Can You Handle I.T.?
Careers in IT and Technology are integral parts of today’s society. Anne Hollowday explores the options for graduates in this diverse and constantly changing field
Technology is an undoubtedly integral part of modern society. Without the pioneering techniques and products IT workers have developed, we would probably be relying upon passbooks for our bank accounts, a wad of loose handwritten papers in place of all the files stored on our home PCs and, perhaps most disturbingly, no tangible substitution – except for a hefty encyclopaedia – for the wonders of the internet.
A career in IT offers the opportunity to be at the forefront of development that affects the way lives are lived. Career paths are varied and diverse with a multitude of different roles on offer. The landscape of IT changes as fast as Japanese bullet trains, and alongside this, investment, growth and opportunities all expand accordingly. In short, it is a thriving and exciting industry to become involved in because the employment possibilities are seemingly endless.
The days of dingy basement offices complete with techie geeks are long gone. Sure, the geeks are still around, but now they’re cool and they’re often based in high-tech offices or laboratories. Perhaps even in a boardroom discussing ideas for new computer software or games, or even in customer-facing front of house roles. Jobs as systems analysts and co-ordinating offshore services in places like Eastern Europe are in high demand. There are also plenty of opportunities to set up on your own after gaining years of experience.
If you decide technology is not for you, you’re missing out. It is tricky to avoid all contact with it. Writers, mechanics, retail assistants, bus drivers and teachers (to name but a few) use IT skills to complete their jobs effectively. A career in IT is therefore an excellent grounding for anyone unsure of what career path to take. It provides fantastic business, technical and communications skills that future employers value highly.
IT is a universal language and professionals are in demand all over the world. For example, some IT skills have recently been added to Australia’s migration occupations ‘in demand’ list, making the process for IT workers easier than before. The off-shoring of IT services to India, Puerto Rico, China and Eastern Europe offers professionals opportunities in strategy, management and leadership in an international setting.
In 2007 and 2008, IT is a sellers’ market. That is, the initiative is with the candidates looking for work. Employers are finding it increasingly difficult to locate skilled, good quality candidates and, as such, retention is extremely high on their business agendas. Such intense skills shortages have led to a return to huge salary increases and guaranteed performance perks, including sign-on bonuses.
Graduate level jobs and recruitment schemes offer between £16k-£28kpa for the right quality candidates. However, the shortage of workers is also due to the stringent levels of competence IT companies require. A good degree alone will not ensure employment. Work experience is a distinct advantage, as are high grades throughout your education.
Graduates must be dynamic, diverse individuals to adapt to the constantly altering IT environment. They must be motivated and conscientious as well as possessing the ability to work well within a team because of the amount of brainstorming and idea development required. Many large companies offer internships from which they select the most suitable people. Obtaining a place on such a scheme provides the opportunity to prove yourself.
Ultimately, IT will never go away. It has taken a firm hold of society and does not look as though it will ever relinquish it. If you want a secure future, a career in IT is a pretty decent bet. Have a look at some of the IT career paths taken by recent graduates in our case studies…