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I’m Interested in an IT Career – Where do I start?

Well you may be thinking maybe there’s something I could do, but you don’t know where to start. Firstly, it’s not all software development! There are numerous careers available outside of coding. IT is fast paced and will suit someone who’s interested in learning lots of new things all the time.

My primary piece of advice when choosing a course at uni is get one with a year’s work placement. Prior experience is hugely valuable to a company and a proven resource is much safer than someone who’s never worked. Some of the best people I’ve worked with are not Oxford grads, with some not even going to uni! If you have a reference from an employer that counts a lot, even better would be when you finish your placement you may get a job out of it. This got me my first job too despite all the competition 🙂 Oh and my placement company wanted me back too.

So what can I do in IT? A graduate programme is usually the best starting place, giving good pay and a range of experience. If you can’t do this but still want to understand an IT department you may be surprised how many companies will have you for a week (for free), just be cheeky and phone up a senior member of staff. Don’t email a CV, this needs some charm.

Don’t select a career by pay scale! You could be in it for 45 years so think carefully. As a starting point look at:

  • Product Owner / Business Analyst – Usually senior people with a good knowledge of the business that they are in. Able to specify how they want the software to change in line with the business needs
  • Support Engineer – Different levels of support complexity are available, these can be in either hardware or software. You’ll probably start in 1st line support or 2nd if you’re lucky. This can lead to Application Service Manager positions using ITIL or running an IT Department (usually supporting hardware infrastructure).
  • Developer – Lots of specialism in this career now due to the size and number of different programming languages. Games development may sound like the most fun but can be really long hours and very maths based.
  • Tester – Can be manually working through screens whilst testing each part, but also offers technical focus (see how Google does testing). You could be a specialist load or security tester as examples of the variety in this field.
  • Infrastructure Designer – Help the development team to get the right hardware for their software.
  • Scrum Master – Run the Scrum “ceremonies” and deliver the software as a team.

Anyway those are just a few to get you started. Plenty of information around the web so get reading and good luck!…

2 comments on “I’m Interested in an IT Career – Where do I start?

  1. If all your Infrastructure Designer does is “help the development team to get the right hardware for their software.” you could probably replace them with an Excel spreadsheet and some simple formulas. That’s a vague description at best and very misleading at worst especially now WebOps is a thing.

    Developers sometimes treat Infrastructure engineers like a disease to be cured but we do know our stuff and can usually knock 10 holes in a developers ‘resilient’ design before breakfast.

    • A very valid point. This actually comes from my time when I did not work within a WebOps culture, everything was locally hosted and that specific role existed. I agree it is far better to move to a WebOps model. Thanks for the comment.

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