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