Olivia Wolfheart MBCS gives a roundup of the latest BCS activity aimed at supporting career development throughout the pandemic.
BCS aims to be a source of inspiration and support for future tech talent and provides events, learning resources and guidance - in increasingly digital ways. Here are just some of the recent activities.
This year, we were a strategic partner for EngRec, a virtual exhibition and conference for early careers engineers led by IMeche, held on 29 October 2021. We were able to provide attendees with information on career pathways and BCS membership. The event also brought with it the opportunity to find out more about the exciting career opportunities through a number of seminars and talks held throughout the day.
One of the talks provided attendees the chance to hear from early careers professionals who have found jobs in the current climate. The panel shared their experiences and discussed how they have adjusted into the workplace during the pandemic.
The panel gave some sage advice on the day, including tips about:
- Job searching - as well as using the traditional method of searching jobs boards and company websites for vacancies, it was advised that job-seekers contact a few local recruitment agencies and also use specific networks to make connections to find out about opportunities from word-of-mouth as well
- Staying resilient and not being too hard on yourself - if you didn’t do as well as you wanted during an interview.
- Keeping your spirits up and not becoming disheartened - if you don’t get roles straight away is really important. One of the panellists explained that had an 8-month gap between graduating and getting their first role and advised that you can use this time to make yourself even more employable by continuing to learn new skills. Employers will want to know how you are continuing to develop yourself whilst looking for opportunities.
- Being open to a range of different opportunities - as you never know how one role could lead to another. Some of the speakers had experienced relocating for their first roles and highlighted the importance of making new connections both within the workplace and with external networks as well.
And, when starting a new role:
- Asking for help - starting your first role will be daunting but one of the speakers raised the fact that you can use your newness to your advantage - don’t be afraid to ask questions and be open about what you don’t know. It’s a great way to learn and people are willing to help you pick up new skills, have the confidence to approach people and network both with your colleagues, and more widely.
Many of the themes and a lot of the advice provided in this discussion was similar to what was shared by the panel at our ‘Graduating, Surviving and Thriving’ webinar which our BCS London Central branch held last year.
Last month, we were also involved once again in the annual CyberFirst and CyberFirst Schools virtual careers fair showcasing BCS membership and careers resources. Our booth included specific insights into cyber security with Inside Cyber and Life in Cyber Security videos showing early career professionals telling the story of how they got into their roles and demystifying what a career in cyber could look like on a daily basis.
On a more localised level we recently supported our BCS Berkshire branch to get involved with an “Inspiring STEM” virtual careers event which was attended by over 400 young people. The event contained various activities and some of our early career members working in software engineering and cyber security took part in a Q and A activity with the teachers and students.
Real IT Bites
Our BCS Birmingham branch have also been active in supporting careers. They have held an early career webinar series ‘Real IT Bites’ hosted by one of our volunteers, Jag Sohal. The series provides excellent insight and advice for early career professionals and includes sessions focused on essential future competencies within IT and a chance to hear success stories and advice from other early career professionals.
Online support sessions
As well as taking part in external events such as these, we continue to produce resources to inspire and inform those looking to get into tech. Recently we have held a number of online sessions which support people who are looking to get into tech or are taking their first steps in the industry.
Get qualified with BCS
Whether you are just starting out, looking to progress, or interested in changing careers completely, there is a BCS qualification to suit you.
Our careers inspiration webinar series showcases a range of different jobs within tech including app development, games design and digital marketing. The speakers at these sessions provide insight into the different roles, what their daily life in the role is like, and any advice for those aiming for a similar job in the future.
Our What about a career in AI?, and What about a career in Business Analysis? webinars have expert panellists discussing these disciplines, which qualifications and experience would help your career development in these areas.
Next steps in education
As well as providing careers information, we also want to support people who are taking their next steps in education. In September we held an education inspiration panel discussion with a recent apprentice, a computing undergraduate and a degree apprentice about why they chose their pathway, how it suits them, and some advice for young people (and parents / carers) getting ready to choose their next steps in education. We are aiming to do a similar discussion with a panel of t-levels students in the coming months.