A recent article in the Guardian pointed out what you may well have suspected – now is a boom time for those looking to recruit into, or gain employment in, the tech sector. There is a large and increasing demand for people with good IT skills and a huge variety of different roles available. Often these carry good conditions, attractive salaries, long-term security, and plenty of scope for career development.
The essential ticket for such posts is a strong grounding in IT skills; therefore, good computer science degrees are the premium requirement. There are also avenues inward for determined self-trained individuals, especially in the realms of designing apps for mobiles and website development.
Encouragingly, there are also plenty of training schemes available. If your would-be candidate has no qualifications but can think logically and creatively and feels happy manipulating computer code, the door is certainly not closed.
What sort of work might these new tech hopefuls be going into? Cyberdefence and security is important, with frequent horror stories about banks and other companies losing customer data; mobile apps continue to flourish and look for new original ideas; all kinds of data recording and manipulation are thriving areas; and the online market continues to flourish. Video games, algorithms for financial transactions and the tech behind social media sites are some of the more esoteric uses, but still high in demand.
The range of training opportunities is similarly wide. O2, for example, takes on 45 IT apprentices straight from school in a scheme that gives them a range of digital skills and lasts between 18 months and two years. Developers for mobile apps tend to come from the self-trained pool, driven by their curiosity and originality; however, at the top of the qualification tree, companies such as IT consultancy Capgemini provide graduate training schemes that allow people with good degrees to move rapidly to the front line of software engineering.
Chris Morris, who completed the Capgemini scheme, says he especially enjoys the flexibility and variety of work his training enables him to undertake, such as developing new software systems.
Many companies – and not just traditional tech industry companies – have a growing need for IT expertise. The finance sector especially has a large need for these skills and with many retail companies increasing their online presence, they too are an area of growth.
The numbers are interesting. 163,000 posts are available each quarter in IT, £48,500 is the average permanent IT post salary, and £410 is the average daily contract rate. 41 per cent of tech jobs in the UK are in the ‘non-digital’ sector. Of the jobs advertised, 11 per cent asked for a degree, whilst qualifications from Microsoft and Cisco were also frequently required.
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