Becoming an IT genius

by Nortal HQ

Googling, courage to tinker and a fair amount of curiosity about coding is a good way to begin one’s journey to becoming an IT genius, believes Mihkel Kasepuu, one of Nortal’s Java developers.

At a time so inspired by the development of technology, it’s important to know how to use the technologies that have been created, and even better to be able to take part in their creation. Nearly all new products require the involvement of people with IT skills.

Considering this, Kasepuu encourages high school graduates to consider getting a degree in IT in an interview with Estonian daily Äripäev.

Where should one start with IT?
The way to start with IT is different for every person. My example was my father, but I was also inspired by my own interest in IT, and the courage to tinker.

I had access to a computer at an early age, and when I was playing or using it, there were sometimes problems and I would try to solve them myself.

In the end there were quite many such cases, both in hardware and software, and I started to gain experience and knowledge in how to solve problems in the computer world.

I think this experience was quite useful for me in my present work, where I can use similar methods for solving something.

You just have to start tinkering! Go to Google and try to find answers to the most typical “How to”’ questions (like how to code, how to program in java/python vms). By doing this, you may find a great hobby, or even a profession and career!

How do you learn the basics of coding?
The first step is simply googling. Your first search will result in interesting educational videos, free online courses like Codecademy, or other useful things that should be tried for a start.

From there, the best method is “learning by doing”, where you can gain a good basic knowledge by giving yourself abstract targets and solving them.

One personal example, too: in my second year, the lecturer gave us the task of creating our own Twitter over a couple of weeks. It was a real challenge, because we had to construct a number of different complicated functions. But when I was solving this task, I mastered several simple but important techniques by trying them out. You must have the courage to experiment!

Which school should you go to?
In the case of IT, I would choose the hard way and go to university. The Tallinn University of Technology and the IT College, which have merged, and the University of Tartu are probably the best in the field in Estonia. However, at the end of the day, the student’s enthusiasm towards the topic, and their wish to learn and develop, are the only things that matter. I, myself, graduated from the Tallinn University of Technology.

Is it worth trying to get into the summer academies of IT companies?  

Yes, certainly! In my opinion it is very useful, because these summer academies provide very good practical experience, and help you find work later. I find that such an experience is also good for school because you gain new skills that can be used in your studies.

In Estonia it is quite ordinary for IT students to try real IT work by the end of their second year. There is a great demand for specialists in IT and real work gives students the opportunities to acquire modern skills faster than at school.

But it is very important to keep in mind that besides working, you should also finish university, because a university degree is worth a lot!