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Careers in IT

Published: Monday, 08 June 2009   Category: Recruitment Feature Articles

Technology and IT now impacts on almost every aspect of our lives, so why not make a career out of it? There are a number of opportunities within the IT sector and people seeking graduate jobs need not simply focus their attentions on specific IT companies, as most firms will have IT departments or functions.

In fact, it appears many firms are keen to expand their IT departments in the face of the recession, with Network Instruments' State of the Network Global Study 2009 highlighting that 65 per cent of IT departments have not experienced any lay-offs, while 60 per cent of firms are looking to utilise their full IT budget.

A recent study by Talent Q also emphasised that IT departments are coping well in difficult economic circumstances, identifying the sector as one of the best for graduate recruitment.

It was noted that 56 per cent of respondents from the IT and communications sector are looking to invest more in talent management and graduate recruitment.

Surviving the recession - the role of the IT department

IT departments will also be critical in helping firms from a variety of sectors survive the current recession, according to Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Technology Means Business.

He stated that there are "a million varied ways" in which IT can help a business, suggesting that technology can be utilised to help improve customers' experiences and study buying patterns and trends.

"In or out of a recession, technology will continue to evolve and consumers will become more comfortable with using technology – we've seen that over the last five years. So it's something that's pretty unstoppable, really," Mr Flaxton added.

IT workers are also set to be pivotal in helping firms embrace measures such as flexible working, which are becoming increasingly popular with team members, due to the fact they create a better work/life balance, and firms because of the cost savings it offers.

A recent study by Orange highlighted that almost two-thirds of businesses now offer flexible working, meaning they need staff members with the technical know-how to run the systems needed for such initiatives.

Which area of IT?

Within IT departments there are numerous roles available, so how do you choose the right one for you?

Recent research by the BCS highlighted that among 16 to 30-year-olds, working in a web-based role proved to be the most popular area, being selected by 36 per cent of respondents.

This was followed by gaming, which was the area a third of those questioned would like to work in, while 25 per cent opted for education and training or software development.

From these findings it is clear that graduates can look for a career in IT which suits their particular talents and interests, whether these are creative, logical or a bit of both.

Ditching the 'dull image'

One reason why some graduates may opt to shy away from IT jobs is the reputation they have for being dull and boring.

However, the sector's image appears to be altering, with BCS research showing that just one in five respondents deemed IT to be boring, while 57 per cent said that IT involves innovative people and businesses and 39 per cent think it is as important as law or medicine.

The research also highlighted that well over half of those questioned said anyone without IT skills is likely to struggle in the modern workplace.

Commenting on the findings, Jennifer Hewitt, chairman of the BCS Young Professionals Group, said that as the internet and electronic gadgets like mp3 players have become part of everyday life people are beginning to appreciate IT a lot more.

"IT isn't about sitting in a room, being a bit of a geek and coding all day, it's about inventing all these really cool things that everybody uses on a daily basis now and have sort of revolutionised how we live," she added.

Getting into IT jobs

According to job candidates, people's chances of getting a job in the IT industry are boosted by having additional IT qualifications beyond GCSE level.

Research by the BCS showed that those with an additional IT qualification are upbeat and confident about recruitment prospects, while those without are more pessimistic about their chances of finding a job.

So rather than being a boring, technical career, jobs within IT can be creative, interesting and integral to helping businesses achieve success.

Anyone interested in a job like that had better start applying!
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