At The Coalface: Do Companies Want Techies?

Originally perceived by the international community as the ‘third world giant’, Brazil is now strutting the world stage and claiming a larger slice of the IT pie that, until recently, was claimed by other BRIC countries such as India and China. These developments have a direct impact on education.

The technology sector in Brazil is red hot at present – which is positive, as we are no longer mere buyers of imported services and have become customers of our own indigenous companies. This in turn grabs the attention of foreign buyers, who can see the many opportunities around doing business with companies that have been successful in their own country.

Brazilian professionals and products have always been of high standards, our problem has historically been a lack of marketing and investment. However, new companies bringing fresh ideas have emerged in the technology field here in Brazil over the last decade or so, led by people with years of experience at multinational players. This is something that would be unimaginable at traditional companies, which often lagged behind in terms of technological trends – so there has been a lot of change going on.

All this growth creates a massive demand for people, but there is not enough qualified manpower around. For that reason, several new educational institutions are being created in Brazil. They invest heavily in training new professionals in technology and offer both bachelor degrees and a technical education to try and mitigate the shortage of skilled professionals in the Brazilian market.

Even this plethora of institutions focused on IT education is not enough to meet the market requirement. To make things worse, the number of graduates from these institutions has not seen a major increase and the demand for technology-related courses also seems to be lower. Meanwhile, the IT sector in Brazil is growing above average in comparison to other countries, with several positions yet to be filled.

On the other hand, it is now a lot easier for a young person to assess whether they want to work in the IT sector. It is possible to find a wealth of information on the internet and anyone can work in IT without necessarily having formal qualifications, as opposed to say, a vet or a lawyer. There is also the fact that IT is a field where it is possible to attain a certain financial stability and, of course, we also know that there is a lack of skilled professionals in the sector

It is possible to benefit from all the advantages I mentioned above by acquiring certification or even studying for a short period of time – it is easier to spend 18 months in technical education for the job market than spending more than four years in a university-level course in IT.

But I do know that companies are in need of professionals trained at graduate level – a business cannot rely only on technical staff. There is a big investment involved – both in terms of time and money – in training a professional with technical qualifications to become a manager.

When you have a bachelors degree, you go beyond technical knowledge and gain a background that provides the analytical and critical skills that a manager needs to have, which is also what the market wants. Companies want leaders.