You Do Not Have to Be a Programmer to Work in IT

FOR A LOT OF MONEY AND WITHOUT A DEGREE. AT OPEN IT TOLD WHO TO EXPECT IN IT AND WHY TO GO THERE…

More than 88% of Belarusian IT-specialists work in Minsk, and the average age of our IT-specialist is 29 years old. At the same time, according to unofficial statistics, about every third Belarusian dreams of working in IT. This data was announced at the Open IT conference, which took place in the capital last Saturday. It was organized by IT-Academy (a brand of the HTP Educational Center).
Because of the hype around this sphere, many stereotypes appeared. IT is associated with a quick start, high salaries, dust-free work… Which of these is true and which is a fiction? Speakers of Open IT told how things really are in the industry.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A PROGRAMMER TO WORK IN IT

There is a stereotype that only programmers are in demand in IT. But this is not true, explains Amina Idigova, an independent HR-consultant in the IT-sphere, professional coach and trainer.

Over a twenty-year career, I have the following scheme, how roles are distributed in a typical service IT-company in Belarus. Only 36% of all employees are engaged in writing code, that is, these are developers. About 12% of IT representatives are managers, 10% are testers, 8% are business analysts and sales and marketing specialists, 7% are UX/UI designers… There are also DevOps specialists, architects, customer support specialists, HR. The options for development and career building are many.


HIGHER EDUCATION IS NOT A PANACEA

They don’t hire people without a degree in IT? Open IT dispelled this myth: higher education is not a mandatory requirement for jobs in information technology. Alexandra Parkhomenko, HR Business Partnering Wargaming, gives an example:

Before the conference I interviewed the company’s employees, and it turned out that about five of our senior engineers have no higher education. This means that when we hired them, we didn’t pay attention to the diploma.

For us, its presence was not a critical point in the selection process. If a specialist is good at interviews and on technical tasks, it doesn’t matter where he got his knowledge. In today’s world, this can be done not only in higher education institutions.

There are more and more IT-courses, different online-platforms for training, it is possible to do self-education. Everyone chooses the way of acquiring knowledge, which is the most convenient for him.


For more money and without a diploma. At Open IT, they told who is expected in IT and why go there…


I don’t have a degree, but this doesn’t prevent me from working in IT. I’ve been a developer for almost fifteen years. I think diploma as a document is not very important, except maybe if you have to move to another country and confirm your education or if you want to make scientific career. Much more important is what precedes getting a diploma – the process of learning. It is a big part of socialization, an opportunity to learn how to learn and interact with people.

Valery Selitsky, a developer at Merkeleon Development Ltd


IT-COURSES CAN BE USEFUL, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE.


Some IT schools promise quick results and entry into IT in the shortest possible time. Hence there is an illusory notion that mastering an IT profession is easy. And the most important thing – in a month you can work in an IT-company in the new specialty. But you should not expect such a quick result. According to the estimates of the HTP Education Center, it takes about six months to train a junior specialist from scratch.


Daria Antonovich, head of Start IT Lab of HTP Education Center, recommends:

You need to approach the choice of courses intelligently. If you want to become a programmer from scratch in a month, this is definitely not the case. This process takes a much longer period of time and requires maximum immersion from the student …

Now I’m not saying that everyone must go to the courses. If you have developed self-discipline, you can learn everything on your own – the Internet is full of necessary information. If you want to follow a systematized and proven training plan, then the courses are your chance to get a new profession.

But you need to look carefully at the duration and program of the course, who is going to teach, whether the trainer has any experience, what companies he has worked with, what projects he has participated in. And one more piece of advice: start practicing as early as possible. After you’ve learned the theory, try to apply the new knowledge on a training project.

Then sign up for an internship. They usually last several months and allow you to work on a real project.
How else can you get practical experience in IT?

The best way to get practical experience is to participate in hackathons and startups. There are a huge number of them! It is enough to subscribe to the mailing lists of educational centers and specialized business clubs and look carefully where you can take part. Don’t ignore such events – it’s a real chance to get your first experience, and come to the interview prepared to offer your services competitively.
For more money and without a diploma. At Open IT they told who is expected in IT and why to go there…

Jan Ageenko, designer and leading UI/UX-trainer at IT-Academy


IT SPECIALISTS ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WITH GOOD SALARIES


Salaries in IT-sphere stir the imagination. According to Hi-Tech Park, experienced programmers today on average earn from 3150 rubles and more (depending on the technology with which the specialist works). At the start, the developer’s salary does not differ much from the national average – about one thousand rubles.

Vadim Zelenkov, director of the department of training and development of EPAM Systems, advises to be guided not only by money when choosing a profession…

In my opinion, “go to IT” is not the smoothest way in the pursuit of money. I remember, on one news resource there was a chorivar about a dramatic difference in salaries between the IT-industry and other spheres. Actually there are a million other ways to fulfill yourself. For example, it is very difficult to find a marketing specialist, and companies are willing to pay huge money to these professionals. And under this news, one guy wrote that he really loves his profession of a marketer, he has been working for five years and he earns $1,500.

There are cases where a person just loves what he does, and over time he is able to make good money. I have an acquaintance who had a senior position in a digital agency, and at the same time she had a hobby: baking cakes. They turned out so well that friends were always ordering cakes from her and recommending them to their acquaintances.

More and more orders came in. At some point, she realized that she was making as much money on cakes as she was at the agency. Subsequently, she left there, and now she is developing her own confectionery business and getting a buzz out of it. The important thing is to choose a profession that you will enjoy doing, and the money will pick up.


For more money and without a diploma. At Open IT they told you who to expect in IT and why to go there…


IN IT YOU HAVE TO STUDY ALL THE TIME


At Open IT they voiced what employers expect from new IT specialists at the start of their career. Among the main requirements are the readiness to work 10-12 hours a day, the knowledge of the theory of the chosen direction, English and the ability to solve problems. It is also important to constantly learn and be willing to retrain. Roman Ogolikhin, head of the .NET department at SoftTeco, comments:

Indeed, in IT you need to constantly learn – there is no getting away from this. But this does not mean that it is hard to work in this field.
It will be really hard in the first six months or a year, when you get used to the different atmosphere and corporate culture. But then, once you get used to the pace, it becomes easier. I’d like to mention one more point: previously it was much harder to study, because the only sources of information were books, and you could get education only at university.
Now things are easier – there are courses, online programs, YouTube videos, podcasts. Choose what you like, and learn.


Open IT is an annual free conference held by IT-Academy (HTP Education Center). This year’s event was not only pro-focused, but also educational.
Two lecture streams and eight master classes were visited by several thousand people, and 200 specialists participated in express interviews. Live broadcasts on the day of the conference were viewed more than three thousand times.