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Career Options in IT & Technology: School Leaver

What is the industry about?

The I.T. and telecommunications industry is a lot more than just liking video games and having a great idea for a new smartphone app. If you work in this industry then you need to be the go-to guy or girl when it comes to preventing computers from crashing and coming up with the code to make video game ideas a reality. Additionally, working in telecommunications will see you work with ensuring phones, radio, broadband and TV all do their jobs, so there isn’t uproar when people have just one bar of phone signal and struggle to call their mates.

There are numerous job roles available in this industry, including web designers, hardware developers (building better, faster computers), database assistant and systems analyst. With technology continuing to develop and almost every single business needing computers to operate, this is an ever expanding industry with loads of opportunities available to school leavers.

What opportunities are available to me?

- Intermediate Apprenticeships

- Advanced Apprenticeships

- Higher Apprenticeships

- Further and higher education

The I.T. and telecommunications industry has entry roles at every level following your GCSEs. Undertaking an Intermediate Apprenticeship could see you become a support technician, setting up new equipment, be it a flashy new digital TV box or super-duper quick broadband router. Alternatively, you could work as a helpdesk professional, helping to find and eliminate all those pesky I.T. faults. Or perhaps you see yourself as a data administrator, working to enter and edit data and writing up reports after examining the data.

Advanced Apprenticeships are also available. If you fancy being a software tester and trying out the new levels of Candy Crush before the public get to check them out, this is the route for you. You could even become a software developer, create some apps and hope they go viral so you can make a nice little earner. Another career path you could follow is website management, planning the design of a website and ensuring that using the website is a flawless experience.

Whilst you can apply for Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships with GCSEs alone, Higher Level Apprenticeships often require you to have a few A Levels too. However, they offer routes into jobs that would usually be reserved for those who go to university and provide you with the equivalent of a higher education diploma or even a degree. You could undertake a Higher Apprenticeship as a I.T. security analyst or perhaps you want to fight cyber-crime and become security engineer and make sure people are protected when they buy something from Amazon and book a holiday online.

Whilst Apprenticeships allow you to earn a wage and get a qualification under your belt, further and higher education should also be considered by those wanting to enter the I.T. and telecommunications industry. Studying computer science will allow you to develop skills and knowledge of programming languages and others such as configuring hardware.

Setting the school leaver record straight

We all know that one loud mouth at school who says that Apprenticeships are not worth doing and that going to university is the only worthwhile school leaver option. Well, let us set the record straight and tell you that Apprenticeships certainly are worth considering and provide a genuine route into the I.T. and telecommunications industry. What’s not to love about getting paid at the same time as getting a qualification and working in an industry you want to work in? All you need is your five GCSEs to apply for Apprenticeships!

Formal education: should I stay or should I go?

Though there are advantages to undertaking Apprenticeships, staying on in education carries benefits too. Doing A Levels and possibly a degree provides you with more knowledge and transferable skills such as organisation and creativity and will allow you to enter the industry at a higher level. Tuition fee costs are covered by a student loan so this shouldn’t put you off going to university but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide the best route into I.T. and telecommunications as it’s an industry that can be accessed from any level. 

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