Computing & IT
The Computing and IT sector is a fast growing and wide-ranging sector, with high levels of investment in technical innovation and developing skilled workers. Some jobs in this sector can be highly technical (requiring knowledge of software management and coding) while other jobs require a high degree of soft skills (such as communication and initiative) to sell products, share ideas and develop new ways of working.
Large IT companies commonly recruit computing and IT professionals but the public sector, telecommunications, financial services, retail, manufacturing and games development companies also largely recruit in this area. Over the next five years, employment in this sector is forecast to grow at 1.62% per annum, thus a career in computing and IT is certainly worth considering as you plan your career path.
Where do I start?
Within the computing and IT sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
Jobs roles in this sector include:
- Application analyst
- Applications developer
- Business analyst
- Data analyst
- Database administrator
- Games developer
- Geographical information systems officer
- Information security specialist
- Information systems manager
- IT consultant
- IT sales professional
- IT technical support officer
- IT trainer
- Multimedia specialist
- Network engineer
- Software tester
- Systems analyst
- Systems developer
- UX analyst
- UX designer
- Web designer
- Web developer
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT, is the industry body for professionals and a Chartered Institute for Information Technology (IT). The website provides a wide range of information and advice including job profiles, qualifications and training.
- TARGETJobs - Advice on the IT sector covering: how to get in, applications and interviews, training and development, industry news, and graduate jobs, schemes and work experience opportunities.
- Computer Weekly - Latest IT news and features from areas such as IT management, networks and communications, software, hardware, research and jobs.
- BBC - Latest news and emerging technologies from the BBC.
- JobStats - A detailed picture of the computing job market in the UK. You can discover which skills employers are looking for, where jobs are being offered, and how much you can expect to get paid.
- Tech Partnership - Provides useful information on industry news and events, professional standards and training.
- The Bubble Digital Careers Portal - A careers portal to help jobseekers discover different jobs and careers available in the digital industry.
While this sector is growing and employment is buoyant, job opportunities often involve a competitive application process and the number of people applying for jobs can be high. Candidates who have previous (relevant) experience are viewed favourably by employers as they have developed important knowledge, skills and expertise; giving them the cutting edge against other candidates. However finding experience will take time and effort, employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Purple Door website.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Consider small and medium size companies, as well as larger organisations to help to widen your search for experience.
Different opportunities to gain experience
As part of your degree programme you may have the opportunity to take part in a salaried placement year, either in the UK or overseas to gain proven industrial experience by the time you graduate. This will provide you with an invaluable insight into working life and offer a unique opportunity to apply the industry knowledge you are learning as part of your studies.
Placements will also enable you to gain transferable skills in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork and time management, in addition to finding out more about a specific job role or industry, which will lead to more informed decisions upon graduating.
Your first point of contact to arrange your placement will be the placement office within your Faculty. Find out how to contact your Placements Officehere.
An internship is usually a work experience opportunity that is offered for a fixed period or a limited amount of time. Internships tend to be undertaken by students and graduates who are looking to gain more relevant/industry specific skills and experience in their particular field.
These opportunities can be paid for a period of between one to four months and typically take place over the summer, with closing dates generally around January to March, but some can be earlier.
Searching for placement and internship opportunities
The websites below provide further information about placement and internship opportunities across computing and IT:
- MyPurpleDoor - Purple Door’s online jobs board can be used to search for internships, work experience and summer opportunities across sectors and locations.
- RateMyPlacement - offers information on placements, internships, insights and work experience jobs with a range of IT companies in the UK.
- Gradcracker - as the UK’s careers website for Technology students, Gradcracker provides a search function for placements and internships relevant to your degree discipline.
- TARGETjobs - provides a specific section on different career sectors, with the ability to search for placement and internship opportunities in IT and technology.
- Prospects - has its own search tool for work experience opportunities across sectors, including information technology.
- Milkround - provides a search tool for internships and industrial placements across sectors, including IT and related business support roles.
Getting involved in volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop employability skills and experience a variety of working environments to assist you in discovering the right career path for you. It provides the chance to network, meet new friends and boost your confidence.
Volunteering also enables you to gain practical experience and working examples to support your graduate applications. If you choose to commit a significant amount of time and impress the organisation during your volunteering, they may also provide you with a professional reference.
Volunteer to get practical experience:
Approaching local organisations, charities or community groups who would benefit from your skills is one way of gaining that all-important experience. The competencies developed will be invaluable and enhance any speculative applications you make.
Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank, which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly, you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in Purple Door.
Examples of computing and IT-related roles that the Volunteering Team have previously advertised and recruited for include:
- Computer Club Volunteer with Personal Choice - assisting members with developing their general computer skills, including using Microsoft software packages, internet security and online safety basics.
- Online Operator Volunteer with Rowans Hospice - supporting the Online Sales Manager to post fundraising items online; enhancing skills in e-commerce and gaining experience of income generation.
- App Developer Volunteer with Pompey in the Community - working alongside Play More Pompey and the Web Design company - One2Create – to develop apps for iOS and Android to increase community engagement in events and football sessions.
