Junior KMD Academy 2017 – the ideal first step in a professional career as a programmer

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74% students think that the biggest barrier to entering the labour market is a lack of professional experience and insufficient hands-on skills. The answer to these challenges is the programme named “Junior KMD Academy”, which helps young programmers take their first steps on their career path. The recently finished second edition of the project allowed over 30 students of tertiary institutes to develop the application named “Piller”. What about the results? Professional experience and software helping patients with recovery.

Having hands-on skills when applying for one’s first job is often what determines the recruitment result – particularly as far as engineering or technical jobs are concerned. The principle also applies to IT students. Increasingly often, they are expected not only to know a given programming language but also to have experience of technology projects.

More than 21,000 lines of “Piller” code, which can be translated into over 700 pages of printed text, is a great value to the young people, i.e. the practical skills they acquired – said Dawid Sury?, one of the Junior KMD Academy participants.

Where to obtain the necessary skills?

The classes at universities are very valuable but they’re not enough if you look at preparation for your future job. All in all, this is the assumption behind them – they’re supposed to give us a sense of direction as opposed to equipping us with practical skills, which we need to take care about on our own – adds Katarzyna Ambroziak, another Junior KMD Academy participant – We can improve our skills at home or, which is definitely more effective and simply more interesting, take advantage of professionals’ help.

The possibility of acquiring hands-on programming skills is offered by KMD Poland under the “Junior KMD Academy” project. The initiative is an educational programme whereby experienced KMD Poland engineers use their knowledge to support students pursuing their own technology ideas.

So far, two editions of the academy have been held. The second one finished in mid-July this year, with over 30 students from Warsaw and Lublin developing a free-of-charge mobile application named “Piller”. Its purpose is to support patients who need to regularly take medicines. Over 6 months, the participants of the programme had regular meetings with their mentors from KMD Poland, who advised them how to effectively run an IT project. Every meeting involved an expert lecture and a practical part, during which the specialists helped the students cope with the challenges that came up over the course of the application development. The students learned about issues related to multi-platform and functional programming, the Xamarin platform, creating user-friendly interfaces, or the MvvmCross framework.

I can feel that my skills have significantly developed. What’s more, I’ve had my first professional experience and an original application released, which I’m proud of. When I was learning at the academy, I felt as if I was working at a rapidly growing technology start-up – stresses Dawid Sury?, a participant of Junior KMD Academy.

Recruitment for the second edition of “Junior KMD Academy” was open to all students of universities’ IT courses. The participants registered on their own using an online form. The signature programme is part of the KMD Poland’s CRS strategy.

I’m happy that we managed to combine education with a social activity by developing our “Piller” application during the second edition of “Junior KMD Academy”. The students have acquired new hands-on skills in the area of programming and project management, while elderly and disabled people can now effectively and safely maintain their medicine-based treatment. I hope that we’ll manage to attain a similar combination with the future editions of the programme – says Adam Wiercioch, Support Service Center Manager, one of the originators of “Junior KMD Academy”.

What is the “Piller”?

“Piller” is a mobile application for smartphones running Android which purpose is to help patient regularly take their medicines. Members of the Academy of Integration Foundation, a co-organiser of the “Junior KMD Academy” programme, helped design the application so that it could optimally cater to its users’ needs. Those included wheelchair fencers, outstanding sportspeople, Paralympians, and many time winners of medals at European and World Championships.

The software allows the user to create a detailed schedule allowing for necessary doses and administering times. It is also possible to take a photo of a given medicine and enter it in the program, thanks to which the application can remind the user of the administering time displaying a large photo of the medicine to be taken. It is particularly important for elderly or disabled people, or those who take a large number of medicines, ensuring the likelihood of confusing medicines dramatically decreases.

“Piller” can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play store. The workshops and lectures delivered under Junior KMD Academy are available on the following YouTube channel.

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