The UK – indeed the entire world – is now wholly reliant on computers and both hardware and software is developing and changing all the time. As such, anyone with expertise in computers, the internet or information technology as a whole is able to use their skills and education to work in almost any sector they wish. That’s a lot of potential jobs!
As one of the few job growth areas you can also be a little smug that you’re sure to be snapped up relatively quickly...
Faculty of computer science: IT, computer science, computing, IT and communications, software engineering
Far from the IT Crowd’s fix for every problem being 'switch it off and switch it back on again', pretty much all companies now require employees with advanced computing skills. As long as you make the most of these on your CV then you’ve already got a big advantage over many other graduates.
The additional soft skills that a computer sciences or IT degree can equip you with include communication, leadership and organisational skills, all of which are highly sought after by employers across a range of industries.
Computer sciences and IT skills can be applied to almost any sector and almost all companies require highly computer-literate employees. Everything is covered, from glamorous careers in computer game development to working in IT departments helping employees when they run into software and hardware problems.
Below are just a few of the career areas open to you, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Specialisations within each field allow you to – more than most graduates – really build a career that suits your personality and interests.
The finance sector has become one of the biggest employers for IT specialists, as new systems are adopted for both internal and commercial purposes. As it is such a broad-ranging sector, skills required can differ but commercial as well as technical know-how is a common prerequisite.
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The public sector is one of the largest employers in the country. Most state-owned services provide good opportunities for IT graduates and trained professionals, while they also offer benefits such as flexible hours and structured training and development.
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There is intense competition in the telecoms sector with the proliferation of new technologies for both internal and commercial communications. Telecom companies need to stay ahead of the game, hiring people to develop and create new technologies, or support and maintain existing systems.
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Media and consumer markets
You don’t have to be a promising IT professional to note what’s been happening in the media over the last couple of years. Increasingly, magazines and newspapers are seeing a decline in circulation and are, in many cases, being closed down in favour of developing technologies – from standard websites to mobile phone sites and, more recently, tablet technology.
In order for companies to stay competitive – be it in catering, the media, gaming or retail – web designers, programmers and developers are in high demand. A creative streak and interest in the subject matter is beneficial in these roles.
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If you’ve decided that development, programming, computer sciences and everything in between isn’t for you, and you have a strong creative streak, then content management could be a career option. Increasingly, the face of editorial and journalistic roles are changing in favour of more technologically advanced roles working on websites.
As long as you have strong language and grammatical skills, and the desire to get creative, then everyone from media companies to ecommerce and recruitment sites are taking on board web content managers.
Sales jobs can get a bad rep with many people falling into it, only to be dogged by the image of a second-hand car salesman. However, a career in computer sales – complete with the relevant know-how in hardware or software – can pay dividends with commission and bonus structures meaning big bucks for anyone that can successfully get the patter down and convince people to part with their hard-earned cash. Easier said than done? Not for talented sales individuals.
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A key role for many businesses, and one that requires in-depth knowledge of specialised business programs, many employers looking to hire graduate business analysts – usually as part of a training programme – are impressed by the technical know-how of computer science graduates. Make the most of those transferable skills on your CV and you should have a definite edge over graduates from many other disciplines.
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If you enjoy face-to-face interactions then working on an IT helpdesk can be a varied career option. Yes, you may have to ask people to try turning their computer off and on again about several hundred times a day, but you’ll also be involved in everything from setting up new starters to stopping that computer virus from destroying your employer's business from the inside out.
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Getting a foot in the door
The key thing for any IT and computing graduate is keeping your skill set fully up to date. This is easier said than done, as you’re working in one of the fastest-moving industries in the world and as soon as you think you’ve mastered one browser, program, language and so on, a new one pops up.
If you notice that a lot of potential employers are asking for specific computer skills that you’re lacking then it may be worth striking out on your own and doing a short course. If you’re not strong in a discipline that would benefit your career then a relatively inexpensive course could pay for itself.
It’s also key that you stay on top of developing technologies like smart phones and tablets – which can be a full-time job in itself. Ensure you stay in touch with what’s going on and undertake regular courses to stay on top of your game.
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