Stevan is a thirty-two-year-old programmer.

Programming is his new career, one that he started after a five-month conversion course in IT.

After graduating from high school of economics and as an experienced amateur basketball player, this young man from Pozarevac spent the next 10 years collecting experience, skills and knowledge working in various jobs – from agriculture to sales. But although he was a devoted and a hard-working employee, the job he really wanted was always out of reach.

"For the past 10 years I’ve realized that you can only go so far without higher education. And I considered myself to be capable and driven enough to keep on trying and learning to get that job I’ll be happy with, and that will get me out of bed in the morning."

A second chance for Stevan to choose the right career was a conversion course in IT that was provided by several higher education institutions in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Čačak, Valjevo, Subotica and Zrenjanin. Stevan and nearly 800 other candidates from diverse educational backgrounds and age groups were given basic knowledge in programming languages Java, JavaScript and PHP. The knowledge they gained during the course combined with some extra work at home is an entry ticket for the role of junior programmer.

For Stevan this course was an opportunity to steer his career in the direction where he sees the future of Serbia, as well as his own. He applied and after a few rounds of selection that assessed candidates' interest in programming, capabilities and English language skills, Stevan got an opportunity to learn Java computer-programming language at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, together with 40 other candidates. 

"I’ve undergone a five-month training, at first it was 5-6 hours a day, five days a week. The curriculum we covered over that period of time equals approximately three semesters at the Faculty, it was around 250 lessons. It was a good balance of theory and practice and at the end of training, we had a final exam that we did as a team – our task was to create an app that should be used for medical purposes, something like a patient’s medical chart", says Stevan who alongside this demanding training also worked full time.

Stevan’s hard work, determination and thirst for knowledge have soon been recognized – thanks to a recommendation he was given by one of the lecturers Stevan has already got his first job offer in programming.

Stevan is eager to start working as soon as possible. “Coding is a very broad field, there’s a lot to learn. We’ve grasped the basics and this will help us land a job and then continue learning on-job. Right now I enjoy most in creating and managing databases, but we’ll see where the road takes me,” says Stevan and adds jokingly that he has to work hard now because he promised his godmother who is an accountant that once he’s skilled enough he would migrate her operations to a new, modern platform.

This conversion course was initiated by Ministry Council for Information Technology and Innovative Entrepreneurship and organized by the Office for IT and e-governance in cooperation with UNDP. The training Stevan participated in was a continuation of the successful pilot programme in which 100 candidates were trained last year.

This programme can contribute to reduction of unemployment in Serbia, especially among young people who are the most vulnerable group when it comes to employment – as many as 33% of young people are looking for a job.

Read more Stories on the impact of our activities and support HERE.

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