Careers advice and planning

Working in tech: what job sector would suit you?

22 Jun 2023, 13:23

Woman working in tech

In the modern world, technology plays a huge role not just in our daily lives, but in practically every organisation, business and institution. Possessing the right qualifications gives you the opportunity to work in tech in a variety of different circumstances, be it through self-employment, working for private industry, the civil service or for an NGO or charity.

Jobs in the tech industry have become diverse, covering everything from designing and programming computer systems to testing and maintaining those systems to training other IT professionals. The range of employment possibilities open to technology graduates is now quite vast.

The three types of technology employee

Employees account for the majority of the tech industry’s workforce. Working for a single employer and receiving a set salary might be the plan for most graduates, but there are more options available for qualified professionals in today’s marketplace.

Contractors are professionals provided by an agency to work on location and are usually paid by the hour. Contractors are expected to be specialists in their chosen field who can offer skills unavailable elsewhere in their clients’ organisation.

Consultants specialise in offering solutions to their clients’ problems. As they usually run their own business, provide their own technology and operate without an agency, their earnings are generally higher than contractors.

Graduates may be attracted by the greater flexibility offered by contracting and consulting work, but a considerable amount of experience is required for both these areas.

Where can technology graduates work?

As technology is used to some degree in every organisation and institution, technology graduates can find employment in practically every sector. Technology employers include:

  • IT services organisations

  • Technology solutions providers

  • Technology consultancies

  • Telecoms companies

  • Insurers

  • Accountants

  • Software houses

  • Games developers

Sectors you may have overlooked:

  • Financial technology (fintech) – While most large financial institutions have their own software teams, they also outsource development activities 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 path into the financial sector without moving in-house.

  • Professional services – Technology experts from professional services firms provide specialist advice to help other businesses 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 their clients protect and handle their data correctly.

  • Retail – The past few years have seen huge growth in e-commerce, resulting in a high demand for technologists with the relevant skills. Many retailers are currently focussed on developing multi-channel shopping options and technology is also essential to other areas of a retailer’s business, such as coordinating its supply chain and analysing sales performance.

  • Banking and investment – Investment banks recruit technologists into both support roles (keeping the IT infrastructure up and running) and in-house software development.

  • Engineering – Engineering companies recruit technology graduates to develop their core projects and support their business systems.

What do you want from your job?

Tech graduates with the right skills have a wealth of options, so it’s important that you find the employer and career best suited to your needs.

Two key factors should be taken into consideration before you begin your search.

  • The work you want to do – Are you seeking a role that requires a lot of coding, or none at all, while still employing your technical reasoning skills? Are you a more business focussed person? Maybe you wish to combine both the technology and commercial worlds? Are you looking for a role that offers new assignments on a daily basis, or would you prefer to work on projects with longer deadlines? If you are still undecided on a specific role, your best route could be to find an employer that offers a graduate programme that allows you to experience a variety of roles in numerous business areas.

  • Are you prepared to be mobile? – The number of opportunities available can depend on your willingness to work on a mobile basis. A consultant may be required to spend their full working week on-site, spending four or five nights in a hotel room and catching a flight if they wish to return home for the weekend. Workers in IT services may also be required to spend the week on their client’s premises. If you prefer to spend most of your time working in the same office, you should opt for a more technical role like a developer or software tester. Falling somewhere between mobility and stability are business and management-focused roles (eg project management), which may require some travel, depending on the role and the company. Most tech professionals claim travelling and sleeping in hotels are the least endearing aspects of their jobs while others embrace the lifestyle. How mobile are you really prepared to be?

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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