To Be a Junior Software Developer…
“Experience” — this word haunts people who are just starting their professional careers. It often turns out that despite the willingness to work and high motivation, finding a dream job without the right number of years of experience seems impossible. It is no different in the IT industry, where the relationship between experience and filling a vacancy is also visible.
We asked several Junior Software Developers from Poland for their opinion on their current situation on the labor market. Is it really as bad as it may seem to many people? Are you curious about what they said? Then continue reading this article!
The situation of Junior Software Developers
Who is a junior software developer? There are no rigid criteria determining what skills a programmer should have at a given stage of the career path, which results from the variety of implemented projects and different requirements for their employees set by companies. However, usually, a junior is defined as a person who has a maximum of approx. 2 years of programming experience. According to data collected by No Fluff Jobs — the Polish IT job board, half of juniors have not completed IT studies. 39% of less experienced specialists are graduates of majors focused on IT, 30% of juniors gained skills during online courses, and another 16% are graduates of programming schools.
As No Fluff Jobs notes, half of juniors expect a salary of 5,000–8,000 PLN net (€1100 — €1760) in their first job, while the actual earnings of 83% of less experienced people are below 5,000 PLN net (€1100). In turn, Just Join IT reports that juniors earn an average of 6,945 PLN (€1526) on an employment contract and 6,100 PLN (€1340) on a B2B contract.
Last year, companies rarely decided to employ people with less experience, which can be seen in the number of open vacancies. According to data from No Fluff Jobs and inhire, in 2020 the number of job offers for juniors accounted only for 5% of all job offers, compared to 12% in 2019.
This decline may be caused by the fact that companies were often in an unstable situation and needed employees who would be independent and help in overcoming the crisis caused by the pandemic. As it is commonly known, time during a crisis is crucial, and it is something that is also needed while introducing an inexperienced employee. Juniors themselves note that during the pandemic, the number of offers not only for regular positions but also for internships has dropped significantly — “I think that it is becoming more challenging to find a job as a junior developer without experience and the pandemic has only deepened this problem.”.
However, the situation is slowly changing and companies are starting to switch their attitudes. By hiring juniors, they give other team members a chance for professional development. Assigning a mentor who introduces a new employee is very beneficial — it teaches patience, the ability to delegate tasks and give feedback. Additionally, we started to live in the so-called “new normal” — we are able to maintain productivity at home, and remote onboarding no longer sounds like a challenge similar to climbing Kilimanjaro
The improvement of the situation may also result from the fact that there is a very high demand for mids and seniors on the market, and thus — there is a shortage of them, which gives an opportunity to people with little experience because companies are more and more willing to cooperate with them.
It happens that looking for a job for a junior position takes up to 1.5 years, as in the case of one of our interviewees. However, it is anticipated that the number of job offers will start to increase in the coming months, so juniors can look at the future through rose-colored glasses.
So what’s about this “experience”?
The funny thing about putting emphasis on experience very often looks like in the meme above.
Both sides are frustrated by the fact that experience is needed … but you have to get it somewhere first. “Nowadays, finding a job without experience seems like a miracle due to the huge number of people per job and, very often, exorbitant requirements for an internship or a junior position,” says one of the developers.
Programming is certainly the profession of the future. At the moment, there are approximately 26.4 million programmers in the world, and this number is expected to increase to 28.7 million in 2024. The demand for these types of experts will remain high, as the pace of digitization is increasing day by day. No wonder that the number of people trying their hand in this industry is also increasing, and thus the competition for available positions is also growing.
Companies with too high expectations often close their doors to people who are motivated and open to new challenges. Junior developers are often ambitious and eagerly absorb knowledge from more experienced employees. One can learn a lot from the job interview itself, as one of the programmers recalls: “The interview was a pleasure, I realized how much I couldn’t do, I wrote down everything I didn’t know and that I heard for the first time. Later I was told that it is visible that I am very eager to learn.”
Is it worth giving a junior a chance?
“It often happened that after the interviews I didn’t receive any feedback or even the information about the end results” — this method of communication is often discouraging and weakens the enthusiasm of people entering the labor market. After all, for most of us, a job interview is a very important moment, so from the position of a recruiter, it is worth remembering about providing support and transparently informing the candidate about the status of the recruitment process. Junior, who has been looking for a job for a long time, will certainly be attached to the company that first saw its potential and encouraged further development. Therefore, it is worth taking care of this loyalty from the first moments of contact with the candidate.
Many companies mistakenly claim that a person with no experience is a “burden”. It goes without saying that this approach is short-term thinking. A new person who is just entering the industry may turn out to be a valuable element of the team because you can often count on their unconventional approach and innovative ideas.
It often happens that just the first few days or weeks can be intense, and then the new person quickly becomes an integral part of the team and even its backbone! Moreover, companies should consider juniors as an investment. When such a person is given the time and support, there is a high chance that they will turn into a reliable mid.
“The most surprising thing I heard at the beginning (and didn’t really believe it) was that I won’t look back, and at work, I will help other people with their problems because the pace of the project is fast and I will be acquainted with it quickly. It turned out to be true and apart from the fact that I was flooding everyone with my own questions, after a short time I was able to answer more and more questions to other people working on the same project.” — maybe it’s worth changing your attitude and giving a junior programmer a chance? After all, you never know what talent you will find
If you are considering hiring a junior, we will be happy to help you with finding the right candidate.