Starting a Career in IT

If you're considering a career in IT, whether you're a school leaver or transitioning from another profession, there any numerous options available to you.

Whilst Deerfoot rarely has entry-level IT vacancies, we understand that starting a career in IT can be an exciting journey. To help you navigate this path, we have gathered some valuable information to set you on the right path.


Apprenticeships are available to anyone in the UK over the age of 16, and so offer a diverse entry point for both school leavers and those looking to switch careers.

Unlike traditional learning paths, apprenticeships are genuine jobs, giving you the chance to earn a salary whilst also gaining practical experience. Apprentices must be paid at least the national minimum apprenticeship wage, however, many employers offer salaries beyond the minimum, making it a financially viable option.

IT apprenticeships are available at various levels, including intermediate, advanced, higher, and degree levels. This allows flexibility for individuals with different educational backgrounds and career aspirations.

The duration of apprenticeships varies, typically taking between one to five years to complete. Higher and degree apprenticeships can lead to qualifications equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate/Diploma, foundation degree, bachelor's degree, or even a master's degree.

The UK government provides a comprehensive national portal for apprenticeships, aiding candidates in finding suitable opportunities. Resources like the "become an apprentice" section on GOV.UK offer guidance.

Graduate Training Schemes
If you have completed a BSc or MSc degree in Computer Science, Computing, Maths, Physics, or a similar degree, a Graduate Training Scheme is an excellent way to jump-start your career. Schemes can take many different formats depending on the employer, but usually allow graduates to experience multiple aspects of both the role and the organisation as a whole by rotating through the business in a series of 'mini-placements'. 

Formal graduate training schemes generally last approximately one year, although can be longer - again, it depends on the specific employer programme. Graduate schemes usually offer a combination of "on-the-job" and possibly formal residential training programmes.

Apply for Entry-level Jobs
For those with limited tech experience, entry-level roles like Junior Developers, Designers, Helpdesk, ServiceDesk, IT Technicians, Testers, and Administrators provide an entry point with excellent progression opportunities.

Free Courses
Numerous online platforms provide free learn-to-code resources. Platforms like Codecademy offer interactive lessons, allowing you to explore coding languages and discover your preferences before committing to specific courses.

Build industry connections by participating in forums related to your specialisation, e.g., SQL forums.

Moving from another career

If you are looking to change your career it is important to note that you may have to “start over”. You may have been a manager or an advanced professional in your old industry, but you’re leaving it for a reason! Be prepared to start with a lower level position and work your way up. The experience you get working at the bottom of the ladder will be valuable as you grow into a more challenging position.

Don’t worry too much though, the earning potential you will have in IT is only limited by the work you put in. On the low-end, you are looking at starting out around £18-£21k in a Service Desk position, within 5 years in the industry and a couple of cyber security certifications you could be looking at around £45k minimum in a Cyber Security Analyst role. It really depends on your willingness to move forward and the extra learning time you put in to master your craft.

LinkedIn Presence
Many recruiters and hiring organisations now use LinkedIn to find candidates. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and you are open to work for recruiters.

Apply for jobs
Regularly check job boards, utilise advanced search options, and set up job alerts for timely applications. Act quickly for contract roles due to swift turnarounds.