Joviane Bellegarde Compliments Her University Studies with JetBrains Academy
We spoke with Joviane Bellegarde – a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, who’s currently pursuing her master’s degree in Computer Science. Joviane gave us a student’s perspective on online education in the field of programming and shared her thoughts about how it can be beneficial in academic studies.
— Hi Joviane! Could you tell us how you came into programming?
For starters, I didn’t study computer science. I studied biochemistry and got my bachelor’s degree in it. After graduation, I worked as a lab technician for a while. I helped with safety and coordination of multidisciplinary wet labs. However, when thinking about continuing my education in biochemistry or a related science, like public health, bioengineering, or epidemiology, I realized that I didn’t love it enough to dedicate the next six to eight years of my life to it. That’s why I started looking into something new, like Computer Science.
— What an usual background to come to programming! What motivated you to look into Computer Science?
When I was researching other career opportunities, I started looking outside of my scientific field. I wanted to go into a field where I didn’t need years of education to get a decent salary. I wanted to be able to have a job where I could work from anywhere. I wanted to have flexible hours. That’s when it became clear – I had to study Computer Science.
— That doesn’t seem like an easy career change. What was your beginning in programming like?
It’s been quite a journey! I applied to the Align Master’s in Computer Science at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Even though it didn’t require a background in programming, the more I learned, the more I struggled with an uphill learning curve. For example, my first programming class was in Python. Throughout the semester, it felt like I didn’t have profound knowledge in programming, my assignments seemed complicated, and they required enormous amounts of time to complete. I had to study hard to pass this class.
— How did you manage to overcome the learning struggle?
It wasn’t until I started a programming class in Java that I came across JetBrains Academy. It is such a lifesaver! It has various educational topics and lots of practice to supplement my university knowledge. JetBrains Academy helped me understand the intricacies of Java, get better at coding, and become a more successful student. My assignments don’t seem so scary anymore – I know that JetBrains Academy is here to help. I wish I discovered it at the very beginning of my studies so I wouldn’t have had to struggle so much with Python!
— How do you like programming in Java now?
If you asked me this a few months ago, I would’ve said “No, I don’t like Java”. Now, with JetBrains Academy being a big part of my supplemental learning, I think Java has become my favorite programming language. JetBrains Academy fills in lots of knowledge gaps and covers the questions I have after my classes.
— How does JetBrains Academy complement your university studies?
It gives me the knowledge I need to succeed in my classes. Because of the accelerated nature of my course of study, I can’t spend a lot of time on basics – like learning how to declare a variable or run a program. But JetBrains Academy provides comprehensive theory and practice on everything, from the most basic concepts to the very complicated ones. This way I can take a step back and learn everything I need before getting to my class assignment. What’s more, JetBrains Academy brings me closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a software engineer. I’ve learned the skills I can apply in real life and in my future work.
— Do you think JetBrains Academy can help other students with their university studies?
Yes, I’m sure of it! I had quite an epiphany when I discovered JetBrains Academy. I shared it with all my friends who were struggling with programming. I explained that JetBrains Academy offers a lot of supplemental learning in the programming basics as well as in advanced concepts. I got responses from my friends saying that it was the best platform to learn programming!
— What aspect of JetBrains Academy do you find most helpful?
Definitely the project-based approach to learning. I enjoy reading clean and concise educational materials and immediately applying that knowledge in practice. It helps me solidify my knowledge in programming right away! Another thing I like about JetBrains Academy is that it’s well-integrated with JetBrains IDEs. I’m relying on IntelliJ IDEA a lot in my university studies, so JetBrains Academy not only helps me learn programming, but extends my knowledge about the IDE and development processes.
— Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about starting to learn programming?
First, be proactive in your research as you try to understand programming concepts better. Whenever you have a question or a doubt, Google it, try checking what other developers say at Stack Overflow, and definitely invest your time in JetBrains Academy. Second – don’t be afraid to take on projects, even though they may seem difficult. You may even struggle completing them, but don’t think of the struggle as a sign you need to stop! It’s an amazing opportunity to learn programming inside out. Third – take breaks. When I’m stuck on a problem for hours, I find it helpful to step away from the computer for a while. When I come back to it, I often get the eureka moment when I solve the problem right away.
We’d like to thank Joviane for sharing her learning experience! We wish her the best of luck on her final exams and can’t wait to see her build an amazing career as a software engineer.
If you use JetBrains Academy and would like to share your learning journey too, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
The JetBrains Academy team