How to Start a Digital Career in Split? Programmers and Experts Weigh In

Daniela Rogulj

University will not get you a job; you have to work hard to gain knowledge before employment. This was addressed by representatives of Locastic, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Typeqast and Netmedia at a panel discussion on ‘How to Start a Digital Career’, held on Thursday night at the new PICS Center at Split University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Naval Architecture (FESB), reports Dalmatinski Portal on March 15, 2019.

“Programmers in Split can choose where they want to work; it is a good life decision to be a programmer today. The renaissance is happening because every branch of the industry is based on IT, and some of these solutions have to be made,” said Marko Barić, Director and Development Manager at the Split branch of the Dutch company Typeqast.

“You need to learn the job before you get hired, knowledge is available and relatively inexpensive over the internet. Small firms cannot hire and educate, and, unfortunately, faculties unleash you with a low level of knowledge. During my studies, I bought 40 books through Amazon, nobody made me do it, and today I read two a month because if you do not follow the development, you are nowhere in two years,” added Barić,

Marko Maljković of Locastic shares Barić’s opinion.

“Students will not learn the basics, they can learn from tutorials, and in our company, we can face a concrete problem whose solution can be helped by our experience. After 14 years of design, I continue to explore and learn new applications today,” said the founder of the Split company.

Grades from the faculties are not the most important, according to Goran Škugor from Ericsson Nikola Tesla, which employs 550 people. Project manager of ICT County Damir Brčić moderated the debate and asked Škugor how even the best FESB students can’t get a job. 

“The question is what the best student is? We constantly need employees, and we are constantly in contact with students. In a job interview, grades from University come in 22nd place. We are more interested in the concrete things and whether you show interest in the engineering things you worked on at University. It’s nice to have an average of 4.8, but we’d rather give a chance to the one who had 2.8 but did something specific. In that sense, I would advise students to pursue seminar work, it is better to choose something more difficult to learn than only to do something as soon as possible,” said Škugor.

He revealed that they also do personality tests before employment, to make sure that the personalities of the workers fit into the team. Other panelists agreed.

“Programming is a lot of teamwork, technical knowledge can be learned, but personality cannot. We are also looking for social skills, not just technical ones,” said Barić.

But how does a student know what they want to do in life?

“It’s good to know what you want. I wanted to work at the Lego factory, and this desire led me to design,” revealed Maljković, adding:

“Assemble a team here at PICS, start working and learning from errors, and your work will determine the direction you will go.”

“Put your shoes on and run,” said Škugor, and Barić said that it is all a matter of work:

“For years, from Monday to Friday, you could train tennis in the morning, in the afternoon and the evening, and you would become a tennis player, perhaps not the best but you could play. This is also the case with programming.”

The co-owner of Netmedia, Ivan Strigo, said that much has changed.

“10-15 years ago people came to us who knew exactly what they wanted to do, and now they are knocking on our door and saying: ‘I would like to be a programmer.’ We give them two books and they do not come back.”

The motivation to work in companies and the IT sector should not be missed. Barić pointed out:

“Programming is not coding, it’s changing the world. We solve problems.”

“We are architects of society, it is powerful,” Strigo concluded.

PICS is the new pre-incubator and coworking center at the University of Split, implemented within the ICT County project. It is intended for students, young innovators and all those interested in IT work, whose projects, with the help of a network of educators and mentors, will have the opportunity to enter the world market.

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