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Mentoring IT Talents. A Babeș-Bolyai University and Codespring Collaboration


Combining academic training with practical experience under the guidance of a qualified and experienced mentor is the best way to learn and develop professional competences. Looking forward, on the initiative of the Faculty of Informatics and Mathematics of the Babeș – Bolyai University, Hungarian Department, with the support of the Farkas Gyula Association for Mathematics and Informatics, in collaboration with Codespring, the Romanian academic and private sector has launched a mentoring program to expand practical training in information technology.

Concept. Objectives. Program Suitability.
The mentoring program is meant to raise awareness of the role and weight of practical IT training and offers students practical training experience combined with work in order to attain industry specific marketable skills.

The concept of the mentor program is to ensure access to professional knowledge and hands-on experience required by active IT market participants via practical internships spent at economic organizations.

In addition to this, the program provides appropriate professional framework and consultancy for students writing their B.Sc. thesis and facilitates the transit from the academic world to the field of work. Work combined with practical training and acquired marketable professional knowledge can lead to the qualitative up-valuation of the Romanian IT education.

Likewise, the mentor from the software company gains a plethora of benefits: the opportunity to test new ideas, the challenge to discuss with people who have fresh perspectives and who are yet not part of the organization, the chance to improve interpersonal skills in giving advice, listening and leading and the motivation to share experience and knowledge are among the major wins of this program for the project managers engaged in mentorship.

Measurable Outcomes
The mentorship was launched in February 2012, involving 9 students who participated in a professional internship at Codespring for half a year. The Codespring mentored two projects carried out within the framework of the Common Project course.

The functionality of the first project called Red Dog is to edit and visualize large amounts of POI files, and to store them in MongoDB.

The other project team has developed a video player that can play more videos simultaneously in a way that it shares the screen between different matrices based on a certain configuration so that each cube can run freely a different video and each of them can be zoomed in and out. The desktop application was developed in WinForms and plays the videos with the help of VLC player’s ActiveX control. The video player can be remotely directed via the internet. The application has multiple areas of usability: it can serve security purposes in a video surveillance system for example, or it can be used for multimedia content management at airports or showrooms.

Summer Internships
Beginning from July, the mentor program continued with a summer internship with 11 students who participated at a three-week summer practice at Codespring. Under the professional guidance of project managers from the Cluj-Napoca based software-house the second-year students have written add-ons in GWT to the web application of the iSpeedCam, a Codespring product for iPhone users. In addition to this, they succeeded in visualizing statistical data in treemap format, have developed such Maven add-on to the Maven Build System, that can start and stop the MongoDB server and execute different commands on it. Furthermore, the students have written a Vaadin component that can visualize large log files in Vaadin table format. Also, with the help of WPF technology they have developed a framework that enables writing complex applications based on a number of separate modules.

Among other accomplished projects, the mentees have coded an application that can generate documents based on a Word template with the use of a database.

What’s more, another iPhone product of Codespring has been enhanced with a statistics calculating feature which has been implemented in the SpeedGuard and measures how much time the user spends on different screens of the product and traces which buttons have been activated. In addition to this, they introduced a new settings page, where the user can set the vibrating, sound, volume and speed tolerance of the application.

Mentoring BSc theses and MSc dissertations
As part of the mentoring program, the Codespring project managers assist students with professional advice in writing their BSc thesis or MSc dissertations.

Codespring is happy to play an active part in the mentoring program. We thank the students for accepting the challenge and wish the students success in their professional careear. Codespring also thanks the BBU university for the outward-looking mindset and is open to continue this joint collaboration. (T.Sz.)

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