UCL Careers
  • Welcome

    The UCL Careers team use this Blog to share their ‘news and views’ about careers with you. You will find snippets about a whole range of career related issues, news from recruiters and links to interesting articles in the media.

    If you are a researcher, we a specific blog for you.

    We hope you enjoy reading the Blog and will be inspired to tell us your views.

    If you want to suggest things that students and graduates might find helpful, please let us know – we want to hear from you.

    Karen Barnard – Director, UCL Careers

    UCL Careers is part of The Careers Group, University of London

    Accurate at the time of publication
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  • Assistant Management Accountant: Inspire Me

    By Weronika Z Benning, on 24 August 2016

    September 2016 sees the first cohort of students starting at the new School of Management postgraduate campus at Level 38, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf. Located just one floor above is Level39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator space for finance, cyber-security, retail and smart-city technology companies. Level39 offer small businesses the space and support to grow, through a tailored curriculum, expert mentors, and a variety of events, and have helped entrepreneurs turn simple products into multi-million pound businesses.UCL School of Management’s Employer & Alumni Engagement Officer, Ally Hawley, spoke with UCL alumna Vesela Vukova to discuss her role at Level39.

    Vesela Vukova

    Vesela studied the Finance Pathway of Masters in Management, graduating in 2015, and is now an Assistant Management Accountant at Level39.

    How did you get into your role?

    In my third term at UCL School of Management I was doing a consultancy project that was focussed on technology and co-working environments in London. I was doing some market research and Level39 just stood out from the other places I had researched as an amazing place! It is the largest accelerator for fintech, cyber security, retail and smart cities led technology companies. I checked their website careers section frequently and an opportunity came up, I applied and got the job!

    What are the best things about working in your role?

    I love that my role goes beyond crunching numbers, it’s about understanding what stands behind the numbers, and what can be done in the future to accelerate a company’s growth. Also I like that my role involves working with all the stakeholders of Level39, from Team39 to our parent company Canary Wharf Group, to Level39’s members, to the suppliers that we use.

    What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

    I previously worked in corporate banking and in this role the answers to all the questions that came up in my job were either written down somewhere, or there would be a department within the organisation to help. In start-up industries there is no guidance already written, you must set up the processes and procedures, which can be really challenging. On the positive side Level39 has a really entrepreneurial team and we always find a way around the problems that we face.

    What does a typical day in your job involve?

    My job is really diverse, there is no typical day. Some days I’m focussed on accounting and financial reporting as that is a major part of my role. Some days I am meeting with suppliers or meeting with Level39 members to support them with financial matters. Other days I will work on other projects with my Level39 Team, for example helping to integrate a new system.

    What skills are important in this role?

    Problem solving is really important, as are attention to details, pro-activity and people skills.

    What top tips would you pass on to a student interested in this type of work?

    In general terms I would advise students to develop their networking skills and to search for opportunities that are out there. More specifically in relation to my role I would advise them to develop their problem solving skills. One way to do this is by obtaining as much knowledge as possible either from lectures, case studies or any other UCL activities. The real life cases that I studied as part of my Masters really helped me to gain practical, hands on experience.

    What do you think about the new Canary Wharf Campus for UCL SoM Post Graduate Students?

    It is quite similar to the reason why Level39 is located here. Fintech, Cyber Security, retail and smart cities are all present right here in Canary Wharf. Being here makes it much easier to connect with organisations in these sectors, as well as the other located here such as banking and finance. This is the same for students, it is much easier for them to attend employer events, interviews and internships. It also means it will be easier to attract high quality employers to come onto campus and engage with students. I definitely think that students will benefit from being based at Canary Wharf!

    To find out more about the School of Management and its Canary Wharf Campus go to: https://www.mgmt.ucl.ac.uk/

    To find out more about Level39 visit: www.level39.co

    Technology Consultant : UCL Alumni

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 22 June 2015

    Alan Ying, MSc Technology Entrepreneurship 2009 alumnus, tells us why doing a Masters at UCL helped his career as an Senior IT Consultant at FDM Group.

