Effectively launching as a junior: an expert's view
Program Manager and Director of the EPAM UpSkill School Ashley Means spoke about the current situation in the global IT labor market and gave juniors advice on finding a job.
In this article
— Today, there are fewer vacancies around the world for specialists who have little or no experience in IT. This change was influenced by many factors. Some of the main ones are:
- The lack of a sufficient number of senior specialists with the time and willingness to train junior employees. For a junior to be successful in their role, they must be paired with someone more experienced.
- The pandemic taught us to work remotely. Companies today can hire the senior specialist that they need from anywhere in the world, and the specialist can work at a distance. This is a profitable solution that allows companies to quickly solve problems, saving time and money. This new working model does, however, mean that juniors do not have the traditional opportunity to work in an office and learn from experienced colleagues in person.
What do companies offer juniors?
— In addition to remote work, the pandemic made it possible for traditional schools and other educational service providers to move to online classes and training. Today, we see a lot more online training than ever before.
EPAM offers juniors a community to join, training, and the opportunity to contribute to a project and build a portfolio.
Other companies have also begun creating their own training programs to develop the talent within their organizations. Many focus on individuals who are changing professions, the so-called switchers, to provide an opportunity to transfer skills and experience in the field.
How do you find a job as a junior?
— It can be very difficult for recent graduates from college or another course of study to find a job in a competitive IT market. It can seem that vacancies are really not meant for people with zero experience. Over the past couple of years, world events have forced companies to think carefully and strategically about how and where they spend money.
Job search tips
- Develop your network and your networking skills. It is very important to talk with your friends, acquaintances, and even friends and acquaintances of acquaintances, about the specialists their companies are looking for. This can lead to opportunities for internships, studies, or even a connection with someone who can offer advice on how to develop in your career.
- Be flexible, and open to opportunities you hadn’t considered. At an early stage of your career, you may not even know all the options available to you, so being receptive to a range of possibilities can bring good results.
- Be honest about the work you've done, where you want to grow, and how you plan to continue to learn and develop your skills. There is nothing more appealing to an employer than a motivated, humble, and intelligent candidate.
- Be open to any position that offers you an opportunity to gain experience. This could mean an internship or even a volunteer position to gain skills.
My most important advice to juniors is to keep going, relentlessly! Keep using your knowledge and skills, keep learning, keep experimenting, keep coding.
Resume writing tips
- Focus on all the skills you have. People forget that they have transferable skills from the past experience that are highly valuable to a new role. Think soft skills!
- Always pay attention to grammar and spelling. Details matter, particularly when you are looking for work in a detail-oriented field.
- Keep the format simple!
- Before applying, review the job description and revise your resume accordingly, tailoring it to the specific position to match keywords listed that match your experience.
- Don't lie on your resume or create long list of tech skills you do not have.
- Share your work, code, projects, etc.
- STAND OUT! Record a short video about yourself and share the link in your resume.
- Be yourself and be confident.
- Practice answers in advance to the difficult questions you may encounter.
- Seek advice from more experienced people in your field.
- If you have listed some technologies on your resume, find a way to support the use of each of them in the interview.
- If you don't know something, that's okay. It's better to be honest. If you listed some technologies on your CV, give an example of their use during the interview.
You can ask our community questions about junior IT positions in Discord.