4 minute read
Are studies necessary to become an IT professional?
These days, this question is asked very often. Maybe you are facing a choice now – go to IT studies, choose training or bootcamps, or maybe learn on your own? Of course, the requirement to complete studies does not appear with every job offer - although they also happen. Also, not always having a diploma makes you an expert in a specific field. Often your knowledge and experience are more valuable than your completed studies. Are studies really necessary to become a professional in some IT area?
As with any complex issue, the answer is “it depends”.
It depends mainly on your way of life and training your skills. Let's face it, high schools and technical schools do not teach how to acquire knowledge. When you go to college, you mainly polish this skill - how to acquire the knowledge that is necessary to pass the subjects. You do not use textbooks, no one will prepare a ready-made script for you, which must be learned by heart. Acquiring knowledge on difficult topics that do not necessarily interest you, shapes the features desired in technical positions. Usually, in college, difficult topics are approached, which it is possible that in normal life we would steer clear of. In college, you solve difficult topics, you learn that they can be successfully solved, but you need to put in work, work technique and knowledge acquisition.
My colleagues from 4soft often meet people who have become IT employees without studies, they usually complain about the lack of foundations. They learned one framework in which they have been working for x years, but they do not know what is "underneath". The higher the seniority, the more severe this problem is. In IT studies, there is usually an overview of the technology that will help you avoid the above problem. Even if you don't know the language architecture perfectly, you will remember that the framework uses certain patterns. This will give you an advantage over people with no technical background. If necessary, you will know where to look for information about the problem you encounter, you will be able to connect the dots, because there will always be something in your head from those many hours spent in lecture halls. An additional advantage of studying is expanding the group of friends, gaining contacts, after graduation you can carry out a joint project with your colleagues, your lecturer can look for new people to join his team and will appreciate your potential. Don't forget that students are people too :)
Of course, there are gems among IT specialists without education. Typically, such people have innate learning and problem solving skills. They are aware of the importance of knowledge and regularly keep their knowledge up-to-date. Unfortunately, this approach is extremely rare. Therefore, think again if you really want to give up going to college to replace it with learning by doing. If you are changing industries and cannot afford to study for a long time, choose proven courses, do not be fooled by advertisements that run around the Internet - look for people who have completed a given course among your friends, try to find out how many people after them are actually thriving in IT. Also check the staff, whether the people you will learn from are practitioners. And of course, don't forget to keep learning, learning new things, deepening your knowledge.
How to jump to higher career levels
As in any industry, IT has dedicated development paths. Initially, the paths are arranged in a linear way, i.e. from junior to senior in a given technology. And with seniority comes new opportunities to branch out in your career. Often, senior-level programmers start specializing in a certain field. Being a node developer, you can also be a specialist in the field of blockchain, security, etc.
When choosing your development path, you must remember that you can always find the next step in your career path.
If you want to go high, remember about strong fundamentals. If you feel that something is missing in the basics, take care of supplementing your skills. In this way, you will prevent stumbling at higher levels. Strong foundations are the key to success.
Use your first technology to enter the senior level, do not abandon your growing skills in favor of novelties that usually pass as quickly as they were created.
Prefer work tools that are verified by a wide range of specialists. Proficiency in using tools will improve your efficiency, you will focus on big problems and not trivial details.
Read about news, stay up to date in the IT world. Even superficial knowledge of broad IT is useful. Follow the principle of "know everything about something and something about everything". I mentioned above about having a strong foundation and gaining knowledge. Senior knowledge in a certain scope shapes your view of IT. Thanks to this, you will approach the subject of specialization in a mature way. Acquiring broad knowledge about IT will cause you to naturally start focusing on a given topic. At some point, your interest may turn into a project that you will get at your workplace. Catch the right moment, you will be ready for it, you will succeed. The development path at the moment of your technical maturity will shape itself.