Studies in information technologies: navigating between the myth and reality for high school graduates2021 04 14
Commentary by Darius Dužinskas, Head of Human Resources at Baltic Amadeus.
A lot of high school graduates have their life planned for the next few months: consultations, exams, results and the fateful choice of university or college. However, I would suggest rephrasing the question from “Where should I enrol?” to “Where would I like to work?” After all, once you visualise yourself in the future labour market, the decision is so much easier.
I will let you in on a secret: information technology is still one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, and its untapped potential is even more impressive. According to Enterprise Lithuania, compared to Lithuania, other EU countries have much larger IT sectors: in Finland it is 10 times the size, in Belgium 14 times and in Sweden it’s a whopping 17 times the size of the IT sector in Lithuania. However, like elsewhere in the world, the IT sector in Lithuania is growing and will continue to expend, driving the demand for skilled specialists. In addition to a dynamic working environment, flexible working conditions and young and dynamic teams, this sector can also offer excellent financial guarantees. Would you like to work in this environment? If so, I invite you to give some thought to a career in IT.
IT solely for mathematicians is a myth
First off, I would like to debunk the myth that the IT sector is only appealing and suitable for mathematicians. As the Head of HR at an IT company who majored in social geography, I can assure you that this is not so. Some mathematical knowledge is required, but it is important to remember that you will need to go past maths, because IT studies cover a broad field of interests and you will face a variety of tasks in your work, from analysis to planning and working with people. In fact, skills in the humanities are very important in this line of work – I am speaking about basic literacy, the ability to clearly express your thoughts in Lithuanian, plus proficiency in foreign languages, with English as a must.
There are many courses relating to the IT sector to choose from, and all of them vary greatly! If you love mathematics, logic and precision, then your choice of studies should focus on programming languages; however, if you lean more towards communication, socialisation, organisation and management, contemporary studies in project management might be your thing. In addition, if you enjoy art or drawing techniques, you may want to consider majoring in design. Although different in nature, all of these subject majors are elements of the IT sector. It is a highly flexible field, where paths can be taken by both very creative and very precise people, and where both introverts and extraverts feel at home. It is also important that you adapt your hobbies and abilities to learn how to use modern technologies.
A variety of job offerings
In fact, information technology is a very broad concept, and it rare for those involved in this field to think of themselves as “IT specialists”, because this profession simply does not exist. What does exist, then? There are fields of work for programmers in different languages, from front-end to back-end solutions, as well as mobile device software (Android or iOS) developers, testing specialists, business analysts, project managers, experts in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), designers, digital innovation analysts, and a great many other professions. Some individuals handle digital tools, while others take care of people’s wellbeing.
Of course, the market needs are constantly shifting and the IT sector is not immune to trends. For instance, right now PHP, Drupal and Symphony specialists are in high demand, and there is always a shortage of good Java and front-end experts; however, all of the popular programming languages, even those of a legacy variety, require specialists in that particular field.
Fieldwork is the best way to learn things
If you choose to major in information technology, rest assured you will not be spending all your time behind a desk in the study hall. Although future employers appreciate the education of young specialists, they also keep a critical eye on their work experience. As a result, those with both a good degree and work experience on their CV have a huge advantage in the employment market. Most IT students start picking up work experience in their second or third year, because nearly all major IT companies have internship programmes for students, allowing interns to gain tons of hands-on knowledge in a matter of months and allowing them to contribute to the implementation of real projects. Once this is paid internship is over, the top students are offered steady jobs with the possibility to juggle their work and studies.
If you would like to participate in this kind of internship, you need to be active from your first year at the university by showing interest, attending job fairs, applying and make efforts to enrol in programmes. Active, curious and ambitious people are highly appreciated in this sector, and the value of fieldwork in terms of your future career is huge because you are able to enrich your theoretical knowledge with hands-on work that will give you a solid foundation as you start your journey down the professional path.
Teamwork: another strength in the IT sector
A lot of people mistakenly believe that studying and working with information technology and information systems is all about sitting alone and staring at a monitor. However, those employed in the IT sector laugh when they are asked if they are bored from interacting only with a screen; in fact, they spend most of their time working in teams, discussing tasks, consulting with their colleagues and solving complex problems together. The kind of work that makes you an excellent software engineer also calls for skills in communicating, understanding and really hearing others. Designing unicorns, innovative apps and systems requires a large team of specialists with members who complete one another. If you are looking for the kind of work that is done in solitude, you will be better off applying to become the keeper of an exotic deserted island. You will definitely not be lonely in the IT sector.
Have I managed to convince you to choose to study IT? Do you have any questions? Let’s talk! The Baltic Amadeus specialists are ready to answer your questions as you choose to begin your IT career. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
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