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Digital Skills for Self-Development & IT Development

Digital skills for self-education and development in IT

How to Start an IT Career? Does an IT specialist need a degree? These questions cannot be answered unambiguously, but there is good news – the specificity of the IT sphere is so diverse that even philologist can find the best option for themselves.

There is a common opinion that an IT specialist should be a programmer. And to succeed in this profession, you have to possess an analytical mind. Indeed, the developer of software or mobile applications must have the propensity to study, analyze and structure the information. But the IT field includes many other specialties that people with different mindsets can possess, e.g. creative people.

Do you need a college degree to work in IT?

The answer to this question can be different. The availability of a programmer’s degree does not impact the amount of salary. But it is wrong to consider higher technical education useless. Large enterprises mostly demand a diploma.

IT-sphere is an industry where a professional can become someone without special education. That’s a fact. But it all depends on the direction of the work. For example, for a UX designer, a well-executed test will be more important than a diploma. For a programmer, sometimes there is enough secondary vocational education.

But it will be difficult for the future Data Science specialist to master the skills of data processing and control, to study mathematical analysis and probability theory, machine learning algorithms and text analytics. For such specialists, higher technical education will be a requirement. At the same time, there are IT-professions that can be mastered independently and with the help of courses:

  • Project manager
  • Tester (QA Manual)
  • Front-end developer
  • Copywriter
  • Internet marketing specialist
  • Technical support specialist
  • System administrator
  • Java and Python programmer, etc.

Humanitarians become no less first-class technical support specialists and customer service managers. And they are full-fledged IT professionals because their knowledge of the development processes and the product itself is deep and perfect. And here the most important become the so-called soft skills – social and communicative professional skills that improve productivity and efficiency in the team.

The New Line Technologies team shared their stories about the IT journey

Kristina (HR Manager): “I am a accountant-auditor by profession. At 30, I graduated from Profi Consulting in HR and got a job at New Line Technologies”.

Denys (UI/UX Designer): “By profession, I am a developer of mobile apps and games. In my third year of university, I realized that programming is not really my thing and decided to try my hand at design. I have graduated from UI/UX design courses. Now I work as a UI/UX designer at New Line Technologies while at the same time I study illustration”.

Peter (Front-end Developer): “The market is changing, but from what I know so far, competence is not considered compulsory. Because higher education institutions are not willing to convert the program to new market trends and technological development. I didn’t get a special education! I have finished the first stage of training at Epam company, but, on other technologies. Developed and studied on downloaded courses and on Udemy. Now I’m expanding my knowledge by working in NLT”.

Inna (QA Manual): “I don’t work according to my education. And I am a graduate of KHNADU (Kharkiv National Automobile & Highway University) – traffic and regulatory management, and have never worked according to speciality. While working as a fitness trainer, I got interested in testing, and graduated courses, and here I am in the NLT, already a year and a half”.

A real desire for development and an understanding of what you want to achieve and in which industry, is the driving force in employment. The stories of our NLT colleagues prove that IT-specialized education is not a guarantee of career success!

How do soft skills affect your success?

The IT sphere is practically synonymous with the term «team». Whatever you do, you’ll always be part of the team! In addition, the social and communication skills of all employees in the company will directly impact the quality of the work. Examples of important soft skills for IT-sphere:

Time management. This is a fundamental skill that needs to be developed by both the boss and the executor, including designers, testers, programmers, etc. A good specialist not only manages his/her time and calculates strength, but understands punctuality and responsibility.

Teamwork. Every product produced by IT specialists is developed by the team. It is only through coordination and understanding that good results can be achieved in a team.

Communication skills. They enable a productive negotiating process as well as oral and written communication. This is the ability to listen to colleagues and customers, pay attention to details, be able to express their opinions and suggestions, and be understandable to the caller. For a new programmer or web designer, communication may not be the main interaction, but for a senior-level developer, it will be important because it works and interacts with a lot of people. Project managers and Internet marketers need to download these skills constantly for effective work.

Emotional intelligence (EQ). It is the ability to «read» the emotions of other people and quickly adapt their actions and emotions to the circumstances. Absolutely required skill for anybody in the IT sphere. Read more about EQ and how to improve it in our article “What is emotional intelligence and how does a high emotion coefficient help to work more efficiently”.

Creative mind. Every IT product, from idea to implementation, requires an innovative approach to improve competitive advantages.

Determination. Given the routine of some processes, the ability to follow through is an important skill that will allow you to complete your part of the project in time.

Customer-oriented. This skill is useful not only for those who work directly with customers (top managers, project managers), but also programmers, testers, web developers. Only understanding what the client wants will allow you to create a satisfying product.

How to learn IT-profession, except in high school?

There are three main alternatives to higher education:

  • self-education
  • online courses
  • offline courses

How to become an IT specialist without education? You may study on your own using free courses. It can be found on YouTube, Google and Microsoft. But you need to understand that you need to independently form a training plan, look for information, structure it and not leave training even when something is unclear. Depending on the profession you choose, the Internet on sites and forums, as well as in telegrams, you can find professional communities where you can help. But self-education is a long and persistent process. To facilitate the process, you can use thedevelopment map (Roadmap), which can be found online. This is a structured learning plan and a set of current technologies that the programmer must possess to start and grow in the selected industry.

If you can find an IT mentor, it will significantly improve the quality of the training, because you will get answers to your questions and can use the hands-on mentor experience for your professional growth. It will help to improve the code, will tell you where to go and how to enter the profession.

There are also free IT courses and lectures. They only give you the basics, but it’s enough to know whether you want to do it or not.

Courses for independent projects and internships

Practice on portfolio projects and internships – the shortest way to work in an IT company. An alternative may be training on freelance projects. It doesn’t matter whether it’s coding or web design, you can find simple tasks on freelance exchanges. Yes, they may be low-paying, but they are good for portfolio development.

Option of an internship in an IT-company is the best way. This training from scratch in practice and the team. Finding such an internship yourself is quite difficult. But to find courses promising this option – is quite possible. But you need to be prepared for the fact that the internship is not well paid, and sometimes you need to change residence.

Can you learn programming without courses?

You can if you understand the principles of programming and you have a mathematical mind. The same applies to web developers who can master HTML, CSS and JavaScript themselves. But with training courses will be more effective, if only because they are structured, and the knowledge gained is fixed by practical tasks. The main thing is to constantly learn, develop software skills and master new technologies in the chosen field.
New Line Technologies has a mentoring program and internal specialist development courses. Check out our vacancies and send your CV to: