Juniors are needed for companies for the same reasons that children are needed for evolution
Amina Idigova, a career development mentor, explained how to determine your best entry point into IT with the help of career guidance, introspection, and trend monitoring. She also shared why corporations need novice specialists.
In this article
— Today there are many ways to enter IT. Therefore, the question logically arises: is there any reliable methodology that can help an applicant choose a specialty guaranteed to provide them with a successful entry into the IT field? The short answer is both yes and no, since most IT professions are at the intersection of disciplines. In fact, any person has a chance to become successful in almost any IT specialty.
About career tests
— Numerous IT training providers offer career tests. Under the hood, they use different forecasting algorithms: from generally accepted diagnostic methods to unique methods that the providers developed on their own.
Most of these tests can be divided into two types:
- Tests that consider your areas of interest, choices, and preferences, and calculate the most suitable profession based on those factors.
- Tests that use psychometrics and analyze your personality type, behavioral patterns, and leading trends. Based on the results of such a test, the candidate receives a list of IT specializations in which they have a high chance of success. These recommendations do not narrow the choice, but rather highlight areas in which the person has advantages due to their unique personality traits. This can make it easier to enter the profession and reduce the chances of being disappointed.
In addition to psychological factors, there are also objective criteria, such as:
- Level of knowledge of English;
- Current experience, skills, and abilities; and
- The presence of time, motivation, and discipline — important factors that tests are not able to assess.
Therefore, the results of any test must be compared with the market situation and personal capabilities.
In addition to tests, the following can be the simplest criteria for choosing a particular area in IT:
- The area is an uptrend (determined by following charts, research, and global trends);
- The specialty arouses your sincere interest, curiosity, and desire to try it; and
- Working in the role will enhance your status in the eyes of an audience that is significant to you (people to whom you are close, opinion leaders, the professional community, etc.).
About the role of juniors in companies
— Why do companies need juniors at all? They ask a lot of basic and sometimes “foolish” questions, demand attention, distract more experienced colleagues from work, expect rewards that are not always proportional to their objective benefit to the project, and sometimes look like a dubious and risky investment. Juniors play an important role in a company, however, for a variety of reasons that I identify below.
A constant influx of juniors provides an opportunity for professional growth for the rest of the staff, providing a healthy rotation on the project. The seniority pyramid organically shifts staff up and makes them constantly develop and explore new horizons.
The realization that they are a mentor, an example, and a role model for someone frequently makes seniors more responsible, attentive, and disciplined.
The speed of a junior's integration can be a good indicator of the health of the team — how effectively its communication works, and how transparent its roles and responsibilities are.
Juniors can often be an additional point of quality control for processes, documentation approaches, and collective code ownership practices. The answer to another basic or "foolish" question may raise the important issue of why something has to be repeatedly explained. Maybe it's time to start documenting these points? Similarly, the complexities of a system that you might not have noticed before often arise in the process of explaining matters younger colleagues. This provides an opportunity to rewrite a functionality and make it something more relevant.
Beginners are often taught using the latest books and the latest technologies. After exchanging experiences, you may discover that more modern solutions have been invented for familiar processes.
Juniors are curious, they look at problems with fresh eyes. They look around with delight, constantly broadening their horizons, trying to pull forward ideas that seem like breakthroughs to them. Their curiosity and ability to grasp potential solutions faster than their more established teammates can be indispensable and complement the team's overall competence.
Juniors can find simple, efficient solutions more quickly and can write more readable and cleaner code, especially in situations when experienced programmers tend to overengineer. Or a junior may just copy-paste a piece of code from StackOverflow that, surprisingly and unexpectedly, turns out to be easier and better than a unique custom implementation that a senior would create. Also, since it was copied from a forum with hundreds of contributors, the code is probably free of bugs.
Sometimes, it happens that a junior specialist did not know that a given problem was considered “unsolvable,” and proceeds to solve it.
Juniors enthusiastically do things that their more experienced colleagues have already lost interest in. And when a person is interested, there is a high probability that they will solve the problem more efficiently and effectively. Thus, a bunch of project "blockages" that the team did not previously have time to address can be easily sorted out by juniors.
Finally, the presence of juniors allows the rest of the project participants to engage in tasks corresponding to their actual experience level. And, during this time, juniors manage to grow up to be good middle-specialists and make room for a new “generation” of juniors.
Thus, juniors are needed for companies for the same reasons that children are needed for evolution, they allow you to identify and consolidate the most sustainable and effective scenarios for the development of the system as a whole.
You can also learn more about different professions in IT and choose the training courses that are right for you on our Learn page.