Not a center, but an academy
In February 2021, 23 employees were enrolled in the ICD IT Directorate staff, who were selected to the team on completely new conditions. The need to create a new source of attracting IT specialists in the ICD appeared for a reason. The constantly increasing tasks of the IT block, both in volume and complexity, required a constant influx of new motivated specialists. It was decided to create its own training program at the bank. “In my opinion,” says IT Director of MKB Alexey Karpunin– every self-respecting market participant, especially the financial one, is obliged to train new IT personnel. Because it is physically impossible to “get” a sufficient number of specialists from the market, even if the salary fund is increased two or three times. You need to create specialists for yourself. ”
In four months, from September 2020, Karpunin’s team managed to launch the training process: develop a training program (in it one month of theory and two months of practical tasks), conduct a careful selection of trainees and launch lectures on theory, and then practice.
Before the start of the search for potential interns of the new IT academy and as part of the formation of a new training program, the Competence Center for Remote Service Channels (CC ALC) identified three categories of suitable specialists:
1) specialists with no work experience, students of specialized universities or non-core ones, but who want to connect their lives with IT;
2) specialists familiar with the topic of IT, working in a related industry – for example, testers or writing code in another language. These potential employees have a baseline that needs to be increased;
3) IT specialists who have already completed courses in the specialization of interest to the bank and have experience in development.
“Due to the fact that the first stage of implementation of the ICD IT Academy was launched in a strict time frame and was aimed at maximum efficiency, we did not consider the resume of interns from the first group this time,” says Head of the Central Committee of DCO Evgeny Novikov… “The qualifications and experience of the interns should be enough to give an excellent result together with the highly qualified staff of the ICD,” sums up Alexei Karpunin.
There were no other restrictions, such as the age of the trainee or the region of his residence. “It’s not about age, but about the desire to learn,” says Aleksey Karpunin. “The focus of the candidate on the result and his abilities are important to us.” Considering the fact that work in IT is mostly organized online, the geography of employees is also diverse: from Yekaterinburg and Ufa to Krasnodar.
Employees of the DCO Central Committee searched for potential interns of the ICD IT Academy through the “good old word of mouth” and actively plunged into specialized online communities: Telegram chats and professional forums. If people are members of IT communities, it means that they are already motivated to develop in a specialized direction. The plans are to develop partnerships with online courses, such cooperation is already underway, the bank intends to develop it.
Training program and mentors
– Based on the submitted CVs, we conducted interviews, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in accordance with our competency matrix. For example, a person is poorly versed in databases, but has a good idea of how to make an interface for the user. And we need a specialist who knows both. We also determined the aspiration of a person, in what way he wants to develop professionally. And only after that they formed an individual development plan for each. In fact, we made an individual training plan for each trainee for three months.
“The theoretical program was also drawn up by us and for us, – says Alexei Karpunin. – Because university programs are too generalized and out of touch with reality. The educational program of the IBC is tailored to the goals and objectives of our bank. ”
So, 23 trainees in November 2020 began their training at the ICD IT Academy. The learning process was divided into three stages.
First month: theoretical training, the plan of which is drawn up depending on the competence of the trainee, followed by the fulfillment of a qualification assignment. The theory was read by ICD staff specialists.
The second month is spent working with a mentor from among the employees of the ICD Competence Center. In fact, at this stage, the trainee is already immersed in practical work using the pair programming method (one of the XP practices), when the mentor continues to carry out his daily work duties and includes an online demonstration of his work screen to the trainee. The mentor writes the code, the trainee observes and asks questions. One works with his hands, the other with his eyes. The next day they change places, and the trainee programs for two hours, and the mentor observes and prompts. The practical work time of the trainee is gradually increased to four hours, that is, half of the working day. “This approach does not separate the mentor from production, but the trainee immerses himself in the process and gets acquainted with specific products that are being developed in the bank,” explains Evgeny Novikov.
The third stage is “landing” in the team. The trainee connects and begins to independently implement small tasks, but tasks from a full-fledged “combat” backlog of the ICD.
Alexey Karpunin and Evgeny Novikov admit that at the start of the Academy’s activities, not all mentors were delighted with the additional workload in the form of training interns. “Mentoring is a voluntary process,” notes E. Novikov. “Immersed in the process, all the mentors were so carried away by it that after three months they themselves asked to enroll their trainees in their teams.” Alexey Karpunin emphasizes the important role in organizing training, searching for interns and their further life in the bank of HR colleagues.
What is the result after three months? “Our expectations were met by 110%, – this recognition of the CIO of ICD best describes the results of the first recruitment of the IT academy. – From my experience of training interns in other companies, I knew that the percentage of graduation of ready-made specialists ranges from 50% to 80% and depends on the quality of the candidates selected for the internship. The most important result of our first graduation is that all the employees accepted for the internship went through all the stages of training and began their activities in combat teams, all were accepted into the ICD staff. ” Alexey Karpunin himself explains such impressive results by the quality of the work done at the stage of selecting candidates. The second factor of success is the method of pair programming and deep involvement in the bank’s activities instead of the “out of touch” tasks from textbooks.
According to Evgeny Novikov, the bank gets good, loyal employees, and the new employee gets tremendous experience. None of the courses will provide such an experience. Training in a group revealed another, not the most key, but also important factor – team cohesion: “Trainees were trained as part of a single group, and then were assigned to different teams. But they still have a common chat, they continue to help each other, they did not have to join the new team one by one ”.
The Competence Center has already launched the recruitment of the second stream of the ICD IT Academy, making sure that its concept is viable. This time, the academy is expanding its knowledge base and, in addition to developers, is recruiting analysts, testers and other specialists. Now, according to A. Karpunin, the IT Academy will work constantly, but the issues will not be so numerous. “Five to eight people a month is easier to get on a team than 23 trainees a quarter,” he explains. Inspired by the results of the first graduation of the academy, the bank will also consider beginning specialists in the next sets.