Choosing an IT career in the global crisis

The economic crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic is only gaining momentum. There are reserve funds in some countries sufficient to mitigate the effects of financial crises. But it is unlikely that they were intended for the events of the present scale.

A complete halt in the economy is an epic event. Economists are predicting a 2.8% reduction in European GDP. In percentage points, this does not sound so terrible, but in fact, it is an unthinkable amount.

The global decline in employment has become one of the sad consequences. Many companies are forced to reduce their staff, and small business owners are going broke. The process has affected almost all spheres. However, the IT industry still seems a stable and profitable industry above the rest.

Many IT companies were on the path of rapid growth before the crisis. This helped them attract investment and show good accounting records. To ensure this, they had to hire people ‘for the future’.

Today, such a groundwork for the future is unclaimed, and IT companies began to lay people off. This indicates a significant decrease in the IT market activity. Demand is lagging behind supply. This is somewhat similar to the situation in the early 2000s when the dotcom crash occurred. Though the situations in 2000 and 2020 are impossible to compare.

Nowadays the degree of informatization and digitalization of all spheres of society is so high that the demand for IT services and products can be compared with the demand for food and basic necessities. Humanity can no longer imagine a world without digital devices and social networks as a means of communication…

Let us ask ourselves, whether it is a good time for a career change now? If everything is so good in the IT industry, why not change the sphere of activity and move to the safe haven of the IT?

Risks and difficulties

It is worth remembering that right now the labor market is unbalanced. Numerous candidates apply for a smaller number of open vacancies. Competition in the labor market of IT specialists is now quite high. At the same time, it has never been low.

High salaries have always attracted many candidates to this industry. Even now we see that many companies continue hiring, unlike the rest of the business, which has almost completely stopped attracting new staff.

You should ask yourself what you can offer to the IT market. Tech jobs will be open for both entry-level and senior levels but it’s important to know which job to apply for. While it takes a lot of confidence for you to apply for a higher position, it’s best to understand your level of expertise and know who you’ll compete with. If you haven’t worked in the sphere for the last 12 months, then obviously you will have to study or master one of the most popular specialties from scratch. This time should be taken into account as a risk factor because starting training today, you will be able to apply yourself to the labor market only in 6-12 months. 

A couple of tips for choosing an IT career

Web designer

Probably the first thing that comes into mind is the profession of a web designer. It is very popular in IT courses. This is a creative profession, but it requires a good understanding of material design basics, knowledge of modern UX practices, and certain skills in artistic design. I am sure that many people consider trying this job.

What are your responsibilities?

The range of tasks is usually quite wide: development of concept designs for websites, development of interface design for web applications, development of graphic illustrations for business applications.

What will be a career advantage?

Classical art education. If you know how to draw, know the basics of formal composition and understand what color, shape, and shadow are, then you will have a good chance to master this profession and find a decent job. You just need to master the new tools and learn how to build user interfaces.

HTML coder.

A popular but low-paid specialty. This is usually the first step in a web developer’s career.

What are your responsibilities?

The layout of static websites, adding content, and layout of new landing pages. HTML coder usually supports several web projects, helping the content and marketing team. Despite the ubiquity of CMS systems, this position is often in demand, because the imagination of web designers rarely fits into the framework of CMS tools.

What will be a career advantage?

Knowledge and experience of working with popular CMS systems similar to WordPress, a good understanding of CSS, JavaScript basics, experience in optimizing the loading speed of websites.

Web developer

A fairly broad profession that includes a large range of responsibilities. A web developer should have a better understanding of the subject matter than an HTML coder. In the case of a quick career change, it is more correct to talk about the position of a junior web developer.

What are your responsibilities?

A junior web developer works as part of a team, under the guidance of more experienced developers. The list of tasks can be very different, from developing a UI for a business application to creating corporate web portals.

What will be a career advantage?

Knowledge of UI libraries, good command of JavaScript, understanding the basics of PHP MySQL. You can also learn more computer science skills to have an even better competitive advantage.

How to reduce risks and increase your chances of employment?

Perhaps the best advice is to focus on the practical benefits that you can bring to your future employer. Study open vacancies for web developers in the region, analyze the technologies and tools in demand and set a goal to study them. Don’t try to cover everything at once.

The minimum required set of skills that an employer expects from a junior web developer is JavaScript + UI library. This combination is a universal success formula for starting an IT career. UI libraries significantly simplify and speed up the process of developing web applications. In addition, they allow you to avoid many errors that are common for novice developers.

The practices embedded in the UX library can compensate for the lack of experience and knowledge of material design. If you take the position of an employer, it becomes clear why preference will be given to those who have a UI library listed in the stack of mastered technologies.

Several stereotypes about working in IT

  1. Ageism thrives in the industry. Many companies hire only young professionals. This is due to the stereotype that programming and IT technologies are too complex and develop too quickly, and young employees are better able to cope with this.

Reality. It is true only in some parts. If you decide to change your career, you won’t be able to quickly become a Full Stack developer. But more than 70% of jobs in the IT industry are occupied by specialists in narrower areas, often not even requiring deep knowledge of IT technologies. But it is worth recognizing that age can become one of the factors that hinder the employment process.

  1. Good knowledge of mathematics will be a clear plus. Many applied problems require a mathematical background.

Reality. Good knowledge of mathematics will be a significant career plus and will allow you to apply for higher positions with better pay. But 80% of IT tasks do not require any specific knowledge of mathematics.

  1. IT is a constant study. Modern technologies are developing quite quickly. To stay ‘on the edge’, you will have to constantly learn and continuously follow the news of the industry, so as not to miss the next technological revolution.

Reality. You do have to study in order to maintain the qualifications at the appropriate level. Certain IT solutions do not exist encapsulated. Technologies and platforms are inter-penetrating. You have to always learn and improve.

  1. Programming is difficult. Writing program code requires knowledge of the basics of object-oriented programming and a special mindset predisposed to logical and analytical thinking.

Reality. Yes and no. On the one hand, software development is really conducted in accordance with strict rules and regulations. They must be known, understood, and strictly followed. On the other hand, there are many areas and tasks that formally relate to programming, but in fact, are creative specialties that do not require only logical thinking.

Interesting Related Article: “What is an IT Consultant?