Project work and up-skilling will trump a relevant degree.
The UK’s IT jobs market is thriving, requiring a constant stream of candidates to fill new roles. Technology is at the forefront of growth, but the current skills shortage has led to the highest demand for IT staff since 1998. Moreover, in the last five years, where most sectors have remained static, technology graduate vacancies have risen by over 50 per cent. This has resulted in companies of all sizes struggling to source both experienced hires and graduates.
But this rapid growth presents a great opportunity for people to begin or re-think their careers and join the exciting tech revolution. Here’s how to go about it.
Take advantage of the IT jobs market
Diverse growth areas – mobile development, cyber security, big data and user experience to name but a few – are driving the rapid blossoming of the market. This means that competition between employers to invest in their brand and in attracting candidates, as well as in benefit packages, is huge. This kind of growth, and the developments which follow, can be found in everything from small tech startups to global corporations – and the opportunities are there for the taking.
Get your foot in the door
There are many entry points into IT, and it is your experience that often defines where you go from there. It isn’t a massively degree-driven profession. Indeed, our research has found that less than a third of people (29 per cent) currently in IT have an IT degree, so it’s not a prerequisite.
Experience in IT projects and knowledge are the basis for any career – along with constant up-skilling to ensure your continued competency in your chosen field. IT support is a well-regarded entry level position, providing candidates with a general IT understanding and networking opportunities.
Do I need any IT qualifications?
Mark Zuckerberg famously dropped out of Harvard and never completed his degree. Degrees are not worthless, but you can get a good tech-based career without one. That said, having one will provide you with a stepping stone and a much better starting salary. Unfortunately, not enough young people are being encouraged down the IT route at school – hence the lack of worthy technology graduates in the UK.
How to prepare for your first job interview
Ensure that the basics are covered: research the company, look smart, display positive body language, and demonstrate a strong personality and desire to succeed at the firm. With any technology interview there may be technical testing, and you need skills that are relevant to the field you are applying for. Always be honest – blagging is easily uncovered later.
A good candidate will also demonstrate commercial awareness, which can be just as important as technical skills. A common pitfall is to lack such awareness, while also being over-critical of existing IT systems. It’s not just superior IT knowledge that puts you above other candidates – you need to show passion and a positive attitude, and fit the company culture.
Anthony Sherick is managing director of Technojobs.
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