How-to

All content at Paqmind is well organized so it's probably a good idea to begin from the learning units and their purposes.

Units

In the first approximation, there are courses, lessons and exercises. Each Course is dedicated to a single broad subject. Lesson is basically a sub-topic inside a course. And Exercise is a kind-of exercise inside a lesson. The layout looks like:

Course-1/
  Lesson-1/
    Exercise-1
    Exercise-2
    ...
  Lesson-2/
    ...
Course-2/
  ...

For example:

where "FP" is an implicit category, "FP Beginner" and "FP Advanced" are courses, both "Intro" items are lessons of corresponding courses, and finally "Quiz-1", "Quiz-2", "Task-1", "Task-2" are examples of different exercises.

Courses

The biggest learning unit here is Course. It's not a regular theory-based course with hopefully a few tasks in the end. Our courses are practice-based and many of them include up to hundred practical exercises! The second difference is that our courses do not have theoretical content. At least not in the familiar sense. They link to recommended theory sources instead.

In fact, we'd like to pick other term. "Workshop" would be close as well. But, as there are a lot of quizzes, theory-related descriptions and other hidden stuff we don't want to spoil, – it does not match as well.

There are two types of courses at Paqmind: Abstract and Project.

The basic idea is that you warm up your muscles on the abstract courses before you approach real projects. Taking one without a preparation is a common mistake. Why? Well, what is the first step engineers do after they have a project? They start to split it on small, separate, abstract tasks...

The skill of splitting and the skill of solving are two different skills. It's better to master them independently. Also, the concepts seen twice – first time in isolation, and second time in interaction – become much easier to comprehend.

Lessons and Milestones

There is not much to say about lessons and milestones. Each Lesson includes Links and Exercises. Each Milestone includes an Objective and a snapshot of the referential solution, at the stage after that milestone. They are just appropriate units of separation for their own course types.

Courses, lessons, exercises – everything at Paqmind is designed to be passed in a linear order. Our content is intentionally and obligatory narrative. Fine-tuned learning sequences are the crucial part of our program.

Exercises

Though exercises make look like exam exercises, the idea behind them is very different. Each exercise presents a single concept to grasp. Remember that Exercise is a unit of learning. Because of that, it's important to concentrate on learning part instead of solving.

You may google solutions and "pass" exercises in that way. Or just keep pressing Done. It will be nothing but a waste of time. On the other hand, you can "fail" a half of exercises and make a lot of mistakes in the other half – it's all right, as long as you keep learning something new.

Again, we will emphasize that Paqmind is an educational environment. You don't pass exercises to get scores, ranks or whatnot. You pass them to learn and to get insights. Only that really matters.

We intentionally don't implement all the competitive bells and whistles to make you concentrate on the actual material. Paqmind is a place to learn and we want to keep it calm and focused.

Process

learning-process

The process goes like this:

  1. Select a course of interest. We recommend to start from an Abstract one.
  2. Learn the theory or revise what you learned before.
  3. Practice with exercises. Analyze our example solutions.
  4. Repeat for every lesson. Refer to theory as necessary.
  5. Shift to a Project course.
  6. Make a project. Milestone by milestone.
  7. Congratulations! You've increased your proficiency level in that subject.

Now let's review how to approach theory and practice once again.

Theory

As it was mentioned, abstract courses and lessons hold many recommendation links. Those links are really recommendations, not requirements.

The source medium can be different. It can be a book, a video, an article... We link to whatever we believe is the best content for the given topic. We encourage you to go beyond our recommendations and do your own analysis.

If you already have a thematic e-book or a paid access to some video-platform – just use it. No reason to chase for alternatives. Most theory sources are more or less interchangeable.

In case you feel oversaturated with theory – don't hesitate to jumpstart practice. The bottom line is that the only prerequisite for exercises is actual knowledge.

Why don't we include theory. Don't we like it?

Quite the opposite – we are obsessed with it! Paqmind team publishes a lot of articles and guides. Even books, occasionally. Yet we don't put them in courses. To keep content strictly focused. And to avoid becoming your single source of information.

It's much better to learn from multiple authors. Could you win a E-Sport tournament training with a single opponent? Here is the same thing. We want you to use multiple sources. To check everything. To make your own judgements. It's boring just to teach you. Our secret goal is to make the best of your abilities!

Practice

Exercise is the main learning unit at Paqmind. The basic idea is that you try to solve it on your own. Some exercises come with hints. After you solved a exercise – you press Done and compare your solution with ours. Quite often we provide an additional description to the solution.

The exact pattern will differ. Some people prefer to quickly look through the theory first time, filling the gaps in the process. Other will like a more discrete approach. As there are no time limitations, no right or wrong answers (more on that later) – everyone elaborates their own tactics. Which is very similar to the real engineering where the only precise TODO lists are those you've made yourself.

Even if we wanted to propose an exact learning plan, we'd fail because it's impossible to find an exact topic correspondance for every possible scenario. The decision is simple – we trust You to create your own learning experience.

We trust you to create your own learning experience.


In the broader perspective, you move from course to course in the order you want (again, we give you some considerations).

The titles change but the loop of TheoryPracticeTheory stays consistent for every new level of proficiency. Beginners learn their own theory and do their own practice. Advanced learn their own theory and do their own practice. And so on.

How much should you learn before you get a job? This totally depends on your abilities, the time you spend, and your objectives.

You may decide to reach an Advanced level instead of looking for a job as Junior. Because it's hard to combine a full-time job with learning and you'll stuck with an entry salary for longer. Or you may prefer Junior because you need money or you actually learn better in the team. Those things are up to you.

The correspondance between courses and vacancy requirements will be addressed separately.


Refer to our FAQ for recommendations on different exercise types.