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Computing and IT skills and careers

Career opportunities

In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree.

Given the current economic climate and increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a range of occupational areas and industry sectors. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

The range of organisations employing graduates from Computing and IT is extensive. Opportunities exist across retail, financial services, telecommunications, broadcast media, digital media, manufacturing, transport, tourism, the public sector and healthcare. There is growth and demand in cyber security, mobile development, cloud computing and the management of Big Data. Beyond pure technology roles, some graduates also enter management consultancy firms or corporate roles, while others go into technical writing roles or work freelance.

Some general job titles within IT and Computing are:

  • Applications Programmer
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Database Administrator
  • Information Technology consultant
  • Multimedia Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Systems Designer

Globalisation is having a significant impact on the shape of the UK labour market in computing. The proportion of employees with specialist, high value-added design skills is expected to increase and non-specialist design and development work will move ‘off-shore’. The OU Computing and IT degrees attempt to address this trend by training graduates in the specialist branches of computing that are most needed.

Alongside the anticipated huge demand in the future for IT and telecoms professionals is an increasing expectation that IT professionals will be multi-skilled with commercial awareness, good business skills e.g. project management, business change, risk management and interpersonal skills e.g. networking and relationship management, as well as having technical expertise. Some entrants to IT or telecoms-related work may come from other occupations but will be retrained as IT professionals on the job. People who have developed their IT/computing skills while working in other areas are likely to be highly sought after.

For IT sector news, analysis and information plus a video discussion of trends currently affecting the UK IT industry visit Jobs Watch gives an ongoing picture of trends in IT recruitment.

Useful links

These resources will help you explore careers areas in further detail.

You will also find information about general job vacancy sites, work experience and volunteering at:

Postgraduate Study

Many graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive. Generally postgraduate study can open up opportunities to work in higher education, in areas of specific skills, and perhaps consultancy work.

A range of Computing and IT related OU postgraduate study options are available, both taught and research awards, such as Advanced Networking and Computing for Commerce and Industry.

It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer, and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.

Last updated 6 months ago