    “Growing up in the ‘dot com bubble’ and witnessing the growing potential of the digital world, committing to an IT career was a no-brainer since my childhood. Alan Ying -  FDM Group

    I obtained my bachelor degree in Computer Science back in 2008, then moved on to extend my IT knowledge from a business perspective by doing a Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL in 2009.  I chose this course because I wanted to broaden my understanding within the field of IT and I was particularly interested in the process from an idea to a product on the shelf.  The location of the University was perfect, especially as a business course, UCL attracts a fantastic mix of candidates from across the globe, and the all-important business and social events were right on our doorsteps! The course focused on the fundamental concepts of how to survive as a start-up.  We had in-depth discussions on business cases and analysed the reasons of success as well as the mistakes we shouldn’t make.  As well as learning a great deal on the course, the part I enjoyed the most was the combination of networking and industry insight at the Thursday night events. This involved a guest presentation with entrepreneurs and business aficionados, where they shared their experience and talked us through their ups and downs during their journey to success.  I’d also like to stress that the inspirational lead lecturer, Dr Chapman made the course ever so exciting and I much appreciate the time and effort he invested in my class.

    I completed my Masters at a difficult time for the economy: for those who are young enough to remember, neither of these two years were ideal for employment, due to the economy meltdown and the bankruptcy of numerous leading financial firms. It was the most challenging time for job hunters in decades! FDM Group was one of the few IT consultancy firms that was still growing during the recession and they were looking for candidates who were bilingual and who held a computer-related degree; it was a perfect match. UCL have a fantastic network that was demonstrated by the career fairs that they organised. The ones that I attended opened my eyes to the possibility and opportunities out there and helped refine my career path after graduation

    My 10-week training started immediately after I made it through the interview stages and was accepted onto the Graduate Programme. I was glad to be joining a company with top-notch training facilities, a global network and a market-driven strategy that suited client demands.

    Upon completing my training in the Academy I obtained a professional IT qualification that became a game changer in terms of my future career: the ISTQB certificate for Software Testing. FDM Group arranged interviews for me with clients within the banking industry and after a successful interview with HSBC I was placed on site. My first assignment was to cover for a Senior Test Analyst on maternity leave!

    No matter how technically talented you are, your first experience in a professional IT environment, especially in one of the biggest banks in the world, is never going to be easy. The amount of industrial and internal terminologies and abbreviations used on a daily basis is comparable to a whole new language; in my early days I kept a mini booklet in my pocket where I wrote down all the new ‘words’ I learnt every day and revised them at night. My FDM Trainer was absolutely spot on when he told me that IT is never a nine-to-five job. After only a few weeks on site I had earned the trust of the HSBC management and was given an opportunity to look after a small project on my own; this really helped my career development and further enhanced my skill-set, helping me to become a better IT Consultant for years to follow.

    The second placement I took up through FDM Group was at BGL Group. They were the company behind CompareTheMarket.com and also provided services to create web-based insurance solutions to their co-operate partners and clients. I was brought on board to support the national QA team to protect the intense timelines across numerous projects.

    I am now an E2E Test Manager of Barclays Mobile Banking Applications and have been working on various Barclays mobile projects since I was placed at Barclays 4 years ago. My chief responsibility is to amaze our customers by allowing them to experience next-generation digital mobile solutions provided by the Barclays IT Team. No two days are the same at the office and new challenges arise every day. It is important to keep up to date with the latest digital trends, embrace them and integrate them into your own knowledge in order to provide informed and sophisticated advice to customers and clients.

    Throughout the years there were a few occasions where FDM Group clients wanted me to become their full time employee but I always ended up politely declining. Even now I appreciate how FDM provides professional training, adapts to the market needs and has an internal and external community with global reach – the exact same reasons I chose FDM Group in the first place.”

    For more information, please visit www.fdmgroup.com or for further information about Technology Consultant Careers visit, Careers Tagged.

