New program for beginners: Paragon full stack – an innovative way to learn programming

Over 200 people apply to our Gigi School of Coding each cycle, we accept 20. But GSoC is an internship for young talents with a strong technical background, in need of practical, real-life experience that this internship provides.

Another 200+ people contact us throughout the year to ask for advice on how and where to start with IT education, or if we have any programs for absolute beginners. 

Knowing there is such a high demand for learning programming skills, it always saddened us to redirect the interested enthusiasts elsewhere, as we didn’t have the means to accommodate all of them!

In 2020, we decided to change that. Completely.

Mistral’s education team that helped build successful careers for over 100 developers through Gigi School of Coding, spent 6000 hours in creating a new program for absolute beginners!

The DEMO of the program was met with high expectations as everyone in Mistral knows how many decades of experience were poured into it! It is safe to say that those expectations were exceeded as the education team not only relied on their know-how but used proven best practices from San Francisco and Paris IT schools as well. Many devs and QAs then volunteered to test the product, and gave flying marks at the end! It was very exciting.

Result? The beginning of a new era of innovation in the world of IT education in our region!

Paragon full stack 101

The new program for absolute beginners welcomes everyone who is 18+ and has an indisputable desire to join the IT industry as an entry-level full stack web developer.

The program follows MERN stack and has 0 lectures.

The main characteristics of the program:

– it is conducted online via a specialized platform for receiving and submitting tasks
– it relies on learning by doing method in which coding starts from day one
– peer-to-peer consulting is strongly advised and encouraged
– 4 mentors are available every working day to attendees

BUT here is where it gets interesting. Not everyone that applies to the program will be able to attend it. We all know that programming isn’t, in fact, for everyone. To become a developer, one needs to have a mighty strong motivation, grit, and stubbornness in solving problems. One also has to be prepared for long hours of trial and error and a constant mix of emotions (love/hate). The ones that prevail and fall in love with this process can eventually become incredible full stack web developers.

To ensure every applicant gets this experience before starting the program, there are 3 free steps that need to be taken and successfully passed. These steps will challenge them and help determine if this career path is really something they want.

Only the TOP 100 that pass these steps will be able to join Paragon full stack.

STEP 1 – Registration
A simple multistep process that includes a logical test.

STEP 2 – Connect
A week before Arena where attendees will have to get familiar with the basic tech terms. In this step, they will also have a demo of the Paragon platform and introduction meetings with the Paragon team.


Here is where the real fun begins. For 4 weeks, every morning at 8:30 sharp, each applicant gets a daily challenge via Paragon platform. It consists of multiple mini-tasks, has well-defined acceptance criteria, helpful links, and well-structured guidelines. The applicant needs to find a way to complete the tasks and has until 11 the next morning to submit them. It doesn’t matter if the task is not entirely completed. The auto-grader grades what was done and sends a detailed report back. The report has a twofold significance; everyone will know how well they are doing at any given point + it gives a learning opportunity. If someone fails to deliver a task for multiple days in a row, they get disqualified.

We are thrilled that everyone now has an opportunity to enter the world of coding and determine if it’s the right fit for them.

The top 100 that “survive” Arena and decide to pursue this career further, Paragon full stack program awaits. They will sign a contract, see if they’re eligible for special scholarships, get a powerful virtual machine, and full access to mentors, career handbook, meetups, hangouts, exclusive sneak peeks into the IT world, and much more!

For all the details of the program, we’ve prepared a comprehensive brochure, infographic, schemas, and of course, a website where you can find all these materials!

Two important last notes:

1. Arena starts on 2nd March 2021, and if you are successful, Paragon starts on 12th April 2021
2. All marketing materials are in the Bosnian language in order to be better understood by the wider audience, however, the challenges and projects within the program are in English.

Let us know what you think!