Who can you become in IT?
When choosing a profession in IT, it is important to consider the changing demand in the industry. In a previous article, career development mentor Amina Idigova discussed how to find yourself in IT in 2022. But not everyone is able to follow trends. In this new Anywhere Club publication, Amina shares life tips and gives an overview of the main specialties and indicates which is easier and more difficult. The road will be mastered by the one who walks it — it is important to choose the right direction, catch the uptrend, and make sure that your choice is easy to study. Read the article before taking the unique career test.
In this article
— To understand the up and down trends in IT, you can start by monitoring the demand for certain development languages through the analysis of vacancies.
The following global studies reflect a fairly complete picture of the IT market today:
What programming language to learn
— When choosing your first programming language to learn, consider the following criteria:
- Ease of learning. The lower the entry threshold, the faster you will learn to write code and find a job without risking disappointment and loss of motivation.
- Prevalence and demand. The more popular the language, the more real projects it has, which means more communities and enthusiasts who create guides and third-party libraries for it. Typical tasks are easier to solve as a result.
- Availability of junior vacancies in the language. The more vacancies available in the market, the higher the chance of finding your first job. It is advisable to focus on the global market to leave room for relocation or remote work, but in any case, you should be prepared to show perseverance, since up to 90% of your responses to vacancies will not even lead to an invitation to an interview.
- Uptrend. This will mean that the technology is developing and will be relevant for the next 3-5 years, so your investment of time to study it will not be in vain.
- Income level. You should be aware of the income level of developers who work in the language.
- Attractiveness to you personally. Imagine that for the next year and a half you will have to spend up to 10 hours a day on this work.
Each of the development languages performs certain functions. If you choose a language that solves a problem you are really interested in, your level of engagement in the process will be higher and learning will go faster. The main things in studying are motivation and discipline. Both are internal resources; they cannot be bought and cannot be hired as mentors. Therefore, it is critically important to make the task of learning your first language as uplifting and interesting as possible, so you don’t have time to get scared and abandon the idea of entering IT.
Professions in IT
— If we talk about the career of a Software Developer, it is worth focusing on those areas of development that a beginner can master. Experienced colleagues recommend these two:
- Front-end — this includes all the browser can read, display, or run. To master the Front-end, you only need to master one development language - Java Script. In addition, you will have to learn HTML / CSS. They “tell” the browser which elements of the site, with what styles, and where, to render. Java Script has managed to acquire a ton of libraries and frameworks, including jQuery, React, Angular, Swift, Vue, TypeScript, and others. These allow the developer to avoid writing applications and sites from scratch because they are already built in.
- Back-end — this is all the “inner magic” that is hidden from view when you use a browser or mobile application. It includes server logic, scenarios of interaction with the external interface, algorithms for collecting and storing data, and much more. Back-end languages that are ideal for beginners are Java or Python. But remember that Back-end is always loaded with databases.
Other areas, such as Mobile or Gamedev, may be too complicated and specialized for a beginner. Very often, code for mobile devices and games is written in such a way as to squeeze the maximum performance out of hardware. This can involve a lot of complex mathematics, optimizations, and algorithms.
Also, at the start, forget about working with languages with the letter C (C, C++, C#). These are complex low-level languages. If you are a beginner, the added complexity reduces the chances of quickly mastering them. These languages should be chosen first only if you either have a solid technical background or are a real fan of embedded systems and microcontrollers.
Big Data (Data Scientist/Data Analyst)
— Big Data is a complex area at the intersection of programming, higher mathematics, and business. It requires a serious technological base and maturity. If linear algebra, probability theory, graphs, statistics and mathematical analysis, algorithms and data structures have never been your forte, then Data Science can be a serious challenge on the way to IT. You will come to all these technologies later, when you get comfortable in the profession and are ready to increase the complexity. Do not complicate your task at the start.
A difficult but increasingly popular direction for entering IT is data analysis. This specialty is the first step in the world of Big Data on the way to higher positions, such as a data architect or Data Science engineer.
