News from SPARK


Becoming a Developer

We believe that you have already come across many articles about how programming is a profession of today, well paid, and opens many doors. It truly is one of the most sought after occupations in the world, because wherever you look, you will see job advertisements for developers. But how to become a programmer? Is programming reserved only for “geniuses”, top mathematicians, logicians, or is the real picture a little different after all? Of course, not everyone can be a programmer, but many people would love to try programming but don’t know how to do it. Stereotypes about programming are slowly disappearing, and with a rich offer of tutorials, forums, webinars, codes, and tips, learning to program is easier than ever. Of course, with a lot of effort and work.

Six tips for learning programming

  1. You must first decide on your field, technology, and programming languages as it is not recommended and you cannot be a good web, app, game, and system developer at the same time. Also, each of these areas requires constant investment and upgrading of knowledge. There is no best programming language, there are only languages that are good for creating a web/frontend, for creating a backend, for writing scripts, data processing, and the like. It is best to choose languages that are open-source, user-friendly, and with which you can do what you want. If you want to experiment with creating a website, then start with the presentation languages HTML, CSS, and Javascript, and later you can switch to a framework like Vue.js.
  2. You may not practice self-directed learning and prefer supervision and mentoring, then this is the right opportunity to get involved in workshops and courses. Dare to spend a few hours on education, because the time invested in knowledge always pays off in the long run. We recommend SPARK school workshops. 😉
  3. Studying is a great start to a career in the world of programming, and after graduating from college you have to constantly upgrade your knowledge. Mostar has three options in this field – informatics for FPMOZ, computing at FSRE, or software development at FIT.
  4. You can also use online educational platforms, where you learn theory, but also work on practical tasks. Some of them are Codecademy, Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, edX.
  5. Learn from other developers. You look at solutions written by someone else and then draw your conclusion. Programming resources do not limit you, but allow you to use other people’s codes and refine them. For example, you will find a lot of quality code on Stack Overflow.
  6. Find all the tips and tricks articles about the tools, technologies, and programming languages you use and learn them fully. Learn the most important libraries that come with the language. The more libraries/classes you know, the easier it will be to solve the problem when you encounter it.

Programming knows no age

Do you think you are too young or too old to start programming? We don’t think so because we believe in lifelong learning and that you can become a good programmer whenever you dedicate yourself to it. Children are a real example of how they can develop interesting apps through play. In addition to visual programming languages Scratch and mBlock adapted to them, children can also participate in state competitions such as the SPARKreators League. We recommend Python, C, and C ++ programming languages to high school students, while students and adults can enroll in beginner, frontend or backend web programming workshops at SPARK school.

No matter which language or technology you choose, you have to start from the beginning, and patiently approach the development of techniques. Start reading forums, books, tutorials, blog posts, webinars, and most importantly – get started as soon as possible. If you run into a problem, google it, read it again, ask friends or acquaintances who are already in programming. Don’t focus on learning 10 programming languages but on learning programming techniques, problem-solving, data analysis, and storing your projects on GitHub, creating your portfolio. The portfolio will be the most important thing in your new programming career! 🙂

What are the next steps in eLearning?

Distance learning is one of the sectors currently most heavily invested in digital technology. The emphasis is on enhancing the experience of one taught through interaction, enjoyment of the learning process, immediate delivery of information, and learning content, as well as efficiency.

We live in a time when the statement “job for the whole life” is not valid. People are changing jobs and careers more and more frequently, and a great deal of focus is placed on formal and non-formal education programs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Also, the focus is on the so-called Work-life skills such as leadership, management, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills.

Five eLearning trends that will define the eLearning industry in 2020 and the years ahead:

  1. Learning Experience Platform – LXP

Unlike classic Learning Management Systems, LXP provides a personalized learning experience by integrating and consolidating formal and non-formal learning. Some companies have already created brand new LX platforms that combine peer-generated content, interactive media, and learning management. These platforms are fun, engaging, and relevant to the trainees.

  1. Analytics and attendance reporting

Learning analytics is used to analyze student behavior and enhance training. There are many tools available for analytics, some of which are integrated into the learning management systems themselves, down to separate programs that specialize in that purpose.

