How to get hired in IT
You might be aware of the shortfall in skills that recruiters in the IT sector are currently experiencing, and if you have a degree related to the sector you may think that your CV may be automatically of interest to the IT companies which you want to work for. But most IT recruiters have very specific requirements that they are looking for in their graduate recruits.
As well as any technical skills relevant to the role, soft skills such as communication are a crucial part of the mix. 54% of employers say that graduates do not have sufficient skills in this area. At a minimum level, some graduate recruiters are seeking graduates with at least a 2:1 degree, but all are generally looking for a lot more. IT is an area where specialism is key, and you will need to match skills with enthusiasm, dynamism and the other ‘employability’ attributes which recruiters look for in ‘work-ready’ graduates. Primary degrees particularly in demand are computer science, maths, internet technologies, software, IT related engineering disciplines, electronics, computer programming and computing with business. Many recruiters may require postgraduate study or further qualifications from applicants, depending on the role on offer.
Do your research
Like applying for any job, you need to be sure that you are suitable for the role that you're applying for in IT. Do you have the skills and qualifications that the employer is looking for? If not, can you demonstrate that you’re
working on acquiring them and can you bridge that gap?
Necessary hard skills
You will need to have certain technical skills in your locker if you’re to be successful in your application. The level of skill you will need is dependent on the role of course. Application developers, for example, will be expected to have in depth knowledge of at least one computer language. Familiarity in test automation, scripting and knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) is required for a
quality assurance analyst. A developer, at graduate level, is generally expected to be able to demonstrate their competency in one or more of the following major programming languages; C++, C# (C sharp) and Java. Data analysis skills, cyber-security and cloud application skills are also in demand. If you have graphic design or computer aided design (CAD) skills it will be of benefit, while every employer will expect you to be able to
know your way around standard office programmes.
Necessary soft skills
The culture of IT companies is very collaborative so your ability to manage workload and communicate professionally is very important, often just as much as your technical skills, particularly for roles such as consultancy. So recruiters will be looking out for soft skills such as the following, allied with evidence of situations where you have displayed them:
- Ability to deal with pressure
- Honesty and integrity
- Adept at communicating with, and listening to, others
- Project management ability
- Problem solving skills and problem identification skills.
Recruitment fairs often have jobs on offer for the right candidates and most of the large IT companies will have a presence there. Quite often, the company representatives who attend are recent graduates. It should also be noted that employers visit campuses during the first stage of their yearly recruitment campaigns. In addition, there are a large number of companies in these sectors who actively recruit through college careers service websites or gradireland.com. You do not have to limit yourself by only applying to companies specialising in IT. Practically all businesses use IT, and many employ graduates in IT and technology related roles. Companies with profiles or job notices on gradireland.com, that actively look for staff in IT, are in sectors as diverse as accountancy, retail, insurance, manufacturing and law. You should also visit gradireland.com/get-started to see what advice other graduates have about working in the tech sector.
Applications and interviews
Due to the nature of the industry, the use of online application forms is the most common method of applying to graduate programmes in the IT industry. However, you will also require your CV as employers frequently use it to ascertain the level of experience you have in terms of your various skills. If you've done a computer science degree, or similar, detail the content of the programme you completed as not all are the same. Also include information about projects you initiated and completed and the key technical skills you used.
Video and telephone interviews are used to screen candidates by 21% and 70% of employers respectively,according to the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey 2016. So it's vital that you're comfortable with these types on interviews, visit gradireland.com/careers-advice/ interviews-and-tests for more tips. Each company will have its own distinct process so make sure you do some research into what it will involve. Remember, if you progress to a face-to-face interview, the interviewers will be looking to gauge your soft skills, so remember to focus on that also in your preparation.
Value of internships
Regardless of any technical skills or qualifications you may have, it could be industry experience that you are lacking. An internship in an IT related area can help you bridge any gaps you may have, whether they be in terms of hard or soft skills. Many companies offer well-structured internship programmes with the intention of preparing a future channel of graduate talent. Your careers service can help, but don’t be afraid to do some networking with any contacts within the industry and take the initiative yourself.