    Employment Opportunities within the IT & Technology Sector

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 16 October 2014

    There are a wide variety of opportunities in the IT & Technology sector. Check these out …

    Industries that fall under the IT umbrella include:

    • computer programming;
    • computer consultancy;
    • computer gaming;
    • computer networking activities;
    • computing facilities management;
    • data processing;
    • data hosting activities;
    • internet service provision;
    • telecommunications;
    • web portals.

    Within these industries, there are many spheres of work available to graduates, including:

    • art and design;
    • design and development engineering;
    • electrical and electronic engineering;
    • financial management;
    • human resources management;
    • information technologies;
    • marketing and PR;
    • operational management;
    • project management;
    • production management;
    • strategy and planning.

    The IT and computing sector is forecast to continue to expand, and to be a key element of business growth. Employment in the sector over the next decade is projected to grow nearly five times faster than the UK average.

    Who are the main graduate employers?

    Many of the largest companies in this sector are organisations that play multiple roles. The sector varies immensely in occupational scope and breadth, and so do employers.

    In the private sector, big employers are typically international companies such as Accenture; Capgemini; Cisco; Cognizant; IBM; Infosys; Logica; Microsoft; Tata Consultancy.

    In addition, however, over half of IT professionals find roles outside of the IT industry. Other industries that are big employers of IT professionals include:

    • financial services
    • major retailers
    • telecommunications
    • public sector
    • manufacturing
    • games development

    Many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the industry provide a range of specialist services, particularly in consultancy and technical roles. Common jobs for graduates are software designers and engineers; web developers and producers; computer analysts and programmers; web designers, IT consultants; help desk technicians.

    What are the key issues in the IT sector?

    With the current situation in the global economy, business is operating in a climate of uncertainty, and this makes companies reluctant to make major decisions. Infrastructure and technology upgrades are not always a priority. This is considered by far the biggest pressing issue for UK IT firms.

    The sector is highly innovative, but also subject to constant technological development. This can present a significant challenge in ensuring businesses and staff are able to adapt to constantly changing technological requirements.

    The fast-moving nature of parts of the industry, and the continuing growth of the sector means that many employers are experiencing significant skills demand. Recruiters reported difficulties recruiting software developers and programmers and web designers, and found the following skills most likely to be in short supply: .NET, ASP.NET, Dynamics, SharePoint, Visual Basic, Visual Studio, C# and PHP. The sector also reported gaps in sales skills, business skills, higher level technical skills and sector knowledge.

    Data security, privacy and intellectual property issues are all important in the sector and businesses spend significant resources to deal with current requirements and to be prepared to adapt to a changing legislative landscape.

    Source: Prospects

    The UCL IT & Technology Fair on Thursday 16th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Cisco

    “But I’m not studying computer science – can I still work in IT & Technology?”

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 15 October 2014

    The answer is YES!

    IT & Technology is a broad sector which encompasses a multitude of roles and types of companies. In addition to the programming and developer roles typically associated with the sector there are also a wide range of other positions: project managers, business analysts, consultants, salespeople. For these roles, employers state that deep technical knowledge is often not initially required; what is important is an interest in technology, a desire to learn and possessing business-orientated skills such as communication and project management.

    Melanie Baldo graduated from UCL in Italian and Management Studies and is now a Project Manager at Bloomberg. Melanie states: “I never for one minute imagined when I graduated with a degree in languages that I would be working for a financial data company running some of their most complicated and important projects with high profile clients.”  Whilst in the Technology sector, Melanie’s role focuses on client relationships and project management and she encourages students from non-technical backgrounds to apply. Many technology based roles do not require a technology background and companies often provide training for these positions.

    The UCL IT & Technology Fair gives you the opportunity to discover how IT & Technology underpins business and the diversity of opportunities available.

    The UCL IT & Technology Fair on Thursday 16th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Cisco

    IT and computing: Employment trends

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 15 October 2014

    The IT industry is continuing to expand rapidly. Employment opportunities are continuing to increase at all levels and in different industry sectors.  Employment in the IT sector is expected to grow at 2.19% a year, almost 5 times faster than the predicted average growth for the UK.

