First time as a teacher: learning SQL with Alex Cristea
First time as a teacher: learning SQL with Alex Cristea

First time as a teacher: learning SQL with Alex Cristea

Alex, QA Consultant, took a brand new position in the company: he’s become a part-time teacher! Every Tuesday and Thursday, he gathers a group of Qualitancers at Opera Center and shares his knowledge on Structured Query Language (SQL). Discover what he finds rewarding about sharing information with other professionals.

The SQL training helps students test and compare the data from back-end to front-end and vice versa, so there are no discrepancies between the two. Alex cares about the good understanding of his course. “When you take a test, you can’t search on Google for a query. That’s why I ask students to write the queries on the whiteboard, using only the information they remember”, teacher explains. Okay, then let’s get back to school with Alex!

alexandru cristea SQL trainingFirst of all, tell us who you are and what you do.

I’m Alexandru Cristea, QA Consultant working on our client IBM, and SQL trainer for the last and the next two months.

How did you get to initiate a SQL course?

Initially, I’ve taught the course to my colleagues at IBM, and I wanted to repeat the experience. I was thinking of making it different and change the teaching technique a little bit. So I talked to Maria, who embraced the idea of having the course at Q Headquarters. It’s awesome we can all gather here and learn something new together.

How is the course organized?

It’s a three-module course, organized on three levels of difficulty. The first one, which we’ve just finished at the beginning of February, started in November last year. The next two modules will last around 1 month each. We have 1 hour sessions, two times a week, on Tuesday and Thursday.

It’s nice to share my knowledge and feel I give something helpful to other people. I like teaching because it helps me define the best
expression of my ideas

How many people are attending the SQL course?

There are around 11 colleagues who frequently attend the course. It’s great they are highly interested and willing to learn, they ask a lot of questions. Besides, they step in a really good mood when they get popcorn and Coke. That’s when learning works best!

Do people have a certification after finishing the course?

At the end of each module, the students have to pass a test. That’s their validation for having attended the course. And I’m focused on giving them a right feedback. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would say people will get a level of knowledge of 3-3.5. The rest to 5 depends on working with SQL and earning experience.

alexandru cristea SQL

Can people still join the course?

Definitely. Since I do a recap at the beginning of the second module, people can easily join the course at this moment and be up to date. But then there’s the third module, much complex and difficult. I’m thinking to make it optional, only for people who need advanced information on SQL.

What’s the best thing about teaching?

It’s really nice to share my knowledge and feel I give something helpful to other people. I like teaching because it helps me define the best expression of my ideas. While working with the students I found out what works and what doesn’t as methods of teaching.

And what works?

It works when people really understand things and are able to apply the information they assimilate. I set up short, effective sessions of learning combined with practicing. In each session, the first 30 minutes I teach the students new information, then we have 10 minutes for questions. The last 30 minutes are dedicated to applying the new notions on the computer. They have to make queries following some specific requirements. During recaps, I noticed writing on the whiteboard works well, since people get used to writing from their own memory.

The final test for each SQL module is on white paper, no computers involved. So students need to learn the syntax

This sounds like professional teaching style! 

The truth is I made the choice to have this kind of structure. I could have given a shorter course, with a stiff ppt presentation in the background and lots of information squeezed in 2 hours. Then – that’s it, you must have known and understood SQL by the end of it. Well, this is not my style. I want people to actually learn things. The final test for each module is on white paper, no computers involved. So they need to learn the syntax, to understand how it works.

You’re a teacher now. But is there any chance you become a student again?

There’s a thing I would love to learn more about: automation. If someone taught an automation course, I would definitely be a part of it! I worked on a short-term project where I discovered and learned the basics of automation while working with it. I would like to deepen my knowledge.

Building an engaged community

The great thing about SQL training is its power to bring people together. Alex managed to create a community of Qualitancers who work for many of our clients and meet two times a week to build together their SQL skills.

So, what’s the other side of the story? Let’s take the pulse of the students.

86“Alex is a well-prepared trainer, highly organized and coherent. He has an efficient speech and adapts his teaching to students’ pace and needs. He doesn’t move forward until he makes sure everybody has entirely understood everything he’s shared”, said Ancuta Tudor.

30“I’m very happy with the way the course is organized. I learned new things and had the chance to put them into practice at every session. Plus, Alex does everything he can to help us deeply understand each detail”, explained Mihai Milea.

Sharing our knowledge is a win-win. Alex feels great about helping others and our colleagues enjoy learning and growing their knowledge. We encourage all our team to share their expertise with the world.

In fact, we invite you to share your knowledge with the community around you.

Teach something today!