Ready to switch to IT ca­reer? These schools can lead way

Kyiv Post - - Business Focus - BY BOZHENA SHEREMETA [email protected]

Only a year ago, Olek­sandr Ishchenko worked as a fi­nan­cial and hu­man re­sources an­a­lyst at Siemens. He was al­ways in­ter­ested in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, but didn’t ex­pect he’d be able to switch ca­reers so quickly.

Af­ter com­plet­ing one of the GoIT tech­nol­ogy cour­ses over the win­ter, he was hired to be a soft­ware qual­ity as­sur­ance spe­cial­ist right af­ter the first in­ter­view.

GoIT, a provider of tech cour­ses in Kyiv, has been in ex­is­tence for a year and 46 per­cent out of more than 300 grad­u­ates are al­ready em­ployed by Ukrainian tech com­pa­nies. The ma­jor­ity of its stu­dents are spe­cial­ists who don’t work in fields re­lated to IT, but who want to.

“Peo­ple who de­cide to change their pro­fes­sions are strong peo­ple. I don’t know if I could also just drop my cur­rent ex­pe­ri­ence and a ca­reer to start from a com­plete zero in a new field,” says An­driy Pivovarov, a co-found- er of GoIT school. The num­ber of grad­u­ates that the school has proves that Ukraini­ans are ready for such chal­lenges.

Un­like most tech schools in Ukraine that welcome any pay­ing cus­tomer, GoIT has a spe­cial set of ad­mis­sion re­quire­ments. Those ad­mit­ted must have a strong mo­ti­va­tion to study, in­ter­me­di­ate knowl­edge of English and a min­i­mum level of tech knowl­edge.

“The pres­ence of at least two of the re­quire­ments is an in­di­ca­tor that a per­son will get into school,” Pivovarov says.

GoIT of­fers four cour­ses. An in­tro­duc­tory course GoS­tart in­cludes ba­sic pro­gram­ming in HTML, SQL and Javascript cod­ing, as well as knowl­edge of Win­dows. The sec­ond course, GoQA, is in qual­ity as­sur­ance, while the third one, GoCode, is code writ­ing, and the fourth, GoFron­tend, on cre­at­ing the vi­su­als, or in­ter­face, of what users see on com­puter screens.

The school’s first course started in Septem­ber 2014, with Hr 10,000 in fi­nan­cial back­ing from Pivovarov and two other co-founders. “I saw that there are many tal­ented peo­ple in Ukraine, wish­ing to ac­quire tech skills,” Pivovarov says. “When I fi­nally got the clear idea of what the cour­ses would be all about, sev­eral peo­ple joined me and we started to work very in­ten­sively in De­cem­ber.”

The com­pany broke even in May, while grow­ing on its own earn­ings with­out ex­ter­nal fi­nanc­ing. “We did not put crazy money into our own of­fice or brand de­vel­op­ment. Even the logo im­age was aw­ful at first. All that mat­tered was to cre­ate a de­sired value within a prod­uct,” Pivovarov says.

By now the staff of GoIT has grown to 120 peo­ple, 80 of whom are teach­ers.

All of them are tech pro­fes­sion­als who have at least five years of work ex­pe­ri­ence. They teach sev­eral days a week in the evenings af­ter work and get paid $50-70 per class hour.

“Our teach­ers are ide­ol­o­gists

of tech, they want to share their knowl­edge and skills, so that’s why it’s im­por­tant for them to give our stu­dents the best ex­pe­ri­ence,” Pivovarov says.

GoIT also has vol­un­teer men­tors who help with stud­ies and of­fer ca­reer ad­vice.

Apart from hav­ing an in­ter­est in IT, many are also hop­ing to boost their salaries, which could range from $400 to nearly $5,000.

“Of course, a higher salary in the tech in­dus­try was one of the rea­sons I looked for the job in tech. But I was even ready to work for the same salary I was get­ting at Siemens just be­cause I was in­ter­ested in my de­vel­op­ment as a tech spe­cial­ist in the first place,” Ishchenko says.

De­mand for IT spe­cial­ists is still grow­ing in Ukraine.

In the last six months, the 25 big­gest Ukrainian IT com­pa­nies hired more than 1,500 tech spe­cial­ists, ac­cord­ing to DOU.ua, five per­cent more than the pre­vi­ous six months.

GoIT plans to teach teenagers also. In April it launched a course for teenagers called GoITeens. The pi­lot ver­sion of the course gath­ered 15 stu­dents from Kyiv. They were taught dif­fer­ent sciences, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, math and self-de­vel­op­ment skills.

This Septem­ber the new GoITeens course starts with 100 par­tic­i­pants al­ready en­rolled. Stu­dents aged 10 to 16 will study for three to five years depend­ing on their age. Four classes per month will cost par­ents Hr 2,500.

“My son is in­ter­ested in tech­nolo­gies, and I can see how this pro­gram has broad­ened his out­look,” said Svit­lana Kol­makova, the mother of a 13-year-old stu­dent of the teen course. “Of course, just to teach your child pro­gram­ming, you can find some ran­dom pro­gram­mer and it will be cheaper. By the time kids grad­u­ate from school, they will have the req­ui­site tech ed­u­ca­tion to start look­ing for a job.”

GoIT ed­u­ca­tor Kon­stantin Al­lahver­dov (2nd R) teaches qual­ity as­sur­ance on Sept. 1 in Kyiv. (Kostyan­tyn Ch­er­nichkin)

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