Some facts about the job in the IT industry.

Every now and then an article appears on the Internet describing the situation in the IT industry. Reading such articles, I wonder if the author has any kind of contact with this industry? Reading further only suggests a negative answer.

The content of such articles is often filled with repeated opinions of other “authors”, stories or stereotypes heard. So what does the real situation look like? Without generalizing, I will describe the part of the industry that I know, that I deal with on a daily basis. We can take a look at the reality from two perspectives: employee and employer.

From the employee’s point of view, the situation is quite good, but not as colourful as sometimes described on the Internet. If you already have some experience, let say a year or two – there are quite a lot of job offers, what’s more, you can count on quite a good salary. At a senior level, the stakes can soar to PLN 20 000 net (b2b contract), although I also know cases of higher rates. However, you need to have a lot of experience and a bit of luck. The question is why do we need luck if such job offers for great money are just lining the streets? Well, it is not so easy, there are of course such ads, shared eagerly on social networks, but this is only a small percentage of the total, and there are not enough such offers to go around. The vast majority of offers have much lower remuneration, but in a sea of announcements, they are not so visible.

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The rates do not go hand-in-hand with our expectations for the workplace. A large salary often covers poor working conditions (inconveniences such as maintenance/ development of old systems, poor working conditions, a corporate environment in which nothing can be settled quickly, or a lack of good social facilities and other benefits such as health insurance or a gym card). Often, such a rate is offered as contractual, i.e. there are no paid holidays, sick days, etc. which are treated as “unpaid leave”.

The cash equivalent should compensate it all, so no problem, but are you sure? Above, I described a situation that concerns employees with experience. What about those who don’t have any yet and want to get it looking for their first job? It’s much worse here.

The recent years of the boom and the resulting employees’ market have driven the development of training related to technology. Many programming schools have been created, offering a wide range of courses that are supposed to make a well-paid IT specialist out of every student.

At the beginning, it could be expected that after the course we will quickly find a job as a junior. Training companies assisted graduates in this search, organized job fairs, meetings with HR staff etc. However, as time went by, more and more schools were created that produced host of graduates, so the number of students willing to become juniors increased.

The demand for specialists on the market is still very high, but in recent years we can observe a change in the recruitment policy of companies. Employers now prefer to pay a lot more to a specialist who has experience and throw them into the front line, rather than hire a junior who needs a lot of time and attention, with no guarantee of return on such investment.

Such a situation was caused by a large increase in graduates on the labor market and their approach to work. During the training course, participants have a huge amount of theoretical knowledge to absorb, which disappears without additional work at home. You have to have some natural talent for every industry, and not everyone who completes the course has this. The biggest problem, however, is not the number of aspiring juniors on the market, but their idea of what their work will look like.

We are bombarded with information about great earnings in the industry, and about what companies offer attractive perks. Advertising websites are bursting at the seams, and nuggets made available on social networks with huge gauges fuel this atmosphere of success. With this conviction, people who often have no experience in a given field come to recruitment. However, this does not prevent them from having high employment expectations. This situation causes mutual frustration. On the one hand, after a few weeks of looking for a job, the graduate of a course collides with reality, on the other hand, people recruiting developers for their teams have a problem finding specific people suitable for a given position.

What does it look like from the HR department point of view? In response to a job advertisement with great conditions, hundreds of people come forward, of whom only a few per cent meet the requirements set out in the recruitment description. It is even worse when the advertisement presents standard rates, then it is lost among hundreds of others, and the response can be negligible.

Does this mean that the market no longer needs new specialists? Absolutely not, there are still a lot of job offers, but you have to talk about what the reality of this industry is so that those who are thinking about change know what they are up against. The best scenario would be a job interview, where both parties respect each other’s time and know their own capabilities, needs and limitations. Let there be a meeting place of (potential) future workplace colleagues and the opportunity to get to know each other, and discuss jointly acceptable terms of cooperation.

Maybe this dream is a bit exaggerated, but I hope not, and in a few years it will come partly true. The IT industry in Poland is relatively young, perhaps it still needs some time to settle down. That is something I wish for all of us.

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