The growing potential of IT

October 2010

Growing potentialWith the right combination of training and commercial expertise, graduates can bridge the gap between university and employment to become leaders in the IT industry, says Genna Singpo, Spokesperson for FDM Group.

Imagine yourself walking along the financial hub of New York’s Wall Street, working for a blue-chip company and earning a salary of £63,000 after just four years? If this sounds good to you, then perhaps you should consider a career in IT.

IT enthusiasts looking for a very stable career choice should feel comforted in the fact that the IT industry has not suffered excessively during the recession; in fact, in many areas it has grown, and this reliance on IT consultants has led to demand far outstripping supply.

IT is a fast-paced and challenging industry that provides excellent job prospects and growth potential. However graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find entry-level jobs without direct commercial experience in the industry.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, IT graduates have the highest unemployment rate across all degree subjects, with 17 per cent of computer science graduates still unemployed six months after leaving university in 2009.

IT consultants are required have a profound understanding of current technologies, which presents a problem for graduates who lack the commercial training and experience to adapt to the constant development of new technological trends.

Valuable skills and training

Industry experts argue that IT companies need to be more willing to take a chance on graduates, instead of making it hard for those without experience to enter the job market.

Graduates should consider post-graduate training in specialist streams where there is particular growth and potential. New research reveals particular growth for IT services is being experienced in three key areas: improving security systems, better project management methodologies and higher infrastructure support.

Specialising in specific training streams such as testing, development, infrastructure support or project management through to certification is particularly appealing to companies looking for a high degree of knowledge and skill to fit in with company requirements.

SQL and UNIX are two fundamental core study areas recommended by FDM, an IT services provider, to undertake before graduates begin their training. Shoaib Iqbal started working at FDM in August 2010. He studied BSc Physics at Imperial College in London and is currently specialising in .Net Development, which requires him to learn specific skills in order to secure his career as a .Net Developer.

‘Having completed my UNIX and SQL seminars I am currently working on an SQL migration project, which tests my understanding of the important concepts. Being a developer, SQL is a very important aspect in my career and provides me with the sufficient knowledge to cope with the demands of the jobs market,’ he says.

Accredited qualifications in Sun Microsystems, VMware and PRINCE2 to the highest industry standards can have a credible advantage over more experienced individuals in the job market. By becoming certified on new and relevant technologies, graduates can strengthen their position by aligning themselves with new developments in the future.

Career prospects

According to the Higher Education Standards Agency, the average starting salary for entry-level graduates starts at £20,000. Those who pursue a career in IT however can earn anything up to £24,000 in their first year. This is £2,000 more than a science-related job, and after a second year in IT graduates can earn anything up to £27,000. After a third year, the sky is the limit.

A mixture of specialist training, further qualifications and commercial experience can provide graduates with the essential skills needed to build confidence in employers. Doing something pro-active to improve skills will make those graduates stand out and help candidates make themselves as competitive as they can be.

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