If you end up with a 2.2 in your computer science degree or a non-IT subject, don’t panic. Whether you want to become a software developer, tester, cyber security specialist or work in IT support, it’s still perfectly possible to launch a successful career. However, you’ll have to widen your search beyond the obvious IT companies to find your first role.
We also look at whether you can apply to graduate IT jobs if you don’t have the minimum A level grades or UCAS points that some employers specify.
Jobs in IT, technology and telecoms companies with a 2.2 degree
Most major IT, technology and telecoms companies demand a 2.1 degree. While they may be prepared to consider genuine mitigating circumstances for not achieving this – for example illness or bereavement – they are unlikely to want to consider your application if this isn’t the case.
However, you can apply for graduate technology roles at BT with a 2.2 if you also have a postgraduate degree.
Some employers, such as Fidessa, have in the past had different requirements for different roles.
Atos prefers candidates to have a 2.1 degree but will accept exceptional candidates with 2.2s and strong, relevant work experience or supporting evidence of your interest in the type of role.
Capgemini says it doesn’t automatically rule out applicants if they haven't achieved a certain grade.
Capita state that applicants to its software developer and software test analyst programmes should have 2.2s or above.
CGI specify that they are open to applications from graduates of any degree discipline and classification, but that some business units do require a 2.1.
FDM Group accepts applications from candidates with a 2.2 at degree or above.
Sky do not specify a degree classificaton requirement for its software engineering academy, graduate software developer, cyber security graduate, and technology graduate job roles.
ThoughtWorks graduate software developer opportunities do not ask for a specific degree classification.
It is also worth investigating smaller, local employers who may receive fewer applications and therefore be less picky.
IT jobs in engineering and energy companies with a 2.2 degree
Engineering companies are well worth considering for graduate IT jobs if you have a 2.2 degree. Many run IT graduate schemes and, unlike the IT sector, you’ll find a good number of big-name employers who aren’t hung up about whether candidates have a 2.1.
- BAE Systems technology graduate programmes accept candidates with 2.2s.
- Centrica’s information systems graduate programme accepts applicants with a 2.2, if they have a masters degree.
- Jaguar Land Rover’s software product engineering graduate programme and IT graduate programme have a 2.2 degree minimum requirement.
- Siemens’ IT graduate scheme has previously accepted graduates with a 2.2 into some roles.
- Network Rail accepts 2.2s for its IT and business services graduate scheme.
- npower only specify that they require applicants to have, or be on track for, a bachelors degree.
IT jobs in investment banking with a 2.2 degree
The finance sector employs many IT graduates but most recruiters look for at least a 2.1. However, audit, tax and consulting services provider RSM's cyber specialist scheme is open to applicants with 2.2 honours degrees, while RBS' technology graduate programme is open to those with a 2.2 or above. A couple of employers don't specify a degree grade – an example being financial data provider Factset and financial services provider American Express.
Other employers who accept 2.2s
Many employers you may not immediately associate with technology will hire graduates into IT roles, so dig about. For example, did you know that two of the UK government’s intelligence agencies, GCHQ and MI5, accept graduates with 2.2s into its technology roles. Or you could try the NHS health informatics management graduate scheme, which has previously accepted 2.2s. TESCO asks for 2.2s or above for its technology graduate programmes.
A handful of graduate IT employers specify minimum A level grades or UCAS points that candidates must have in order to apply, in addition to a 2.1 degree. Alfa, Close Brothers and TPP are some current examples, and you can check other employers’ careers websites.
Minimum UCAS or A level requirements can be frustrating if you are on track for a 2.1 and have all the other requirements for the job. Particularly if your reasons for not getting top A level grades were because of factors beyond your control, such as illness or bereavement. While some employers will review applications on a case-by-case basis, others might automatically screen you out if you don’t have the minimum UCAS points they have specified.
If there were understandable reasons why you didn’t get the A level grades you were capable of, you could contact the employer’s HR team and they will be able to advise you.
If there were understandable reasons why you didn’t get the A level grades you were capable of, these may count as ‘mitigating circumstances’. You should contact the employer’s HR or graduate recruitment team and they will be able to advise you on whether and how to apply. This might involve explaining your situation in your covering letter or in the ‘additional information’ box, for example.
If you don’t have mitigating circumstances but think you have lots of highly relevant work experience or lots of experience of the technical skills they require, for example, you could contact HR or the graduate recruitment team and see whether they recommend you apply. Bear in mind that your experience, top uni grades or whatever else you are trying to persuade the employer with needs to be exceptional and you need evidence of it. You must also avoid coming across as over-confident or entitled to a graduate job with them. Plenty of IT employers don’t specify A level grades or UCAS points at all, so it may be a better use of your time to just apply to those employers instead.
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