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Employment Opportunities within the IT & Technology Sector

ManpreetDhesi16 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?”

ManpreetDhesi15 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

ManpreetDhesi15 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

Planning on attending the UCL Engineering Fair? Read this first!

ManpreetDhesi12 October 2014

For those of you who have never been to an employer fair, you’re in for a treat: between 20-40 employers all in one place, each standing next to a glossy banner advertising their company, 45 minutes of queuing just to get in, hundreds of students pushing past you in order to ‘network’, it’s hot, stuffy, frenzied……Engineering Fair 2013

If this image fills your with some dread, you are not alone. However, with the right approach and a little research, the Engineering Fair (and all UCL Employer Fairs) could be a crucial step for you in helping build your career. Read on for some top tips…

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH

All fairs will have a list of employers attending on the event’s website– for Engineering, it is here. Read it! And do a little research on each company to help you choose a handful of key targets to approach. Start with the basics: what do they do? What types of divisions do they have: Chemical? Mechanical? Civil? What skills and expertise are they looking for? Which areas are they expanding into? Have they won any new awards? Do they place graduates mostly on site or in the office, or a mixture of both? What about summer internships? Sandwich year placements? Go even further by finding out what makes them different from their competitor – ie. a particular project(s), sector focus or working culture.

Spefically, you want to be able to target a company that works in the area(s) that are right for you. Whether you are from Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, the Bartlett, Maths, or other – do some research on the companies attending and find out what divisions they have, or what kinds of specialisms they have, which link to your own background.

  • PREPARE INTERESTING QUESTIONS

You may be thinking – what is an interesting question? First clue: not something that can be easily read on the company’s website. Engineering Fair 2013

Second clue: you are talking to an actual human being, who, like you, has thoughts, opinions, a back story, and with the right prodding, can give you a world of information you could never find through desk research. So, ask the questions that will give you insight into what it really means to work at that company.

And a final clue – 9 times out of 10, graduate recruiters will jump at the chance to talk about themselves. Not only does it offer a break from having to listen to student ‘pitches’ all evening, but it allows the opportunity to really reflect on what they like/don’t like about their job, and ideally will remind them of why they are representing this company in the first place.

The key to being interesting is to be INTERESTED. There’s a person in front of you, ask them to tell you their story.

  • OK, BUT WHAT SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO ASK?

With all the above in mind, you might want to think about your questions in terms of finding out about the following:

  1. Details of the work, job satisfaction and motivation
  2. Career progression and development
  3. Colleagues, culture and environment
  4. The sector
  5. Routes in
  6. Managing the application process
  7. Areas of expansion of the business
  8. New technologies that they are promoting

Good questions could include: ‘what was your route into the sector?’; ‘what was the biggest surprise you found about working at xxx company?’; ‘looking back, what key skills do you think helped YOU to do well in this company?’

Or

‘how would you describe the typical atmosphere in the office day to day? Is it friendly/formal/informal? Are there lots of meetings?’; ‘why did you choose to work at xxx instead of the key competitors?’

Or finally

‘could you give me an idea of some of the areas that most applicants typically struggle with during the application process?’

Engineering Fair 2013Quick tip: read the name badge of the employer to see which area of the business they work in. If this person is from HR, they won’t be able to give you insight into the specific role you are interested in, but they can give you insight into where candidates typically succeed/fail in the application process. If they are a ‘business line’ staff, ie. they do the kind of role that you’re aiming to get to eventually, then you should focus all your questions around gaining insight from them on how they find their day-to-day job, working in that company, etc.

4) HELP! HOW DO I START THE CONVERSATION?

First, try to approach an employer when there are few- or no- other students hanging around that stand. This way you’ll have their undivided attention.

Introduce yourself- say your name.

Give a quick but personal summary (about 15 seconds)– for example ‘My name is xxxx, I’m currently a third year MechEng Student and have been building experience in xxxx. I’m really interested in your company (and do say the actual name of the company), specifically because of what you’ve been doing around xxxx, and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about what it’s like to work here, and your own experience?’.

Then go for the questions!

To close, thank them for their time, ask them their name (write it down after!), and repeat your name and say you’re looking forward to applying (if you are in fact interested in them).

  • TOP TIPS

-Get there early – it will be easier to keep the attention of an employer if you’re the second or third (not thirtieth) student they’ve spoken to that evening.

