Who are junior professionals?

According to surveys (in Russian) done by job search platform hh.ru in 2021, 57% of employed Russians were planning to shift careers in 2021, 63% of them were aged 45-56. Most of the respondents wanted to get into IT instead of their current field. However, there are many challenges associated with changing your profession, from previous negative experiences to the fear of spending a long time looking for a job. 

On the other hand, Anna Trunina, the producer of referral marketing at Yandex Praсtiсum, maintains that age is not a hindrance when looking to change your specialization – moreover, diverse working experiences can be very helpful in overcoming these challenges. At the conference, she shared a case of a Yandex Praсtiсum student who at 49 realized that she no longer wanted to be an entrepreneur and decided to start a career in IT. Inspired by her younger son’s experience as a tester, she tried her hand at it too and keeps expanding her knowledge.

Anna Trunina.

Anna Trunina.

Finding your path in IT

What should you do once you’ve decided to leave your former specialization for IT? How can you find your niche on this new job market?

  • Career consultations

One of the ways to find a task to your liking is getting a career consultation. Margarita Golovko, an HR lead at Yandex Praсtiсum’s backend department, says that such consultations can be beneficial not only for school and university students, but also for those professionals who want to transfer into a new field. Career consultants would typically consider these three factors:

Your background, including your personal and professional experiences, character traits, soft skills, and favorite activities.

Your motivation and the actions you take to get a new job. For instance, if you learn something on your own or attend various online and offline courses.

What is happening on the job market: what specialists are in demand, whether the competition is tough, and what kind of salary you can expect.

You should also take into account the rapidly developing IT field which regularly produces new jobs and career paths. This is why you should get career guidance once or even twice a year. For instance, Evgeny Lurie, the product director at Profilum, believes that the market will soon require specialists who can compile precise requests for image generating neural networks. In the future, these specialists will compete with illustrators and designers who sell their works to companies and stock photo platforms.

Before setting up a consultation, it’s better to decide what kind of a specialist you might need. If you are a student or are at the start of your career, you will hardly benefit from advice of a top consultant who specializes in guiding experienced professionals. You should also verbalize what you want to get from the consultation and describe your exact situation, including your background, strengths, and weaknesses.

  • Talking to mentors and studying the market

It would also be useful to reach out to mentors and professionals, for instance, at open platforms like GetMentor. They can give you more information on IT specializations and key skills required for them. Also, pay attention to market overviews and lists of job ads published by HR experts.

  • Independent search and analysis

You can also try to pick a career in IT on your own, but this requires an extra effort. Firstly, don’t rule out networking. Perhaps, you have relatives or friends who work in IT and can introduce you to this field or share common job requirements. Talk to them! 

Secondly, make a career plan for the upcoming year: list all subfields you’d like to study and engage in. Then conduct analysis of various sources and try to predict how likely it is to find a job in these areas and what your salary might be.

Read also:

Online Schools VS Universities: Best Education for a Career in IT

Digital Renaissance: Yandex Academy Conference on Metaverses, Digital Doubles, and Technological Art

ITMO First Vice Rector Joins Yandex as Education Director

Getting your first job: what to keep in mind

Artyom Isakin, the head of the employment team at the Data Analysis program of Yandex Practicum, and Maria Kariauli, the head of the partnership recruitment at Yandex Practicum’s career center, discussed the challenges young IT specialists face and ways to overcome them.

Maria Kariauli and Artyom Isakin.

Maria Kariauli and Artyom Isakin.

Relevant job experience. This is one of the most frequent requirements in job ads. Companies want to hire graduates of certain universities, from specific backgrounds and with experience, moreover, each employer has their own idea on how many months or even years of experience their perfect candidate should have. In order to overcome this, try supplementing your resume with courses, study cases, and projects – that’s how you will prove that you have practical skills and experience, even if it wasn’t an official job.

First salary. It might differ from company to company and sometimes this might baffle and demotivate you, so experts suggest studying the market and finding out what the average salary is, as well as talking to already hired junior specialists and managers and attending webinars and related events.

Living in a small town. It might be harder to find a job in IT outside Moscow and St. Petersburg, because there are fewer companies, which are ready to hire junior specialists. Consider freelancing, remote or hybrid work formats, or relocation.

The IT market doesn’t need junior specialists. That’s how it might seem at first, when you get lots of rejections, but experts say this is a common practice and you shouldn’t give up. Instead, focus on editing your resume for each job ad and mentioning how you can be helpful to the company in the cover letter. You can also take part in commercial and pet projects. 

What if you’re no longer a student

Unlike students, people who decided to switch jobs might face age or status restrictions when applying for jobs or internships. Here’s what you can try:

  • Keep applying for jobs despite being rejected. Be realistic about the time it might take – not 1-2 months, but more likely 4-6 months.

  • First things first, pay attention to internships and job ads with a test task. As a rule, such employers are more focused on specific skills that you can demonstrate. And if you didn’t get the job, you can add the completed test task to your portfolio.

  • Use your network and learn more about the industry and job openings that aren’t available to the public.

Recordings of all the talks at the Yet another Conference on Education can be found here (in Russian).