give you complete knowledge about applications – it can help develop skills to even become a PM or Project Lead.

Simon: A Project Manager or Scrum Master role is something an individual should feel in their bones before starting. If PM is your backup to coding then this is not for you and you may even give up later. You should enjoy interacting with people and have patience, perseverance, and communication skills.

Proshore Bootcamp: In the shoes of the Bootcampers

We previously mentioned that we had selected 24 out of 180 applicants to participate in the 3rd edition of Proshore Bootcamp. 14 out of 24 Bootcampers completed this real-world software development program.

We talked to 6 bootcampers about their experience of Proshore Bootcamp 3rd edition.

How was your experience as a Bootcamper in the 3rd edition of Proshore Bootcamp?

Surya: Working on bugs in one of the sprints, I and many fellow bootcampers loved the process of debugging. The program taught me more about teamwork and how to work together under high pressure.

Lisa: I really enjoyed all the sessions provided by the various mentors. Working in a team, I also learned about different situations that may arise in a software development project and how to handle them as a PM. At one point, I was even feeling demotivated but the mentors were very helpful and helped me become motivated again.

Ananta: For me, the three months of this bootcamp have been fantastic in terms of learning, teamwork, experiencing challenging situations, and overcoming those challenges. Now that I understand how software firms operate, I can see the positive effects of effective teamwork. Throughout the bootcamp, all of the mentors were quite helpful, and the sessions they offered were extremely educational. I had never worked under agile methodology before and now, I really like it. It was truly helpful to be able to share information with the team members I had the opportunity to work with. From day 1, I found myself growing as a coder, problem-solver, and most importantly, a team member.

Kritika: When I first joined the bootcamp for a QA team, I was completely unknown to the IT field, but the mentors here were really helpful. They were always there to teach me and they always supported me whenever I got stuck in a problem. With friendly teammates and later on, PMs, my overall experience was fruitful and fun. Also, it feels great to have been offered a job at Proshore through the bootcamp itself. 

Saugat: The bootcamp, for me, provided a nice blend of educational sessions along with an environment where we could practice and implements our theoretical learning. Additionally, I found the scrum sessions and team meetings to be very effective and worth it.

What do you feel can be improved in the next edition?

Surya: By the last sprint, many things had improved in us bootcampers as the team. I only wish that I could have concluded fixing the final issue on the server side too – hence time allocation for sessions and actual project work should be better planned and also take into consideration delays and unforeseen circumstances.

Lisa: The sessions provided were helpful but only focused on Scrum and Scrum Master. I feel sessions about Project Management and what they do should be provided as well.

Ananta: It would’ve benefitted Bootcampers to be introduced to web programming, including information on how the internet and web servers function, what an API is and why is it useful, etc. Maybe, before beginning the main project a smaller project could be conducted to ease into the experience of working in a team. I also feel that the first two weeks could have included daily tests of the bootcamper’s knowledge of their respective fields.

Kritika: As a few bootcampers left the program in the middle, it created an imbalance and affected us too. If feedback can be taken upon resignation to pinpoint the reasons and if proper screening during selection can be done then the program can run smoothly and there will be less hindrance to the dedicated bootcampers’ learning. 

Saugat: From time to time, we felt a lack of energy in the team. If there can be a way to track and stimulate the same positive energy, from start to finish, the program would be even more effective.

Next on Proshore Bootcamp

We began the refinement and planning of the 4th edition of Proshore Bootcamp as soon as the 3rd edition ended. Taking the feedback and suggestions from the past bootcamps and our inbox into consideration, we have made progressive changes to the program and session plan this time around – a few of them being,

  • Including a dedicated seat for UIUX Design in the Frontend Development stream.
  • Taking down the number of seats to 14 so that we can create even more impact by balancing the number of mentors, the program duration, and the number of bootcampers. While decreasing the number of seats decreases the quantity of early-stage professionals we can help at a time, it increases the quality of the outcome. Additionally, we will conduct two bootcamps in 2023.
  • Focusing on only one project but having an ambitious goal – we plan to finish the ‘Proshore Time Tracker’ project in this bootcamp!

The 4th edition of Proshore Bootcamp is set to run from March to June 2023 while the application window is set to close on February 15, 2023.

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