The benefits of working in information technology
What comes to your mind when you think of careers in IT? In 2015, TARGETjobs asked more than 800 first-year students that question and almost a quarter said they thought the area of work was boring. The aim of this article isn’t to change the minds of those who aren’t enthused by the prospect of an IT career, or to preach to the converted, but rather to ensure you are aware of the benefits of working in IT.
Most, if not all, employers need technologists
Nowadays, you’ll rarely come across an employer that doesn’t require IT personnel. Businesses with a small IT function may only need one or two employees, while big businesses may need a team of up to and over one hundred, but the crucial point here is that tech vacancies exist across a range of industries. Finance organisations PwC and BNP Paribas, for example, advertised 75 and 10–20 vacancies respectively in its 2015–2016 recruitment campaign, while defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems, and intelligence and security employer GCHQ advertised 300 and 400 respectively. And, owing to the rapid developments taking place in technology in the retail sector (a shift from people purchasing in store to buying online), a large number of roles have opened up to facilitate the technology behind the scenes of the shop floor or web landing page.
Technology is always developing or being used in new ways
The retail sector, as mentioned above, is a prime example of the evolution of technology. A decade ago, consumers didn’t have the luxury of being able to shop at most stores at the click of a button, whereas 26% of British grocery shoppers said they had shopped online for their groceries in January 2015, according to figures from The Institute of Grocery Distribution. Another example of the developments in technology can be found in the financial sector. Kate Platonova, executive director (IT) at investment bank Morgan Stanley, said: ‘Processes used to be much more manual with, for instance, traders writing up deals on a paper ticket. Now the process is in real time, so a trade will be entered into a system and processed automatically.’ Ongoing improvements and changes in technology mean graduates seeking careers in IT can look forward to a varied career and opportunities to learn new things.
Pay packets can be quite generous
It may surprise many students that careers in IT can pay pretty well, even at graduate level. A 2015 student survey carried out by trendence (our partner research organisation) revealed that a significant proportion of students interested in a career in IT expect their first job to pay less than £25,000, with 23% expecting to receive £22,000–£25,000, 25% expecting to receive £19,000–£22,000, and 11% expecting to earn less than £16,000. These salary ranges aren’t necessarily low when compared to the average graduate salary across all sectors (between £15,000 and £20,000 for graduates who left university in 2013, according the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey), but graduates can expect to receive, and aim to earn, more in their first IT job, where remuneration could be close to or over £30,000, depending on your role and location. For example, aquilaheywood offers graduates up to £28,800, CHP Consulting offers £40,000 plus a £5,000 sign-on bonus, and Metaswitch Networks offers £32,000. Read our full article on graduate salaries in IT.
There’ll always be a need for technologists
In a conversation with TARGETjobs IT & Technology, Dr Andrew Rogoyski, the UK head of cyber security at information technology consulting company CGI, said tomorrow’s technologists should consider a career in cyber security if they want a high-demand, secure, lifelong career. He made it clear that there’ll always be a need for technologists in this particular sector. ‘Cybercrime is due to overtake the illicit drugs trade in terms of total value to the criminal fraternity. Hence cyber security is an area of work where there is always going to be demand for people,’ said Andrew. Meanwhile, findings from the Association of Graduate Recruiters, published in early 2015, indicated that opportunities for IT graduates wouldn’t deplete anytime soon: at the time, its members from the IT and telecoms sectors predicted a double-digit rise in graduate vacancies over the coming 12 months. Read Andrew’s article about cyber security as a graduate area of work.
Graduates can receive support towards professional qualifications
A number of IT employers offer their graduate recruits opportunities to study towards professional qualifications after they join the organisation. This is to ensure you have all the relevant credentials to carry out your role to a high standard. For instance, Tessella allocates its staff a training allowance of 150 hours, which can be used to earn recognised qualifications to develop their careers. Similarly, SunGard, depending on the business area that you join, provides its graduates with the opportunity to study for a professional qualification linked to their role, and says it will ‘support you every step of the way’. Deloitte also offers training towards professional qualifications, and these are just a few examples. (You’ll have to research the individual organisations or meet recruiters on campus or elsewhere to obtain more information about the specific professional qualifications that are available to you.)
Graduates working in IT roles will have the opportunity to travel
There will be umpteen opportunities for most graduates working at larger IT organisations to travel nationally and internationally. This is because many businesses have international operations and clients that are based around and outside the UK. Take The Phoenix Partnership (TPP), for example; it has international projects so expects its employees to be willing to undertake some travel. Meanwhile, graduate roles at Orbium are based in the City of London, but you’ll often be working on local, national and international client sites.
Then there’s ThoughtWorks. Graduates who join this organisation will complete a 12-month programme that comprises five weeks at the ThoughtWorks University in India – and this is just in the first year. A graduate developer at the organisation, Rosy Tucker, commented: ‘ThoughtWorks allows me to do so many different things that I would never be able to do in a normal office job. In my first year I’ve been to five different countries, on three different continents, and been able to meet amazing people all around the world who love technology as much as me.’
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