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Being a Programmer: To Be Or Not To Be?

Being a programmer: to be or not to be?IT specialist with 10 years of experience tells us about how to become a good programmer, tells about what kind of programmers the employer is looking for and how much he is willing to pay for the work.

Today, the phrase “I’m an IT specialist” is what the phrase “I’m a businessman” used to be 10 years ago. This job associates with high salaries and very comfortable workings conditions, often – in foreign companies and with foreign clients.

Another stereotype about programmers is that you do not have to graduate from any university, just a few months of trainings and you become an employee of the company with a starting salary twice higher than the one in other industries.

What notions regarding Ukrainian developers are true and what aren’t, where should you start your career as a programmer, what basic knowledge is needed for that? We asked Dmytro Babchuk to answer these questions. As an IT specialist with 10 years of experience, working with various technologies, today he manages one of the IT teams in Dutch company Symphony Solutions.


– Dmytro, if I decided to become a programmer, where should I start?

– It is necessary to determine what you want to do, because there are so many directions in IT. These are development of web applications, system programming, working with databases etc. The faster you choose the direction, the higher the chances for you to achieve good results are. Therefore, during your studies try to write different programs; don’t be afraid to experiment in order to find what you like most.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take training courses offered by IT companies, where professional developers help young people to find their way in the field of IT.

Also do not forget about self-education; Internet is an endless source of information. But there is one challenge – learn to put your questions properly 🙂

Anyway, if you really want to study, there are numerous options you can choose from.


– Despite the fact that I am new to IT, I’ll still have a high salary, won’t I? At least it’s a common stereotype among non-developers; they assume IT specialists are very well-paid.

– Well, it’s a tough topic as IT market is “overheated”. On the one hand, there is a great need in qualified specialists. Unfortunately, universities do not provide enough graduates with decent level of knowledge: there is a huge gap between what is taught at universities and what the market dictates.

On the other hand, vast majority of specialists at the job interview request salaries that drastically differ from their level of knowledge.

This problem can change the whole IT market in Ukraine for the upcoming years.

Firstly, we could become too expensive for the foreign employers and they will have to find cheaper options to house their business elsewhere. Secondly, in comparison to some other countries, Ukrainian developers have always delivered high-quality work. However, it might change significantly in the nearest future.

Therefore, I advise you not to turn up your noses and ask for an adequate salary 🙂 . And of course, pay attention to the quality of your knowledge. Start with basics things, taking every step, keep asking yourself “Why does this exist?”, “What does this function give us?” etc. Understanding the basics will make it easier to understand complex structures and perform complicated tasks.


– Could you, please, explain the phrase “to start from the basics” in details?

– I believe that a professional programmer must be familiar with such simple things as how computer  works, what  processor, data structures, algorithms, protocols, databases are, etc.


– PHP, Java, C +, C # and more … What technology and programming language do you recommend to learn?

There is no one single recipe. Language and technology are your tools that allow you to solve the given problem. Therefore, your main task is to choose the right tool. I have experience in commercial projects using Java- technology and SalesForce.


– How do you find SalesForce?

– SalesForce has a huge advantage over other technologies when it comes to data-centric and flow-centric solutions e.i., when you need to work with a large amount of data, statistics, reports, business processes etc.

A lot of things that you have to write by yourself, for example in Java, are already done and ready to be configured and used in SalesForce.

Also, SalesForce has collected and integrated many concepts.  If you understand them, it will be much easier for you to understand why and how these things are done on other platforms. And when a developer has a need to switch from SalesForce to other technologies, the process will be much faster and less painful.

And do not forget that SalesForce has huge popularity among customers from Europe and the USA. Employers are looking for the specialists in this field.


– Switching from programming languages to foreign languages. Is it possible to become an excellent programmer without speaking English?

– I think it’s impossible. That is why you should learn every day, no matter how old you are. For example, I started learning English after my graduation and still managed to learn something 🙂


– During the interview you emphasized that we must constantly learn. What is the best way to do so: to learn from books or to learn from more experienced colleagues?

– Of course the best way is to communicate with more experienced colleagues on regular basis. Although, don’t forget about constant self-development and self-education.

In general, I believe that the ability to listen to others and learn regardless of your knowledge, experience and position is one of the key secrets to success. Everyone who wants to achieve something in his/her career should have this attitude. Also, it’s important to create healthy and knowledge-sharing atmosphere within the team. It is mutually beneficial: young colleagues get valuable advice and more experienced developers may be asked questions that could lead to new ideas.

Frankly speaking, I do not like team division into Juniors, Middles and Seniors. It’s much better without them. After all, the only difference is in problems they solve.


– So is this the formula for being successful in IT? Or do you have some more secrets to share? 🙂

– As always, the main secret is simple: work hard. One of my favourite school teachers led me to the conclusion that the talent is almost nothing; it is a myth, if it is without the daily hard work.

Therefore, work hard, grow both personally and professionally, do sports and think positively! In this case, success is inevitable :-). At least, this is what works for many people and for me as well 🙂


Written by Olha Lypynska, journalist

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