Road to IT career – is it possible without experience?
Opening doors to the IT industry isn’t a piece of cake for a beginner, mainly because of the lack of experience. This issue is common for many industries, however, it seems to be a real challenge in IT. It’s not only the time that a newcomer needs to introduce himself. It happens that more experienced workers need to devote their time to the rookie to help him start the IT journey.
It all started in high school. This is where I started to be keen on programming. I kicked off some websites and applications not only for my personal use but also for friends and family. Being aware that many IT companies are looking for people for the Junior position, I decided to try my luck. The beginnings weren’t easy, because I was immediately assigned to a project for an external client. However, I still received support from the team, not only substantive but also mental, which allowed me to quickly fit in with the team and understand the work culture. Importantly, I decided to enroll in the Bachelor studies right after high school. I’ve chosen the field that fits my second interest, that is statistics and working with various types of charts. To improve my soft skills, I decided to study Economic Analytics at the University of Economics in Wrocław. The choice concerns my wish to understand better the clients’ needs which I deal with at my work.
How has is started?
I’ve joined Synergy Codes as a self-taught person. In this case, you cannot expect much more than a lack of specialist knowledge. The most important factor to make up for the shortcomings and to have the possibility of further development was the way I was led. In the beginning, I was assigned to simpler tasks that allowed me to fit in the project and learn the work methodology. All my actions were evaluated. I must say that it was overwhelming at first, but no one put pressure on me and everyone knew that what they would do in a few hours, I would do twice as much at the beginning. I could always rely on a comprehensive explanation, even on the topics that I would learn about in IT. The great thing was that I could count on support in the form of pair programming from more experienced people whenever I got any kind of issues. In the first weeks of my work, I participated in meetings with the client. They allowed me to be 100% to cooperate in a team. Thanks to this, I gained a lot of self-confidence, especially now when there are no problems having conversations in a technical foreign language.
How studies can help with work in IT?
Starting work and studies at the same time, in two different fields, seems to be difficult and not entirely helpful in developing in one of these fields. This is not true. As soon as I started my full-time studies. Thanks to such a schedule, it is possible to change my daily routines context. It turned out that work and studies scheme is an ideal springboard, especially when you can develop your passions at work and university. This allows us to avoid situations in which we’re fed up with a given topic, whether during the classes or with tasks at work. The main assumption of the IT industry is to digitize everything tangible, which is why most studies can be combined with work as a programmer. This is the same in the field of study. My university puts a strong emphasis on being able to communicate with another person, be it a client or an employee. Such subjects as management or finance help to discover how the company works, what rules it follows, giving the idea of the internal operations. And subjects such as statistics, data analysis, or data modeling give greater insight and understanding of data visualization and what benefits it brings. It’s also important how it has to be done. By acquiring such knowledge at the university, I try to use it at work. As an example, I can mention one of the projects in which I participated. The main purpose of the application was to visualize sensors in real-time and represent them on charts and reports. Having statistical and business knowledge, I was able to understand and assume what the end-user would expect from such an app and what data would be the most important for him. I paid great attention to data representation on the charts and their granularity. It was all about finding out the way of filtering the data and selecting the most important one and then processing the reports. You can’t forget that it’s equally important for the client that, by working with a team of programmers, he can talk about topics related to the product, counting more than once for feedback or even substantive support.
Development within the guild
Let’s be honest – development in the IT industry is a hard nut to crack. Imagine, that 2 or 3 years of stagnation is enough to already fall behind with the technologies and tools that are currently used. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of what’s new on the market and try out new solutions. This is the goal of the guild have become a part of. Our goal is to identify and implement new solutions in the company. In my case, I started researching React Native technology. I’ve been exploring topics such as charting and its interactivity. This was due to the fact that we implemented a mobile version of one of our apps with the charts module implemented. It was important to find the best solution that would allow the user to work with large charts on a small phone screen. Thanks to such activities, I have the opportunity to develop not only in the technology in which I currently work but in those that could be interesting for me. It possible to research the new ones in the near future, so there’s a great chance I will already have some basic knowledge to initiate a project based on them.
My current guild priority is Machine Learning. It’s nothing more than processing large amounts of data in such a way that it can be used to create models that describe dependencies and predict results. I suggested this topic myself, not only because of my interests but also because it fits perfectly into the studies and work scheme at Synergy Codes. I’m planning to write a bachelor’s thesis using solutions such as neural networks. This will help me to combine studies with work even better and use my knowledge even better. Thanks to the above, I was able to bring the idea to life previously accepted by Tech-Lead. Machine Learning is a field that perfectly fits into the company’s projects, where thousands of readings from sensors are processed, or huge amounts of data are visualized. Such solutions could be used to predict upcoming failures based on the data brought out from sensors or to support users in using the application on the basis of a constantly learning system. This topic often appears in customer inquiries, which in turn, motivates me to further work on the topic of Machine Learning.
Combining work with studies in IT is quite a popular phenomenon, but many people wait to go for it only after they graduate. However, I believe that after high school you can try your hand at it. What’s really important, though, is to be equipped with a portfolio that will present the skills sneak peek. You shouldn’t forget that programmers are also human beings and there’s a lot to gain from a simple conversation. Just remember to show that you really care and want to start working to expand our knowledge. I also think that it’s very important to support such a person in their development path. It builds up a psychological comfort and doesn’t put in difficult situations when you have to choose what you care about more. Mostly, it will build a sense of gratitude that you have the opportunity to develop on many levels. Thanks to this approach at Synergy Codes, I have the opportunity to develop in other fields. As Team Leader says: Mateusz can be a good example of well-invested money and time in a young employee. The whole process of the programmer’s contribution and education on real projects was very successful. It wouldn’t be possible without Mateusz’s positive attitude and true commitment. In fact, when you start working in any industry, you need modesty, openness, honesty, curiosity, and a good leader. The team will use it and turn it into success.