Information technologies are traditionally regarded as the field for younger people, but this is a misconception – Accenture-Latvia trains hundreds of IT specialists each year, some of whom develop their past knowledge, while others requalify and acquire programming-related skills completely anew. immediately after the training, most of the trainees start working in the new speciality.
“I decided to make a radical change in my life”
Dmitry Knazev, an Information technology (IT) specialist, is sharing the story about changes in his life. “I've always been interested in programming. Even while studying at the University of Latvia in 1990, I used to write programmes for the human resources department of the VEF Research Institute affiliated with VEF plant producing radioelectronics. My major at the university was economic cybernetics – a lot of math and a bit of economics – but not programming. It was therefore necessary to look into this area independently. After my studies, I had to change occupations several times until I turned to business. This meant working with foreign suppliers, financial institutions and cooperation partners, which was very interesting. During the times when the business flourished, the number of employees reached half a hundred. However, I saw signals of impending change in the world and decided to radically change my life before things get worse.
In previous summer I joined Accenture's intensive SAP programming boot camp. We had 13 people aged 20 to 50 in the training, including four foreigners. The teachers were five employees of the company, three of whom later became my project colleagues. Our training period was very saturated: within five working days we had to learn a lot of new things. The biggest challenges were the lack of experience in using English and limited IT skills, but teachers were understanding and provided the necessary support. At the end of the training, the most successful participants were given the opportunity to start internship with the company. From my experience, I can say that the key is not the knowledge, because technology is changing very rapidly, but rather the desire to learn and acquire new skills, and the ability to work in a team, which is a critical quality for working in the field of IT.
The first day of intensive work coincided with my 50th birthday. I am currently employed at Accenture and I am working on the SAP (software development) section project, which provides online sales to a large foreign company. It's the beginning of something important and interesting in my life. If a person is considering changing a career, I would definitely recommend boot camp training. I would also like to address people above the 40-year threshold: the experience accumulated over life is a value that cannot be taken away or learned at university. Working on a new team will also make you feel younger, the team, however, thanks to your experience will be better organized, conscientious and efficient.”
Accenture - one of the leading companies in the industry
Accenture is an international management consultancy, technological services and outsourcing company with almost 290,000 people employed in more than 50 countries around the world.
Zanda Arnava, head of Accenture Talent Studio in Latvia, says that Accenture is one of the leading information technology companies in Latvia and in the world. The Latvian branch was founded in 2002. The company is working with the latest technology to help customers adapt to today's business and user needs. Accenture helps to create the future through digital technologies in many sectors of the economy.
Unfortunately, over the recent years the number of IT graduates in higher education institutions of Latvia has not changed, however, the labour market demand for these specialists has risen several times. Many international IT service providers have selected to be based in Latvia and local businesses actively search for such specialists. The search has particularly been fostered by the rise in start-ups seen since year 2012.
In order to increase the number of IT professionals in Latvia and to provide opportunities for people who want to change careers and acquire the necessary skills to work in the IT industry, more than 10 years ago Accenture began to organise IT training and internship in Accenture boot camps to within one to five weeks provide trainees with the basic knowledge and skills for starting a career. Training is a part of the company's recruitment program, and the most successful participants then obtain a certificate and a paid internship with Accenture. Most interns become employees of the company. A total of 1,500 participants have participated in the training between 2016 and 2020. In the spring and summer of this year, the company plans to train more than 200 people to start their careers in the IT industry. The IT training for the first spring and summer season will start on June 1 and run until the end of the summer.
Who can become IT specialists
“Applications for the training and internship are submitted not only by students and graduates in the IT sector but also by people studying or learning science, engineering, entrepreneurship, energy, transport and humanities. They can also be people who have learned to program independently, be it simple or complex everyday things. Similarly, in the recent years, applications have been received from workers from other sectors who want to change their profession and start their careers in IT.
Similar to a cook, who needs the knowledge about groceries and storing them in order to make delicious food, there is a need for basic knowledge in IT, explains Arnava. The range of specialities in this industry is vast: required are programmers, testers, security specialists, designers, advisers of different technologies, project managers and other specialists.
To apply for IT training, depending on the theme you choose, you need basic knowledge about WEB technologies and programming theory, understanding of the concept of OOP, the ability to write a simple SQL. On the other hand, to apply for IT counselling training, assessed will be the applicants' ability to think analytically and their motivation to learn as well as having good knowledge of “MS Office” (“Excel”, “PowerPoint”, “Project”), the ability to work with information and data independently and within a team. All training takes place in English, so these skills are also assessed.”
One way to increase the number of IT professionals is to make women and girls more active. The latest figures from the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) show that in Latvia the proportion of women among information and communication technologies (ICT) specialists is only 1% of the number of women employed (below the average of 1.4% of the European Union). In order to allow more and more women to consider and start their careers in the IT sector, the non-governmental organisation “Riga TechGirls”, together with its partners, established the training programme “She Goes Tech” in 2019. Accenture awards scholarships so that the basic skills needed for future IT training can be learned free of charge and the trainees could start a career in the sector. This summer, Accenture will award scholarships to 160 women.
Career - according to your own wishes and abilities
More information on the training is available in www.bootcamp.lv. Arnava adds that this summer, within the customer relationship management systems (CRM) training there will be an opportunity to get acquainted with Java/Salesforce technologies, as well as gain more insight into databases, data warehouses and business intelligence solutions. In the field of large data, you will be able to learn the basics of data engineering. The SAP training will introduce business tools, including data migration solutions. The training on cloud computing will educate you on the various cloud platforms and automation capabilities. A separate course in cloud computing will deal with the use of DevOps principles. In the area of Oracle the trainees will be able to learn more about database management systems and learn the skills of Oracle Technology Advisor. The lessons of Java, CoreNet, testing, automation and project manager assistant are also scheduled for spring and summer.
In general, the training is divided into three directions: the first is suitable for people interested in programming skills, the second includes both programming and counselling, and the third is consulting.
It is also important to note that from January this year, the company has increased the amount of scholarships for the internship period by 68%. As a result, the grant to a trainee per month (40 hours per week) is €480, while a person who has decided to change his career and successfully completed Accenture boot camp training, during the internship will receive the reimbursement of €477.
The most successful participants will receive a certificate and paid internship in Accenture. Future skills and career opportunities are broad, depending, of course, on each person's wishes, will and talent.
Arnava stresses that at the moment, when we open any job search advertising portal, we can see that IT companies, including Accenture, are looking for IT specialists to work with different technologies. Currently, in the projects and jobs where this is possible a lot of people are working remotely. Also, many are weighing their values, starting to act and learning new things. More and more people are thinking about changing their careers. We believe that this is an appropriate time not only for remote work but also for training and improving knowledge, Arnava concludes.