An IT professional in France is probably the same as an IT professional in most European countries. In addition, my experience of the professional IT sector (ie. in the workplace) is quite close to zero, so this post is probably making a lot of assumptions.

Like anywhere else, there are people doing some repairing, maintenance, support, reselling, etc. with very few skills. However, it’s hard to tell if the majority if self-taught or actually have a degree; I would personally say that they probably have a vocational degree of some kind, because in these works as well as in higher-skilled positions, having a degree of some kind is still valued a lot by most employers. Speaking of higher-skilled positions, having a degree of some kind is almost required for these. Altogether, 83% of IT professionals had a degree (vocational, bachelor, or more) in 2017, which is almost twice the average of the working population [1].
However, like in many other countries, it greatly depends on the companies, and having some experience is also something required for most jobs. One can probably reach important positions even with little education, having required skills, but diplomas are often a way of getting there faster.

In most companies, English is required for obvious reasons, but the French aren’t exactly known for their proficiency at foreign languages, so the needed level generally isn’t that high. On the other hand, it means that people proficient in different languages may be more valued, as they are much less common. Also, unlike in Estonia, I wouldn’t expect job offers for English-speakers that don’t speak the local language (though I haven’t verified).
The trend of social skills becoming more important is also perceptible, and is part of a process of more general professionalisation: as explained in our weekly reading, a good professional isn’t only someone excelling at his task, but also someone who can promote his innovations.

All in all, the IT sector been growing more and more during the last 20 years. More and more people are being employed, and with more stable (ie. permanent) contracts [2]. However, it doesn’t mean that IT systems are top-notch. The most blatant example being (as usual) the public sector, which is still a mess technologically speaking, despite big efforts to modernize the systems and employees’ workflows. To me, it seems like these systems are maintained with a “as long as it’s not completely broken, it’s fine” mindset. Plus, even when trying to do innovative things, they build them on to of the existing mess instead of starting from a clean basis (an example: France Connect. Instead of using only one ID number as a login like in Estonia, they give you the possibility to login to any service… with any of the other logins you already have for other public services… but still require you to create new logins in some cases).

Sources and further reading


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