What can I do with an IT degree?
The majority of IT and computer science 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 number of different 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.
Other obvious careers for IT students include:
- computer sales support
- database admin
- software engineer
- software trainer
- software testing
- IT consultant
- IT support, whether internal or external
- systems designer
- systems programming
- website design.
What do computer science and IT graduates go on to do?
Here’s what computer science and IT graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.
|Full-time employment in the UK||62.6|
|Part-time employment in the UK||9.9|
|Working and studying||2.6|
Source: What do graduates do? 2017
Key areas of employment for fresh computer science and IT graduates
These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 computer science and IT graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
|Information technology professionals||61.5|
|Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff||8.6|
|Business, HR and finance professionals||5.6|
|Arts, design and media professionals||3.7|
Source: What do graduates do? 2017
Which careers attract computer science and IT students?
IT and technology was by far the most popular career choice for students of computer science and IT identified by a 2017 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. 43% 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:
|IT and technology||43% expressed an interest|
|Investment banking and investment||5|
Source: trendence UK Graduate Study 2017
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 – 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.
Find out more about all your IT careers options at TARGETjobs IT & Technology.