-Approach each employer on your own. Nothing is less appealing (or less professional) than a group of friends arriving together and taking turns asking questions.

-Dress smart. Showing that you take this event seriously will make a difference. In the words of a top recruiter, ‘first impressions count: your approach may not rule you out, but it certainly won’t rule you in’.

-please don’t just grab a bunch of freebies and walk away without saying anything to the employer.

-if you’re nervous, ‘warm up’ by approaching a few other companies not on your key target list.

-know when to move on – if there is queue forming behind you, or the employer is looking distracted, say your thank you’s, repeat your name, and move on

WRITE DOWN NAMES of key people you talked to. You can reference these conversations with specific recruiters in your applications further on – this shows motivation, interest and that you have made an effort to learn more about the company and the sector from the inside.

-bring a few copies of your CV with you, but only give it to an employer if they ask for it

And finally, try to enjoy it! After all, at the end of the day, employers are all just people, and they are there because they really are interested in you!

Good luck!

The UCL Engineering Fair on Monday 13th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by TARGETJobs Engineering.

Application tips for engineering students

ManpreetDhesi11 October 2014

The engineering sector is similar to most others and it highly competitive. We’ve popped together some tips to help with the application process.

Apply early

First and foremost if you want an engineering graduate job or internship then you better get applying. Deadlines for graduate schemes and internships are different from those at university and applying early could give you a huge advantage. Although many jobs have ‘open’ deadlines or closing deadlines around the end of the year, it pays to take action in September and October as deadlines don’t tell the full story.

Most employers assess applications as and when they are submitted. Many even hold assessment centres and make numerous job offers to early-bird candidates by the time the official closing date rolls round. This means that even though there are spaces left by the closing dates, there will be far more competition for fewer jobs.

Consider jobs or internships at small engineering companies

Don’t just look at big companies. By working for a smaller company you will often have more opportunities and responsibility than at a larger one. You’ll be amazed at the diverse range of smaller engineering consultancies that are able to offer graduates positions.

Non-engineering experience can boost your CV

  • If you can’t find work experience in engineering, try to find a role that enables you to develop and demonstrate key skills (leading teams, problem solving, negotiating, etc) which can then be transferred to engineering.
  • While at university, get involved with as much as you possibly can while still maintaining a 2.1 level of degree. If you can demonstrate core skills that your degree probably doesn’t give you, you will be more employable.

Be positive and passionate

  • Apply when you are in a positive state of mind.
  • Work on showing interest and passion. Create your own projects, follow your own processes, contribute to open source projects, etc.
  • Apply for jobs you have a passion for, and ignore how much they pay.
  • Your passion will show in your application/interview and you will be more likely to be successful.

Research the industry you most want to work in…

  • Do your homework into the particular sector you are interested in to give you an extra edge.

… but don’t get obsessed with an ‘ideal job’

Get feedback on unsuccessful applications

  • Seek feedback from employers, especially after an interview. I found the most effective method to be phoning people rather than emailing as emails can be easily ignored!

It’s not what you know…

  • Make use of any contacts you have already in jobs or the sector you want to work in. Networking is important: attending careers fairs and presentations are good starting points.

For more career advice, search for graduate jobs and internships in the engineering sector please visit TARGETjobs Engineering.

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

 

 

Ever wondered what types of exercises are used at assessement centres for engineering graduate jobs?

ManpreetDhesi9 October 2014

Psst…. We have the answers.

Assessment centres are used by most major recruiters as part of their selection process for their graduate engineering schemes. Although the content varies from company to company there are numerous common elements.

Most assessment centres are designed around companies’ core competencies – the skills they need the most in their graduate engineers. Technical ability will obviously be tested, but be prepared to show your soft skills. There’s no point designing a brilliant new product or system if you can’t communicate the concept to colleagues, for example, or convince them of its potential value to the business.

Typical activities:

  • Interviews: technical interviews, competency-based interviews or both
  • Group activities: these will often involve discussions and making decisions around a given business issue
  • Giving a presentation: you may be given the topic in advance and it may be something like discussing a technical project you have been previously involved in. Other employers give the topic on the day itself. This will often relate to the business and may involve candidates doing fact finding or decision making.
  • Tests: including psychometric tests, personality questionnaires, or test to check the basic understanding of engineering principles. Some employers also check candidates can extract relevant details from a large amount of information, and communicate the key points

The social side of assessment centres

Most assessment centres include opportunities to chat to recruiters or current employers. Use this chance to learn more about the business. Enthusiasm, interest in the company and good manners will go down well.

