Jõhvi Coding School Opens for admissions

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Founders of the school (from left to right) Maarja Pehk, Rainer Sternfeld, Merlin Seeman, Marek Kiisa, Mari-Liis Kitter, Taavet Hinrikus and Ede Tamkivi on the roof of the future school building in Jõhvi. Martin Villig is missing from the picture. Source: Jõhvi Coding School.

Jõhvi Coding School is the first Estonian program focused on retraining the workforce for software development, based on a novel computer-guided peer-to-peer learning concept. The first step for applicants is to complete a test on the school's website after which successful applicants are invited to the next round. 200 students are expected to begin their coding studies in fall 2021.

"Group work and independent study are at the core of the school's program. There are around 30 schools around the world who are based on a similar model with no classes and no teachers and the results show that 95 percent of the graduates find a job immediately or begin developing their own business alongside their studies," co-head of School Karin Künnapas, explained as for why she believes in the success of Jõhvi Coding School.  

The application process is divided into two steps. The first is to complete a cognitive test on www.kood.tech which will test the applicant's memory, analytical thinking, and problem-solving skills. No preparations are necessary for the test, but make sure you have up to two hours of undivided attention and a good internet connection. 

600 successful applicants will be invited to the next step – an intense three-week test period called the Selection Sprint. Intense days during the test period will put the applicants to the test by taking their first steps in coding and problem solving both individually and in teams. 

 "The summertime sprint period will give the applicants an idea whether peer-to-peer learning is suitable for them and if they are motivated enough to become IT, specialists. Based on the Selection Sprint results, 200 applicants will begin theirstudies mid-September this year," Künnapas says.

Anyone who is over 18 years and has completed basic education can apply. Prior coding experience nor basic knowledge of the subject are necessary. The school is tuition-free and studies will mostly be held in English, but supporting materials will be available in both Estonian and Russian. The summertime Selection Sprint will take place at Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Center in Sillamäe and so will initial studies until the school building is completed. Accommodation is provided for free both at Sillamäe and Jõhvi.

The school operates on the 01 Edu System program which is based on peer-to-peer learning. Other schools' experience shows that the 01 pedagogy is highly intensive, requires maximum focus on studies, and working alongside studies is rare. "Even if the peer-to-peer learning method allows the student to study at their own pace and complete tasks remotely, the best way to successfully complete tasks and not miss out on other events is by being present on the campus," Künnapas emphasized.

The school is supported by Estonia's Support Services Centre (Riigi Tugiteenuste Keskus) and money was raised from the Ministry of Finance's funding round, dedicated to diversifying and developing people's work skills in the Ida Viru county (Ida-Virumaa), as well as from KredEx' and Startup Estonia's Ida Viru county startup focus pilot program. Additionally, many well-known entrepreneurs and firms have agreed to back up the school with their support, with Wise, SEB, LHV, Superangel, Bolt, Astrec Data, Pipedrive, Adcash, the Founders' Association, the Good Deed Education Foundation and Startup Estonia among others.

Jõhvi Coding School is a new retraining program for adults offering a 21st-century approach to study programming, to decrease the shortage of software developers and enable people from other fields to have better opportunities in their lives. The school will be located in Jõhvi in order to diversify the educational landscape of Ida-Virumaa and offer new development opportunities to both the locals and the region as a whole. The founders of the school are Taavet Hinrikus, Marek Kiisa, Mari-Liis Kitter, Maarja Pehk, Merlin Seeman, Rainer Sternfeld, Ede Tamkivi, and Martin Villig.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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