Nearshore Americas

The Complex Future of IT Professionals in Brazil – And Possible Solutions

Brazil will have 260,000 vacancies in the area of IT by 2024, according to a study by the Brazilian Association of Software Companies and Services for Export (Brasscom).

This worrying revelation is partly because of the lack of interest in studying IT – as well as the high dropout rate of technology students.

The Digital Transformation of companies increases this pressure, requiring that at least 60% of these professionals be qualified in subjects inherent to Digital Transformation and not simply “IT graduates”.

In addition, older IT workers face difficulties in keeping their skills up to date and can be “pushed aside” by companies looking for new talents and skills.

In Brazil, many industrial sectors complain that low productivity limits the growth of their businesses. Although obsolete laws, especially labor laws, and government
bureaucracy are often cited as the main causes, lack of human resources is also key.

Recently, in a video interview published by Globo, the results of a research conducted by Brasscom, reveals warns about the high degree of drop-out of IT course students, well above the national average for other subjects.

Brasscom’s study about jobs in the IT sector gives a stark warning that the vacancies will not be filled will not be filled unless companies and the government do something to solve it.

A new economy, with new jobs

Luciana Camargo, VP HR IBM Latin America, states that “We are facing the Data Economy, in which companies are guided by the Digital Transformation leveraged by new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. It is to be expected that in this “data driven” world 100% of jobs will change, new professions will appear and others will evolve towards new meanings or disappear.

“The work role of humans will rise, moving from simpler activities to higher thought and activities,” adds Camargo.

Companies, especially those like IBM that directly facilitate this transformation, have a responsibility to prepare the world’s workers for these new technologies.

“That is why at IBM we are committed to preparing both the new workforce (young
people, students) and the current workforce (retraining),” adds the executive. In fact, the company has just announced that it is extending the IBM Skills Academy initiative to Latin American countries to make available content, dynamics and programs that support the imminent need to develop new technological skills, associated with the requirements of the era of the digital economy in the region.

The IBM Skills Academy will focus on emerging digital fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, data science, Blockchain, Cloud and IoT. IBM will train selected universities on content, and universities will instruct students in a variety of specialties from the humanities to the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Students will be able to earn IBM certificates and college credits as they prepare for the current and future job market. In Brazil “Saint Paul Escola de Negócios” is one of IBM’s partner institutions.

For Camargo, another important example is what IBM is doing with P-TECH, the program for secondary education in public schools, focused on technical disciplines and professions. Through free education, students obtain a higher education degree in one of the STEM disciplines, along with hands-on experiences in the workplace. Colombia and Brazil joined this program from 2018 and Argentina this year.

IT knowledge is not enough

Professionals must be prepared to learn and relearn continuously, says Camargo. “When we talk about innovation in technology, diversity and inclusion are fundamental, because innovation depends on the diversity of ideas and experiences. In this context, young talent and senior talent are key. The generational difference for companies that seek diversity is a positive factor and at IBM, through internal initiatives such as Cross Gen, we seek to maximize the collaboration of different generations to enrich our culture and enhance innovation.

New jobs require different skills from employees. Skills in “Agile” and “Design Thinking” are key to the IT sector and its new ways of working, including remote collaboration tools to create solutions focused on results, MVP prototypes (MVP –
minimun viable product) and interact and correct, as you learn with mistakes.

For Camargo, soft skills are just as important as tech skills. New IT employees must have:

  • Curiosity and desire to learn
  • Business knowledge
  • Problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • Creativity & storytelling skills
  • Perseverance mentality to be focused on the present and results
  • Empathy, a desire to understand and respect the feelings of others
  • Learning Agility, with the desire and attitude to learn new
    things quickly

Employee proactivity is essential

Carlos Alberto Texeira – CAT as his friends and colleagues know him – is a recognized IT professional and technology journalist who for several decades has stood out in the Brazilian IT market.

CAT says that while the demand for IT professionals in Brazil is growing, older and more experienced employees face problems if they need to be relocated. “As if the crisis we are facing here in Brazil were not enough, an IT professional with more than 50 years of experience faces very difficult challenges to reenter the Brazilian labor market,” he says.

The IT journalist, with more than 40 years of technological experience, recommends that IT professionals be prepared to extend their professional careers and follow these recommendations:

Training and updating: in any area, but more adequately in the area of IT, it is essential that the professional stays updated. Therefore, when acting as an employee or even as a self-employed businessman, it is of great importance to take specialized courses and training, both in your area of direct action and in similar and related areas. The IT sector is very dynamic and those who do not keep up with the torrent of news and trends will be totally behind, which is virtual suicide.

If you work for a large company, try to convince your superiors to invest in training for you. And if you’re acting as a freelancer, set aside a portion of your income to pay for quality technical training that will keep you abreast of developments in the area.

Attending symposia, conferences and IT events is also of great value, especially if they are based in more technologically developed countries.

Reinvention and recovery: pay attention to the possibilities, in parallel with your activities, of venturing into new professional topics, both inside and outside the IT area. It may not be the case for all professionals, but with time, there may be a tendency to become bored due to repetitive topics and tasks that do not represent real challenges of growth and discovery. It is important to always be agile in order to travel new paths.

Observe trends and stay flexible: it is essential to track the world of IT media. The more agile a professional is to adopt a new technique, the more value he or she will have, whether in his or her current job or in a new location.

Networking: nothing can ease job transitions more than a rich, well-connected network of contacts. Keep your network always alive and vibrant, not content with the exchange of phone calls, email and instant messaging or through social networks. Go out with people, meet them in the real world. Go out drinking, tell jokes and have fun. This close approach, in addition to strengthening or fostering friends, has everything to establish or consolidate personal ties that can extrapolate to
professional situations, providing new opportunities, positions and promotions for both you and your contacts.

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Job Change: When “it is really a job to change jobs”, it is essential (unless it is a sudden or urgent change) to gather information with the employees and former employees of your desired future employer. What is the professional and human
environment of the new organization in which you want to act?

You may get surprised with your findings.

LinkedIn: This professional social network is of great value to those seeking new challenges. The paid modality is the recommended one, since it gives more palpable and quicker returns. It is worth having a presence on LinkedIn, making serious and interesting publications within its IT area of activity, with emphasis on the dissemination of research and trends, so that its name gradually becomes a reference in the area.

Savings: with respect to personal finances, it is prudent to always do some penny-pinching, just to be ready in case of possible unemployment for longer than expected. It is worth to make some sacrifices by reducing expenses, luxuries and
superfluous, so that you can save money to be more secure if you need a longer period of search for a new job, especially if you have been laid off from previous employment.

Age: Age is a key element in the re-employment equation.

From age 45 onwards, the acceptance curve of an IT professional, although up-to-date, with experience and training, tends to decline dramatically in Brazil. Therefore, the older the professional, the more attention he or she should pay to the advices outlined above.

Having a Plan B: with the advancing in age and the reduction of professional acceptance in the market, it is of great importance that you have developed in parallel, for some years before, some autonomous secondary professional activity that can provide sustenance if to reach the unfortunate point where your reabsorption by the labor market in the IT area becomes too difficult.

Alcides León

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