Ask yourself: do I want a technical ICT career, or do I want to use technology (like computers) as part of a job in another industry? If you decide on a specialist ICT career, there are many different jobs you could do.
It goes without saying that you should enjoy working with computers and other information technology if you want to work in this sector.
You’ll need to be able to communicate, in writing and when you speak, to get on well with other people and be able to work well in a team. You’ll also need to be able to problem solve.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English, maths and IT will help get you into this sector. Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. related to this specific job sector.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or vocational qualifications.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do a higher education/university course, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
There is a skills shortage in areas such as software engineers, technical support, programming and design and according to research the region is suffering from the national shortage of higher level ICT skills. A particular shortage exists in people combining ICT skills with business and/or creative skills.
Universities in the region offer good programmes for undergraduates and graduates in this sector but this is not the only route in as there are also good ICT apprenticeship programmes available.
For instance to become a software engineer you normally would have to have a degree, BTEC or HND in a relevant subject such as computing, computer science, information technology, software development or software engineering. Other routes include graduate training schemes or post graduate courses. There are also opportunities to follow the apprenticeship route after gaining a relevant qualification such as a BTEC in ICT at college.
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Sector Skills Council’s website at The Tech Partnership
Spotlight on being a web designer
Web designers design and manage how websites look and feel, it is their job to make decisions about colour scheme, fonts and text size, images and how people navigate. The website might be being designed for a large corporate organisation through to a site for someone who is self-employed. If you have creative flair and enjoy working on computers this could be the job for you.
The qualities you need to become a web designer include having an interest in design and how websites look. Do you make good use of software already – such as Photoshop? You will also need to listen and interpret what someone wants so you need good people skills. And have good technical skills and be good at detail.
You need to be competent in recognised software packages and have an understanding of HTML and CSS – the basic building blocks of web pages. Coding and learning technologies such as Flash are also needed, amongst others.
Some key tasks in the role include meeting clients, design, testing and uploading information onto a web platform. You could work as part of a team, in a large design agency or as a freelance web designer. If you choose to set up on your own then you do need to become competent at running a small business such as marketing and bookkeeping.
Visit the National Careers Service for more information on becoming a Web Designer
Websites for vacancies in this area
Bubble Jobs are specialists in advertising the latest graduate digital, online, ecommerce, social media, web development vacancies across the UK and Europe.
IT Security Jobs is a dedicated portal for everything related to IT professionals looking for IT Security jobs. IT Security Jobs covers a broad spectrum of career and job opportunities including permanent and contract roles.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The University of Reading has developed a 4 week course about Robotics. Click on the following link for more information