Summing up work and results of the Presidential IT Awards Committee, Hovik Musayelyan noticed that one of the most concerning issues observed by the Committee during interviews with award candidates is that many of them, even the best students of mathematics and physics, as well as natural science schools gave surprising answers to members of the Committee about their career choices.
Most of them confessed that they would choose to study in medical or economic universities. Basically, they wanted to study everything except natural science, which came as a surprise for the Committee members. The Committee members shared their concerns with the RA President.
How would you explain the fact that while demonstrating talent in a particular sphere and knowing that this sphere is a highly paid, the young people nevertheless prefer to study and specialize in other areas?
I think, in this case they lack sufficient information and awareness. That is why we decided to organize visits of best students from certain schools to our company, to give them a chance to get direct access to technologies and innovative environment in which our employees operate. Of course they are still far from applying these technologies and would hardly understand what these tools are doing at a given moment.
Years before we have initiated and created “The Winners Club”, which is successfully functioning and uniting winners of the Presidential IT Award in different years. One of our most important challenges is to discover our youth’s potential and try to comprehend the Armenian gene, the motivational force, which leaves us in awe time after time and which also needs our investment. I often speak about the astonishing potential of our children, boys and girls; because I take direct part in all interviews and meetings. It is very exciting to see them and I never forget to share my delight on appropriate occasions. The word “delight” is even not sufficient, I often want to use other, more expressive synonyms. These are not mere words; we have multiple facts to prove them.
Today 9 of 10 top students in Armenian universities are girls. Girls have more motivation to acquire knowledge and build their careers than guys do. There is an interesting statistics: girl and women ratio in IT companies worldwide comes to 10%. In Silicon Valley it makes about 12-13 %, if I’m not mistaken, but the average number worldwide is 10%. While in Armenia the percentage of women in the IT sphere reaches 35-40%. And the same ratio is true for our company.
It’s good that women are progressive and motivated to acquire knowledge but we have serious problems today, guys have the army problem, there are other challenges…
It’s true that traditionally fathers have had the biggest authority in our families; however at the same time generally mothers took over raising kids, so mothers have always played a pivotal role in the household. It’s my firm belief that strong families are the ones, where a mother has authority, where she is respected not only by her children but also her husband. Men fought, solved problems outside, but women generally had a bigger role in the family. So, if anybody tries to accuse me of matriarchy, let me say that if matriarchy can bring serious developments in our country, then we should follow that path, so let it be. Jews have matriarchy, don’t they have great accomplishments? Men, whether inside or outside, should be manly in their positions, but not with their fists.
Moreover, women serve as an awareness indicator for men, be it in the workplace or other public place. It means that in the presence of women, men pay attention to their looks and hygiene and generally are trying to be more civil. When you have a group of men only, you have such problems. The woman is the moving force. Women also have a bigger sense of responsibility, for some reason, they worry more about losing their job that men do. Why is it so? Perhaps it has to do with their sense of responsibility. I think that there has been no change in motivation for Armenian guys for centuries.
For man there was always work and their interests. Women have always had family; 100 years ago the main motivation for women was family, and the woman who had no family didn’t belong in the society. During these past years, girls underwent a transformation, which is to say that apart from the family, Armenian women now think about knowledge, career, and social activities.
I see certain problems in this regard because we have serious demographic problems. By the way, when during award interviews I ask girls if they are interested in communication with guys their age, most of them say no. Their explanation is that guys often brag. There is no worse diagnosis than that. Of course, we have brilliant boys; however the overall situation needs to be changed.
How to decrease the bragging?
We need to create such an environment in this country that appreciates men, young men not for their bragging, but their success, and so they feel themselves a full-member of society.
This is to say that the values should change too. If you have read a good book yesterday, and you think that you can be mocked for mentioning reading it, while others have been to a café, a disco, and brag that they fathers have bought cars for them. I am talking about that value system. For girls, by the way, the value system is more open. What comes to the question of responsibility for value system, the first and foremost it is the family that is responsible, since a child is developed in the family, where the main role belongs to the mother, then it is the school.
In school children must feel themselves a full-member of society. Also, the street is very important. The role of the street, by the way, is decreasing. If few years ago you could see children fighting in school yard or gathered outside, today you see less of that. Where are those youngsters? They are either home, connected to the Internet, or they have different interests, they can be found at cafes, discos, or attending other group activities. Because today they are so few people who have spiritual values, all of us are responsible for it. Spiritual demand is formed by a family. If the family doesn’t have the habit of reading classic literature or listening to classic music, no matter how hard you try to awaken spiritual values in a grown-up individual, it will not be easy.
You have mentioned that the taste is developed in the family; it continues to develop in school, while you start to give it back in the university. What do you plan to do in that direction?
We try to involve youngsters in creative work, develop their creative skills, and inspire them when it comes to issues related to businesses/enterprises in IT sphere. The visits I have mentioned, that we want to organize are important, so are other different contests, Microelectronics Olympiad for example.
There is a hidden gene inside Armenians, youth, and it is like a spiral, you need an environment for it to open up. When you open that spiral, you see what riches you have in those kids. Our children are a little different, it’s hard for them to open up, but once they do, they are unstoppable. Sometimes they don’t even know what is inside them, they need to discover it. Our activities are directed at discovering that gene, because if we cannot discover it at the young age, and if we cannot direct it accordingly, then those people will stay undiscovered. Maybe we should start from a kindergarten even.
Choosing a profession is one of the most important factors. For example, if I didn’t choose my profession, I wouldn’t have this family, my path would be different. Maybe I would be successful, maybe I wouldn’t, but if people could see my capacities in the young age and direct me accordingly… I am a constructor. I have a diploma in Technical Sciences from Moscow (he has PhD in Technical Sciences – L.M.), I chose a profession, but then I changed it and for the last 15 years I am working in the sphere of Information Technologies.
It is a sphere that has started to develop in Armenia and was Armenia’s future. I was lucky to find myself in that area, now I cannot imagine my life without it and I am indifferent to construction. What I am saying is choosing the right profession is very important. One of our tasks is to show the kids that they can come here, not because Synopsys is a museum or an exhibition, but because of the innovative environment, and we want the kids to come and breathe in that setting.
All of this was decided during one of the management meetings, when the idea was born while reporting. Starting from November 1st our company’s motto has changed do “Accelerating Innovation”, which is not simply a slogan, our work does indeed speeds up innovation.