How to choose a project to suit your character?

The IT labor market today is a market of job seekers who can afford the luxury of choosing a project to suit their character traits. Not every project is suitable for the character of a particular person, which is why problems are possible both when finding a job and being accepted. I suggest taking a look at the types of projects in IT development and determining which ones are suitable for people with different personalities.

5 types of projects – to suit your character

When looking for a job as an IT professional, whether you are a systems analyst, developer, or engineer, you may encounter many types of projects that companies are hiring for. “Burnout” will not be long in coming if you sign an offer for a project that you don’t really like – but, alas, no better one has been offered yet. But this disappointment can be avoided if the work, although not 100% fun, brings positive emotions.

Each of us, who has worked on different projects, and even better in several offices, has formed an intuitive understanding of what we like or don’t like when participating in IT projects. I will try to translate intuitive understanding into systemic understanding, as psychotherapists do. It will be more beneficial for the candidate if he or she chooses a project during the interview that is closer to a personal understanding of the challenge, prospects, or, conversely, a quiet activity. The goal is to find a job that suits your personality, so that it doesn’t feel like every working day is like Groundhog Day.

Ok, said and done. Let's try to name the five most common types of IT projects in terms of matching the candidate's character traits:

  1. Development of new commercial products: This is one of the best types of projects that you can get into in your IT career. Here the project has a goal, technical specifications, as well as management and financing. Such projects are good for developing the knowledge and skills of a specialist, since all modern features are built into new versions of the product – AI assistants, bots, cloud storage, support for mobile gadgets, etc.

Who is it suitable for?: to almost everyone – both creatives and diligent, calm performers. They will find their niche in such a project. But you shouldn’t embellish your own character traits with those that are indicated in the vacancy, but are not characteristic of you personally. It is better to discuss your role in the team in advance during the interview so that the HR specialist can assign you to the appropriate group. The hiring manager/team lead and HR are interested in the new employee being effective and the work being mentally comfortable.

Who won't suit it?: There will be a few such people, but among them there are bright individualists who are not capable of teamwork, who do not like constant control and reporting, frequent rallies and stand-ups. But this is the genre – commercial products have always been and will be the result of teamwork with appropriate attributes in the form of sprints, task setting and progress tracking applications such as Jira, Trello, Asana, etc.

In terms of money, commercial product projects are usually “in the market” or a little higher – and here the salary depends on the specialty, skills and shortage of such employees in the labor market. On commercial projects there is usually a good social package, additional day-off days and various other “goodies”. The downside is that you may have to travel to the office, but there are also plenty of remote vacancies here.

For a nice resume, commercial product projects work very well. For example, the author worked at Microsoft on the Windows project, and in response to a typical interview question – do you have a product that you can be proud of – it is enough to show a box with Windows and the signatures of your teammates “We did it.”

  1. Long-lasting large projects with a large volume of work: These are projects within enterprise application ecosystems, and are usually found in banks, large integrators and multi-industry companies. Having been launched long ago, such projects require endless updates and the addition of new features based on brilliant ideas from sales people, analysts and business advisors to the CEO.

Who is it suitable for?: If you are capable of multitasking, patience and perseverance. Such qualities as perfectionism and prudence will come in handy (complex updates and new features can break the monstrous legacy architecture of the system).

Who won't suit it?: if you are annoyed by unexpected and urgent “introductions” from management, endless technical debt and the lack of any clear goal ahead for the project.

According to the author’s personal experience in Sber-Corus on the Sberbank Business Online project, in such large ongoing projects there is a lot of routine and especially a lot of bureaucracy and approvals. But for a beautiful resume, projects with a big name are what you need.

In terms of payment – on large ongoing projects it is usually something average in the market, but there may be some tricky bells and whistles. In Sber-Corus, for example, the monthly payment consisted of a very modest salary and a large monthly bonus as an instrument not so much of discipline as of encouragement to “sit quietly” and punishment of the dissatisfied. I can’t say how things are now with the form of payment, but I’m glad that I don’t work there anymore.

  1. A new project for custom development or for a new direction in the company: This is one of the most interesting and at the same time well-paid types of projects that exist on the market.

It is for such custom software projects that we regularly recruit employees at SSP SOFT. We invite not only experienced specialists, but also juniors. About how to raise juniors from scratch to mids – in our article “Ten conditions for cultivating juniors in a company

Who is it suitable for?: If you enjoy learning new technologies, tools, methodologies and building complex applications from scratch. At the same time, such projects, as a rule, have good management, which keeps the team within the framework of new, but proven development environments, without slipping into super-new, but controversial tools. There, the likelihood of rollbacks in the process of creating systems and applications is greatly reduced. Those. returning to intermediate points of the project due to the choice of tools, which, when testing the MVP sample, will show its inadequacy for commercial software.

