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IT and technology
Graduate IT roles in web development and e-commerce explained

Web development and e-commerce: graduate area of work

All serious organisations have a web presence and conduct large chunks of business via the internet. Find out how graduates can kick off a career in this technology sector that has truly come of age.
An understanding of how traditional businesses operate is also important, as usually what doesn’t succeed offline won’t succeed online.

The internet business sector is about developing products and services to offer to online consumers. Financial services and online retail are a significant part of the industry and businesses seek to gain market share by providing unique content and services.

Financial services businesses see the internet as an ideal service and marketing medium for their customers or potential customers. As a nation we find less and less time to carry out personal tasks, such as banking, and the internet is a medium that is available around the clock. All major UK banks offer online banking where balances can be checked, payments made, etc. While the internet doesn’t replace existing operations, it can help drive operational costs down – for example, marketing material can be produced for a fraction of the cost of glossy brochures.

Similarly, retail businesses can offer much lower costs to customers by having an online facility. Without the added overheads of shops and associated staffing costs, their operating costs are much reduced and the savings can be passed on to the consumer. Online systems also help retailers manage their supply-chains efficiently.

Be an informed graduate, keep on top of internet trends

It's hard to believe that web technology is still really very young compared to other areas of technology. But its ubiquity means that it has had to come of age very quickly. One of the most significant areas of development in the sector today is security, as consumers submit personal information over the internet while phishers and scammers become more skilled in their trade. Many business take advantage of m-commerce, while a social media presence is often regarded as vital.

Graduate skills needed for the internet business

There are a wide range of IT skills required but the core skills include programming, business analysis, quality assurance, servers, networks, desktops, applications and product support. As well as technical skills, a passion for the sector is a must – the internet changes rapidly and to keep abreast of change you need to see your job as a real hobby.

An understanding of how traditional businesses operate is also important, as usually what doesn’t succeed offline won’t succeed online. Other main qualities sought are dedication, willingness to learn, ambition, loyalty and adaptability. You also need to keep your audience in mind at all times, as they vote with their mouse and go elsewhere, if the service is better.

How graduates can start out in web technology careers

A plethora of opportunities exist in this sector, but you'll have to dig around. You may more easily find web development opportunities in smaller organisations. However, also look out for entry-level opportunities in larger organisations. If you choose a technology consulting route, you could find that advising clients on their web technology and strategy is a part of your work.

Choose this IT career area if...

  • You'd like working in a challenging and fast-paced environment where projects can deliver results very quickly.
  • You'd like the world to see your work - the internet is available to everyone.
  • You want to work in a cutting edge technology area, but you can cope with change: the nature of the internet means businesses and strategies don’t remain in one place or fixed for very long.

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