4 myths about working as an IT professional in the public sector

There are many myths surrounding public sector work: salaries of 20 thousand rubles, inadequate leadership, seven circles of hell for agreement, but no one has heard about agile. Where did these myths come from, and what is true and what is not, says Konstantin Chernikov, HR Director of the Digital Transformation Center, an IT company within the Ministry of Digital Development of Tatarstan.

First, a little exposure and consolidation of obvious things: whatever one may say, there are few IT specialists, and there are many vacancies for them. Therefore, they can choose the field, employer and conditions, and not agree with the first option that comes across and work for the minimum wage. When basic needs, like a normal salary, are covered, the IT professional chooses a job based on interesting tasks, concrete visible results, and the benefits that he can bring.

In IT, as elsewhere, there are trends and fashions. First, everyone rushed to the crypt. Then – fintech. Next – bigdata, VR and other fashionable stuff. But usually no one perceives the public sector as a realistic option. Although it is there that now the most interesting tasks, the latest technologies and a stable budget, the public sector itself is shrouded in a haze of myths. Below are the doubts and objections that we hear from candidates, and our opinion about them.

“It’s useless work in the gosukha”

There is a myth that the public sector will have to do work for work’s sake. Even if there is a global benefit from the code, because of the stretched processes and long startup time, everything seems boring and useless.

This problem exists in any area, and each of them has similar tasks. And the employees are different: someone likes to sit at the computer so that no one touches, but someone needs to communicate with people and find out their needs. Someone likes quick tasks and quick wins, someone likes to take legacy and slowly rewrite part of the code that was developed by another team. And there are Juns who are ready for anything.

It is important to understand that almost any result in a state project will be visible. Well, at least we have this: we are trying to make it easier for grandmothers to receive medical care, families – child subsidies. Everyone will be able to see and often use the product that he himself has developed

For example, now we are developing a technology for paying for housing and communal services and other public services using a chat bot.

Lack of flexible approaches

It is often said that in the state there is a “bloody enterprise”, the deadlines are set and generally die, but do everything according to the regulations. Of course, this is terrible against the background of ideal IT companies, where you can take one approach, find out that it is irrelevant, and try another. And then the third, and the tenth – and so on, until the money runs out

But the bottom line is that now state structures are giving over to specially hired experts to build internal processes.

Although the internal processes are built by the IT specialists themselves, there is a big problem that the Digital Technologies Center solves exactly – this is a pile of legal and by-laws that prevent the normal development of IT products.

Here is the real situation: we want the subsidy to come through a mobile application immediately to the account of a resident of Tatarstan. But there is a conditional law of 1993, which states that this subsidy must be issued in rubles at the cash desk upon presentation of a piece of paper with three blue seals. And that’s all – you cannot digitize. Here you need a business analyst from the state, who builds the process and initiates a change in the legislative act.

In order to initiate only those projects that benefit the population, CTC has developed criteria for project activities. Any initiative is assessed in terms of coverage and social relevance. The criteria formed the basis of the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan on project activities, which allows to approach all initiatives of the ministries as normal IT projects.

Now any initiative undergoes a pre-project survey, and a formulated task is obtained that can be digitized and implemented.

There is one more sieve – technological: products must be able to exchange data, be scalable and, if necessary, cross-browser and cross-platform. Prior to the adoption of the order on the project activities, the systems did not communicate at all and duplicated each other, so now one of the tasks of the Center for Central Technologies is to create a single digital landscape on which any project can be easily raised without shamanism.

Legacy technology stack

Yes, he really is. But there are structures that are ready to change it. But that’s not even the point: now most of the government services are provided on paper, so there is simply no outdated code. There is no code at all. Therefore, professionals can use the latest technologies and programming languages ​​to do this.

The same portal of public services in Tatarstan is already 10 years old, and some call it outdated. But we follow the rule: “while it works, don’t touch it.” Of course, everything is not written in cobol, but development is underway: both business processes and the technological base are improving.

Inadequate leadership

At interviews, I sometimes hear such stories: “This company had inadequate leadership, the boss ran into the office every half hour and checked if I was working, threw obscenities and the harder it was.” But again, this problem is ubiquitous.

We understand that a lot depends on the director. As they say, “they come to the company, but leave the manager”. Here is our vision of what the bosses should be, from which they will not leave.

  • Knows how to trust

It all depends on the leader’s readiness to entrust the changes to a non-official person. To do something new, you need to admit your incompetence and hire a specialist who understands this.

  • Lack of micromanagement

The manager should not interfere in every stage and say that the employee is doing something wrong and check the code every half hour. Employees cope with their tasks themselves.

  • Came from the market

Now there is a trend towards recruiting IT specialists to government agencies, rather than making state IT companies. The administrator is not placed on top, but an IT specialist from the market is hired.

  • Doesn’t like bureaucracy

If the leader is interested in overcoming all bureaucratic difficulties, then he will be guided by the agile manifesto: the main thing is the product, not the document.

The ideal leader himself should be immersed in IT: not be a “confident PC user”, but know R, work with big data and keep abreast of the latest developments in the IT field.

And now what, to run to the dry land?

Why not. We are not futurists, but an ordinary IT company in the public sector, but, probably, the public sector is now becoming the most attractive area for IT and repeats the path that banks and fintech in general have done before. See for yourself:

Government personnel will sooner or later switch to outsourcing. There is no single competence “public administration” – it is a set of competencies that are constantly changing. Therefore, there is no point in raising some special IT specialists to work in the public sector – the state will attract vendors and create in-house teams from specialists from the market.

The state is becoming a service. There are four stages in the digital development of public services:

Paper. You bring a piece of paper and you receive a piece of paper;
Partially digitized. You bring a piece of paper, you receive a document by email;
(we are somewhere here)
Digital. Everything is online;
Predictive. Without human intervention, the child was born, and he is already enrolled in kindergarten, and the mother receives a payment.

It is precisely the third and fourth stages that we are trying to bring closer, and for this we always need great employees. Employees who don’t believe in myths.

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