The Truth Behind “3–5 Years of Experience is Required” in IT Jobs

July 14, 202111:41 am1311 views
The Truth Behind “3–5 Years of Experience is Required” in IT Jobs
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Chances are, you have come across a job vacancy stating “Minimum 3-5 years of experience in a related field is required”, or something along the lines. While similar requirements can be commonly found in IT-related fields, some other industries may use the same benchmark. As a job seeker, have you ever wondered why the number 3-5 is chosen as a benchmark for one’s professional working experience? Here are some possible reasons for that.

Spend less to gain more

In the IT industry, three years of experience is considered as a sweet spot for most software developers. This profession requires extensive training that can take a lot of time to master, meaning that a software developer with zero experience is practically useless. By the time developers reach their third year, they will have adequate experience to elevate their market value. Because this is an important milestone for most developers, a lot of companies would want to hire them. In fact, many companies do not mind paying experienced developers higher than their current salary. This is because their current company ‘paid’ for these talents’ training and companies interested in hiring them will not be spending any budget for training anymore. Therefore, it is understandable that the demand for experienced developers is higher than for novices, although their salary range may be twice that of fresh graduates.

Before obtaining their 3 years milestone, software developers are expected to learn a lot. Here are some of the key assets they need to be proficient at during their first three years of work:

  • Software Design and Architecture: without over- or under engineering a system
  • Frameworks: It is important to learn about frameworks, including what, when, and how to use stuff. Other than endangering maintainability, using wrong stuff can also impact negatively on the performance.
  • Coordination: Aside from technical skills, it is important for developers to understand how software development in teams works. They may have obtained theoretical knowledge and skill from college, but working with a team of real people may not be one of them. Therefore, they need to understand the external factors that can prevent them from delivering the perfect result, such as human resources, budget, timeline, and many more.
  • Efficiency: In extending a piece of code, developers need to make as little change as possible. It may be unwise to rewrite everything just because it looks nicer in their opinion. There are cases when something needs to be rewritten instead of only enhancing it, but it is not a one size fits all response. In overcoming this efficiently, developers need to understand the original programmers intention. Sometimes, it can be as simple as changing a few lines and leaving it there. Precision is important, but efficiency is just as essential.

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Those key assets are only four among many other things developers are expected to learn within their first three years. Now, what about fast-learners, who can outgrow experts with 3-5 years of experience, within a much shorter period?

Relying on resume

Some developers may argue that they have had three years worth of experience only within a year. Although it is very possible, the length of experience written on the resume is not going to reflect that. Recruiters set the bar to 3-5 years of experience to rule out novices and not gamble on hiring inexperienced candidates for a position that calls out for an expert. Unless these fast learners make it to the interview stage, it might be too daring to apply for a position requiring 3-5 years of experience with only a year of experience on paper.

These are just two among many truths behind the “3-5 years of experience” requirement in IT-related vacancies, especially software developers. Needless to say, it is completely rational for companies that they want to hire a previously-made-an-expert developer with at least proven experience. This is done mostly for cost efficiency, other than time efficiency. Some newly-starting developers with less than 2 years of experience might be confident that they are equal to or can even outperform those with 3 years worth of experience. However, confidence alone may not be enough to make up for the huge gap of experience period written on their resume. 

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