- Lead Computer Tutor Volunteer with Citizens Advice Gosport - overseeing the delivery of computer workshops for members of the public and training and guiding Volunteer Assistant Tutors to develop the workshop courses following evaluation of the training.
- Code Club Leader with Code Club - running a weekly coding session with other volunteers for children aged 9 to 11 years old to deliver games, animations and websites, including developing skills in Scratch, HTML, CSS and Python.
These opportunities will provide you with invaluable experience and an opportunity to develop and enhance multiple transferable skills that you will be able to discuss as part of future applications.
If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for success when looking for experience
Before starting your search consider your requirements:
Initially, it is important to identify whether or not there is specific experience you wish to gain within computing or information technology or could your search be broader where you are looking to gain transferable skills?
Some key considerations for your search may include:
- Are you looking for experience that relates to a specific unit you are taking as part of your university course?
- What are your career goals and aspirations? How might the opportunity help you work towards these?
- Are there any gaps in your skillset that need to be addressed? How might an opportunity enable you to fill this gap?
- What is the time commitment and location of the role? Does this fit in with your plans and other commitments during term time or over the summer period?
- What type of organisation would you like to gain experience with? A bigger national or multinational company? A small to medium-sized enterprise, charity of not-for-profit organisation?
Make sure you carry out thorough research:
Explore the various areas within computing and information technology before you apply for work experience. Are you interested in working with applications, analysis or data? Do you have a specific goal to work on web design or development? Does consultancy or management appeal to you? As a starting point take a look at the job profiles included on theProspects website to consider the type of work experience recommended and the skills you will need to develop to enhance graduate applications to specific roles.
Use your initiative and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively - send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
Create a positive online presence:
Finding a job
There are many different areas within the computing and IT sector and work can be varied. Some of the areas you could get involved in include: translating software requirements into programming code; maintaining and developing programs and/or websites; cyber security; technical support; pre-sales, sales and post-sale support of hardware and software; quality assurance of software development and deployment, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.
The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:
- Health, financial, leisure, utility (such as gas, electricity, water), telecommunication and retail services
- Local and national government agencies
- Advertising, marketing and mobile phone companies
- Educational institutions
- IT companies and Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search
- IT Jobs online - A jobsite dedicated to IT and computing jobs.
- Cyber Security Jobsite - A job site aimed at candidates looking to work within the cyber security environment.
- Technojobs - A technical recruitment site specialising in the IT, telecoms, engineering and electronics industries.
- Datascope Recruitment - Vacancies in the games industry.
- Dice - A jobs board offering insights and connections to technical job opportunities.
- Computing - The latest IT and computer jobs, at all levels with leading UK employers.
- Women in Technology - The latest jobs, news and events for women in the technology industry.
- Fish4jobs - Jobs in IT, engineering, telecommunications, building, construction, electronics, aerospace and avionics.
- CWjobs - An IT recruitment website enabling permanent and contract IT jobseekers to search and apply for jobs across all skills and industry sectors.
- Unicorn Hunt - A tech jobs board.
- WISE - Job vacancies focused on STEM occupations.
Tips for finding a job
- Keep up to date with computing and IT news and trends by following the professional bodies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
- Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within computing and IT, check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
- Most companies have a Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities.
Need more help and information?
How can Purple Door help you?
Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and Covering Letters
- Application forms
- Job search
- And more......
Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.
Purple Door has an online Jobs Board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service.
Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or skype booked appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs.
If you need more information on working in computing and IT, why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research the sector in more depth.
- Prospects - Careers website which provides job vacancy information, an overview of the IT employment sector and careers advice.
- Association of Information Technology Professionals - AITP is a worldwide society for professionals in the IT industry.
- ISACA - A professional body which provides certification in information systems auditing, information security management, risk and information systems control, and the governance of enterprise.
- Microsoft Learning - Training for beginners to experienced IT professionals on Microsoft products and technologies.
- UKITA - A not-for-profit membership organisation and trade association which represents the interests of the small & medium IT, tech and digital sectors.
- TARGETjobs - A careers website which provides careers advice, an overview of employment sectors and job vacancy information.
- ISSA-UK - A leading membership association for the cyber security industry.
- Gamasutra - News and trends in the gaming industry.
- 3D World - Up to date information, creative tips and inspiration for web design, graphic design, 3D and more.
- Agency Central - A platform connecting job seekers to recruitment consultants.
- Frank Recruitment Group - A global recruiter of niche technology professionals, with subdivisions covering specific tech industries.
- PING IT Recruitment - Specialises in IT recruitment.
- Jump IT Recruitment Solutions - Connects IT, web and technology based job seekers with employers.
- 100% IT Recruitment - Permanent and Contract IT Recruitment across the UK, with specialist consultants in all areas of IT.
- Reed - Recruitment consultancy with a specialist site for IT jobs and careers in telecommunication.
- Datascope Recruitment - A recruitment consultancy for the games, online and mobile technology industries.
- Amiqus - Recruitment specialists for the games industry.