Graduate jobs in IT

Author
Rachel Swain, Editorial manager
Posted
November, 2018

There's lots of variety on offer for those looking for graduate IT jobs, so whatever your interests there's sure to be something that suits you

Application analyst

Also known as a problem analyst, technical adviser and system analyst you will maintain IT services and have face-to-face contact with users who need your technical support.

You'll be expected to work on multiple projects at once so you need the ability to switch between jobs quickly and stay in control of difficult situations. It's also important that you can explain technical information to non-technical users and elicit clients' needs.

Strong technical skills are essential as is knowledge of, and certification in, the relevant computer language (HMLS, CSS, #C, Microsoft SQL etc.) and applications.

Find out more about working as an application analyst.

Applications developer

You can expect to be writing specifications and designing, building, testing, implementing and sometimes supporting applications using programming languages and development tools. You will probably specialise in an area such as mobile phone applications, accounting software, office suites or graphics software.

A good level of technical knowledge with an in-depth understanding of at least one computer language is important. Most employers also expect a degree in a relevant subject such as computer science or information systems. Ingenuity, a logical approach to problem solving and patience are skills that will come in handy in this role.

Read about what other skills you'll need to become an applications developer.

Business analyst

It's your job to understand an organisation, identify their future needs and come up with solutions to meet those needs. You'll need to have a comprehensive understanding of the organisation and the sector it operates in to help them develop.

The role can be rewarding as you can make a huge difference to the success of a company and the satisfaction of its employees. It's no surprise then that competition for roles is high. A degree in a relevant subject such as business information systems can help you to stand out, although any degree that shows excellent analytical skills will be useful.

See what skills you need to be a successful business analyst.

Cartographer

You'll be responsible for the scientific, technological and artistic side of developing and producing maps. In addition to conventional maps you'll present complex information as diagrams, charts and spreadsheets.

Careful research and the collection and manipulation of data are a big part of the role so you'll need a keen eye for detail. Spatial awareness, colour vision and an eye for layout and design are also sought after skills.

There are no specific cartography undergraduate degrees so you'll need a degree in spatial science. Relevant subjects include earth sciences and geographic information technologies.

Discover more about becoming a cartographer.

Cyber security analyst

Sometimes referred to as an information security analyst or cyber intelligence analyst you'll protect an organisation by preventing, detecting and managing cyber threats. You could be offering advisory services to clients or working to protect the security of the organisation you work for.

In such a fast growing field there is currently a skills shortage, which means with the right skills and experience you could do well. You'll usually start in an entry-level or junior cyber security role. After several years of experience you could become a senior cyber security analyst or consultant.

Read all about life as a cyber security analyst.

Data analyst

If you're highly analytical, have strong mathematical skills, and are curious and inquisitive then a career as a data analyst could be for you. As well as understanding the data they provide insight and analysis through clear visual, written and verbal communication.

Entry level salaries start at £24,000 but experienced, high-level, consulting jobs can command £60,000 or more.

An undergraduate degree is not always required but a degree in a relevant subject such as business information systems or computer science can help.

Find out more about being a data analyst.

Database administrator

Involved in the planning and development of the database you'll also troubleshoot any issues on behalf of the user. It's your job to ensure that the data is consistent, secure and retrievable in an emergency. As companies depend on effective databases the role can be demanding as there is pressure to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Familiarity with data manipulation languages, knowledge of database design and business awareness are all skills that you'll need. It's worth gaining some experience in programming and familiarising yourself with as many database technologies and operating systems as possible. Most positions require knowledge of structured query language (SQL), Unix and DBMS.

Read more about what a database administrator does.

Forensic computer analyst

Working for the police or other law enforcement agencies, or for a specialist computer forensic company or investigative team it’s your job to investigate data breaches, security incidents and criminal activity.

Some organisations require 24/7 cover, meaning you could be working on a call-out rota, allowing for fast responses to information and cyber security or criminal incidents.

Due to the sensitive nature of some of the information you may encounter you may face restrictions on how much you can talk about your job. This is particularly the case if you work for the government, the Ministry of Defence or police departments.

Take a look at the skills required to be a forensic computer analyst.

Games developer

Involved in the creation and production of games for all platforms roles can vary depending on the size of the company. In a large organisation you may only focus on the programming and have no input in the visuals and story. While smaller independent games might see you work on both programming and design.

To prove your skills you'll need a working demo with examples of game programming you've created and for design roles a portfolio of your artistic work. The ability to code, experience of scripting and knowledge of specific software is also useful.

Gain an insight into the role of a games developer.

Geographical information systems (GIS) officer

As a GIS officer, you'll be involved in the collection of geographical and spatial information and its storage, analysis and presentation. At the start of your career you're likely to be doing detailed desk-based research as well as liaising with colleagues and contacts outside the organisation.

You will usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject such as computer sciences, geography or maths. In addition to this IT skills including the manipulation of complex databases and spreadsheets, familiarity with Ordnance Survey mapping and digitising techniques and the ability to translate client requirements into working solutions are all valuable skills to have.

Take a look at the career prospects of a geographical information systems officer.

Information systems manager

In charge of the technicians, programmers and database administrators you'll be responsible for the computer systems of a company. Before becoming a manager you'll need to gain experience in areas such as technical support and operations. The salary reflects the need for experience and you can expect to earn between £40,000 and £60,000.

Security maintenance and upgrade work will happen outside of office hours so you should expect to work unsocial hours. You could also be called out at any time to fix a major problem and should expect to work longer hours at the critical times of a project.

