The future for young IT specialists in Ukraine

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Autopilot for cars, digital currencies, augmented reality, artificial intelligence systems. Five years ago, they were practically not talked about, but today there is a global demand for tens of thousands of engineers.

Our country has every chance to take a leading position in the development of the latest technologies. The Ukrainian IT industry is growing by 20% annually, and recently this growth is only accelerating. In practice, this means the creation of approximately 20,000 new jobs every year. At this rate of development, in the near future we will face a shortage of graduates capable of developing software. Then other players on the global IT market will receive the projects that could be created in our company.

Where do ITishniki come from?

Students make up a significant part of the population of large cities. The functioning of large-scale institutions of higher education requires a developed infrastructure. Ukraine is quite urbanized: compared to our Western neighbors, we have many cities with a population of over a million people. If you look at such centers as Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, they all have huge technical universities. Naturally, these cities became the main IT hubs of the country.

According to our estimates, today’s education system annually produces from 16 to 25 thousand people who may be in demand by IT companies. These numbers include a wide range of engineering professions, not just computer graduates. In modern technical education, all majors study programming at one level or another. Even the design of mechanical or building structures requires work in CAD systems that allow programming of basic algorithms.

The number of young professionals capable of working in IT is currently sufficient, but their quality plays an equally important role. Unfortunately, the modern education system in Ukraine does not keep up with trends in the field of IT technologies. In the current reality of the IT industry, it is necessary to invest significantly in additional training of graduates for practical activities.

Courses for a young IT specialist

In cooperation with leading technical universities, our company is developing its own educational program — GL BaseCamp. These are courses for students and graduates of higher education institutions lasting from three to six months. As part of our program, people learn to work in projects, basic skills of interaction in teams, modern IT technologies, and gain experience with commercial software development tools. At the end of this term, we can identify those who are able and motivated to continue developing in the IT field, and those who need additional time to study, or simply this profession is not their choice.

For graduates, working in an IT company is the easiest, but at the same time, the most competitive way into the IT industry. However, this is not the only way to master new technologies and gain practical experience.

In the study of modern technologies, online education is the most promising. Coursera already today enables anyone in the world to take courses in IT technologies from the world’s leading universities: Stanford, Yale, Harvard, MIT. Codecademy teaches programming in 12 languages. There are tons of tutorials on YouTube with tips for aspiring engineers.

Practical experience can be gained by dealing with open-source projects: products created according to this model are distributed on the principles of open software. Anyone can participate in implementing new or improving existing system functionality. Developments created by open-source communities are now used in almost all industries. A vivid example of such products is the Android operating system. According to the statistics of Ukrainian operators, about 75% of smartphones in Ukraine work on the basis of this operating system. Of course, it is unlikely that a programmer will make a significant contribution to a complex product, but the experience of working with tools and interacting with other developers will definitely be gained.

Participation in various competitions and Olympiads will be an interesting experience. Quite a few international online competitions offer both to participate in the competition and to look at the solutions created by the winners. This gives an opportunity to learn new approaches to solving non-trivial tasks, to analyze the architecture and the methods used.

What IT specialists are lacking

Of course, experienced developers are most in demand. On the world market, Ukraine is known for the quality of its software products and its success in the development of complex R&D solutions, for which, unfortunately, students are not very suitable. Unmet demand in this segment will amount to thousands of engineers. At the same time, in the segment of junior developers, there are about 10 candidates for one open vacancy.

However, it is obvious to us that the intensive growth of IT is impossible without massive involvement of young personnel in the industry. All major Ukrainian IT companies invest in additional training of university graduates. For example, 300-400 people go through our external and internal courses every year. Some of them stay with us, and some, having gained initial experience, find themselves in other companies, replenishing the general market of engineering talent.

Transformation of education

Recently, there has been a trend of reorientation of both secondary and higher education towards the IT industry. The reasons for this phenomenon are quite obvious. Despite the stagnation of the global economy, the segment of IT services continues to grow by approximately 4-5% per year, which creates a global demand for IT professionals.

According to various estimates, the unsatisfied global demand for software development specialists is about 100-150 thousand people per year. The education system is trying to adapt to the demands of the times and start preparing people for higher education and professions in which they can find themselves in the future as early as possible.

Although systematic changes in the professional orientation of secondary schools are not yet visible, I am sure that in the near future the trend will be the opening of an increasing number of educational institutions focused on engineering and IT professions.