IT services: graduate area of work
IT services providers help organisations to get the best out of their technology and data, with the aim of providing a business benefit such as making savings or improving efficiency.
This can include strategy work to assess a client’s current position and needs, implementing an improvement, and providing ongoing support or outsourcing services. For example, an IT services provider might help a client to identify that it does not have a new piece of software that has been introduced into the industry sector and implement it, or lower the client’s costs by assessing that its hardware set-up is inefficient and upgrading this.
Equally, clients can be assisted to store and analyse data more effectively, allowing them to make better decisions.
Typical activities include: assessing clients’ needs; designing, building, installing and testing software or hardware; providing ongoing support; and managing relationships between clients and outsourcing providers.
Some IT services providers cover many different types of work, while others focus on just one or two specific functions or technologies (for example infrastructure or mobile application development). This sector sits alongside consulting and there is a degree of overlap – it’s essential to consider business needs rather than focusing on technology in isolation.
What you need to know about IT services
Current developments of particular interest to clients include cloud technologies, mobile application development, gamification (using principles found in computer games design, eg competition or collecting money, in non-gaming software) and collaboration (ensuring that a company’s different communication channels – eg desk phones, mobiles, email, instant messaging and colleagues’ availability status – are interconnected).
Mobility requirements vary depending on the role. Graduates in support jobs may spend most of their time in one place, whereas those in consulting roles or who work on cutting-edge developments could be sent anywhere in the world at short notice.
Hours and the pace of work likewise vary. Consulting roles are fastpaced, while support roles tend to be predictable most of the time – but not when things go wrong!
Who can apply?
It’s possible to get into IT services with any degree background. Those in ‘deep’ technology roles tend to have backgrounds in computing, science, engineering and maths but there are many other jobs available. It helps during the recruitment process if you understand the broader picture of how IT can bring benefits to business.
Whatever area you enter, as a graduate you’re likely to join a team as a junior member, responsible for one particular aspect of a wider project. Initially you will probably work for just the one client, performing a specific function (for example, design, support or testing) in one particular technical area.
As you progress, you may specialise in one area, whether an aspect of technology or a particular industry sector of clients.
Vincent Hall-Roberts is a senior manager (technology architecture) at Accenture. He has a degree in chemical engineering from St John’s College, Cambridge, and has worked in IT services for 15 years.
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