Come out and come in normally: why do IT universities train builders and is it possible to make humanities a developer


Hello! Habr’s research on IT brands of employers has a new information partner – Innopolis University. Radik Valiev, his director of development and human resources policy, will explain where companies get specialists from if they are not on the market, how IT education will help builders and doctors, as well as how the image of a programmer has changed in the eyes of outside observers and why it is useful for the industry. Details under the cut.

At Innopolis University, I work as Director of Development and Human Resources. I hire employees for our projects and for companies that ask for help with finding people. They are often developers, architects, analysts, testers, and other professionals.


In addition to basic and additional education, our university helps companies with the search and selection of the necessary personnel, conducts its own projects. We feel the shortage of people in the market in all these cases.

The number of requests is growing. Few companies are interested in hiring people without relevant experience – many immediately need seniors, hence the scarcity. Employers overpay for qualified employees, literally fight for them.

How to pass a competition at IT universities

Another reason for the shortage of IT specialists is the high entrance threshold for teaching IT specialties after school.

Innopolis University has a tough selection: bachelors require high USE scores, they need to pass well exams in computer science or physics, mathematics and Russian. It will be difficult for anyone who has been studying art for a long time and after school decided to go to IT specialists. Most likely, such a person will simply not pass the exams. But if this threshold is lowered and more students are admitted, they will not cope with the program.

We also evaluate soft skills during exams. If there are free competition places, even a person with not the highest USE scores has a chance of admission. A student with a great desire, knowing where and why he is going, can tell the professor about this at an interview, which takes place in English. All training is in this language, so knowledge of it is one of the main requirements for our students.

In 2019, we received 16,210 applications for training. As a result, 253 people became bachelors and undergraduates, another 14 went to graduate school.

We have 181 students in corporate training and another 671 people from the public sector. These are people who improve their qualifications or receive additional education.

Who can become an IT specialist

Before our university, I worked for 16 years at IKEA, where at one time I headed the personnel management and corporate culture department, there was no such shortage of specialists there. The personnel hunger that I saw in the IT sphere was new to me.

To cope with it, you need to believe that anyone can become an IT specialist, if there is a desire. Abilities in mathematics and computer science are necessary, but they affect the speed of learning rather than fundamentally its quality. In our university there are examples when directors and teachers of the humanities were retrained as java specialists. I have been working here for only 4 months, so I personally did not find such people, but I heard a lot about such cases from colleagues.

There are a lot of specialties in the IT sphere. There are very complex ones, such as analytics and architecture, and there are those where a higher education diploma is optional, for example, a tester. In such cases, additional courses are sufficient. There are many of them in our university – for juniors, and for middlemen, and for seniors. A person should understand: it is unlikely that in 3 months he will develop something complex if he came from scratch. To become, for example, a good java-specialist, you first need to undergo training for beginners, then become a middle, go through several internships and after 2-3 years of practice you will be able to reach the senior level.

It sounds difficult, but additional courses are a good way to get a base and understand if the student is suitable for the field that he has chosen.

Why Innopolis University Teaches Physicians and Builders

IT specialists are open-minded creative people. They communicate a lot, develop professionally, go in for sports.
The more we talk about this, breaking the notion of IT people as “nerds”, the more people of different ages and professions are thinking about moving into our sphere.

We’re not going to make everyone a professional IT specialist. Our goal is to reduce the shortage in the market, to teach people from other areas to use all the advantages of technological products.

This will enable physicians and engineers to use new digital tools in their work. Now the market is not always ready to use any complex program or equipment.

For example, those who have worked on old X-ray machines for decades, inserting huge cassettes into them, now it is difficult to retrain to work on new equipment. Digitalization should facilitate the transition to modern technology and modern methods.

Where to find teachers

The main resource of the university is the academic community. Our professors (many of them are foreigners) are familiar with colleagues from other universities – domestic and foreign. Sometimes they even run joint projects.

When we look for teachers at the request of a company, our first channel is to ask our own. “It is necessary to conduct such and such a course, to give such and such competence. Do you know people who can do this? “


The second channel is our graduate students, masters. These guys are ready to study and work at the university. The academic environment allows this, each faculty has laboratories: 15 research and 8 development centers, and on the basis of the university there is a Competence Center of the National Technological Initiative in the direction of “Technologies of Robotics and Mechatronics Components”.

From time to time, we have market stars. For example, Andrey Raigorodsky, a mathematician from Yandex, Yevgeny Kaspersky, Intel Strategic Director Andy Tribe, Tinkoff Bank President Oliver Hughes, American scientist Tony Wasserman, Italian scientist Fabrizio Capobianco, and others. They all visited our university at different times.

How to make graduates in demand

The IT sphere is developing very quickly. In order to produce high-quality specialists, it is impossible to train them according to the same program for all 4 years. During this time, everything will change so much that after graduation, the student’s knowledge will become outdated and it will be difficult for him to find a job.

To prevent this from happening, we communicate with the industry. We will find out what skills and abilities employers need. The university should know how companies see the future of the industry, what specialties will be in demand in the coming years. This helps to adjust programs and courses, to make sure that the graduate and his abilities are applicable and useful to the market.

Why do companies raise employees

Now our university is studying how many personnel and resources it needs to process the volume of people required by the market.

Therefore, we work on request: a company contacts us, we assess what it wants to receive, and we inform the time frame and the number of people we can select or train.

Some need an IT educational program, others need to prepare developers from scratch. Someone wants ready-made specialists from the market, others are ready to invest in the education of people, guaranteeing them employment after the internship.

There are not very many organizations willing to invest in training, but their number is growing. This is facilitated by an acute shortage of personnel and word of mouth. Someone trained or retrained specialists, this gave him competent and loyal employees. He shares his experience, and the leadership of other organizations adopts it.

Everyone dreams of a loyal staff. When an employer invests in people, helps them gain knowledge, raise their level, he also invests in attitudes towards himself. Such an employee is more loyal than the one hired in the market.

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