This page has been written by Dr Ben Carter
, the relevant Careers Adviser for this occupational area. To see how you can meet Ben, or any of our advisers, go to our website to view how and when you can meet them.
If you want to work in computing or IT there is a huge variety of roles and sectors for you to consider. Many employers will accept graduates of any discipline for some of their IT vacancies. There are also more specialist jobs where a degree in computer science or IT is required. Graduate entrants tend to start in either development or service roles. Apart from technical ability, key skills that employers look for in this field are an enquiring mind and problem-solving ability.
You need to consider whether you wish to work for a developer of software, systems etc. or a user. Users are the organisations which use these computing and IT systems in their production methods, their products or their administrative operation. The number of users far exceeds the number of developers. Another consideration is whether you want to work in a large organisation or an SME. Issues to weigh up include the variety of work, degree of responsibility, access to training, formality and culture of the organisation. Some graduate schemes offer rotational experience whilst others recruit direct into specific jobs.
To find out more about specific roles visit BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (formerly known as British Computer Society). The careers section contains lots of ‘real life’ job profiles.
If you have a Computer Science or related degree there are opportunities in research, development and technical careers in many sectors of the economy such as defence, communications, aerospace, patent work, information security, optics & electronics, energy, computer games, and of course IT. The public sector also offers options in defence, intelligence & security, communications, meteorology, academia and teaching. See the ‘How to find a job’ section below for more detail on employers.
There are graduate IT opportunities in virtually every sector of the economy. Some require a relevant degree but others are open to any discipline. Here are just a few examples: IT companies, finance, communications, management/IT consulting, pharmaceutical, retail, energy & utilities and the public sector. See the ‘How to find a job’ section below for more detail on employers.
There is excellent information on this sector and current trends and developments on the Inside Careers website and in their booklet which is available from the Careers Centre. The Prospects website also contains good information on roles in IT.
How to get experience
Try to arrange work shadowing and longer placements or internships as this can help you to decide on your career choice and is a real advantage when applying for jobs. Competition for paid internships is intense and you may have to consider working voluntarily in order to gain relevant experience, but some students manage to combine this with part-time paid work in other sectors. You can also adopt a speculative approach - see our web pages on networking and speculative applications for more advice. Also use the Careers Alumni Network, a database of St Andrews graduates who have volunteered to offer careers information to existing students and LinkedIn.
Some paid internships are only open to penultimate year students so if you are in first or second year you could also consider work-shadowing and working voluntarily or a speculative approach to smaller employers - see below for advice on finding employers.
The following websites include listings of internship opportunities:
Organisations which offer internships in technological areas include:
- STEP Provides some of the UK’s most highly regarded placement programmes
- e-Placement Scotland Industry-backed, three-year programme funded by the Scottish Funding Council to boost the participation of students in industry placements
- IAESTE (The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) is a student exchange organisation with over 80 member countries worldwide. It provides degree-level students of science, engineering, technology and the applied arts with paid, course-related, technical training abroad
- The Saltire Foundation Undergraduate Internship Programme offers penultimate year students from Scottish universities the chance to experience working life in some of the world’s top companies. Applicants need to demonstrate a commitment to Scotland and the desire to play a part in its long-term economic success.
Check with your lecturers to see if your School offers placements under the Undergraduate Research Internship Programme (URIP).
These employers have offered Computer Science and/or IT internships in the past:
See also the employers listed in the next section - check their websites to find out if they are offering internships.
Professional bodies and trade associations can be a good source of employers - look for their member or partner listings, which you can often search by location. See links below.
Consider also the voluntary sector. There can be opportunities to help small charities and voluntary organisations with their IT systems and web-sites. Similarly, your fellow students may need help with their society websites.
How to find a job
These websites contain computing/IT vacancies:
- The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers website provides the very latest news about Britain's most popular graduate employers. Register to receive free weekly e-bulletins with news and information about the Top 100 employers you're most interested in.
Don't underestimate the value of making speculative applications or the importance of networking. Also use the Careers Alumni Network, a database of St Andrews graduates who have volunteered to offer careers information to existing students.
Professional bodies and trade associations can be a good source of employers - look for their member or partner listings which often have direct links to the employers’ web-sites. See links below.
A selection of employers by sector (this is not an exhaustive list!) NB. Some of these employers may not offer graduate positions every year so check their websites for the latest vacancy information.
| Computer Science Employers|
| Private Sector|
| Public Sector|
| IT Employers|
| Private Sector|
| Public Sector|
How to find a job in Scotland
These web-sites contain listings of employers that may have vacancies in computer science/IT roles.
- Talent Scotland Talent Scotland regularly list graduate placements in IT and computing, allowing the opportunity to gain experience and responsibility within smaller companies.
- Scotlandis: Represents internet, software and multimedia businesses in Scotland
- Online Industry Sector Profiles - Scotland This online resource has been produced by Heriot-Watt University Careers Service to help explore Scotland's main industries. It provides industry facts and figures, significant Scottish employers, job options, vacancy sources and case studies.
- Big Ambition Scotland gain a real insight into the opportunities available in IT in a variety of companies, including retail, travel and media.
Key Links and Resources
Careers Centre resources
The Careers Centre has the following free take-away brochures which contain careers information and listings of graduate opportunities:
- Target Engineering
- Inside Careers Engineering and Technology
- Target IT
- Inside Careers Information Technology
- Various general graduate directories
General Computing /IT careers information
Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations & Journals/Magazines
Jobs and Internships