I. Rupšienė – doctor of tech sciences “I recognize future programmers through their work on an egg-boiling algorithm”

Jobs in Information Technology (IT) are some of the most popular and well-paid places of employment not only in Lithuania, but also all around the world. An increasing number of young people in Lithuania and foreign countries choose IT study programs in institutions of higher education. What are the qualities one needs to possess to successfully self-actualize in the area of IT? Does this occupation come with an age limit, and is our educational system capable of preparing successful IT specialists?

Inborn or nurtured logical thinking is a requirement for IT specialists

Ilona Rupšienė who works with Klaipėdos Licėjus students stated that nurturing a good IT specialist is a difficult task, because in order to achieve success in this field a person needs to have some inborn qualities of character.

“Programming is the foundation of most IT specialties. In order for a young person to become successful in this field, they have to have an inborn or well-developed and/or nurtured logical thinking. I always tell my youngest students, who have just begun to learn and practice programming, to write or, in their own words, describe the algorithm for boiling an egg. Upon first glance it may seem that this is an inconsequentially simple task. However, based on the amount of necessary steps that a student can name in order to complete the task of boiling an egg properly, one can distinguish and evaluate the student’s ability to concentrate and focus on a task, as well as their logical thinking capabilities in executing a programming exercise.” – the educator shares her thoughts.

Students can even surpass the knowledge of teachers

Dr. Ilona Rupšienė works in Klaipėda Licėjus and was nominated the best and most capable IT teacher in Lithuania in the magazine “Reitingai” last year. Her pupils have become prize-winners in various National IT competitions numerous times, and have, often, chosen to pursue a profession in IT. However, the aspect of work bringing the most joy to the educator are the students who, while still in school, manage to surpass their teacher.

“The key to success in studying anything at all is putting in the work and staying motivated. A meticulous and motivated person will, more often than not, achieve greater things than their counterpart who simply possesses the necessary skills for a specific area of study. Today there are a multitude of instances when a student, while still attending school, surpasses their teacher in the amount of IT knowledge they possess. I feel empowered by such moments, because they push me deepen my own knowledge, and improve as an educator. These moments also demonstrate that you, as a professional educator, have managed to provide a young mind with the proper motivation to further their understanding in a field of study.” – says Dr. I. Rupšienė.

Even those studying humanitarian sciences have perspectives in the area of IT

According to Dr. I. Rupšienė young people who are keen on the humanitarian sciences and who find that mathematics is not their strong suit, now have more opportunities to successfully establish themselves in the area of IT. “Today, the area of IT application is broad. If a person doesn’t feel like their skills are sufficient for programming they can self-actualize in IT project administration, digital design, 3D graphics and other professions

closely related to the area of technology. Personally, I know several beautiful examples of when a student, who has completed their studies in a field of humanitarian sciences, has later on become a successful manager of IT projects.” – says the Klaipėdos Licėjus IT teacher Dr. I. Rupšienė.

IT is already being taught in primary school grades

According to Dr. I. Rupšienė, children, today, already encounter technology at an earlier time than children of the past generations. This is why they figure out the uses of technology more easily and earlier on. The educator states that the national education program nowadays provides easy access for the students to acquaint themselves with the basics of programming, and that, in turn, is the reason why some students can recognize their affinity for IT earlier on in life.

“Students in Klaipėdos Licėjus acquaint themselves with the area of IT in primary school. Students are taught block programming from the 5th grade, HTML and CSS are taught to students from the 7th grade, so that they can practice creating simple internet pages. 8-graders begin learning programming in C++ language. At the same time, students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program study programming in Java. Licėjus also has classes in robotics where students from the 5th grade can further their understanding of the inner workings of technology and the caveats of it’s development. This also assures that students can test their affinity towards IT early on and decide whether or not it is the area they would like to further their studies in.” – states I. Rupšienė.

According to the science specialist, the educational system that is in place in Klaipėdos Licėjus aids students in retaining a continuous path in education when a student can deepen their understanding of the basics of technology and programming.

“In the years-passed schools used to have very limited technological equipment and a very narrow course for IT sciences which introduced students to a very small amount of nuanced information in this particular area. Today students are introduced to the IT sciences early on and have better conditions, and a longer period of learning in order for them to realize themselves in the area of technology. This also helps students discover the possible obstacles in the future as they choose a path towards an IT specialty.” – states Dr. I. Rupšienė.

Programmers have an unofficial work-experience limit

As Dr. I. Rupšienė says, the area of employment in IT has its nuances,  which have to be taken into account by the youth that is choosing to make a career in Informational Technology.

“A programmer’s work requires a lot of meticulous work and focus. It is also a very sedentary profession. That is why every person, striving for success in this area of occupation, has to evaluate whether or not their personal character traits will be compatible with the work. Most often – a highly-energetic personality drawn towards art will find this kind of work unappealing.” – said the educator.

According to I. Rupšienė, people working in IT as programmers have an unofficial work experience limit. “If we’re specifically speaking about the profession of a programmer – it requires constant improvement and learning. Technologies are ever-changing, and they develop exceedingly quickly – this is why, when your goal is to remain relevant in the competitive market of IT specialists, one must constantly remain informed and follow the changing tendencies. Sadly, in time, our brains become less receptive to new knowledge, and, because of this, there are tendencies in this area of work that remind us of a career in sports. Even if a basketball player has been successfully playing the game for 15-20 years, they must, eventually, consider the work of a basketball coach or any other position of occupation within the sport, where the physical aspect of work and physical strain will no longer be a part of the job. This is true for working in IT and programming, in which there are similar limits which impact the programmers to consider changing their occupation position to working in a similar area, but one that requires less receptiveness to new developments within the area of their expertise.” – Dr. I. Rupšienė shared her thoughts.