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.
Don't neglect smaller employers
While many of the large, multinational technology firms are likely to have strict degree requirements, the same is not true for SMEs (small- to medium-sized enterprises). These organisations will typically receive fewer applications and are also likely to offer more opportunities for early responsibility. However, unlike larger organisations, SMEs may not recruit on a yearly basis or offer defined 'graduate schemes', so these opportunities may be harder to find.
Enhance your 2.2 with a postgraduate qualification
Employer may be willing to accept a 2.2 at undergraduate level alongside a relevant postgraduate degree course. For example, BT accepts a 2.2 in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject with a postgraduate degree for many of its tech-related programmes (the technology graduate programme, however, does specificy that a 2.1 is required). Studying for a postgraduate qualification will also give you the opportunity to enhance your career prospects in certain areas of work by selecting more specialised postgraduate degrees.
Do you have mitigating circumstances?
Tech employers that ask for 2.1 degrees may still be willing to consider an applicant with a 2.2 if they have genuine mitigating circumstances for not getting a higher grade. Examples of these mitigating circumstances include illness and bereavement. Many application forms will include spaces for applicants to include this information alongside their results, but, in other cases, one may have to reach out to recruiters themselves.
Jobs in IT, technology and telecoms companies with a 2.2 degree
You will be able to apply for these jobs if you have a 2.2 at degree:
- Atos does not specify degrees requirements for its 'graduate discovery journey' programme.
- Capgemini says it doesn’t automatically rule out applicants if they haven't achieved a certain grade.
- Capita has previously stated that applicants to its software developer and software test analyst programmes should have 2.2s or above.
- FactSet welcomes candidates with 2.2s for its software engineering roles.
- FDM Group accepts applications from candidates with a 2.2 at degree or above.
- MI5 accepts applications to its technology and digital jobs from candidates with 2.2s
- Sky do not specify a degree classification requirement for its software engineering and cyber security graduate roles or its rotational technology graduate programme.
- ThoughtWorks graduate software developer opportunities do not ask for a specific degree classification.
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.
- Jaguar Land Rover’s software product engineering graduate programme and IT graduate programme have a 2.2 degree minimum requirement.
- Siemens specify that they are looking for 'a relevant degree... with a 2.2 or higher'.
- Network Rail accepts 2.2s for its IT and business services graduate scheme.
- npower has previously specified that it requires 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, some, such as audit, tax and consulting services provider RSM's, do run technology and IT graduate programmes that are open to applicants with 2.2. A couple of employers don't specify a degree grade – an example being financial data provider Factset.
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.
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. 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. 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 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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