Dealing with assessment centres nerves

The more prepared you are the less nervous you will feel. Yan Zhou, a structural engineer and former Imperial College London student, talks about his preparation: ‘I collected information about the company and I tried to understand what kind of people the company was looking for. I also went to my careers service for advice and tips.’

Assessors will do their best to put you at your ease. Yan says, ‘In my technical interview, the engineers gave me clues when I was facing difficulties, which made it less stressful.’

Don’t start comparing yourself to other candidates. Employers are marking you against their selection criteria, not against other candidates. Keep the employer’s selection criteria in mind throughout the event.

Don’t shy away! However nervous you feel, remember that to succeed at an assessment centre you need to participate fully. If the assessors don’t see or hear anything from you, they can’t assess you. It is important to get your points across – but don’t be overbearing or rude.

You will have various opportunities to demonstrate your skills, so if you think you’ve not done so well on one activity, put it at the back of your mind and move on to the next task.

Finally, remember this is not just the employers assessing you; this is your chance to find out more about the organisation, and learn more about the values, structure and culture in the workplace.

For more career advice, search for graduate jobs and internships in the engineering sector please visit TARGETjobs Engineering

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

For the attention of logical thinkers!

ManpreetDhesi8 October 2014

Logical algorithms associated with science and developed in the effort to make sense of the world dominate your thinking patterns. You are studying fascinating ideas, structured theories and new ways to apply old ideas. There is an Engineering Fair on and you probably don’t really feel the pull to go and find out what is going on. The comfort of your course and academic work is too cosy for you.

The Engineering Fair is on because employers are looking for people like you. The world needs logical thinkers and problem solvers. They want to use your clear thinking to achieve results, your objective mind to highlight causes and effects, or utilise your lateral thinking to bring valuable perspectives to light.

The options for you are endless. You can work in technology, management, retail, law and financial professions.  In addition, many other specialist professions unrelated to your subject will be keen to harness your skills and train you. With so many choices, you have a challenge: which one to choose!

Like many other decisions you have to make, such as buying a mobile phone or finding a place to live, the more investment of time and grey cells that you spend researching, analysing, reading and checking things out the more informed you will be to choose the right career option for you. The Engineering Fair is the kind of opportunity that you can utilise depending on your time investment and preparation.

Make it your business to know their business and its relation to you.

So don’t just come browsing mindlessly.

  • Research the companies’ products, services and the overall industry.
  • Look into the roles the companies offer and consider/ predict the roles that they are going to need in the future.
  • Look at their industry and think of questions to ask to enrich your base knowledge.
  • For your career planning, think of roles that you might be interested in, and then identify why you are interested and what goals you are trying to fulfil.
  • Challenge yourself by asking difficult questions about how you will shape your future.
  • Make notes of your thoughts and reflect on which ones can be used for discussions at the Engineering Fair.

Use your talent to set targets to achieve at the fair in order to utilise this opportunity and draft a strategy to get the best out of the fair.

You will be surprised when you finish your studies; networking opportunities disappear and will not be so readily accessible. You may wish you had made the most of these opportunities!

The UCL Careers Engineering fair on Monday 13th October is kindly sponsored by Targetjobs Engineering.

 

 

UCL Engineering Fair is coming…

ManpreetDhesi7 October 2014

If you want to work for a great engineering company when you graduate or find out about internship opportunities, the UCL Engineering Fair 2014 is for you!

When: Monday 13th October 2014 5:30 – 8pm

Where: North and South Cloisters

The event will give you the chance to meet lots of employers that want to employ Engineering graduates. It will be a great opportunity to find out more about their companies, make contacts and see the breath of future career options.

Some employers include:

TARGETjobs (sponsor), AMEC, Centrica, Colas Rail, Fluor, Jaguar Land Rover, L’Oreal, Mot Macdonald, TFL, Thales and many more!

for more information: www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/fairs

Do I need to book to go to the Fair?
NO! Due to the size and duration of each Fair, visitors can come and go as they please while a Fair is on so booking is not necessary.

