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Career Options in IT & Technology: Student

Mention I.T. to any undergraduate and it’s likely that they’ve experienced some issues with their university service (Blackboard portal, anyone?). However, there are plenty of undergraduates with the skills and desire to enter the I.T. and telecommunications industry and, who knows, enhance the (often painful) experience of using Blackboard for students in years to come!

Opportunities available to undergraduates

- Internships and work experience

- Placement year

- Graduate schemes (applications).

Internships and work experience are a must for all undergraduates these days, especially given that 69% of large companies make full-time job offers to those who interned with them previously. Couple this with the expected 100,000 new jobs every year in the I.T. and telecommunications industry and the need for undergraduates to spend their summer developing their experience and network. There are countless internships and work experience placements available to undergraduates and applications usually require a CV, cover letter and possibly an interview. But how to get an internship, I hear you ask?

Check out companies you might like to intern for and see if they have an internship programme. You could also check out job boards or make the most of your university careers service and see if they have any links with local companies you can exploit. Internships are a good way to develop your knowledge of this ever-developing industry and seeing how something like coding is used in the ‘real world’ will give you a better chance of landing the dream graduate job.

Some degree course will also offer undergraduates the opportunity to undertake a placement year between their second and third year of university. This is essentially a long internship and will give you the opportunity to get a taster for the industry and build up your knowledge and contacts. You never know, the company you have a placement with could be so impressed by the work you do they will offer you a job! Ask your university tutor for information on how to take a placement year.

As an undergraduate you might want to consider applying for graduate schemes. Graduate schemes aren’t just available for roles such as software engineer or web developer either. For larger companies, they’ll need to employ graduates with a passion for marketing, finance and accounting and business management. So if you’re passionate about I.T. and telecommunications but don’t have the foggiest how to write code for a game like Angry Birds, there are still opportunities for you to break into the industry.

Deadlines to consider

You have bills to pay, essays to hand in, library books to return and nightclub guest lists to consider, so more deadlines could just tip you over into the realms of insanity. Fear not, another couple of deadlines never hurt anybody. However, it’s important to apply for internships early on (try to get your applications in before March or April at the latest) and some companies will have strict deadlines due to a long recruitment process. Opportunities are always cropping up but don’t expect to call a company and start a week later.

Additionally, graduates schemes have earlier deadlines than you would expect, often just before or after Christmas. We understand it can be tough to juggle lengthy job applications with coursework deadlines, but investing the time now is investing in your future and the opportunity to land a dream graduate job should be grasped with both hands. 

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