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Why IT companies should grow engineers instead of hiring

For more than 10 years at Solvd, several hundred engineers have gained professional growth and career promotion. Despite the streamlined process of searching and hiring the best specialists on the market, the company has always paid special attention to the education and training of its own pool of specialists. And there are many reasons for this. Lera Kuhareva, HR manager at Solvd, will light upon how IT companies, especially those providing outsource services, benefit from growing specialists and how Solvd creates conditions for training engineers.
January 26, 2021
At the very beginning let's agree that we will not be comparing a fresh junior, which has recently finished his training, with a senior engineer possessing 10 years of industry-specific experience. In the context of the short term, this is nonsense. On the contrary, if we consider this comparison in the long term, then it begins to take on meaning, which we will try to reveal in the post.
Resources matter
Hiring an employee on the market who already has the necessary skills is a whole process involving several departments at once. The first to work are recruiters. They have to form an request for the desired vacancy, collecting the position requirements of engineering departments interested in reinforcement. It involves a large number of people, who spend their time drawing up these requirements instead of doing their actual tasks. When the list of candidates is ready, it comes time for interviews and technical interviews. These are all quite expensive, and the salaries of the recruiter and interviewers (tech-stuff) are only a small part of the total hiring cost. Don't forget that there may not be a single fitting specialist among the candidates. Additional searching can take a long time, and these are additional risks for you and your client.

Certainly, the lecturer's time is not free as well. However, this time fully pays off when you get a ready-made specialist at the end of the training. Such a specialist will have a solid technical base that does not need additional testing, and the adaptation period will be already completed. Any company training a future employee introduces the stack of internal technologies and tools to him. All this will allow the engineer to quickly grasp the specifics of his upcoming projects.
Many companies underestimate the importance of the adaptation period to a new workplace for a young specialist. Juniors often hesitate to ask a more experienced colleague a question, fearing to seem incompetent in the subject of the question. And this, first of all, negatively affects his productivity, because problems are either solved much longer or remain as they are. When a student who has completed the training joins the company, he is already partially familiar with the team and knows a few people (his teacher, an HR manager, and recruiter) to approach. It is morally easier for him to interact with them.
Lera Kuhareva
HR Manager
Flexibility and full combat alert
Another significant advantage of growing specialists is that your form an employee pool for unexpected circumstances. Once a project suddenly needs an additional engineer, you already have people to choose from. This is a sort of business insurance. On the contrary, when there is no such reserve, then you have to hire, look for someone in the market. And this imposes additional risks, and of course time costs. At Solvd, we give preference to training junior engineers rather than hiring them, however, we remain flexible and if the situation requires it (a rare technology stack on a project, for example), then we can look for a person in the market.

The specificity of outsourcing is working with a very large number of technologies. You can say how many projects – so many technologies and it will almost be true. And when a company sees an increase in demand in a particular area, then training resources can be used to meet that demand. How? For example, if there are a lot of applications for test integrations with Salesforce, then you can add this topic into the current QA training program so that students study it. In a relatively short period of time, your company will receive specialists who are familiar with the desired field. Thus, you kill two birds with one stone: you increase the chances of recruits becoming in demand on the project and satisfy the demand.
Customer-focused employees
Service companies should pay increased attention to employee training. In conditions of constant interaction with clients, the soft skills of engineers play an important (and sometimes decisive) role. At Solvd we teach English, hold regular elevator pitches, tech talks, and organize mini-conferences within the company. All this is aimed at improving the qualifications of employees, as well as honing soft skills. No wonder there is a saying that in order to make sure you really understood a topic, you need to be able to explain it to people who are completely far from it. This is especially true for the engineer-client relationship. In most cases, the clients of service companies are business people. The ability to establish communication and make it effective is already a prerequisite for fruitful collaboration. It is important for the client to understand what he is paying for. Therefore, an engineer who can explain complex concepts in simple terms is more likely to be credible.

When teaching, an engineer develops his soft skills at a double speed, as he answers hundreds of unexpected and sometimes meticulous questions from his students. Students, in there turn, learn to present their opinions and knowledge in a reasoned manner (for example, defending the final project), and also learn about the importance of observing the clients' cultural characteristics and master the rules of communication with them.
Know your employee
It is much easier to train an employee for the needs of the company than to find a specialist with the necessary skillset in the market. When hiring a candidate, the level of his soft and technical skills is being checked in just 2-3 hours in total. Of course, during such a little time it is physically impossible to fully understand what kind of person is sitting in front of you. The candidate may give socially desirable answers, and the interviewer may be missing something.

When we train a future employee at a company-based training course, he undergoes additional selection. In the process of training, we observe how the student actually works, how he relates to training. In other words, we see him live and can predict how this person will show himself in the workplace. Since the training is carried out by the company's engineers who will work together with students in the future, they already understand in advance how a person will behave in different situations. He knows his strengths and weaknesses. This is important for business because it reduces the risks of assigning the wrong person to the project.
Lecturer's investments
Do not forget that lecturers at company-based training are responsible for the success of their students. At the end of the day, the performance of a lecturer must also be judged. This kind of motivation to put in qualitative knowledge is good but hardly can be compared to self-interest. This is what really guarantees a high skill level of graduates! As a rule, training courses are taught by senior company employees with extensive experience. And inevitably, after completing the courses, a teacher will work side-by-side with his students. And this means that he will have to rely on their knowledge. This is the key difference between Solvd Laba and other company-based courses from regular ones.
Loyalty. Don't forget to feed
The loyalty topic continues the adaptation topic we talked about earlier. A person who has acquired knowledge within the company will definitely feel grateful for it. This will allow the business to get a more productive employee, as the person will strive to meet expectations. In most cases, this effect will intensify, since the company that trained him appeared to be the employee's first job. It's like first love. The people who apply for such "from scratch" training courses are mostly recently graduated students and those who completely change their field of activity. They have already tried to gain knowledge and, most likely, find work on their own. But in the current realities, it turned out to be quite a challenge, since everyone is looking for middle and senior engineers.
From my experience of watching graduates, the first two years is the brightest period, when an employee's professional competencies form and he demonstrates special loyalty to the company. Such an employee feels that he is developing and how the company gives him opportunities for professional growth. This way he works more productively. After this period, any wise company must sustain this enthusiasm by offering new learning and growth opportunities to keep a positive attitude. At Solvd we try to prevent engineers from staying too long on projects, as it can possibly lead to burnout. A well-timed project change allows engineers to learn new technologies, approaches, business processes, communicate with new people. All these help people to refresh.
Lera Kuhareva
HR Manager
How do clients benefit from it?
Indeed, immediately after completing a training course, the beginner does not have much value for a complex commercial project as an independent specialist. The benefits of training rarely pay off overnight. First of all, these are investments in the long term. The company, which has organized its own training and spent resources on educating its generation of engineers, guarantees their future clients that professionals with a strong technical base, a high level of in-demand skills, and a clear understanding of business processes will work on their projects. Relying on the services of such a company, the client keeps his project away from the danger of falling into the hands of random people, who first of all work out their rate, rather than represent the high standards of services of their employer.
Our training course, Solvd Laba, provides a broad technical base and education. The courses are focused on current market trends and business needs. Thus, we additionally take care of the client's safety so that he is sure that a few years later when his projects expand, Solvd will already have a reserved pool of qualified engineers capable of solving his tasks.

Right now we are recruiting at Solvd Laba in Argentina, Ukraine and Belarus. If you want to become a part of our team - join!