Find out what skills you'll need to be an information systems manager.

IT consultant

Advising clients on how to use information technology to meet their objectives and overcome problems, IT consultants can expect to earn £20,000 to £30,000 at graduate level. You will meet with clients to find out their requirements, work with them to define the scope of a project and plan the timescales and the resources needed.

You'll generally work 9am to 5pm but could be expected to work extra hours to meet deadlines. The job is mostly office based but this is often at the clients premises meaning you'll need to mirror their working hours.

Read about the role of an IT consultant.

IT sales professional

You could work in pre-sales giving technical details to customers to show how a piece of hardware or software meets their needs. Then there is the sales part, which involves negotiating an agreement. Finally there is post-sales support, which involves solving problems and suggesting training.

Technical knowledge can be helpful but it isn't essential and many companies consider candidates with relevant experience or a strong sales background. A related degree isn't always necessary but subjects with a high technical content or a business management component may be useful.

Find out how your career as an IT sales professional could progress.

IT technical support officer

Your role is to ensure the smooth running of computer systems making sure that users get maximum benefits from them. This could involve installing and configuring computer systems, diagnosing hardware and software faults and solving technical and applications problems. Immediate results will be expected in most situations and you will be under pressure to deal with problems quickly to ensure minimum down time for staff and customers.

You may need to work outside the usual 9am to 5pm day and working shifts, being on call and working extra hours to complete a job are all common occurrences.

Learn where the IT technical support officer jobs can be found.

IT trainer

Designing and delivering training programmes in information technology you'll need an aptitude for IT and an up-to-date knowledge of common applications and systems.

Graduate trainees can expect to earn between £18,000 and £25,000 depending on employer and location. You can earn more if you have a specialised or technical area of work and those who are freelance or self employed also earn more.

Experience is a must whether this is in computing or training. Many employers prefer you to have some sector experience, as it's essential that you understand the business context for the training you will deliver.

See what skills you need to be a successful IT trainer.

Network engineer

It will be your responsibility to set up, develop and maintain computer networks. You'll also support users and solve any problems that arise. Your role will depend on the sector and size of the company. For example, in a large investment bank you may have responsibility for one area of the system, whereas in a small company you may need to fix any IT-related problem that arises.

A degree in a related subject such as computer science, computer systems and networks or network security management will usually be required. If you don't have a relevant degree you'll have to demonstrate significant experience.

Find out what you could earn as a network engineer.

SEO specialist

A search engine optimisation specialist identifies techniques to increase the number of visitors to a website and make it appear at the top of a search engine results page. You could be writing original content, making technical recommendations and monitoring performance through analytics.

No specific degree is required, but a related subject such as IT, business and technology or marketing may be useful. As the role is varied you'll need a lot of different skills, one of which is an inquisitive mind which drives you to understand Google's algorithms and predict what changes might be coming.

Learn what other skills you’ll need to be an SEO specialist.

Software engineer

You'll create, maintain, audit and improve systems to meet particular needs, often as advised by a systems analyst or architect, testing both hard and software systems to diagnose and resolve system faults.

Depending on the system you're working on you could also be called a systems/software/database/web programmer, engineer or developer. The programming language you're using could also become part of your title, for example Java developer.

Aside from technical competency you'll need to demonstrate a meticulous approach to work, commercial awareness and an ability to learn new skills and technologies quickly.

See what software engineer roles are available.

Software tester

It's your job to carry out tests to detect bugs and issues with a product before it reaches the user. You might join at the start of a project to assess potential risks or be brought in later when testing becomes necessary.

Software testers generally have a degree in computer science or IT in addition to problem solving skills, attention to detail and the ability work towards tight deadlines.

You may start as a software tester on a graduate scheme but with professional qualifications and technical skills progression to senior roles can be rapid.

Find out more about life as software tester.

Systems analyst

With the aim of improving efficiency and productivity you'll design IT solutions, change existing systems and integrate new features or improvements. Liaising with clients and stakeholders it's your job to work out the cost and how long it will take you to deliver your solution.

Starting as a junior programme you'll build your experience before progressing to developer and even consultancy roles. You will need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date with on-the-job-training and courses covering everything from programming language to technical skills required for projects you’re working on.

Discover whether life as a systems analyst is for you.

Technical author

To be successful you'll need to be a fast learner, with an enquiring mind and a feel for words. While you don't always need a degree, subjects including science, engineering, technology and languages can help you to stand out.

You'll use your skills to establish an understanding of the product or applications and then design and write documentation to explain it to users clearly and concisely. Starting at junior technical author level you can progress to be a senior technical author right up to project leader or editor.

Take a look at the responsibilities of a technical author.

Web designer

You will plan, create and code web pages, using both technical and non-technical skills to produce websites that fit customer's requirements.

Creativity and experience is often enough to land a job but a relevant degree with a creative or technical element can be useful - computer science, graphic design, software engineering and web design can all help. Employers will also want to see what you can do so you'll need a portfolio to show off your work.

Find out more about the role of a web designer.

Web developer

It's your job to build and maintain reliable and high performing websites and web applications.

Knowledge and experience are what's important. No formal qualifications are needed but some employers look for a technical degree so courses in computer science, informatics, software engineering or web design and development could be useful.

In addition to technical knowledge you'll need to have a logical approach to problem solving, experience of development methodologies (like agile and waterfall) and the ability to manage a lot of tasks and deliver them to deadline.

Discover where to look for jobs as a web developer.