Data analysts process large amounts of digital data and identify patterns that a business can use to adjust its development strategy. The specialty requires fundamental knowledge of data analytics, computer modeling, and mathematics, as well as knowledge of SQL, logical models, and database experience. In addition, a data analyst must be well versed in the specifics of the business for which they process information.
— Another entry point into IT can be testing. The main task of a tester is to check how the product meets its requirements. They test all the functions of the program and deliberately make mistakes to check its stability.
Sellers of numerous IT courses create the illusion that the threshold for entering IT through testing is low. In fact, this is not true. The profession of a tester is not easier than the profession of a developer. Understanding the basics of design and development, knowledge of English, attention to detail, and responsibility, as well as a tolerance for solving non-standard tasks are equally relevant for developers and testers. Moreover, Test Automation Engineers also write code and scripts. Even the level of average wages in the market may be the same. In some cases, more depends on the work of the tester than the programmer, since it is the tester who determines when the system works correctly and can go into production.
The difference between a tester and a developer is not only in the role and the area of responsibility, but also in the type of thinking. If you are comfortable creating from scratch or rebuilding a product, development is more suitable for you. If you prefer to deal with the finished product and improve its functionality, testing is waiting for you.
— If the user of the application or site lingered on it for more than 10 seconds, then the work of the UI designer was not in vain. Interface design (also known as UI/UX design) is another hot entry point into IT. Despite the mention of the word “design” in the title, this profession has almost nothing to do with direct design; instead, we are talking about information architecture.
- UX is how the product works; and
- UI is how it looks.
UI design is the part of UX design that deals with the look of a product and creates an emotional connection between the user and the interface. Both UI and UX designers aim to create emotions.
UI and UX designers focus on different aspects of building an app, however, and treat users differently. UX designers focus on user interaction with information, while UI designers care about appearance and interactivity. The UX designer creates a specific ecosystem that conveys the core idea of the business, and the UI designer brings that system to life by translating it into the real world using visual cues that evoke the desired reaction from users.
A well-thought-out interface may not be very beautiful, but it works great; an inefficient user experience, though, cannot be saved by a beautiful interface.
If you're more into the creative aspect of the profession, then UI design may be your area. And if you are a fan of analytics and are ready to stay in the background but make things more convenient and easier, then it is worth studying to become a UX designer.
— Even in business analysis, familiarity with code cannot be avoided, since one of the responsibilities of a BA is to understand the subject area from all points of view, not only from the business side, but also from the technical side.
Most of the time, the analyst works as an intermediary between customers and developers, acting as a translator between the language of business and the language of solutions. A business analyst is like a diagnostician. They identify and investigate the customer's problems, make a detailed analysis, select solutions, and then formalize them as requirements for developers.
In most companies, the tasks of business analysts also include systems analysis. They design data models and describe protocols for interaction between systems, and estimate the duration, scale, and stages of development. In other words, the business analyst is responsible for managing requirements throughout their life cycle.
Most of the BA tasks are related to the development of detailed documentation, description of user stories/acceptance criteria/use cases, business process modeling, solution prototyping, and specification creation.
Each analyst has their own favorite tools for work — some like to draw diagrams, some write a canvas of text in Word, and some draw a flowchart in Figma. It all depends on the requirements of the customer and the specifics of the analyst’s business domain.
Another popular entry point into IT is as DevOps or DevSecOps engineers. Entering this profession from scratch and without the appropriate technical education or experience, however, will be almost impossible.
The easiest way to get into DevOps is either as an experienced sysadmin or as a developer. DevOps synchronizes all stages of creating a software product: from writing code to testing and releasing an application. The main task of a DevOps engineer is to optimize workflows. That is, to increase the efficiency, stability, and safety of development, while maintaining the high quality of the final product.
In addition to the obvious knowledge of the DevOps methodology, experience is also required in:
- administration of operating systems;
- work with automation tools;
- writing scripts and developing code in a couple of languages;
- system testing; and
- work with network and cloud technologies and server infrastructure.
Often, a DevOps engineer must have a broad technical outlook and must constantly learn new tools and technologies.
A specially designed career test will help you decide on a profession - after taking it, you will find out which profession in IT suits you the most.