    The IT sector is looking very positive for the future;

    • Increase in use of personal devices – this means a greater need for IT and telecoms professionals who are able to understand the vulnerabilities of underlying architecture and infrastructure and to develop new security solutions.
    • Development of sustainable IT to minimise the environmental impact of technology.
    • Growth is predicted to be strongest in highly skilled areas – software professionals, ICT managers, IT strategy and planning professionals.

    What skills are needed?

    Employers do recruit graduates with non-IT degrees into consultancy and business analysis roles, where they can apply a broad technical knowledge to commercial environments. More technical roles such as network engineers, software developers and programmers do require graduates with relevant technical degrees such as computer science, information systems and software engineering.

    The ‘soft’ skills required are:

    • Communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills
    • Teamwork
    • Organisation and planning
    • Problem solving
    • Commercial awareness and customer focus
    • Enthusiasm and motivation
    • Adaptability, flexibility, willingness
    • An ability to learn new skills quickly

    There is a skills shortage in this sector. The skills that graduates often lack are;

    • Business skills
    • Higher level technical skills
    • Sector knowledge/experience
    • Technical skills: programming languages, operations systems knowledge, network and infrastructure understanding and development skills.

    Research shows that employers want to attract high quality recruits to IT and computing, which means postgraduates, and specifically doctoral graduates, are very well placed to take advantage of this skills shortage. Doctoral study is not essential although it can provide an edge in an increasingly competitive job marketplace. A doctorate degree still needs to be supplemented by continuous personal skills development.

    It is predicted that the skills shift that is already taking place in the IT and computing sector from the UK to lower cost countries will continue to create challenges in terms of career paths and skills development.

    Source: CRAC

    The UCL IT & Technology Fair on Thursday 16th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Cisco

    To video CV or not to video CV

    By Manpreet Dhesi, on 5 February 2014

    If you were eagle eyed, you may have spotted an article in the Evening Standard last night that suggested Video CVs (or Me-Vs as they called them) are heading to a recruitment process near you.

    It is certainly becoming increasingly common, along with Skype interviews. At the very least it is one way to that might help you stand out from the crowd.

    popcorn

    Speaking personally, I think this is an interesting development but one which has a number of challenges. I certainly can understand that it can show some personality before meeting a person, and that is valuable. However I fear that not all great candidates are naturals in front of a camera and this might actually introduce attractiveness/performing talent bias which may reduces the effectiveness of the recruitment process. A study in Italy last year showed that (at least in Italy) attractive candidates have a higher success rate for getting interviews!

    I have sourced some quick guides to help you get started in this brave new world if you want to try something different or your application requires it.

    > From Inspiring Interns – an infographic with all you need to know: http://www.inspiringinterns.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-video-cvs

    >Another useful resource from Inspiring Interns – a dos and don’ts video (the meat starts at 1:12): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWGOuVdwrbw#t=11

    >For a bit of contrast, another quick guide from TotalJobs: http://www.totaljobs.com/careers-advice/cvs-and-applications/how-to-make-a-video-cv

    > An online job board with video CVs at its heart. I only encountered them while looking up links for this post, so I don’t know much. But they are certainly intriguing: http://www.videorecruit.com

    Some examples:

    This is a YouTube interactive CV. It has over 300,000 views which is pretty impressive and the production values are well within the reach of most people!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EzNll1U2N8

    Adam Pacitti hit headlines for buying a billboard to ask for a job. He also made a video CV at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGNxic8JG7o

    And lastly, one for the innovators out there: Dawn Siff used Vine to create a 6 second CV! https://vine.co/v/b6wxtwrwP7P

    Lastly, I just wanted to share the best tip I encountered. Look into your webcam for Skype interviews – don’t make eye contact with the person on the screen! Very easy to get wrong!

    Have you found any video CVs that you’d like to share? We’d love to see them!

    – Trevor Bibic, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers.