Perhaps one of the most famous men in IT today is Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple. However, Jobs was actually kicked out of the company at the end of May 1985 when it was struggling to turn a profit. He returned 11 years later and helped turn the company in to the gadget giant it is today, amassing a personal fortune estimated at some five billion dollars along the way.
Perhaps more than any other industry in the last twenty years IT is at the forefront of changing the entire world. The rise of computing systems in all walks of life – from mobile phones to websites to business applications – has profoundly changed the way we communicate, and therefore live and work. This mean
that work in the IT industry is one with numerous employment opportunities – from highly technical roles to business orientated work – and offers the chance to be part of the vanguard of creating the new world order. Well, sort of.
Use an iPhone and you”re holding something that thousands of people helped create – developers, designers, hardware engineers, marketing teams, and business managers who negotiated online casino that exorbitant contract you pay. Log in to Facebook and you”re looking at months of page layout design work, site testing and the work of huge amounts of background analysis going on to work out which information should be displayed on your screen. Play Grand Theft Auto and you’re engaging with a game that has been lovingly crafted, scripted, developed, designed and tested by hundreds of IT workers.
Beyond this companies exist, such as the likes of IBM and HP, developing laptops, databases and providing bespoke data analysis to small, one-off companies. Then there are IT roles involving designing and maintaining content systems for sites like the BBC to add news to their site, to security firms, monitoring cyber-threats from criminals around the world, hoping to stay one step ahead to help ensure clients are protected from viruses.
Then there are the likes of Virgin Media and BT, supplying broadband connections to residents and businesses across the UK, requiring engineers, technicians and developers to work out new ways of delivering ever faster speeds through cables that crisscross the country. On the mobile side too, the likes of O2 and Vodafone need developers to create content for platforms, develop new technologies to help networks cope with the strain of so many iPhone users and advise on new deals with handset manufacturers on the cost of phones and contracts.
Lastly, companies not directly concerned with IT, both private and public, will still need a wealth of workers to manage systems, install updates, monitor network performance and troubleshoot problems, ranging from libraries and sports stadiums to multi-national banks.
Given this huge breadth of work, it is not surprising to find that over one million people are employed in the IT sector in the UK and that there are numerous jobs available. Most large companies are keen to recruit graduates to training schemes fresh out of university, while those with certain key skills, such as in programming or networks, could well find themselves bagging jobs with major firms on good starting salaries from the start.
Even without a complete understanding of the technicalities of network equipment, or how a computer actually works, business roles are always required in large firms to help sell products to potential clients by explaining the benefits of a certain technology or product, both as its own system, and against rival firms on the market.
This article was produced in association with Kingston University Careers & Employability Service