Selecting a career in tech
Career Advice

How to Discover your Dream Tech Career

The IT and technology industry is made up of a range of employers that operate in all types of business sectors. Understanding this space can help you identify a good assortment of companies that would suit your skills set, career aims and lifestyle. Plus, you’ll impress recruiters much more if you can show you have considered your options.

Know What you Want from your Job

With a wide range of options on offer, you need to know how to search for the right IT employer and career. Get started by considering two key factors:

  1. What type of work would you like to do? Do you want to do loads of coding or none at all, but still use your technical reasoning? Would you prefer to be business focused, or enjoy the best of both the technology and commercial worlds? Do you want to hear about troubleshooting daily, or working on projects with longer deadlines? If you’re not sure that you want to focus on one particular area from the outset, explore tech employers offering programmes that allows for you to work in different roles or business areas before you specialise.
  2. How mobile are you prepared to be? Technology careers vary widely in terms of how mobile you need to be. If you’re looking to become a consultant, expect ti spend your working week wherever your current client is based, maybe catching a plane home for the weekend. Likewise, newbies in IT services may be required to spend the week on their clients’ premises. In contrast, if you choose a very technical role such as a developer or software tester, you’re likely to spend the vast majority of your time in the same office with perhaps the odd trip out. Business and management-focuses roles (eg. project management) tend to fall somewhere between the two – they often require a degree of travel but this can vary depending upon the precise role and company. Try to assess honestly how mobile you are prepared to be. Regular travel may seem glam at the start, but are you really happy to put week-time evening pursuits on hold?

Know What the Employer Wants from You

As you begin to establish what you want from your job and the type of organisation you’d like to work for, it’s essential that you think about the requirements of the role and what the employer wants from you as an individual. This will help you to determine whether you are truly a good match for the job and and your chosen employer. It’ll also make apparent the ‘extra’ skills and attributes that you’ll need to bring to the table.

Recruiters report that students applying for gradate jobs in technology roles are particular culprits for not taking applications and employability seriously enough. Even if you’re studied computer science and have been planning your career from day one of university, there are still some extra steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of securing a graduate job with your chosen company. During your job hunt, make sure you think about the employers’ needs – not only your own. 

Types of IT Employer

Almost all businesses need to use technology and many employ specialist IT staff, so you can find vacancies in a huge variety of industries. The following offer large numbers of technology jobs:

  • Software companies
  • Hardware companies
  • Games companies
  • Technology consultancies (who offer technology consulting services – see above)
  • IT services providers (who look after companies’ IT needs for them if they don’t want to do it themselves)
  • Telecoms companies
  • Banks and other finance organisations
  • Retailers
  • Engineering companies
  • The public sector (eg hospitals, central and local government, the secret intelligence service)

To give an example of entry-level public sector roles in IT, the civil service offers an apprenticeship in ‘digital and technology’ (programming and web operations) and a graduate programme in ‘digital and technology’. GCHQ offers apprenticeships in ‘IT, software, internet and telecoms’. So if you want a public service role, it is possible within an IT career.

Research Sectors and Employers

Researching potential employers is vital to an effective job search. This research comes in handy at three pivotal times during a job search: first when you’re deciding what kind of employer you’d like to work for, then when you are ready to apply, and finally when you’re interviewing and your knowledge of the company is put to the test.

You’ll need to have completed research into an employer in order to tailor your application and ensure that it impresses recruiters. Carrying out research will also help you to confirm your job choices, so you can be sure that the role and employer that you are applying for is the right one for you. Recruiters will also expect you to have an understanding of how their organisation operates, and the sector on a wider scale; they may even ask you directly ‘What do you know about the company?’ or ‘What distinguishes us from our competitors?’, either as part of the online application or during interviews. Even if you are not asked you these questions, recruiters will still expect you to answer them without prompting.

Do you know what you wan to do in tech? Leave a comment below.

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