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Ivelina Abadjieva, co-founder and CEO of NARS (National Academy for Software Development) and creator of the brand OnTarget Training, on the essential steps in forming a new software development team from scratch and how to retain software engineers in highly competitive markets

NARS and OnTarget Training are specialized in software development training and are popular with starting new software development teams for corporate clients.

Ivelina Abadjieva has been managing the training business since its start in 2005. Mrs. Abadjieva is also founder of Java2Days, the leading conference on Java technologies in the region.

You are managing several businesses in the field of software development – the Java2Days conference, a training centre and a software company. Is there a piece of advice that you give to all of your clients?

We always consult our clients when starting a project. The advice that we give them is the following: when they ask for a particular type of service, they should be aware of the results they want to achieve. Sometimes clients are prone to use ideas that have been borrowed from successful campaigns abroad, or ideas that by themselves have a significant potential but are not consistent with the specificity of the target market and the audience. This is when we need to offer solutions that are based on our experience in order to provide our clients with a service that meets their expectations.

What custom-made trainings for corporate clients do you offer?

Our training courses cover the latest technological trends in all stages of software development. Our most popular courses are connected with programming with Java and C#, the creation of Web and mobile applications. There is consistent interest in established languages like С and С++, but also there is a rising number of requests for training in the now popular Cloud technologies and the Internet of Things.

As for the type of courses we are very popular with starting new teams for software companies – we have created different teams of 10 to 80 and more specialists. We also provide training for knowledge improvement or requalification of already existing teams. It is mostly sought after by companies that need to broaden the skills of their employees as they are starting new projects or because their present clients are changing their technological requirements.

You are specialized in building teams of software engineers. How does the process of such training proceed? How long does it take?

The process of forming a new team begins with the shaping of the exact assignment by the client. We co-operate in fixing the initial requirements for candidates starting their training and the expected knowledge they should have in the end.

The next step is the creation of a curriculum that is also discussed in details with the clients. We aim to be useful with our long-standing experience of providing directions on the technological content and the duration of the training. Besides disciplines linked with software development, we very often have to include language courses and courses for communication skills development of the applicants.

For us it is important to be guided by the clients' goals and we value their opinion on each stage of the process of building new teams. That is why the whole process is absolutely transparent for the companies. The applicants' selection is also done together with the company's representatives, so we can be sure that together we will find the best employees.

In each project we aim to find ways to further develop the potential of our client companies for fast and stable growth, because they are a factor for our own success.

As for the duration, the building of a team of about 15 people takes, on average, about 6-7 months. We have as well experience in providing much longer training courses that include practical work on real projects of the client company under the guidance of our lecturers and mentors who are developers with years of experience in the software industry.

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