Where and how to grow talent?
Where do talented programmers live? How to grow them at home and what better way to catch them? Under the cut, there’s a detailed story by Anton Dyaykin, Director of Academic Programs at Parallels.
- I would like to start with enough general things. Why should companies engage in educational projects? What affects their quality and scope?
- In fact, the business of any company is based on the right people. In the IT industry, this is especially noticeable. The quality of people determines the vector of development and the future of a company. Today, it is obvious that we are witnessing the greatest battle for the minds. And everyone seeks to get the best of the best into their ranks. Parallels is no exception in this sense. Many high-tech companies implement their own educational initiatives in collaboration with universities. This can be implemented in the form of basic departments, research laboratories, individual educational units or electives in the framework of the general educational program. Of course, this is an expensive story, but without it, joining the struggle for talent is almost impossible today. Of course, the wider this work is delivered, the unfortunately the conversion is lower. For instance, if we talk about Parallels, then we have our own base department at MIPT. And despite the fact that, on the whole, this format of work is not considered the most effective, in comparison with other companies we have a fairly high influx of talented young specialists. Now it is at the level of seventy-five percent of the number of graduates of the department. Despite the fact that the industry average figures are from five to twenty percent. This means that, having started educational work with a hundred students, only a fifth can reach the finish line with you at best. Therefore, you need to understand that such work with such a result as ours, significantly above the average level, requires considerable effort and money. For large companies, there are some solutions, for small companies - others. But I want to say the basic thing: you won’t get the best specialists, if you do not participate in their studies at the university. And if you plan to do these, you need a dedicated person. Must be in an academic environment. Simply, if you are not there, it will be almost impossible to break into the talented young specialists.
- When you say that the format of basic departments is ineffective, do you speak in principle about a similar educational model or about some of its elements?
- I meant, first of all, the financial component. The format of the basic departments is certainly effective in terms of results. But if we analyze the volume of costs, then the numbers will show that passive search in the labor market of potential candidates in monetary terms is cheaper. At the same time, one must still understand that their quality can not be compared with specialists grown in the framework of their own educational programs. If you train promising personnel taking into account the specifics and interests of your business, you get “piece-by-piece” specialists who are ready to perform exactly your tasks, motivated to work with you, loyal to the company.
- And how can one measure the effectiveness of educational projects? After what time can we say that this or that initiative was effective?
- The simplest is the number of graduates of your educational program who joined the company after completing their studies in a year. The higher the percentage of young professionals who came, the more effective your educational project. At the same time, we mean that these are the people who are necessary for your business here and now.
- Are there misfires? Cases when the people you have trained leave for other companies, for example.
- If you are serious about your educational programs, then you know almost every student by sight. So - the misfire is excluded. For example, in Parallels, mentors are assigned to each student. They communicate with their students weekly, and sometimes every day. With this approach, it is impossible to miss random people. Of course, over time, the student can decide to build a career in another company or even move from IT to another industry. Programmers are creative people. This happens, and it is impossible to exclude a similar scenario. Moreover, for our part, we do not conclude any enslaving contracts with students. The basic principle of our academic programs is the highest internal motivation of students. If you like the atmosphere in which you study and work, If you are ready for ambitious tasks in the company of world-class professionals, it will be interesting to you. If your priorities or ideas about the future have changed, we won’t fix any obstacles for you.
- What do you think of the opinion that the position “Let Me Teach Me" is still popular in Russia? This is a kind of passive position towards corporate education, when people expect that the necessary knowledge will be given to them without additional efforts.
- In my opinion, it is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of corporate training and academic programs. In the first case, we can talk about the development of employees already inside the company. In the case of academic programs, we are talking about training promising personnel from the student bench. Of course, both there and there are people who are not ready to take a proactive position. And this applies not only to learning, but to life in general. Moreover, if you focus on the best of the best, then they, of course, are focused on the result and have clear guidelines. Today, students of technical universities at IT departments, starting from the first or second year, basically understand what they want. From the third year, they have an idea where they would like to work. By the fourth year, it is extremely difficult to find a future graduate without a fixed place of work. Not a secret, that developers today are at a great price. And the more talented programmers.
If we talk about Parallels, then we work with leading technical universities in the country. This is the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and MSTU named after Bauman, and the Higher School of Economics, and Moscow State University. These universities have the highest entrance requirements for applicants. They take the best of the best into their walls. And with these talented guys we are already conducting our selection work.
- How developed is this approach? Can your experience be considered unique? How to replicate it?
- I do not think that we are doing something supernatural. I will give you a simple example. MIPT is a unique university. In my opinion, it is perhaps the only educational platform in our country where the symbiosis of industry and education has been so successfully implemented. There are about 130 basic departments. Education at this university is conditionally divided into two parts. Basic university education in the first two courses, followed by highly specialized education within the existing basic departments. Other universities are now only approaching this model or are gradually moving in the same direction. MIPT in this sense is a trendsetter who has implemented a working promising model in life. Just imagine - more than a hundred basic departments! These are more than a hundred enterprises interested in training young professionals, willing to invest in training and subsequently provide jobs. Moreover, we are talking about a very broad industry focus. Today, representatives of industrial enterprises, IT giants work in the MIPT in the format of basic departments, and recently bankers came. Therefore, there are many companies involved in the field of vocational training for young personnel; it is another matter that their approaches and tools may be different. Currently, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is actively introducing it in various Russian universities. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for companies in different regions of the country. There are many young people involved in the field of vocational training; another thing is that they can have different approaches and tools. Currently, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is actively introducing it in various Russian universities. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for companies in different regions of the country. There are many young people involved in the field of vocational training; another thing is that they can have different approaches and tools. Currently, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is actively introducing it in various Russian universities. This opens up a whole range of opportunities for companies in different regions of the country.
When it comes to IT giants, no one has questions about the costs and scope of their activities. But what if you are a representative of small or medium-sized businesses and training young professionals from the student bench is an extremely expensive pleasure for you? The answer is to cooperate. You can again turn to the experience of Parallels. For example, our base department is the result of collaboration between Parallels, Acronis and Virtuozzo. We have joined forces and jointly solve problems in the field of educational initiatives, despite the fact that we have separate management, various projects and financing. Cooperation in the case when your own budget is not enough is an excellent solution. In this case, I repeat, one of the conditions for success is to have a person on the staff who understands how to succeed and is fully responsible for this area. When working with universities, you need to fine-tune the interaction, understanding the specifics and nuances at the junction of business and education. In addition, given the certain inertia of educational standards and curricula, you need to proactively work to ensure that the content of the educational process and research work is constantly changing the requirements of the industry.