Please be aware however that the Fairs are very popular and entry to the exhibitor stands will be controlled to avoid overcrowding and entry to all Fairs is on a first come-first served basis. You may therefore be asked to queue on arrival and we thank you in advance for your patience. A valid UCL ID card (student, staff or GradClub member card) is required to gain entry into the Fair. If you don’t have valid UCL ID, you will not get in!

The UCL Engineering Fair 2014 is kindly sponsored by TARGETjobs Engineering

Markets Relationship Management: UCL Alumnus

ManpreetDhesi6 October 2014

Ahead of the UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October, we asked Yulia, what they do at Citi.

Name: Yulia Galasyuk

Degree: Economics BSc (2011)

Role: Markets Relationship Management, Citi

Can you tell me about the work you do?

I work in the Markets Relationship Management team at Citi. Our role is to ensure Citi’s largest Markets’ (Sales & Trading) clients have access to our products and services around the globe. This means I am constantly working with senior managers within our Markets business from different product areas and geographies. The majority of our focus and time is spent with clients. We are also involved in different projects that help define our strategy with clients.

What factors encouraged you to apply to Citi?

For me, the real decision maker was my interaction with Citi’s people. Prior to my internship at Citi, I organised a series of events with various banks and UCL’s Russian Society. Citi stood out in my experiences and I really connected with the people and sensed that they took a genuine interest in me. Through these conversations I was able to glean real examples of what Citi is famous for: very talented and smart people, the support of senior members of staff and being given responsibilities at an early stages. I obviously applied!

Can you tell me what tips you have for students wishing to pursue a similar career path?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be ashamed of saying “I don’t know”. Don’t forget that we are here to learn, so it is also important to follow up, show that you have done some work, investigation on the subject and try to find a colleague that can help. Please also make sure you come prepared for the interviews and are well versed in the history of Citi, its senior management and other publically available information.

What one tip might you have for students attending the Banking & Finance Fair in October?

Do your research and come prepared! There will be many companies at the fair looking for students like you. But how will you stand out? Research the organisations you are interested in first, by doing your research you can then ask the business representatives at the Fair intelligent questions based on your own opinions and ideas. You will also be able to work out very quickly which companies interest you and which don’t, then you can use your time at the Fair effectively networking and finding the right job opportunities out there for you.

The UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Citi and PwC.

What does an associate at PwC do?

ManpreetDhesi2 October 2014

Ahead of the UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October, we asked Sharon at PwC, what does an Associate do?

Sharon PwC profile picture

Sharon, PwC

Name: Sharon

Time at PwC: 1 year

Role: Associate: Assurance – Insurance and Investment Management

Can you tell me about the work you do?

I work in External Audit, with a particular focus on Insurance and Investment Management firms. On a day-to-day basis, this means working with clients to ensure their financial statements represent a true and fair picture of their finances, and are prepared in line with any applicable regulations. This in turn gives the users of the financial statements, such as potential investors, added comfort over the company’s financial position.

Can you tell me what working for PwC means to you?

Working for PwC means more than just prestige – it also means exposure to a range of opportunities seldom found in other organisations. It also means a steep learning curve where you may encounter high profile clients very early on, or it may mean developing working relationships with smaller clients. Although there is a steep learning curve – it’s set within an environment of support – including having an assigned buddy from my first week, a very constructive appraisal and feedback system from clients and managers, as well as a very strong culture of developing staff through courses and exposure to new areas. All of these features make working at PwC incredibly rewarding.

Can you tell me what tips you have for students wishing to pursue a similar career path?

Absolutely yes – I’d recommend researching as much, and as early as possible about the firms you wish to apply to. This includes the roles you may wish to apply for, and future career paths thereafter. This will hopefully help you understand what each company offers and how they differ. I’d also recommend:

  • Thinking about how your skills are suited to each different role you’re interested in
  • Looking to improve relevant skills via schemes available at UCL
  • Tailoring the modules of your degree to your desired future career path
  • Taking every opportunity to gain an internship or relevant experience – it’s the best way to get real exposure to a specific working environment and culture.
  • Applying as early as possible! PwC receives thousands of applicants for each recruitment round, and have deadlines for some business areas – so please make sure you get in quick!

What one tip might you have for students attending the Banking & Finance Fair?

Don’t be shy in asking questions! The employers have been in your shoes and they’ve volunteered their time to share their experience and advice with you. Please research and prepare your questions in advance and ask them with confidence!

The UCL Banking and Finance Fair on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th October 2014 is kindly sponsored by Citi and PwC.