ALUMNI PROFILE: SASHA, FORMER BACKEND INTERN @ PANDASCORE

Oleksandra (Sasha) Fedorova

AGE: 19
INTERESTS: Movies, series, music, I draw a bit and play video games.

Where are you from?

I’m from Kyiv, Ukraine. I studied programming really early when I was 13 years old; my father taught me the basics and ever since then I have wanted to do programming.

What did you do before 42?

I studied one year of programming at a Ukrainian university; after that, I moved to the U.S. and joined 42 Silicon Valley.

How did you hear about 42?

My mom sent me a link to an article that said “A Free Coding School in Silicon Valley.” I didn’t want to go to a traditional university in the U.S. because it costs so much and I already had some experience in Ukraine with a traditional university setting. I knew they didn’t teach the practical skills that you need, so that is why I went to 42.

What did you like best about your 42 experience?

I think you meet a lot of people here from different countries, and you can always find friends who enjoy the same things as you. A lot of companies come to 42 and you can find a lot of professional opportunities, and it is a really good way to network.

How did 42 prepare you for the workplace?

I think mostly the group projects here teach you about teamwork and how you will actually work on a team in the workplace. I think because we have projects instead of theoretical knowledge that is required at traditional universities, completing these projects teaches you to research and how to use Google to get everything done.

How did you get your foot in the door?

PandaScore works with esports and data, and the CTOs and CEO are from 42 Paris so they knew how the school works and understand what we achieve here, so it was easy to explain to them. I enjoy what they do at PandaScore and that is why I chose them.

Describe what you did:

I just completed an internship at PandaScore in Paris, France, that collects data for esports. I worked as back-end engineer: I did the web scraping, fetching large amounts of data and processing it into a form that I want. My internship was for 5 months. I would like to go in the direction of backend developer because that is what I enjoyed the most.

What does your typical workday look like?

At PandaScore you can start work whenever you want, people usually start from 9 am to 11 am. Since you just woke up you need to figure out what you need to do for the day. On Mondays, there was a meeting to discuss the priorities of the work week. Around noon we would have a break for lunch for around an hour, after that you work on your own stuff. Some people leave around 5 pm or 7 pm, some people will work until 10 pm or 11 pm, as long as you complete it you can take whatever amount of time it takes to complete a task. On Wednesdays, they have what they call “pizza lol” where they order pizzas and play League of Legends or Mario Karts, and just enjoy each others’ company. And on Fridays, they have a meeting at 6 pm and each of us had to present what we had to do that week: successes, hardships, what you wanted to improve.

Would you recommend the 42 program and if so, why?

Yeah, I would recommend it because of all of the practical skills. At 42 they teach you how to learn; at a traditional university, they tell you what to do and how to do it so you can get a grade. Here you search for information that you need and ask someone if you need help with something. 42 showed me how to communicate in the workplace which is one of the most important skills in order to get a job.

Do you have any advice for 42 students when it comes to securing an internship or job?

You need to search for what you want to do. I reached out to a lot of companies that posted on the 42 website. Even if you get a good opportunity, you want to make sure you are happy with it and passionate about what you are doing. You may think it’s great if you get an offer from a big company but you might not be doing something you really want, so you need to make sure you enjoy it. If you aren’t happy in your role you could feel lost about it and think programming isn’t for you.

A fabulous photo of Sasha by Priscilla Vongdara:

Interview by: Stacey Faucett
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