Learning & building: Following your passion as a young developer
Victor Korelsky took Le Wagon’s FullStack program in Paris (Batch #30). An entrepreneur, developer and computer science student at McGill, Victor is also a roving instructor and coach for Le Wagon in Montreal.
Seeking a life path, from Paris to Montreal
In summer 2014, Victor was 17 years old and had just received his high school baccalaureate in France. With his diploma in hand, he decided to head to Russia to learn Russian. At the time, a friend suggested they launch a startup to offer personalized and online academic support to students. This is where his adventure with Teech began.
A love of challenges led him to climb Mont Blanc, where he reflected on where his life should head next. This experience pushed him to follow his passions and push his boundaries.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. What I took away from the experience is that, if you really want to do something, you’ll find a way to do it.”
In spring 2015, he enrolled at Montreal’s prestigious McGill University in political science, economics and computer science. That’s when he realized he was missing a key skill to become independent and more agile in his academic and entrepreneurial goals: knowing how to code.
Le Wagon: a bootcamp to jumpstart your web programming skills
His quest for coding knowledge led him to Le Wagon’s FullStack program, which he took in Paris in summer 2016 (Batch #30). After two months of intensive learning and after coding an application in 10 days, he returned to Montreal to pursue his bachelor’s in computer science at McGill and had the chance to continue learning and growing in the Le Wagon community.
What did you learn from Le Wagon?
“Le Wagon gave me solid experience in web programming. The bootcamp offers nearly 400 hours of coding in 9 weeks, versus 150 hours for a university semester,” answers Victor.
He continues, “I feel like I’ve known how to code for a while. Now, I can do my homework in half the time compared to a first-year student who hasn’t been coding for long.”
The biggest difference he sees is in terms of his employability. “My university program and the bootcamp have very different concentrations. Through my university studies, I learn about things like computer science and software engineering, while Le Wagon primarily teaches you web development.”
“Le Wagon’s program gives you more than just technical knowledge. It educates you about how to build a product and become an entrepreneur.”
Experience as a startup CTO
Victor is pursuing entrepreneurship and continues to work with Teech. After raising $700,000, the startup is growing and forming its organizational structure. While keeping up with his studies, Victor serves as the company’s CTO and oversees its marketing. In summer 2017, he joined the team when it was based in London, UK, at the King’s 20 Accelerator while also working as an assistant instructor at Le Wagon London.
“I realized the importance of the CTO role in a startup. I spent a lot of time managing devs who worked together but who didn’t collaborate.”
Teech saw strong growth with 20,000 app downloads, including 40% to 50% during the university exam period.
Sharing his passion as a Le Wagon alumni and instructor
Victor has been part of the launch of Le Wagon in Montreal, which is home to the bootcamp’s first chapter in North America. He joined the team starting with its first session in February 2017. While still in university, he continues to share the same passion through a program that helped him do what he loves both in Montreal and around the world.
“With Le Wagon, I have the chance to travel and work with a really active international community. I’ve been to London and Tokyo and I’ve had the same ‘Le Wagon’ experience. The ‘work hard, play hard’ atmosphere is pretty much the same everywhere.”
What is your advice for aspiring coders and entrepreneurs?
“Say yes to new challenges and then figure out on the fly how to get it done rather than say no because you’re afraid to fail.”
What are 3 reasons you’re happy you joined Le Wagon?
Le Wagon helped me through the frustrating periods every beginning coder goes through. You can take courses on Codeacademy.com, read books and follow tutorials, but there’s a gap between learning the theory and building a real product or app. It can take time to bridge that gap at first, because you don’t know what you should learn or how all the different technologies work together. Learning everything is often a long and frustrating process. Le Wagon is like a “cheat code”: you come out of it with all the tools to be productive and to understand and use complex technologies.
I met a lot of interesting people at Le Wagon who have had different journeys. Le Wagon also lets me travel to teach in different countries where they also hold the bootcamp. It’s a big advantage to have a close-knit community, and the majority of instructors and assistants have also gone through the program at one point.
The last reason is because you get lifetime access to the platform with the courses and exercises. This is really useful if you want to review a subject or learn a new technology. The curriculum is always in sync with the world of web development. You can always learn new things and stay up to date.
What are 3 tips you would give students to help them get the most out of their bootcamp experience?
Watch the course videos before each day. This helps you focus on the important points.
Don’t be afraid of feeling completely in over your head. That’s part of the learning process. You have to be comfortable getting lost in the code so that you can eventually figure it out and make steady progress.
Don’t copy and paste code you find online. Try to understand what you’re coding. Take the time to read the documentation and use a pen and paper before switching to a keyboard.