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ivanromanov's blog

By ivanromanov, 11 years ago, In English

I took this chance being in Tehran to learn more about professional life of an IT specialist in Iran. This path actually starts in the school, continues at the university followed by a professional career.

Here is the first part of my research, it is an interview with Mr. Ali Ghadiri, the founder and CEO of Bayan. Being not only an IT-entrepreneur, but also serving as a school teacher for over 10 years, he provided information on educational system of Iran as well as about job situation.


How is the educational system organized in Iran in general? E. g., does one have to pay for school or university?

Ali Ghadiri: Both paid and free-of-charge models co-exist.

The best schools, especially high schools, are not free. Besides entirely private schools, there are semi-government ones, where you have to pass entrance exams. They are called “sampad” and exist in many cities in Iran, in Tehran there are about 10 sampads for boys and 10 for girls (Comment from Ivan: in Russia we call such schools Lyceum, in Switzerland they are called Gymnasium. Feel free to tell us about analogue in your country in comments). Normally you go to the school at the age of 7, although in some cities there is a mandatory year of preparation before it. The primary, guidance and higher levels of the school take 6, 3 and 3 years respectively, which is a relatively new rule (before it was 5+3+4). Actually, one of my employees used to be my pupil in past.

The situation with universities is different. There is no gender separation there, and the best universities are the government ones, where students don’t have to pay. In order to study there, you have to pass a nation-wide “concur” exam. There are some plans to change this system to allow universities to conduct their own entrance exams. Nowadays about 2/3 of students are girls, because if a young man failing the exam will go for 2 years to the military service. Mostly, we learn much more in high schools rather than in universities, where many courses are boring and not useful.

Is there any difference in the availability of trainings for boys and girls in Iran?

A. G.: No difference. Like everywhere in the world, girls are less interested in the IT than boys. But there are some exceptions: Iran has a girl who is gold medalist in IMO.

Do top-performers in Olympiads and contests receive any scholarships or being paid some additional money for that?

A. G.: There is an organization which supports talented young people. They try to help those ranked high in national and international competitions and Olympiads. Unfortunately, ACM ICPC is not included: participants have to cover all their costs themselves.

If an Iranian team wins ACM ICPC, what can they get from the government?

A. G.: Nothing. Though, the situation with IOI is different.

Do bright people leave the country often?

A. G.: Unfortunately, yes, because of situation with universities. I have heard different opinions from those who left: some say it’s same wasting of time; some say it’s better than in Iran. In the recent years more people are staying and more people are coming back to Iran.


How do you see the job market situation for software engineering? Is it easy to find a job? Is it hard to find good people?

A. G.: It is very simple. If you are a good software engineer, there are always lots of jobs to choose from. If you are a normal programmer, there is always a job. If you call yourself a programmer, but you are not qualified enough, you may find a job if you try hard.

If a company looks for talented and skilled software engineers, it has to compete with lots of other employers. It’s easier to find a regular programmer, and there is a choice less qualified ones.

Which programming languages are mostly used?

A. G.: Mostly, Java and C++ are mostly popular among IT students. For example, in Sharif University the common language is Java. Those without formal education in computer science and IT, who are self-trained programmers, usually use ASP.NET and PHP. We at Bayan mostly use Python, Java and C++.

Languages used by last year's participants of Bayan Programming contest


National firewall, or filtering system, that blocks access to some websites — does it disturb?

A. G.: Since I’m also a teacher, as a teacher, I believe the firewall is good, because it helps student’s souls to remain clean and pure. But as a developer and an IT-person, I think the filtering system is not as sophisticated and as clever as it should be. It should be revised as soon as possible. And as a user, I think that no one likes the limitations. I believe that a cleverer and more sophisticated filtering would reduce the unhappiness of users.

What are the examples of difficulties you face due to right-to-left writing in Persian language?

A. G.: The situation today is much better than several years ago. There are still some code editors which cannot handle, for example, comments that we do in the source code. In those cases we might change the editor or use fenglish, i. e. Farsi spelled in Latin alphabet.


What does your company do?

A. G.: The company is 11 years old. It began as a start-up with 3 members, now it has more than 40 developers. We provide advanced bloghosting service (blog.ir). We have our cloud file-sharing system bayanbox.ir. We have an email system hod.ir which is going to become publically available in a few months. While the latter will probably be available only as a paid service, the two former services exist in both free and full version available for a fee.

We also have a meta-search engine salam.ir, which is tuned for Persian pages and results. Salam in Persian means “Hello”.

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11 years ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +25 Vote: I do not like it

The interview is really interesting. You are writing that about 2/3 of students are girls. It is interesting, do they work after graduation? Is it usual in Iran when a woman works, or they get education and then become housewives?

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    11 years ago, # ^ |
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    it's usual. many women work as well as men, and iranian women are very clever and workaholic

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      11 years ago, # ^ |
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      That's great! I have asked, because I have heard that in Pakistan there are many girls in universities too, but after graduation they get married and do not work, and that's a problem. As I see now, in Iran the situation is completely different.

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        11 years ago, # ^ |
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        wow... buddy! very differences things between iran and pakistan . base on statistics, girl students at university in iran more than boy students , absolutely after graduation they get a good job depends on their qualifications

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    11 years ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +6 Vote: I do not like it

    I got a comment on this from Mr. Ghadiri: "Unfortunately, many of them do work. I’m saying “unfortunately” since women mostly target positions which do not require that much of education, like a regular programmer job. If someone receives good education, they should give something back to the society by taking a more challenging job."

    I can also add that Bayan has 38 male developers, 2 female developers and also 2 female contact center employees.