What tech sector would suit you?

In today’s world, just as technology plays such a large part in our daily lives, technology plays a role in practically every organisation, business and institution. So if you possess the right qualifications, you could find yourself working in a variety of different circumstances, be it through self-employment, working for private industry, the civil service, or for an NGO or charity.

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The phrase ‘working in IT’ or
‘working in tech’ has grown to
mean anything from designing
and programming computer systems;
to testing and maintaining those
systems; to selling and marketing
those systems; to training other IT
professionals. So, the range of
employment possibilities open to
technology graduates is quite vast.

The three types of technology
employee

Employees account for the majority of
the tech industry’s workforce.
Receiving a set salary for working for
a single employer may be the plan for
most graduates, but in today’s
marketplace it’s not the only option
available for qualified professionals.

Contractors are professionals
provided by an agency to work on
location, and they are usually paid by
the hour for their work. Specialists in
their chosen field, contractors are
expected to offer skills not available
elsewhere in their client’s
organisation, due to either a short
supply of professionals proficient in
those skills or because the
organisation isn’t in a position where
hiring someone with those skills on a
full-time basis is an affordable
solution.

Consultants are expected to offer
solutions to their clients’ problems.
Their earnings are generally higher
than those of contractors, as they
usually run their own business,
provide their own technology and
operate without an agency. Due to
the greater flexibility offered by
contracting and consulting work,
graduates will find it appealing, but
they should know that a considerable
amount of experience is required in
order to move into either of these
areas.

Where can you work?

Obviously, tech graduates can work
for the companies involved in
producing software and hardware,
but these account for merely some of
the roles on offer in today’s world,
where every organisation and
institution – from financial services
companies to charity organisations –
uses technology to some degree. As
such, graduates can seek work within
practically every sector. Researching
will help you to understand the
business landscape and identify the
companies with which your skills will
fit best.

Types of technology employers

Like any other sector, tech employers
vary in size. The large employers
include IT services organisations,
technology solutions providers,
technology consultancies and
telecoms companies. They can also include finance and professional services firms, such as investment
and retail banks, investment
management firms, insurers and
accountants. Other major recruiters
include those organisations involved
in media, retail, games development
and public services. The smaller
technology employers tend to be
niche consultancies and specialist
software houses.

What do you want from your job?

With so many options available to
tech graduates with the right skills,
it’s essential that you know how to
find the employer and career that’s
best for you. Two key factors should
be taken into consideration before
you begin your search.

The work you want to do

Are you interested in a role that
requires you to do a lot of coding, or
none at all, while still employing your
technical reasoning skills? Or perhaps
you consider yourself a more business
focussed person, or maybe you want
to combine the best of both the
technology and commercial worlds?
Are you seeking a role that offers new
assignments on a daily basis, or
would you prefer to work on projects
with longer deadlines? If at this point
you’re still undecided on a specific
role, your best route may be to find
an employer that offers a graduate
programme that will allow you to
experience a variety of roles in
numerous business areas.

Are you prepared to be mobile?

How willing you are to work on a
mobile basis can affect the number of
opportunities open to you. Should
you wish to become a consultant,
know that you may be required to
spend your full working week in the
on-site, meaning you may have to
sleep four or five nights in a hotel
room and catch a flight if you wish to
spend your weekend at home.
Similarly, graduates in IT services may
be expected to spend the week on
their client’s premises. Conversely,
should you opt for a more technical
role like a developer or software
tester you’ll find yourself spending
most of your time working in the
same office, with perhaps an
occasional trip outside to meet a
client. Falling somewhere between
mobility and stability are business
and management-focussed roles (eg
project management), which may
require travel to some degree, but can
vary depending on the specifics of the
role and the company. Be honest with
yourself about how mobile you’re
really prepared to be. Most tech
professionals will confess that
spending time travelling and sleeping
in hotel rooms are the least
endearing aspects of their jobs,
though some are happy to embrace
such a lifestyle. Which one are you?

Hidden tech jobs you may have
Overlooked

Many graduates seeking tech jobs
only consider the most obvious
employers. Give yourself an
advantage by widening your search to
sectors that may not be the first to
jump out at you. Below we look at
five sectors you may have overlooked.

Financial software development

Most large financial institutions have
their own software teams, but
development activities are also
outsourced to specialist software
development companies. If you wish
to work with mathematical models,
large data sets, distributed systems,
high-speed systems and security, this
could be your way into the financial
sector without moving in-house.

Professional services

Technology experts from professional
services firms provide specialist advice
to help other business avoid technology
problems in their accounting, security
and legal compliance processes. They
assess how organisations run their IT
systems, evaluate risk and make
recommendations to help clients
protect and handle data correctly.

Retail

The huge growth in e-commerce over
the past few years has resulted in a
high demand for technologists with
the relevant skills. Developing multichannel
shopping options is an
important focus for many retailers at
the moment. Technology is also key to
many other aspects of a retailer’s
business, such as coordinating its
supply chain and analysing trends in
sales performance.

Banking and investment

Investment banks recruit
technologists both into support roles
(keeping the IT infrastructure up and
running) and in-house software
development. Yet other opportunities
are often overlooked. Recruiting IT
graduates is a key focus for some
banks and investment management
firms.

Engineering

Engineering companies recruit
technical graduates both to develop
their core projects and to support their
business systems.

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