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What can I do with an IT degree?

27 Apr 2023, 10:28

IT and computer science graduates are in demand both for their technical skills and for their willingness to respond to developments and try new things, an attitude which is welcomed by employers.

What can I do with an IT degree?

The majority of IT graduates go on to jobs in IT, for example, as programmers, software developers or web designers. However, some pursue careers in financial services and professional services, and there are opportunities open to them in a broad range of areas including education, retail management and law. Growth areas for employment in IT include cyber security, mobile and cloud computing and new applications of social media.

Skills for your CV

IT graduates gain a range of technical and interpersonal skills from their degrees.

  • A capacity to think logically, quantitatively and creatively is probably the single most important skill you can gain.
  • Software development: design, engineering and one or more programming language (such as Java or C#).
  • An understanding of computer networking, databases, and some level of web development along with a general knowledge of computers.
  • Ability to communicate your ideas, both verbally through giving presentations and in the form of written assignments. This is very important since a lot of time is spent presenting ideas and explaining decisions taken.
  • Good planning and careful execution of your work; in many IT tasks the planning and design phase is crucial, and this is transferable into the wider world.
  • Teamwork is another important addition, since IT graduates will often find themselves working closely with many people on a day-to-day basis.

Job roles and career areas you could work in

Many companies hire graduate developers, and some use freelance developers. You may find there are opportunities for you to become self-employed at an early stage in your career.

Work experience and brushing up on skills such as commercial awareness and resilience will boost your employability. IT graduates who are interested in alternative career paths may wish to consider translation. Experienced developers will know many computer languages, and many of the same techniques can be applied to learning a foreign language.

Job roles that are likely to be of interest to IT students include:

What do computer science graduates go on to do?

Here’s what computer science graduates who finished their degrees in 2018 were doing around fifteen months after graduating, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment 64
Part-time employment 8
Voluntary or unpaid work 1
Working and studying 9
Further study 6
Unemployed 6

Source: HESA's higher education graduate outcomes statistics, 2020

Key areas of employment for computer science graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2018 computer science graduates around fifteen months after graduation, according to the graduate outcomes statistics reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in 2020.

Areas of employment Percentage
Information and communication 41
Wholesale and retail trade 9
Professional, scientific and technical 8
Education 8
Finance and insurance 8

Source: HESA's higher education graduate outcomes statistics, 2020

Which careers attract computer science and IT students?

IT and technology was the most popular career choice for students of computer science and IT identified by a 2020 survey of more than 71,000 undergraduates carried out by Cibyl, a research business owned by the same company as targetjobs. Just under a quarter ( 24.4% ) of computer science and IT students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of computer science and IT were as follows:

Career Percentage
IT and technology 24.4% expressed an interest
Retail 16.6
Media and advertising 13.9
Consulting 11.6
Investment banking and investment 8.4

Source: Graduate Survey 2020

What salaries can computing graduates earn?

Want to know what graduates in your degree discipline typically earn in different locations? The Pay Index has provided targetjobs with a handy graduate salary tool showing just that.

Famous people with IT or computer science degrees

Many of the most successful modern entrepreneurs came from IT backgrounds. These include:

  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin – founded Google
  • Mark Zuckerberg – founded Facebook
  • Reed Hastings – CEO of Netflix
  • Marissa Mayer – former CEO of Yahoo

Some entrepreneurs are so successful early on that they never get round to graduating. Current students should be advised that they should wait until they make it big before they consider dropping out. Universities may be able to provide help and support for budding IT entrepreneurs.

IT graduates can also go on to be successful in other career sectors. Some examples include:

  • Liam Neeson – the actor who voiced Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia series of films studied physics and computer science at Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Jimmy Fallon – the American comedian and talk show host majored in computer science.

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