There are a range of careers in IT. You could work as part of the IT support team at an organisation, helping people with tech problems, or you might end up working on the development side of things, building new software or websites for businesses that need them.
Take a look at the reasons why people work in IT, the careers available, as well as the skills and qualifications needed for a job in IT.
- Why work in IT?
- What careers are available in IT?
- What skills are needed to work in IT?
- What degrees help with a career in IT?
Why work in IT?
Provide an essential service
A career in IT gives you the chance to work for any kind of business, as most workplaces use IT equipment. You could work for a technology company, but you could also get a job in a university or school, the NHS or the government. You’ll be providing an essential service too, as lots of people depend on IT software to do their jobs, increasing your employability and job stability.
An IT career provides a good opportunity for development. Part of your job will be staying up to date as technology evolves, meaning you’ll always be learning new things. A job in IT can also allow you to gain skills in a specific area, meaning you can start in a more junior position but eventually go on to specialise. This career development should see your wage increase too.
Are you someone who enjoys figuring out solutions to things? A large part of IT is identifying a problem, troubleshooting it, and solving the issue. This could be figuring out why somebody can’t access their emails, but lots of IT roles involve solving company-wide issues, such as programming software to help a team complete a particular task.
What careers are available in IT?
The IT sector spans a variety of different job roles. The most common jobs in IT include:
- IT technician or support specialist – help people to install software, fix computer-related problems, and ensure that all tech systems used by the company are running smoothly.
- Quality assurance (QA) tester or technician – test new or existing software and tech to make sure it is working properly before it goes ‘live’ (before other colleagues or customers can start using it).
- IT security specialist – make sure businesses are safe from technological threats, such as hacking, so that data and information stored on a company’s servers stays secure.
- Systems analyst – analyse a business’s technology and software, to identify where things can be streamlined in order to make processes more efficient.
- User experience (UX) designer – work on the branding, usability and functionality of a product. They collect user feedback to make sure a product is easy to use, works efficiently and effectively and will be successful when sold to consumers.
You can find more IT-related roles in our careers in computer science article.
What skills are needed to work in IT?
Although every IT career is different and some IT jobs require specialist knowledge, there are a few skills that will benefit you in any area within IT:
- Technical skills – it goes without saying, if you are looking for a career in IT, you’ll need to have a good understanding of technological systems and software.
- Analytical – an aptitude for undertaking research and investigating different ways of doing something will put you in good stead for a career in IT.
- Communication – not everybody has an in-depth knowledge of IT, so you will need to be able to communicate complicated information in a way that’s easy to understand.
- Resourcefulness, perseverance and creativity – these are key skills when it comes to solving issues that aren’t a quick fix or creating new software that requires you to think outside the box.
- Project management – there are lots of small elements that go into an IT project, so you will need to manage these elements and keep up with a project timeline to deliver work on time and to a good standard.
- Leadership – as you move up in your career, you may be given more responsibility, such as taking ownership of a project or managing a team of people.
- Flexibility – you may start your day with the intention of working on one thing, only for something to go wrong with a piece of software that requires urgent attention, so flexibility is a great attribute to have in these scenarios.
If you are interested in a specific field or job role within IT, it’s a good idea to find adverts for those roles and look at the job description and person specification. Here you can identify the skills and experience you already have and where you need to improve in order to meet the essential criteria for the role.
Take a look at the graduate skills that employers are looking for.
What degrees help with a career in IT?
A lot of job roles in IT require a bachelor’s degree in a related subject, such as:
- Information technology
- IT and technology
- Computer science or information science
- Business analysis and technology
- Web design/development
- Computer engineering
- Software engineering or software development
We would recommend checking the job descriptions of the kind of job you are hoping to do. Here you can see if there are particular degrees that recruiters are looking for.
If university isn’t the right path for you, there are some employers that prefer skills and experience over qualifications. If you have a good understanding of computer programs and software, there are opportunities for you to land a junior role and work your way up. Although it might be a good idea to gain a certification from a tech company like Microsoft, in order to demonstrate this knowledge.
Last updated on 23 January 2023Share this article