Junior specialists: to hire or not to hire

The tech industry has undergone massive changes in recent years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent conflict in Europe. However, the high demand for skilled tech workers has remained constant.

Despite recent layoffs at Big Tech companies, there are still far more job openings than qualified candidates; as we head into 2023, the best opportunities may not lie exclusively with tech giants but also in more traditional industries upgrading their technology stacks and in startups founded by former employees of major tech companies. This raises the question of whether companies should consider hiring junior developers to fill these positions.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of hiring IT junior specialists in the current tech job market.

Who are IT junior specialists?

Generally speaking, IT junior specialists are new to the industry and have limited experience in the field. They may have recently graduated from college or have completed a coding boot camp, and are looking to gain more experience and skills by working at an IT company.
If you're a Junior IT professional looking for job opportunities, this article offers valuable recommendations to help you land your first job.

Challenges for Junior IT Employment

Many factors contribute to the saturation of junior specialists in the job market.
IT is a promising field, and there is always a shortage of skilled workers, which attracts a large number of newcomers to the field.
While it used to be significantly more complicated to break into IT, today many accessible courses are available. Although program quality varies greatly, some offer excellent value for money while others make unrealistic promises of achieving a high senior-level salary immediately after graduation without providing the necessary preparation.

Many people enrol in these courses hoping to change their career path, yet they ultimately face fierce competition in the job market. Many companies prefer hiring middle-level specialists who do not require training and already have the necessary experience instead of hiring junior-level specialists.

Reasons why junior specialists are not the most desirable candidates

First and foremost, inexperienced specialists often lack the practical skills and knowledge to solve complex projects independently. As a result, companies have to invest in training programs, mentoring, and other forms of support to ensure a beginner’s quick adaptation to the team.

In addition, there are several other reasons:
  • 1
    Risky investments
    Investing resources in an inexperienced specialist is a risky business. Hiring junior specialists requires a lot of time and effort: you need to go through a lot of resumes and be able to see their potential to select the most promising candidates. At the same time, no one can guarantee that a junior specialist will meet expectations in the future.
  • 2
    Need for mentoring
    Junior specialists often require a mentor to monitor their work. Senior colleagues who become mentors may need to exercise some level of supervision over their junior partners. While this can be necessary, it may also consume valuable time and negatively affect the productivity of the seniors.
  • 3
    High turnover rate
    Once junior specialists have accumulated enough experience, they may choose to depart from the company, resulting in the loss of financial investments as well as the valuable knowledge and experience they gained while working there.
Therefore, companies that aim to attract and retain talented junior specialists must provide them with opportunities for professional growth and education and create a favourable working environment.

A risk or an opportunity?

Hiring junior specialists is undoubtedly a risk, but the opportunity is a risk with a favourable outcome. They can bring positive aspects to your company:
  • Cost-effective
    Their salaries are significantly lower than those of experienced developers, which allows companies to save on personnel costs.
  • Potential for growth and development
    Junior specialists have great potential for growth and development. Proper training, mentoring and upskilling will help them become valuable and experienced specialists who bring fresh ideas and effective solutions to the company's work.
  • Work optimisation
    Young specialists are necessary to maintain a healthy company ecosystem. They can be excited to deal with tasks other team members grew tired of. Thus, experienced colleagues can focus on more complex and serious assignments that align with their level of expertise.
  • New perspectives
    It's crucial to recognise the impact that junior IT professionals could have on a team. They can contribute significantly to the team's culture and values. For instance, they can offer a unique perspective on issues such as diversity and inclusion, which are increasingly important in creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment.

How to hire junior specialists in 2023?

The process of hiring junior IT professionals will depend on the goals and needs of your business. Since they typically lack experience, it's important to focus on their soft skills. You can start by creating a pool of skills you're looking for in an employee and then deciding how to evaluate those skills.
It's worth noting that a good junior employee is not just someone who has graduated from a coding boot camp and is waiting to be hired.
A good junior candidate:
  • Continuously learns and develops;
  • Works on pet projects to develop new or improve existing skills;
  • Has a profile on GitHub;
  • Sees IT not just as a profession but also as a favourite hobby that brings pleasure. Such a junior specialist possesses the enthusiasm and is willing to work hard to gain experience.
If you include a test task in your hiring process, it's recommended that you evaluate the logic of problem-solving and thinking style rather than just the correctness of execution.
When it comes to geography, it's important to determine where you will be searching for candidates. Are you willing to offer relocation, or are you seeking candidates from all over the world for remote work? Or perhaps you've just opened an office in a specific country and are looking for onsite employees?

If you're considering offering relocation, ensure that the candidate is suitable for your business, as this is a significant decision for both you and the candidate. If possible, you can test the remote format before relocating to see how well you and the specialist match.
If you have specific location requirements for the employee, or you are expanding your search geography and seeking candidates from all over the world, you can turn to professionals who specialise in finding employees worldwide, such as Lucky Hunter :)
Hiring junior professionals in IT requires careful consideration and evaluation of the potential costs and benefits associated with investing in their education and development. Nonetheless, in today's fast-paced world of IT, companies that aspire to remain competitive must take bold steps to stay ahead. Hiring junior specialists can be a strategic move towards achieving long-term success and maintaining a competitive edge.

At Lucky Hunter, we operate globally, providing recruitment services for any job vacancy anywhere in the world. You can read about our success stories in our blog.

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