1. Be realistic about deadlines

It is impossible to learn a foreign language in a week – the same applies to the IT sphere. It will take several years to master a profitable specialty from scratch. For example, the SkillFactory Data Science course is suitable for beginners and is designed for two years of study. This is still not 4-6 years of classical higher education, so you will be able to quickly start a career. Already after the first year, students will grow to Junior Specialists and will be able to enter the market. During this time, program participants:

  • master the visualization, cleaning and intelligence analysis of data;
  • learn how to upload data using Python and SQL;
  • understand mathematical analysis, probability theory and linear algebra;
  • will begin to apply elements of machine learning in business tasks.

With such skills, even without work experience, there is a chance to get a position with a salary of up to 200 000 rubles.

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2. Choose a specific direction

How to Become a Demanded IT Specialist: Be Specific About Your Intentions
Illustration: SkillFactory / Alexandra Prisenko / Lifehacker

It is not enough to decide to go into IT – it is also important to choose in which direction the industry should move. A developer is a broad concept, so it’s best to narrow down your career goals right away.

One of the promising options is Data Science. These specialists help insurance companies determine ratios, farmers predict crop failures, and metallurgists ensure production safety. In any field where you can collect an array of data, data scientists will be useful. A more detailed example: banking systems that decide whether to lend to customers operate on certain characteristics. The level of income is the most obvious, but far from the only one. Age, marital status, loan history and frequency of job changes are also taken into account. And also, if there are special permissions, the algorithms will also run through the client’s social networks: a photo with a bungee and subscriptions to communities of extreme sports fans can reduce the likelihood of a loan. The task of a Data Scientist in this area is to use neural networks and machine learning to identify such “triggers” of creditworthiness and tell banks what to rely on.

In sales, observing the behavior and habits of customers can bring in millions of dollars in profit. Data scientists are paid according to the potential profit of employers: the average salary in Russia is 173,000 rubles. You can work from anywhere in the world. In the Harvard Business Review back in 2012 Data Science called the sexiest profession of the 21st century. The article noted that the demand for specialists who “find the stories and patterns hidden in the data” significantly exceeds the number of proposals. And in the USA, the direction is included in top 3 workers for 2022 with an average annual salary of $120,000.

In the third semester of the Data Scientist course at SkillFactory, students can upgrade to the Middle level in a narrower branch – Machine Learning, Computer Vision or in the development of Natural Language Processing. There are also several minors in the program if you wish: you can supplement your resume with advanced SQL or Python skills and experience in data engineering.

3. Look for a platform with a narrow profile

Economists want to go to the Higher School of Economics, physicists want to go to Baumansky, doctors want to go to Sechenovsky. The trend towards multidisciplinary higher education institutions has not crossed out the reputation of universities, which initially trained specialists in a particular field. And when choosing an online course platform, you should pay attention to the number of training profiles.

For example, SkillFactory is an online school of a narrow specialty: data analysts and developers are trained here. A long-term focus on a certain direction is a qualitative, rather than quantitative, development of the training potential. This means that in any course, whether it is QA engineering, cybersecurity or Data Scientist, you can master the profession at a deep level. Not only to acquire basic knowledge and skills (you can get them yourself if you wish), but to immerse yourself in the topic in order to deal with the current requirements and standards of the specialty.

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4. Choose a convenient learning format

How to become a sought-after IT specialist: choose a convenient training format
Illustration: SkillFactory / Alexandra Prisenko / Lifehacker

Mastering a promising direction is a bold and, most likely, the right decision, but this does not mean that you need to quit your job, study at a university, and other responsibilities for the sake of the course. The Data Scientist program at SkillFactory takes 8-10 hours per week and is quite compatible with other daily tasks.

You can take the course at a convenient pace and schedule, and game-based learning formats and interactive tasks will not let those who get tired at work get bored. Non-standard tasks are not only a way to diversify the everyday life of students, but also a working tool for involving students deeper into the material. The program implies a minimum of theory – just watch short videos on the topic and read the ready-made extracts of the lesson. And then start practicing.

Personal tutors will also help to maintain a balance between study and usual life. They will work with students on difficult tests and tasks, give feedback and motivation to continue learning. Support is also provided by the student community itself: in the chat you can always discuss complex tasks and remember that you are not alone. SkillFactory will also give a Life-work-learning balance course. With it, maintaining a balance of life, work and study will become even easier.

5. Remember that the main goal is employment

SkillFactory students work with cases from real customers under the guidance of active experts from major brands. So, graduates receive not only a nice certificate of completion of the course, but also a portfolio with which it is not scary to go to interviews. Internships in partner companies and participation in hackathons during training will also help you feel more confident in the market.

Mentors from the SkillFactory Career Center analyze students’ resumes and offer corrections, taking into account the requirements for specific specialties. You can also consult with an IT recruiter to prepare for interviews and understand what offers to pay attention to and how to please a potential employer. SkillFactory has a wide network of partners, and resumes of the best graduates, along with recommendations from experienced mentors, are sent to the HR departments of large organizations. And at the final stage of employment, experts will tell you how to request the desired salary and get favorable conditions for cooperation.

You can start learning even if you don’t have the funds to do so right now. Choose a plan that suits your budget and take advantage of SkillFactory installments for 24 months.

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