Russian students and graduates who got their diplomas no later than 2014 can participate in the contest. In order to do that, they have to register on the competition's official website before 23:59 MSK, November 22. Those who've already registered can also check the website for sample tasks and special online seminars by lecturers from Russia's leading universities.

According to the competition's head Valerya Kasamara, the most popular among the competition's 54 different tracks were: Economics (11,159 participants), Psychology (10,683), Medical Care (9972), Mathematics (9755), Programming and information technologies (7430), Law (7249), Biology (7152), as well as Human resource management (6997) and State and municipal management (6383). As for the competition's geography, most applications were submitted in Moscow (40532) and St. Petersburg (17859), as well as Tyumen Oblast (8353), Sverdlovsk Oblast (7116), Tatarstan (6875), Primorsky Krai (6468), Rostov Oblast (6436), Dagestan (5868) and Bashkortostan (5776), as well as Chelyabinsk Oblast (4940).

Alice virtual assistant
Alice virtual assistant

This year, it was for the first time that the competition's organizers used the Alice virtual assistant to help the students choose the categories they would've liked to participate in. The assistant's new skill was called "I am a Professional", and executed as a career guidance test. Its seven original questions help the user choose one of 11 proposed specializations. For now, Alice is the competition's only HR expert which is an AI. According to the organizers, they are planning to make it so that it will also give recommendations on a greater number of different program tracks, as with time, the amount of the competition's categories will continue to grow.

Online seminars on the competition's program tracks are available at its official website. You can check with their schedule here. What's more, the recordings of the previous seminars are also available. The competition's participants can also take part in on-site workshops on soft skills. These events will take place in such cities as Vladivostok, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk, Kaliningrad, Tomsk, Rostov-on-Don, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, Kazan, Voronezh, Nizhny Novgorod, Kursk, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg and Makhachkala. One can choose a city and register for the event here.

The "I am a Professional" competition's key feature is its practical focus. The tasks were developed by research associates from Russian universities and professionals from major public and private companies. While these tasks are aimed at senior Bachelor's students and Master's students, any student can take part in the competition.

The 2018-2019 competition has 54 tracks, all of which are supervised by particular universities. ITMO University supervises five of them: apart from “Programming and information technologies”, “Photonics” and “Information and Cybersecurity” which it supervised last year, it is also responsible for “Big Data” and “Robotics” (the latter track is supervised in collaboration with the Far Eastern Federal University).

Among the competition's partners are over 100 Russian companies that participated in developing tasks and organizing internships for the winners. The latter will also get cash prizes and benefits for applying to Master's and PhD programs at Russia's leading universities. The young specialists will also get profiles in the "I am a Professional" database, which helps get internships at major Russian companies. You can read about the experience of last year's winners and runner-ups here.

The first "I am a Professional" competition took place last year, with 295 applications in 27 categories. The competition is conducted as one of the projects of the "Russia, the land of opportunity" platform, which was launched at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi on the initiative of the president of the Russian Federation.