If you are looking to start a career in IT whether you are a school leaver or experienced in another profession, there are a number of options open 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 compiled some valuable information that we hope can help you on your way to a career in IT.
Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England and are available at intermediate, advanced, higher and degree levels.
All apprenticeships are genuine jobs, so all apprentices earn a salary. You must be paid at least the national minimum apprenticeship wage and many employers pay significantly more. Apprentices should work enough hours each week so that they can undertake sufficient, regular training and on the-job activity, search ‘become an apprentice’ on GOV.UK for further information.
Entry requirements depend on the sector and prior skills. If you have achieved A-levels you may still be expected to start at intermediate or advanced level as some sectors, such as engineering, require you to build up your occupational skills.
Higher and degree apprenticeships are available at levels 4 to 7. They combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification or a professional qualification relevant to the industry. Levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Higher Education Certificate/ Diploma or a foundation degree, level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree. Typically, higher apprentices study part time at college, university or with a training provider. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete.
Some links that might help you find an apprenticeship:
It’s worth checking directly on employer recruitment sites too.
Graduate Training Schemes
If you have completed a BSc or MSc degree in Computer Science, Computing, Maths, Physics or 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
If you don’t have a lot of previous experience in a tech-based role, there are a number of entry-level jobs out there to help you get your foot in the door. Examples include Junior Developers and Designers, Helpdesk, ServiceDesk and Support positions, IT Technicians, Testers and Administrators. Not only are these roles easier to get, they also come with excellent progression opportunities.
It might be good to do some voluntary work with organisations to get some experience to put on your CV - https://jamies.org.uk/
There are lots of free learn-to-code resources online. By taking advantage of these resources as you learn to code for free, you can discover what you like and don’t like before investing money into a certain coding language or set of courses. Once you've gone through enough free coding lessons to find that direction, you'll be able to channel your passion to continue learning how to code online most efficiently.
There are lots of training courses you can do and programming languages you can learn.
Network in forums in the area you want to specialise in e.g. SQL forums and get talking to people to build connections.
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 up to date
Many recruiters and hiring organisations now use LinkedIn to find candidates. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with your skills and select the option that you are open to recruiters contacting you.
Apply for jobs
Check the job boards for suitable positions on a daily basis and apply. Most job boards have an “Advanced Search” option where you can search by keyword, location, a radius of a location, job title, company, type of job, date posted and other options. Recruiters post new positions all the time. IT jobs in the public sector can be found on websites such as: jobsgopublic and NHS Jobs.
Set yourself up to receive job alerts from the job boards – so you get to hear about the latest suitable jobs and can apply. Certainly, with contract roles the sooner you apply the better as the turnaround is often very quick.