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How do you choose the best IT profession for you?

Should you become a programmer, tester, or designer? What suits you better — Front-End or Back-End? What is the first thing an inexperienced specialist should do, and how can you avoid being disappointed by your career choice? Senior Software Engineering Manager Yevhen Lysyakov has some answers.

Personality types of IT specialists

— IT specialists can be divided into groups:

  • Front-End;
  • Back-End;
  • Data Engineering; and
  • Requirements and Quality.

These groups all have a different emphasis and focus. In each one, a person with certain traits and preferences will be able to excel more easily than others. Every specialty area and project requires a specific skill set from a specialist.

Front-End (creative and dynamic people)

What is it?

Front-end is dynamic work for people with a good imagination, since they will be working with visualizations. It is necessary to come up with many approaches to solving problems, constantly learn, stay current on the latest trends, and use creative thinking.

Who is it best for?

There are two directions in the Front-End area — development and design. Professions in this group are well-suited to sociable people, since excellent communication skills are one of the basic requirements. Typically, designers tend to be the first people to communicate with a client.

If this sounds like you, consider these specialties:

  • Interface Design;
  • Front-End (JavaScript); and
  • Mobile-developer (iOS/ Android).

Back-End / Business logic

What is it?

If we are talking about working with business logic, we need a person who can anticipate many scenarios for the manner in which events may develop, and build the logic accordingly. It is necessary to work with algorithms and structured code, adhering to the applicable standards. No less important is the speed of work, which can be very challenging.

Who is it best for?

Professions in this category are appropriate for a person with an analytical mindset who enjoys working with data, structuring it, and analysing it.

If this sounds like you, consider these specialties:

  • DevOps;
  • Java;
  • .NET; and
  • Drupal.

Data Engineering

What is it?

This is work with data formats and types. It is necessary to carefully think through queries and understand the form in which data should enter the business logic.

Who is it best for?

This career path is suitable for people with a structured mindset who focus on accurate work, since data ”purity“ is one of the key principles. You need to be diligent for a position in this area because it is quite meticulous work.

If this sounds like you, consider these specialties:

  • Robotic Process Automation;
  • Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence;
  • Big Data; and
  • Data Science.

Requirements and Quality

What is it?

This profession requires critical thinking and someone who is adept at scrutinizing things and questioning both obvious and subtle issues. Noticing inaccuracies is the primary objective. People in these positions need to know how to work with documentation, transform client business requirements for the project team, and be fluent in English.

Who is it best for?

This specialty is good for people who have critical mindset and who notice inconspicuous defects. You need to be able to think through the most incredible scenarios of system operation and be ready to challenge seemingly undeniable things.

If this sounds like you, consider these specialties:

How to decide on a direction

— There are several steps that will help you to make the best choice for you. In addition to considering your traits, you also need to think about your interests and skills. If you are not sure which group to choose, try different activities and see what suits you best.

  1. Talk to people who are working in the different groups identified above. Ask them about the work, and try to assess their character and what kind of people they are. This can help you understand if you are on the same wavelength and share certain characteristics.
  2. Understand your own character. Your reaction to various work situations will depend, at least in part, on your temperament. Some people who think creatively and are quick on the uptake might want to consider the Front-End. Those who delve deeply into everything when studying something new might be interested in business logic. Others, who are attentive to details, may enjoy working with data.
  3. Decide whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Considering typical employment on a project, extroverts are better suited for the Front-End, since communication is one of the key components of the position. Much depends on the individual project, though. It is possible to be a great designer and an introvert if you have a good team and correctly-built work processes.
  4. And what if you are more into humanities than science? Humanities are not a disqualification. Specialization will be a key factor. You will need a willingness to grow and develop, and a good knowledge of English. There are many areas of IT where a deep technical background is not necessary, such as marketing or business analysis.
  5. Prove yourself during training. Do not worry about whether you will be hired immediately after you complete your training. That depends on how motivated you are and how well you study. Whether you will be hired on a project will primarily be determined by your professional skills and your level of English.
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How to avoid being disappointed with your choice

The key is managing yourself and your expectations. Some people who are disappointed by their choice come to work after training believing that they already know everything and that money should start rolling in. Be realistic. It turns out that you need to learn constantly. IT is a very dynamic area. As soon as you have mastered something, you will need to learn something else. Today, new technologies appear every 2–3 years, and you should be ready for this.

Don’t choose a profession based on its allegedly lower threshold for entry or its popularity, because you may not like it at all. It is better to opt for something you will enjoy and hen spend your time studying, so you are prepared to work in that area. Then, your work will bring you only joy.

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