  1. Big Data Analysis

When viewed from the eLearning perspective, “Big Data” is all the data collected during a student interaction with the system that includes their activity and achievements. These are datasets whose volume is beyond the capabilities of traditional databases for collection, management, and processing. Analysis of large datasets helps in structuring and presenting data in a convenient format. By monitoring the activities of each student, we can personalize the learning process and adapt to its current level of knowledge. Also, by analyzing data we can constantly solve problems that occur in the learning process and improve it.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in eLearning

There are multiple applications of artificial intelligence in learning and opportunities to enhance the eLearning experience. In the simplest terms, we can think of it as a virtual teaching assistant. The advantage of virtual mentors is that they are available to students at any time and through any device to provide assistance and information. There is the ability to merge cloud-based LMSs with AI robot assistants that can even teach in homes, move on their own, track their environment and movements. Students can interact with them aloud to resolve doubts instead of typing questions over the computer. Accessibility, speed, efficiency, and personalization are only a small part of the benefits that are expected from the introduction of AI into the learning process. By analyzing the vast amount of data, artificial intelligence will not only make learning platforms more attractive but will also provide companies and educational institutions with information to make training more effective.

  1. AR, VR, and MR for more interactive eLearning

Virtual and augmented reality have traditionally been used more for gaming and film experiences, but their application to learning is growing. Virtual reality is used to teach the complex skills of high-risk tasks and perform complex procedures. Augmented reality is used to stimulate just-in-time learning. For example, the ideal scenario would be for a student who wants to learn more about a tool, technology, or site, using a QR code, scans an object, and automatically gets more information about it. As prices for portable glasses and headsets fall, it is anticipated that various organizations will start investing more in researching this technology. Mixed reality (MR) is often referred to as hybrid reality, and it connects the merging of the real and the virtual world to create new environments and visualizations in which physical and digital objects coexist and communicate in real-time. Mixed reality is the overlay of synthetic content in the real world, so we have an example of surgeons covering virtual ultrasound images on their patients while performing surgery. A key feature of MR is that synthetic and real content can react to each other in real-time.

Technologies like AR / VR / MR and AI are very exciting, but still far from full potential. Learning is a lifelong process, and we need to adapt that process to the time we are in, which involves applying the technologies available that can help us advance the learning process. The computer will never replace the actual teacher, but it can help the teacher make the learning process more fun, interactive, and personalized experience for each student.

The Age of Meetups and Conferences: Reasons for Being a Speaker/Lecturer

The number of online and offline meetups, programs, lectures, workshops, conferences, summits, and similar events that need lecturers, speakers, and mentors is constantly growing. At SPARK alone, we have a large number of events planned for 2020, and for each, we seek experienced people from specific fields who want to share their knowledge and experience with the audience. Why not you? Surely you’ve been attending at least a few business education events lately – have you ever considered not being in the audience anymore but on stage in front of people and giving a workshop or lecture? This blog post will answer questions like how to become a conference speaker and what benefits you have.

Reasons to Be a Speaker or Mentor

Why would anyone want to be a speaker unless they work exclusively in this type of work, such as PR? There are many reasons, and besides the audience listening to you, the speakers themselves have benefits:

  • It’s a great way to share your ideas, knowledge, stories, and experiences with others. Maybe you have an opinion you want to share or some specific knowledge you have gained in your field.
  • You will gain a lot of connections through networking and meet many new people, who are your potential partners or work colleagues.
  • You have the opportunity to travel to places you might never have visited otherwise.
  • You will build your profile or brand and get many new opportunities.
  • Conferences are an ideal opportunity to promote your business because they bring together a large number of people who might not be reached through standard promotional channels.
  • You will become an expert in your field as you further explore the topic on which you decided to give a speech or make a lecture.
  • You will learn something new because you will not be the only speaker at the event.

Getting Started

If you are a beginner and have never been a speaker before, do not expect to be a keynote speaker right away at the wide-known TedX events, Web Summit, or WeAreDevelopers Conference. Start small, for example, if you are a developer, you can give a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level lecture at SPARK Tech Meetup. If you have an inspirational story and want to share it, sign up to be a guest on SPARK talks (an online show on our YouTube channel), and if you have a failure in your business, Fuckup Nights Mostar is the ideal format for you. Are you an expert in topics such as e-learning, learning evaluation, gamification and game-based learning, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence? You would be the ideal speaker for the Next Thing in Education conference. Women in Tech Meetup is, as the name implies, aimed at women and covers topics such as programming, design, marketing, business – the only requirement is that you think that the saying “woman is woman’s worst enemy” makes no sense.

Be patient because to build yourself as a great speaker or mentor, it takes time and practice, lots of lectures written and slides made. Choose a topic you know everything about and you are passionate about, as this will best convey your knowledge to interested visitors. Master your fear of public speaking – and the first step is to fill out a short form. In it, indicate what topic you would like to talk about, and the SPARK team will contact you as soon as the opportunity opens.