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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

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