If you’re graduating this summer and looking to land the perfect job in IT, then it can be difficult to know which sector might be the best fit. This is because there are a very wide and varied range of industries that demand IT workers, far beyond the usual suspects such as vendors and big-name tech companies.
It’s likely that you’ll be attending a good few graduate fairs, where many companies are likely to be looking for the most talented candidates. So what can you do to ensure that you stand out from the crowd? It might be a fact that IT is one of those sectors that has been and still is suffering from a lack of incoming talent, but in the UK, with the curriculum changing to accommodate better IT learning, this is something that could very well change in the next five years or so.
To recruiters, it certainly looks better if you can demonstrate that you’ve explored all avenues, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the potential jobs out there that you could land.
Look Beyond the ‘Norm’
As well as the more obvious recruiters that will be doing the rounds at graduate fairs, you should look into other industries that provide IT jobs but are not necessarily in the technology sector.
· Investment banks
· Large retailers
· Insurance firms
· Educational institutions
All of these industries need an IT department and for some, now is the time when they will be investing heavily in technologies such as the cloud and ecommerce. Likewise, there always seems to be a job going at a school or college whenever I check out my local paper for IT support assistants, or network managers, or even for communications which can include maintaining the school website, creating presentations, maintaining databases and so on.
Becoming a Computer Science Teacher
Of course, when it comes to schools, you can also further your education that little bit more and apply to be a Computer Science teacher. The curriculum is chosen somewhat by the teacher, so you have an opportunity to shape the next generation, which can be very rewarding.
You will need GCSEs in the usual subjects, such as English and Maths at a minimum of Grade C and a Computer Science degree. However, if you’re a mature student and can demonstrate a good level of professional experience in the technology sector, then you may be accepted onto a course.
Computing ITT applicants are also eligible for a tax-free bursary of up to £20,000 for postgraduate training, so it’s worth checking it out.
See the video below too for more information on the new curriculum due to come into play this September.
Consider Options Carefully
For young people, it’s often very difficult to know what direction to take when it comes to deciding what career path to choose, so you should consider your options carefully. Think about what modules you’ve really enjoyed during your degree. If you loved coding, then you’ll be a great fit for software, web or app development. I’ve left out games development here as it’s a field that many young people want to get into, but is a difficult one to break into.
I’ve heard so many young people say their dream job is to be a games dev, but when it comes to the crunch, they don’t enjoy it, or lack the skills required when it comes to coding. Yes, making PC and console games sounds like great fun, but you still have to have the ability and the talent.
Software development in general means being office based and often quite isolated as it requires you to apply a reasonably high level of concentration. It’s not just games companies that offer development jobs either, there are plenty of large companies that develop their own software, as well as smaller, niche businesses that offer bespoke software to certain industries.
Think About Postgraduate Education
You can of course choose to go down the route of taking a Masters degree, but you can also think about IT certification. This tends to be expensive, but so does taking an MA and there’s no reason you couldn’t still get a career development loan, although you should check that the provider is on the eligibility list before you apply.
Many of the major IT companies offer certification, such as:
And many more. Professional certifications are often given more weight by IT employers, as faith in graduates is not as its optimum level right now, probably because of the lack of decent courses that have been available in the past. However, this is something that is changing and it’s worth chatting with recruiters at graduate fairs to find out if they like certified candidates and if so, which certifications they prefer.
Keep an Open Mind
Technology is such a huge part of our lives these days that there’s a demand for it in virtually every sector. With this in mind, whilst you might have had an idea floating around in your head about rising to the top of Microsoft in the next couple of years, be realistic and realise that opportunities exist everywhere.
Be inquisitive and do your homework before the recruiters talk to you and there’s a very good chance that you’ll impress somebody enough for them to make you an offer. You may have been thinking games and end up getting supermarket, but you’re just starting out on your exciting new career and so need to keep your options open.
Having said that, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being ambitious, so if you feel that you’ve got what it takes to work for a big company that you have your eye on, making some serious cash, then what have you got to lose but a no? And those, at this stage of your life, mean very little.
Who knows, you could very well be the next Steve Jobs...