Yandex: Code as a Profession Basis

During the last decades, the fame of emigrated Russian programmers spread all over the world. However, the Russian software industry proved to be globally competitive recently enough. "Yandex" appeared to be an example of successful local IT company. The leading search engine grew up into the global internet-company.

As a case, Yandex is remarkable for the fact that the company emerged in a fundamentally new environment, different from the one in the Silicon Valley. Given a lack of self-reproducing innovative regional cluster and favorable legal regime, and relatively small amount of venture capital along with emerging culture of entrepreneurship in Russia, it worth assuming that the company prospers owing to its internal resources and owes its success to human capital. Contrary to popular belief, this competitive advantage is not inherited from traditions of the Soviet scientific and engineering school.

The case of Yandex raises an important problem relevant to professional training. Being actively growing Russian company, Yandex is lacking qualified specialists in IT. Modern realities of Russian tech industry prove that the universities fail to provide graduates with adequate competences. Besides Yandex, many other Russian IT companies note that universities do not prepare specialists for the field. Their competences separated from the reality: industry develops rapidly, but knowledge gained in the higher school are getting outdated in a couple of years. Russia is in a situation, when institutional role of education in hi-tech shifted to the industry. Yandex has to hire specialists from the related fields and graduates from non-core specialties in order to “bring” them up at the workplace.

The research discusses processes, which help "Yandex" to gather professionals from different fields and create a successful and productive community. On the example of specific everyday practices with code - reading, understanding, commenting - the case considers learning at work, where newcomers grow to become qualified professionals.