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IT is an integral part of every business and is a rapidly growing industry. Within some IT graduate careers, demand far outstrips the supply for new talent and organisations are constantly looking for graduates to take on ever expanding workloads. There is an especially high demand for higher-level technical skills, particularly to develop products and services to meet the needs of the fast moving industry. This includes knowledge of the latest data programming languages and systems.

Because cyber security is growing, as there are not enough experts to counteract the more advanced cyber-attacks, there is an increase in opportunities for information security officers and information risk managers. This is most evident in large organisations such as the government and social media companies who are keen to employ cyber experts. Alongside this, the development of apps and user experiences are growing areas in IT which require more specialists. In this environment, employees are in a position of significant strength and can earn very good salaries relatively quickly.

In such market conditions, it is easy to understand why the IT sector remains a popular starting point for first-job graduates. Despite fluctuations in the economy, the sector will continue to provide sound, solid careers for those employees who are prepared to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date in a fast moving environment.

Average IT Graduate Salary

IT Graduate Career Path

IT interacts with almost every other sector, so your IT qualifications can lead you anywhere.  Across all sectors, IT graduates are highly sought after, so you can take your pick of the kind of graduate recruiter you would like to work for. 

You could become a full time employee for an organisation, a contractor or a consultant. But remember, you will need to gain at least one year's experience before you can work as a contractor and many more before you become a totally competent and productive consultant. For where to start your graduate career read on for details or apply for IT Graduate Jobs with the GRB today. 

Possible IT graduate career routes for you to consider include:

Computer Programmer/ Software Developer - A popular route for many graduates; you will be responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of software systems for an organisation/client. Your programming languages and knowledge will be utilised due to the versatility of this role.

Applications Developer - You will be responsible for writing the programming code for user software requirements. Through your knowledge of computer languages and development, you will plan, design and implement applications.

IT Consultant - Through technology, you will resolve business problems for clients, advising on methods to improve company functionality.

Software Tester/ Test Analyst - You will be responsible for insuring that all potential application errors are resolved before reaching the user. In-depth testing is carried out through assessing how the application could be used by a user, not how it should be used, to uncover all potential faults.

Analyst - You will design IT solutions for clients to heighten business performance based around their existing models. You will be responsible for all elements of installation, testing and maintenance, working with the client to implement your proposed solutions. 

IT Helpdesk/ Technical Support Officer - You will be responsible for installation and configuration of computer systems. Detecting hardware and software problems, and solving technical issues both over the phone and face to face to maintain an organisation's computer systems. 

Systems Administrator/ Network Engineer - You will be responsible for an organisation's communication networks, insuring that efficiency and performance are maintained for all users through providing your technical support. 

Database Administrator - You will be responsible for database management, including planning and development, maintenance, security, delivery and the implementation of accurate database content. You will ensure that all data is clear, efficient and accessible.

Web Designer/ Programmer - Combining your creative and technical skills, you will create programs for websites and further multimedia products to function.

Qualifications and Skills Needed

What proportion of candidates as a percent we place into IT graduate careers and the typical qualities graduate employers look for.

GRB Placements for IT by Degree

Typical Candidate Attributes

Companies are looking for graduates who can combine both technical skills with an understanding of a company's broader business objectives. There is a demand for numerate and IT-literate graduates to work in analytics in order to help solve business problems.

For development roles, skills with Object Oriented Languages, such as Java, C++ and C# are highly desirable. Knowledge of database technologies such as SQL are also in strong demand. Some candidates can demonstrate that they have shown an interest in programming outside the curricular requirements of their degree. These hobbyist programmers are highly thought of as they tend to demonstrate good initiative and a "self taught" ethos. 

In more creative positions (i.e. web design), a degree in a related discipline is virtually a prerequisite. A familiarity with web based technologies such as CSS, PHP, JavaScript, XML and HTML would also be expected.

Some areas within IT are less technical and will not require pure computer science degrees. These areas include support, consultancy, project management and more analytical areas. It is not uncommon for successful graduates to have come from science and numerical degrees. What employers want is a good standard of degree (2:1 or above ideally) and a willingness to show drive, ambition and enthusiasm for a career in IT.

Above all, employers are looking for well rounded individuals who understand the role of IT in the business world, and can see the bigger picture outside of the technical aspects of development. They must be:

  • Problem solvers who think laterally
  • Calm and patient
  • Able to prioritise work effectively

Sources for Further Information

British Computer Society
British Web Design and Marketing Association
Internet Service Providers Association
British Interactive Multimedia Association
Computer Services and Software Association 
Business Application Software Developers Association