Who won't suit it?: “freelance artists” and if you don’t like to spend extra time learning new technologies (you’ll have to do this even during non-working hours). But for those who prefer to do only what they know and can do, “from start to finish,” there is nothing to fear. Although there are few such people in IT, nevertheless, there are also “pure performers” among the candidates, and there are always positions for them on custom software projects.

Now about the cons. One of the features of new development projects that may scare you away as a candidate is the limited duration of the project and a strict deadline. Often, employees are hired for such projects on a temporary contract, which can also alienate applicants. When the development of a product is completed and it is transferred to “production”, the team is disbanded and only a minimum of employees remain on the project to maintain the software and fix bugs. But this is a different, more boring job.

For a beautiful resume, “From scratch to production” projects are very good. They show that the candidate has practical knowledge of the full development cycle. As a rule, there are no problems with payment due to the pre-allocated budget, and the salary level is slightly higher than the market (but not always).

  1. Challenge project: This is an initiative project launched by individual businessmen or shareholders of companies, often with their own funds. As a rule, we are talking about testing technological hypotheses that can take the company to a new level of innovation, bring commercial excess profits, or fulfill an important social function.

An example of a “challenge project” is the Neuralink company, founded by Elon Musk. It recruits developers to implement brain-computer interface technologies. The goal of the project is to create new methods for treating neurological diseases and expanding the capabilities of the human mind.

Who is it suitable for?: if you are ambitious, ready to work at the intersection of different industries, feel like a super-creative person, and want to leave your mark in science and technology. Such projects literally expand the horizons of knowledge, but they also require dedication to the level of self-denial. By the way, this self-denial is usually well paid.

Who won't suit it?: if you have a conditional “mortgage”, you have to live according to a strict family schedule (children in kindergarten or primary school), and in general you do not like any uncertainty in work and your future. It must be borne in mind that the challenge project can be frozen or closed at any time and for various reasons: lack of funding, disproportionate risks, could not agree with partners to conduct testing, etc.

A special feature of challenge projects is their very high requirements for candidates. The main composition of the teams is senior-level developers and engineers and, much less frequently, middle-level ones. A rare piece of luck for a junior to be hired for such a project. And here there is an element of the struggle of opposites: juniors are not hired for a challenge project due to insufficient qualifications, but it is young employees who can endlessly get excited about the idea and be ready for dedication, even to the point of working 24 hours a day and “sleeping under the office desk.”

  1. Startup: This is the literal embodiment of the catchphrase “No money, but you hang on.” Yes, startups can be launched under the guidance of business angels, have the support of so-called business incubators in terms of a legal address and some grants, but all this is usually very modest money.

The idea of ​​a startup was and remains the same – having come up with an idea, build on its basis some kind of prototype that can be presented to investors as an encouraging result in terms of future commercial application. And the main thing here is that from the “Eureka” moment to the prototype, all members of the startup team need to somehow get by without abandoning what they started.

Who is it suitable for?: Oddly enough, startups employ not only the founders of the idea or the juniors who were not hired for a commercial project. There you can also meet quite competent middles or seniors who are “burnt out” at their previous job and now want to take a break, take a break from bosses and strict regulations. They like the atmosphere of creativity, coworking spaces, brainstorming and even some brotherhood within the team. They are willing to spend their time and knowledge to work for almost free work in a startup team, but usually not for too long.

Who won't suit it?: no matter how promising the idea at the heart of a startup is, the likelihood that it will take off and green rain from investors will fall on the team is quite small. If you have a situation that requires regular earnings “according to the market,” it is better to look for work on a commercial project or even in the civil service.

Statistics on the success and failure of startups vary greatly, but you will not find numbers of successful projects higher than 10% of the total. According to the Startup Genome Report, in 2023 there were about 3.5 million startups in the world, of which 92% die annually. Optimists here will say that those startups that are successful attract significant investment, create interesting products and can bring good income to team members when the company goes public.

Opinions about including startup experience in a resume also vary. When initially assessing your resume in HR, experience in well-known companies on commercial projects is more valued than in startups. But if you pass this filter, the hiring manager or team lead may be interested in your cross-functional team skills and experience in various aspects of development, including programming, testing and project management.


Every software development project has its own specific characteristics that suit certain personality types. Many specialists, when hiring, are faced with the problem of choosing a project on which they will be comfortable working. I hope this article will help you a little in deciding on the type of project that will suit your personality and help you become a more productive and successful professional in the IT industry.

Finally, about us: SSP SOFT invites system analysts, Java, React and Python, 1C developers, DevOps and QA engineers for positions – on

Author: Sergey Berezin

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