Profimap: from a concept to the product
Please tell us, how did you come up with the idea for this service?
Dmitry: I'll start from the very beginning. I’ve been working in commercial product development for a long time. One day, Veronika, now Profimap’s co-founder, got me in touch with an educational foundation that needed a team for a project. We started to cooperate and during the working process we noticed that career counseling is in demand. We continued to research this market and realized that even though there are companies that provide such services online, they don’t use all available technologies that can be useful. I suggested to Veronika that we create our own service. We discussed everything, put down the initial concept, and used it at a hackathon. We researched the field, asked others for their opinions, and as a result created a development strategy.
What services do you offer?
Dmitry: Right now anyone can pass a test on our website and receive a detailed analysis of their soft skills for free. We also offer career guidance: determining what profession in IT would suit a user based on their test results. There’s also a career map, which offers advice on universities and online courses where one can acquire skills needed in a certain field.
What is your target audience?
Dmitry: Our mission is to provide career guidance, and anyone might need help with this at some point. It’s not only for school students who want to apply to universities, but also for students who have to choose a specialization, and for those who decided to start a career in IT.
Why do you only cover the field of IT?
Dmitry: We wanted to work with all kinds of professions, but that’s too hard to do at the very beginning. So, we decided to start with IT; plus, four out of six of our team members are programmers. We know this market, we know what professions there are, and if they are in demand. Moreover, IT is a promising industry that many wish to enter, but don’t know how. We want to help, so we offer recommendations on specializations, educational institutions, and advice on how to begin a career.
Project’s team and structure
What kinds of professions do you recommend to users?
Dmitry: Right now we have ten specializations: development, project management, DevOps engineering, software architecture, systems administration, testing, UI/UX design, Big Data analytics, SEO marketing, and HR.
Did you compile the HR tests for the service yourself?
Dmitry: Along with career counseling specialists, we’ve chosen around 10-15 tests, did research on how efficient they are, checked out the reviews, and picked three or four most suitable options. These are the tests that HR specialists use in the process of employment and career guidance within a company.
Who checks the tests and provides the results?
Dmitry: This process is automated. The algorithm was created with the help of HR specialists. Nail is one of them, and he still works on improving the system.
So, all the calculations are performed automatically? No one accompanies the user?
Dmitry: Yes, that’s basically how it works, but Nail is responsible for quality control of these processes. He checks the results and edits them, plus, we’re working with other HR specialists who help us improve the algorithm. We plan to implement a neural network when we’ll have enough data for analysis. However, our idea is of a user-friendly automatized service.
Nail, could you tell us how you started working on this project?
Nail: I knew one of Profimap’s team members, and they asked me to check out their project. I liked their idea, met the team, and decided to join them.
Nail: I am an HR manager at an IT company, so I’m related to the field Profimap works in. This project is about a mutually beneficial professional exchange: I complete certain tasks, and learn something new myself.
What is your part in the project?
Nail: My main goal is to ensure that test results are objective and supported by HR technologies we rely on.
New features for Profimap
Why do you think career counseling is in demand?
Dmitry: We don’t have statistical data of our own for now, as we only started to sell our product. However, we know the market, we see how popular platforms for distant learning are, and it’s surprising for us that one of the integral aspects of this field – career guidance – is a bit neglected. It seems reasonable to take a test and receive some advice before paying for a course. We think that sooner or later people will realize this and career counseling will become more popular.
How much do people trust career guidance tests and services?
Dmitry: I think that today people trust online products more, including educational ones. Ten years ago no one really believed in career counseling tests, but today the situation is changing – people see more opportunities for various studies and careers. I think that career counseling as a service is being established right now.
How do you plan to develop your service? What do you want to implement?
Dmitry: Right now our main task is to start selling the product and determine what services are the most popular. We have a lot of plans but it’s too early to discuss them just yet. One idea that is close to its implementation is a neural network, an update to our university suggestion process. We will add an option where one can specify their exam grades and set a limit on the cost of a student fee, so that we can give more accurate advice. We plan to cooperate with educational platforms in order to suggest their courses to our users.