How to get a job in IT and technology
The first step in your job hunt is to narrow down the type of job you want. As a starting point, take a look at the top ten typical jobs graduates can do in IT here and find out about the different areas of work you could specialise in here.
Once you have an idea of the job or area of work you’d like a career in:
Can I work in IT without a computer science or IT-related degree?
Yes! While many employers do require graduates to have an IT-related or STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) degree, an increasing number of employers are keen to train up graduates with arts and humanities backgrounds in areas such as software development and technology consulting.
Are there any opportunities for graduates with 2.2s?
Most big graduate employers in IT ask for a 2.1, but not all. The likes of FDM Group and FactSet accept 2.2s, as do MI5, MI6 and GCHQ for their graduate technology roles. But the reality is you will have less choice with a 2.2, so be prepared to expand your job search beyond the big graduate schemes. Also, be able to demonstrate in your application and at interview that you are hardworking – prepare examples of goals you have set, worked towards and achieved.
Graduate jobs versus schemes in IT and technology
Graduate schemes are formal work training programmes run by employers, which usually lead to a permanent job at the end. Plenty of IT graduate schemes exist, either with technology companies or with employers in other sectors that hire people into IT functions (such as retail, banking and local or national government). However, many graduates find their first IT or technology job at a smaller organisation that may not run a structured training programme – this can mean more variety and responsibility early on.
IT application advice: online application forms, CVs and covering letters
Before you put pen to paper or start typing, make sure you know what the employer does, who its competitors are and what you are applying for. To find this out you need to do your research. Learn more about what you need to know here.
Many larger employers will require you to fill out an online application form – this will typically involve inputting basic contact and biographical information and answering a number of questions about your skills and motivation for applying.
You may also be required to submit a CV as part of your application (particularly with small- and medium-sized employers), or you may be able to use your CV to automatically fill in sections of an application form. Showcase your technical skills and know-how with a technical CV. Read top tips for putting your technical CV together, and take a look at our example CV, here.
A covering letter is where you can explain your motivations for applying to the employer in particular, why you think you will suit the role and give any additional information. This might be part of the online application form, but some employers will ask for a covering letter. Read our advice on writing a convincing covering letter here.
Here are some typical application questions and our hints and tips on answering them:
What happens at an IT interview?
You are likely to face a combination of questions about why you want the job, how you are suitable and how you have demonstrated the desired skills previously.
Top skills to get a job in IT and technology
Graduate recruiters will be on the lookout for some key skills in the applicants to their graduate jobs and schemes. If you’re applying for a technical role, then knowledge of programming languages is a must. We spoke to a number of employers to find out what languages will give you the edge in the recruitment process and how you can learn them.
Graduate recruiters don’t only value technical skills, they also place heavy emphasis on transferable, or ‘soft’, skills – skills that have wide application to different jobs and industries. Skills that will be particularly useful in the IT and technology sector include:
- communication skills – so that you can work successfully with people in your team and explain technical concepts to non-technical colleagues and clients
- problem-solving skills – many IT roles are about finding solutions or fixing things
- time management – it’s common to have to work to deadline
- …and more. Find out more about the soft skills that IT professionals need here.
What is it like to work in IT and technology?
Roles tend to include a combination of team and individual work, pay is good, and some roles – particularly business-facing ones, such as consulting – involve travel. Join a graduate scheme and you are likely to benefit from perks including work-organised socials and a range of facilities, although some smaller companies offer these benefits too. The pace of change and innovation is fast, making it necessary to be on the pulse and willing to continually develop new skills and learn about new technology. Find out how much you can earn in IT graduate jobs here.
IT jobs that are in demand
Here are some IT and technology roles that the world is likely to need more of over the next few years.
Don't miss our helpful job descriptions. Choose IT and technology from the drop-down list.