22.03.2021

2021 - year of science and technology: are there any opportunities for young IT professionals in Russia?

2021 - year of science and technology: are there any opportunities for young IT professionals in Russia?
Participation in many of them is available not only to IT specialties students but also to ordinary users who may get additional education, improve their theoretical and practical knowledge in order to try their hand at competitions or, perhaps, decide to change their profession.

The organizers and participants of the Youth Internet Governance Forum have drafted a list of Russian IT-initiatives at university, regional and federal levels that will be further supplemented with initiatives of the youth throughout the country.

University IT Initiatives and Competitions

If you want to try your hand at a research project or get prepared to participate in major competitions, we would recommend you to start your search with your home university. There are countless university IT initiatives, and you will find at least one at every university.

First of all, universities have something to offer to those who are attracted by the competitive component and olympiads. If you are close to the topic of competitive programming and would like to improve your skills, you can take part in the All-Russian Educational RuCode Festival, which has become a unique output of cooperation between public organizations and the 15 best Russian universities – The Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), The Siberian Federal University (SFU), Ural Federal University (UrFU), Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU), Novosibirsk State University (NSU), Tomsk State University (TSU), Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (UNN), Saratov State University after Chernyshevsky, Petrozavodsk State University (PetrSU), Transbaikal State University (ZabGU), Kalashnikov Izhevsk State Technical University (Kalashnikov ISTU), etc. The festival program includes online courses and intensive courses on competitive programming and artificial intelligence, as well as the opportunity to participate in the selection and further stages of the RuCode Championship. appr. About 16.000 young people took part in the Fall 2020 Festival, most of them were within the age group from 18 to 20 years (44%) and from 21 to 25 years (25%). A separate track of events is also held for schoolchildren.

The Center for the IT Education Development operates at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) that organizes Moscow Workshops, a series of short intensive competitive programming programs for schoolchildren, students, students and young specialists. Participating in them the young people get a chance to get prepare and successfully address the largest International Student Programming Olympiad (ICPC). It should be noted that the teams of Russian universities have become winners of the final stage of ICPC since 2012, among them: Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics (ITMO).

Within the walls of home universities one can get prepared for other competitive formats as well. For example, Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI) with the support of the Rosatom State Corporation has created a special Digital Center for training of teams for the World Skills competitions on Digital Competences (Atom Skills, Digital Skills, Future Skills, etc.). On the basis of the center it is also possible to create a project in the field of digitalization and to find a team.

A large number of annual IT events are held by the Higher School of Economics (HSE). So, in early April, the University organizes the traditional Computer Science Days - workshops, lectures and master classes for everyone, as well as the International Practical Conference CoCoS'21 (Conference of Computer Science 2021). Among other HSE's initiatives it is worth notice the International Summer School in Bioinformatics, registration for which should start in early April, and open lectures that will be held during the finals of the IDAO International Data Analytics Olympiad.

Humanitarian universities do not lag behind technical ones in the development of student initiatives in the IT field. If you are more attracted by entrepreneurship, it is worth looking twice more closely at your alma mater initiatives: usually the students themselves are the main creators and initiators of the creation of such associations and business incubators. For example, the Center for Supporting Student Digital Projects "IT-Community of PREU" is established at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics (PREU). The purpose of the Center is to develop student scientific and technical entrepreneurship and attract investment in projects. In addition, the community looks for new participants for existing teams, so there is no need for newcomers to have their own ideas - you can simply join the project for the implementation of which the help is needed.

But IT initiatives are not limited to entrepreneurship. Many universities successfully use digital technology to promote scientific and creative activities. For example, the Moscow Linguistic State University (MSLU) has launched a virtual pilot project "Young Professional" that aims at maintaining of a scientific and practical dialogue between students and teachers on the Internet and reveal the research potential of talented young people. It is also worth noting the Digital Volunteers Project by the State University of Management (GUU) that is a resource-aggregator of online courses to provide access to quality education for all age groups on a free basis. The project is supported by the Team of Volunteers of the UNESCO Chair on Social and Legal and Ethical Foundations for the Formation of the Information Society.

However, if you realize that your university does not yet have what you are looking for, you should not be upset because you can always create something of your own and add it to this list. Usually, universities are ready to meet such ideas especially if they relate to the IT sphere.

Regional and federal initiatives and competitions

To join the Russian youth IT movement, it is not necessary to be in the capital: for example, a large competition "My profession - IT" is held in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) where young people create an IT products or solutions in a few days which they can then potentially enter the market with. A shift dedicated to science and digital technologies will take place as part of the Youth Volga Federal District Forum "iVolga" in 2021.

All-Russian level contests are very diverse both in terms of target audience and directions. Here are just some examples:

If you are interested in developing your own brand or project in social networks and you are 14+ years old, please pay attention to the All-Russian competition "TopBLOG", where you can get tips on promoting yourself online, communicate with successful Russian bloggers and if you win, even go on a blog tour within Russia and start working with project partners.

Do you want to test your theoretical knowledge, "pump up" your skills in solving cases developed by the largest Russian companies and start building a career? The IT-directions of the All-Russian Multidisciplinary Student Olympiad "I am a professional" are open for you. All winners of the Olympiad will be able to enroll the master's and postgraduate programs of partner universities without any exams.

For those who are already engaged in IT, there are also many ways to demonstrate their abilities. If you work in the digital economy sphere, you will probably be interested in the federal Digital Breakthrough contest. This event provides unique opportunities for networking, acquiring of knowledge and getting an experience and a chance to communicate with leading industry experts. Finalists receive a cash reward and assistance in implementation of their developed project. Young task managers at IT companies and managers of ambitious projects enable to make a statement at the Runet Young Leaders competition. Those who are engaged in informatization issues at municipal and regional levels, for example, the introduction of e-government technologies or new technologies in the economy) could be interested in sharing their experience at the All-Russian Prof-IT Forum organized by the Expert Center for E-Government.

We have listed only a small part of opportunities disclosed to those who are interested in IT, from schoolchildren and students to novice specialists or young professionals. It is very likely that even more IT projects, that will wait for new participants, will appear in 2021 that is dedicated to science and technology in Russia.

Didn't you find your university or an IT initiative of your region on this list? We will be glad to receive your information and publish it on the website of the Youth Forum! Please, write to our email: youthrigf@gmail.com