Part II: Iceberg model and Employment Issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina /Thinking Out Loud/

You can read my first thinking out loud blog on Iceberg model and Employment Issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina here.

As I wrote at the end of that blog, it was supposed to be continued over time, and here are some more insights…

Updated Iceberg model,
right click -> open image in the new tab to see full size image


I will use my old list and just add new things in bold.


  • Poor working conditions in industry: overtime work, irregular salaries, “bossing”, incomplete salaries at the end of the month, poor salaries…
  • Employers report that high school graduates don’t have appropriate knowledge
  • Employers often don’t register their employees (they usually do it later, when state offers incentives for employment)
  • Enterprises can’t find workers
  • Unemployed persons show poor interest for employment programs (note: high school graduates show best interest)
  • Enterprises mostly need low skilled workers
  • Export of B&H industry is growing
  • Diplomas can be bought
  • Low level of foreign investment
  • Salaries in public sector are 2 times higher than in a private sector
  • Children (and their parents) don’t want to go to high schools for industrial professions


  • Workers are leaving B&H, especially young people (large percentage of them is finding jobs abroad with help of Employment Offices)
  • High-income families are also leaving (some of the reasons I found in interviews online are general uncertainty and lack of possibilities for professional advancement)
  • Both unemployed and employed persons are looking for jobs in a public sector 


  • Enterprises must offer their products for low price to be competitive (since without Research&Development and final products, they don’t have many possibilities), so they are making saving by paying low salaries
  • More employees in the public sector bring more votes
  • Partocracy is in power instead of democracy 


  • Ingenuity at the expense of the state
  • “If others are doing it so will I”
  • “It’s better to do nothing for nothing, then to work for nothing”
  • general belief that it’s a shame not to finish a college


To be continued…

Why aren’t there more programmers in Banja Luka

I recently talked to a friend working in IT sector in Banja Luka and I thought I could write a few fresh insights.

Situation in IT sector in Banja Luka Region is similar to other sectors regarding labor – we don’t have enough workers. Just like in other sectors, this is one of the main obstacles for further development of local IT firms. I’m not sure if it’s identified as a main obstacle by now, but if it’s not – it will be.

We were talking about how programmers become programmers. Apparently, in this sector formal education is not needed as much as in other sectors, at least if you are planning to get a job in small or medium enterprise (unlike public sector or big companies or banks, etc). Most people don’t have formal education anyways. Former car mechanics, graduated geographers, people with secondary education, etc. are very often in IT SMEs. Most of them didn’t participate in any kind of courses – they learned all they know by studying .pdf tutorials and watching YouTube, and during practical work. He was joking that best friend of anyone trying to master programming is “how to” combined with Google. When seniors advise newcomers, they usually tell them not to waste money on commercial courses when everything is available online, for free.

I was very curious how long would I need to study these tutorials in order to be able to find a job in Banja Luka. Answer was 3-6 months, depending of how serious I am. I was surprised to hear that after 3 months of serious work, employers would actually consider employing me. Employers, naturally, need seniors, but seems that they are aware that they can’t afford and find them. So employers have lowered their criterion. I have found out that employers generally care about discipline and elementary logic. Programming is something that can be learned.

So, I wondered, why aren’t there more people starting to learn programming? Answer didn’t surprise me: it’s because of biases. People see programming as advanced mathematics, or perhaps nuclear physics – something hard to understand and unreachable. And it’s not. Former car mechanic, now self-taught programmer with minimal knowledge of mathematics, is successfully doing it.

From my experience, this is not the only answer, but for the beginning – it sounds IT-specific enough.