Lack of schooling stymies younger programmers

The IT sector affords good prospects and wages, however many aspiring entrants fall wanting requirements. Li Hongyang stories.

The partitions of a hall at a pc programming college in Beijing are coated with messages from tech corporations providing jobs for the institution’s graduates.

The posts-together with for on-line retailer Suning and web safety professional Qihoo 360-include month-to-month salaries starting from 8,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($1,238 to $3,096), whatever the candidate’s instructional background.

On its web site, the college, a non-public firm referred to as Beida Jade Bird Vocational Education, claims “We change lives” and “Becoming a programmer can help someone with a middle or high school education find as promising a career as someone with a bachelor’s degree”.

Dong Shaoze, a 17-year-old who stop highschool earlier than commencement, is finding out programming at Beida Jade Bird.

During a break between courses, he and 4 teenage classmates had been chatting exterior the constructing through which the college rents rooms. When requested why they selected the course, most of them mentioned they wished to enhance their monetary scenario.

They all believed that if they might get a job with an enormous firm in Beijing, they’d earn at the very least 20,000 yuan a month.

“The supply of programmers falls far short of demand. The growth in the internet industry during the COVID-19 epidemic (as online shopping boomed and more people used the web to contact each other) has boosted my confidence in the future of this career,” Dong mentioned.

A report launched final yr by the China Internet Network Information Center confirmed that as of June, the variety of web customers in China had reached 940 million, an increase of 36 million from March.

For the previous seven years, the nation has been the world’s largest on-line retail market, with the digital economic system accounting for 35 % of nationwide GDP.

Moreover, a 2018 report by the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, a assume tank, confirmed that the income generated by China’s data know-how sector rose from about 2 trillion yuan in 2012 to six trillion yuan in 2017. However, the expertise shortfall was estimated at 1 million folks a yr.

Fulfilled feeling

Dong left Handan, his hometown in Hebei province, and moved 440 kilometers to Beijing after a 23-year-old good friend who works as a programmer within the capital persuaded him to hitch the trade.

“I love playing computer games and am interested in the internet. When I finish creating a webpage, I feel so fulfilled,” Dong mentioned.

Students on the college can select a spread of programs. They embrace studying Python and Java, programming languages that instruct computer systems to comply with set orders, akin to displaying search outcomes or exhibiting the variety of likes below a social media account after customers click on the “thumbs-up” image.

Dong selected to not examine these languages as a result of he mentioned they’re so exhausting to be taught. Instead, he’s studying Hypertext Markup Language, which allows browsers to show web content material.

When he arrived in Beijing, he rented a room and his dad and mom paid the schooling price of about 20,000 yuan for the five-month course. Despite the associated fee, the college can’t assure to land him a job, so he should discover one himself.

Zhang Xiaohe, a former proprietor of programmer coaching colleges in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, Guangdong province, mentioned the web trade can provide younger staff excessive salaries.

“Fresh graduates can earn 10,000 yuan a month, and both they and the sector have a lot of room to grow later. Unlike in traditional sectors, internet companies can substantially increase profits if they accumulate a certain number of users at an early stage and perform well,” he mentioned.

Recruitment thresholds

However, excessive salaries imply powerful recruitment thresholds. “Nearly all the medium-sized or large internet companies only hire people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, while tech giants like Baidu and Alibaba only employ graduates from the top universities,” Zhang mentioned.

In February final yr, Proginn, a part-time job platform for programmers, launched the outcomes of a survey of 400,000 programmers throughout the nation.

The survey concluded that about 76 % of programmers have a bachelor’s or larger, whereas the rest attended vocational or technical colleges.

Zhang mentioned some coaching colleges enroll college students from vocational or excessive colleges purely for revenue, no matter their profession potential.

“Compared with university students, they haven’t received good educations and they have no programming experience. Most of their resumes will be eliminated in the first round of recruitment,” he mentioned.

“Even if they are hired by software companies, it is common that after two or three years they will find it hard to improve their skills. Landing a job doesn’t mean they will be able to stay in the industry, because the dropout rate is high among these young people.”

Han Xiaoda taught himself coding by studying textbooks, however he could not see a transparent promotion path so he stop his job as a programmer three years in the past.

After graduating from the engineering main at a technical faculty in Wuhan, Hubei province, in 2013, Han discovered a job with an outsourcing firm in Shenzhen.

It supplied companies akin to making webpages for shoppers and creating cell phone functions and different web instruments.

His wage rose from 2,000 yuan a month within the first yr to 10,000 yuan, however then it plateaued.

Han mentioned he admires Ma Huateng, CEO of tech large Tencent, as a result of he turned himself from a programmer into an entrepreneur.

He wished to hitch one of many web giants to expertise a better stage of labor, however his instructional background meant he wasn’t invited to any interviews.

“What we did at my former company had nothing to do with cutting-edge technology. When we worked on difficult internet functions, we didn’t write the code ourselves-instead, we searched the web to find mature codes that had been expertly written by leading industry players,” he mentioned.

He was by no means frightened that prospects would demand the unimaginable as a result of they understood the corporate’s working ceiling and solely ordered objects that might be produced through extensively used applied sciences out there on the open market.

Disillusioned, Han stop his job and opened a web based journey company with pals.

“Before, I thought programmers could change the world and earn a lot. Later, I realized that my technical skills made no difference to the world, so I turned to running a business,” he mentioned.

The COVID-19 epidemic meant Han’s tourism firm could not make ends meet. He and his pals closed the enterprise and he’s now working a short-video account and producing movies to show folks easy methods to use visible results in motion pictures.

“My videos haven’t attracted any advertising contracts, so I haven’t made a profit. I am using my savings to support myself. Before, I thought I owned the world, but the world has abandoned me,” he mentioned.


The story of Sun Ling has impressed many individuals who lack a university diploma however need to make a mark within the programming trade.

About a decade in the past, Sun stop her job as a employee at a battery manufacturing unit in Shenzhen and studied at a programming college for a yr.

From 2011, she labored for a tech firm that calculated salaries for civil servants within the metropolis. In 2017, she utilized for a paid internship within the United States and later obtained a job provide from EPAM Systems, a software program engineering firm that gives companies for Google. Her annual wage was about $120,000.

“It is not easy to copy Sun’s career path,” Zhang Xiaohe mentioned. “She worked so hard that she got a well-paid job in the US, but not everyone has such determination at such a young age and without the benefit of higher education.”

He added that earlier than 2015, most non-graduate college students at his coaching college may discover jobs with aggressive web corporations, however now issues are a lot more durable.

“The development of the technology has seen large companies rise up in the past five years. The gap between the large operators and other companies is widening,” he mentioned.

“Large corporations provide larger salaries and higher working environments, however they demand way more from their programmers, together with higher instructional backgrounds, quick studying potential and even expertise of working for different large outfits.

“Programming schools shouldn’t sell people dreams of success and attract those who aren’t interested in researching technologies and are really not at all suitable for this career.”

Programmers and staff check tools earlier than The 2019 Computing Conference in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. CHINA DAILY
Software engineers write code for a video games producer in Shanghai. XU QING/FOR CHINA DAILY
A programmer works throughout a discussion board in Hangzhou. XU KANGPING/FOR CHINA DAILY
IT staff sit on the ground with their laptops throughout a break on the occasion. XU KANGPING/FOR CHINA DAILY


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