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.
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 www.bcs.org.uk
British Web Design and Marketing Association www.bwdma.org
Institute of Analysts and Programmers www.iap.org.uk
Internet Service Providers Association www.ispa.org.uk
British Interactive Multimedia Association www.bima.co.uk
Computer Services and Software Association www.uk-csa.org.uk
Business Application Software Developers Association www.basda.org
Institute for the Managment of Information Systems www.imis.org.uk
Lorenzo, University Of Newcastle
"After my great experience of MSc in Newcastle, I had to decided which kind of career suited me. I loved the idea of finding a big company in which I could move on many projects and meet many companies. I've done many phone interviews, logical tests, etc... it has been an interesting period: I had to create an attractive CV, learn how to pass the logical web tests, try to make face to face interviews... I was lucky to find a good career service at the University that helped me to launch into the job world, and I also had the possibilities to attend some job fairs and meet many companies. At the end, I've joined a big firm of IT Consultants.
As soon as I started working I was sent on big projects with one of the biggest insurance firms in Europe. It was great to work in a young team with experienced managers that help us to learn very quickly how to face a new client and how to work on their systems. Even if the working hours are very intensive and we work hard, we've built a great team with strong relationships and the time is never boring. Of course there are difficulties during the projects, but the passion that is driving my working life and the help of experienced people around me help me to face every problem! Parallel to the daily work on the project, there were many training sessions during which it was possible to meet other young colleagues and create strong relationships. After two years in this graduate job I can confirm that I'm very happy with my choice and I'm growing in knowledge and experience day after day, project after project. Moving around companies I've understood better what I would like to do in the next 5-6 years."
Fionnuala, Liverpool John Moores University
"I studied in Liverpool and moved back home to Derry to try and save money and find a job. Unfortunately the job market in Northern Ireland for graduates in IT wasnt great so I was on the dole for around a month. A friend called me one day to say there may be a job opening at his place in Surrey, and I was so bored with being jobless that I thought why not? I passed on my CV to him and the next day I had the most surreal interview of my life, via webcam.
The interview went extremely well, and during my technical exam the guys in the Surrey office were playing with toy helicopters - I thought this was going to be a great place to work/play. I was offered the job at the end of the interview, starting on £18,000 to which I happily accepted. I was nervous and excited about moving again, especially to a place I had never even visited before, but it was worth the risk. I moved over to Guildford about a week later and started work immediately.
The job was great to begin with, I was learning lots of new development tools, and got to spend my days 'playing' in flash. The company was a very small new start up company though, consisting of a Sales Manager, a Senior Developer and my friend and myself as Junior Developers. But then more and more work came in and we didn't have enough hours in the day - which resulted in working stupidly late nights (often to 3am) and we were expected to be back in work at 9am again.
Everyone began getting frustrated very quickly and the company appeared to be in some financial difficulty as our wages came in late each month. So during the Christmas break my friend and I spoke and decided that we needed to get out and find a new job. What with the new year and new start, we handed in our week's notice on the first day back at work. I believe the company folded shortly after. I fortunately was only unemployed for 3 days as I found a new job with a great company, where I still work today. Although my first graduate job turned out to be a bit disastrous, it was definitely a learning curve that I wouldn't change for the world."