A newbie working at a computer

Why motivated newbies (you!) are great new hires in IT

When you are just getting started, it’s difficult to imagine that any company will take notice of you. But luckily, in software development, the situation is completely opposite.

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At Barrage, we tackle the issue of tech talent shortage in the job market by forging our own - with Barrage Forge! Since I myself have experienced the Barrage style of development education for newbies, maybe my experience will help you take the leap into this growing industry full of potential.

More talent than ever, even more demand

While the number of people employed in the IT industry has been increasing steadily over the past years, the demand for new talent is growing even faster. Just try looking up the page of any IT company active today, and checking their career pages. Chances are they are looking for new developers, probably even a lot of new developers. We, for one, are. I can’t count the number of times I heard IT professionals say how they would hire ten new developers if they could just find enough promising people. There is still plenty of space in the industry, so you are not late to the party.

Motivation is key

To someone new to the field, it might be surprising that IT companies will give you a chance simply because you showed promise and basic understanding of how code works. From the company's point of view, this is basically an investment for the future. This is because you can learn skills in development, but you can’t really change someone’s attitude toward work. 

For example, I have heard people claim to be given a Codility problem to solve as an interview test, and get the job even though they had low results. What happened? Well, they showed their way of thinking, and the people hiring them saw potential. All they needed was experience, and that can be easily provided.

Best way to learn? Work!

So, you’re motivated but need to learn? Studying is important, there is no doubt about it. But there comes a point in your education, where studying is no longer enough. You need practical skills that can only be gained through work. No amount of studying can actually replace experience. 

I understand that starting something new might be frightening, and the idea of studying a bit more before actually trying to get a job in the industry seems safer, but that’s a trap. You need to eventually throw yourself into the deep end. That is the best way to learn, by actually applying skills on real world problems

I personally started by learning from tutorials, and then solving problems on Codility. But only when I actually started working as a developer in Barrage and got assigned to a project, did I see what is actually part of this job, and started learning for real.

Try, fail, try again

In the words of the great Babe Ruth: “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” 

Failure is part of the process of learning. Probably the most important part. And guess what? Everyone fails at some point. What you need to always keep in mind is that when you make a mistake, don’t hide it. Admit your failure, and try to fix it. If you need help, ask for it. When you work in a place with decent people, help is always available. 

When I look back on it, the most I actually learned was from the mistakes I made. They make the lessons stay in your head longer. What I pride myself on is that I don’t make the same mistake twice, at least not with work. I can be very stubborn in my personal life. Hey, don’t judge!

Mentorship programs are your friend

So with everything I mentioned so far, the best way for a newbie to learn is through a mentorship program, such as Barrage Forge. These programs provide the basic education you need in this line of work, offer help when needed, and put you to work on practical applications of your newly acquired knowledge. 

When it comes to the Barrage Forge program, it’s organized into 3 parts:  

  • Part 1: First 90 days are dedicated to guided video lectures that cover the basics (SDL, tools, environments, etc.);
  • Part 2: After that, it’s time to select a specific branch you wish to focus on — frontend, backend, mobile, software developer in test — you’ll be emersed in this for some 45 days;
  • Part 3: Finally, you’ll spend the following 45 days assigned to a project to get hands-on experience. 

Your mentor is always available to help, especially in the last (third) stage of the program (shadow engineering). And among the trainees in the group, we encourage discussions and sharing of experiences. This helps you learn from other people's mistakes and promotes teamwork. Also, one of the great things about it is that it’s paid

There are, of course, catches. Companies don’t want to overrun their work environment with an inexperienced workforce. There is a limited number of trainees you can have per senior developer before the developer gets overwhelmed, and their work starts to suffer. So a balance needs to be established. Non-written industry standards suggest three to four Juniors per Mid, and about that same number of Mids per Senior.  So, that means that while most companies are always looking for skilled developers, mentorship programs are more limited. And they are not always available.

Of course, when you sign up for a company mentorship program, they will teach you to work the way they work. That might not be a bad thing, especially if you know you like working there. But it needs to be mentioned that most companies have their own way of doing things. Keep that in mind, because most problems have at least a few different possible solutions.

Still, it’s probably the best way to get that starting experience. Even if it turns out that you and the company are not the best fit, that’s ok. Some will stay, and some will move on. That’s just the way of life.

Start before the mentorship program

While most mentorship programs are targeted at newbies, that does not mean that you don’t need to know anything. The same way you don’t get on a highway, until you at least know what the clutch is.

Some programming knowledge is essential. At least the basics of one programming language of your choice. Most companies don’t care what language you know for these programs: If you can learn one, you can learn another. Also, learn basic terminology. It might help to research what the company actually does, so that you know what to prepare. And familiarize yourself with the tools of your preferred profession. This saves you time later, as you already know the basics and the layout when you need to start using them. 

Most important of all is to practice. Before, during, and after the mentorship program. You always need to practice. The more work you do, the faster your skills will grow. 

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain

If you were on the fence about joining the IT industry, I hope I gave you the information and advice that will help you make your decision. I used to think that software development is something I could never handle, too complex for understanding. It was something that I always found alluring, but was afraid of not being able to learn it. Until I tried. And guess what? Just like with everything else, this is a skill that you can learn, if you have the motivation and dedication to keep at it. 

The worst thing you can do is never try. I tried, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. It might be the best decision of your life as well. Barrage Forge is here so - looking forward to you applying!

Hey, you! What do you think?

They say knowledge has power only if you pass it on - we hope our blog post gave you valuable insight.

If you are interested in working at Barrage, make sure you take a look at our Career page. And if you are new to the world of software development, check out whether the applications for Barrage Forge are open.