Did you know that over 775 thousand people are employed in the IT, software and computer sector in the UK?
You’ve clicked into this piece, so it can only be assumed that you are also interested in becoming part of this workforce.
Welcome to your guide to taking steps in the right direction!
What is IT?
IT stands for Information Technology. It refers to the use of computers in order to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data and information. It is often used within business operations. It can also be defined as the study, design, implementation or management of information systems which are computer-based.
One of the main goals in using IT is to improve productivity and efficiency within businesses or organisations which use it.
What work is involved in IT?
There are many titles and roles to choose from in the world of IT. We will look at the tasks of an IT Support and an IT Specialist, two popular jobs in the field. Tasks will change depending on different jobs but just to give you an idea, here’s what you might do in these roles.
- Install computer hardware and software
- Install computer systems and networks
- Monitor computer systems and networks
- Maintain computer systems that are in place
- Provide technical support
- Repair and replace equipment where necessary
- Provide direct support to users
- Helping set up hardware and software
- Diagnose connectivity and data issues
- Help users access drives and devices
- Respond to queries in a timely manner
- Advise on computer systems
Other job options include data analyst, application analyst, data scientist, business analyst and database administrator.
There are many courses on offer in IT at a postgraduate level across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study part time or full time basis. With current Covid-19 restrictions, some courses may begin online and finish on the campus of your chosen university. Examples of courses available are:
PGCE Information Technology and Computing
Taking a slightly different direction in this area, PGCE IT and computing courses are aimed at those who would like to move into a teaching role. Courses will help students to gain confidence in their skills and knowledge and ensure their competence to go forward and teach in this area.
Management of Business Information Technology
These courses are aimed at those who have a degree in business or have business experience. Students will gain an understanding of IT and e-commerce and the way in which they provide us with new ways of business management. Systems design, project management, IT auditing and governance are all key focuses.
Communications and Information Engineering
These courses look at information-theoretic underpinnings as well as physical-layer aspects of optical and radio transmission. As well as this, students will be given the opportunity to study communications technologies, data analytics and data mining in relation to algorithms.
Students who take a postgraduate course in IT will develop specialist skills required to work in the world of IT. Often, these courses are geared towards those with a computing background but those without experience are also welcomed as everyone is catered for. You will look at software development tools and techniques to make you familiar with working in the field.
Entry requirements for different courses will differ from university to university. An honours degree is mostly required. In some cases a 2.2 degree is required while in other cases a 2.1 degree is necessary. Some courses may require an honours degree in a relevant field while others accept an honours degree in an unrelated discipline. Specific entry requirements can be found online on course overviews and university websites.
Salaries are dependent on your exact role, the location of the job and also experience. They can change depending on these variables. To give you an idea of general salaries, the average salary of a IT Specialist in the UK may be around £43,000 while a data analyst can earn anything between £35,000-£55,000, depending on experience.
Skills and requirements
Helpful skills or working in IT include:
- Strong communicator
- Organisation skills
- Good time management
- Knowledge of IT and computers
- Problem solver
- Critical thinker
- Analytical skills
- Work well with others
- An interest in helping others