Jobs in information technology (IT) involve dealing with every element of the digital economy. This rapidly expanding sector encompasses a wide variety of roles and is suited to those who enjoy dealing with computer hardware and software.
Typical jobs in this sector include:
- cyber security specialist
- data analyst
- game developer
- software engineer
- web developer.
Key skills that are useful in this sector include:
- technical skills, in particular the ability to code in specific programming
- problem-solving skills
- good time and project management
- perseverance in the face of technical challenges.
For job profiles and detailed information on pursuing a career in the IT sector, see the Prospects website:
How to get a job
To prepare for a career in IT, you should research the sector carefully. You should also talk with people who are in the sector already.
Work experience is an essential requirement for gaining employment in this sector. You can get this through insight days, internships and placements.
For most IT-related roles, being able to code to at least a basic level in some programming languages is a requirement.
To get this experience, you can use the following resources:
For further information, see Jolt’s developing your skills – a career in coding and development blog post.
If you are interested in a career in IT, but do not have a computer science background, see also TARGETjobs’ starting a technology careers with any degree.
Make a connection
To connect with people already working in the sector, consider joining Saint Connect, the University of St Andrews’ exclusive, global, online community for networking and career mentoring.
You might also find it helpful to join student societies to build your connections in this sector, such as the St Andrews Computing Society (STACS).
See more ideas for making a connection.
Large employers in this sector sometimes offer insight days and brief work experience opportunities, usually for first and second-year students.
Insight days are short (one day to two weeks) introductory events that normally take place over the Easter vacation. They may consist of team challenges and some mentoring, and are a good introduction to a company. These opportunities allow you to gain work experience, useful contacts and possibly a formal placement.
Examples of companies offering insight programmes include:
You can often find more opportunities at:
Internships and placements
Large graduate employers in this sector offer paid internships. These internships are often very competitive and are normally open only to students in their penultimate year (second to final year). These internships usually last about ten weeks and run during the summer. Some employers, however, recruit throughout the year.
Many employers use these internships as the first stage in graduate recruitment – interns who impress may be fast-tracked through the graduate recruitment process.
Examples of companies offering paid internships include:
There are also longer-term industry placements, such as those offered by CGI and IBM. These placements are paid, tend to last about a year, and are usually available to undergraduates in their penultimate year of study. However, these placements are only available to students whose degree course allows it. You should check with your academic School to see what regulations apply to you.
Smaller organisations usually will not offer structured, paid opportunities. However, they may be open to receiving speculative applications for work experience. This is especially true for some of the most competitive branches of this sector, such as game development, where work opportunities are often not advertised. See advice on how to make speculative applications.
For further information on what internships and placements are available in this sector, see TARGETjobs’ IT and technology internships and placements page.
The Careers Centre often puts on events where you can talk to employers visiting St Andrews. Visit the events page for more information.
Finding a job
Check out our job listings for vacancies or see the resources below for jobs in the IT sector.
Jobs in the UK
Graduate training schemes
A graduate training scheme is a paid, entry-level job that also acts as a training programme. Graduate training schemes are common in this sector and are one way of acquiring a graduate-level position. They are offered by a wide variety of large graduate employers, usually those that offer placements and internships.
For details on which employers offer graduate training schemes, see Graduate Coach’s 28 technology graduate schemes.
Jobs outside the UK
Applying for a job
When applying for jobs in this sector, you can expect to do at least some of the following:
- complete a CV and cover letter
- complete an online application form
- sit at least one interview, and sometimes two, the first usually by video.
For IT jobs, you may also be expected to take a technical interview. During a technical interview, the interviewer will test your ability to use the specialist skills the role requires. For more information, see TARGETjobs’ guide on technical interviews and Learn to Code with Me’s ultimate guide to acing your tech interview.
The application process for IT jobs may vary according to which company you are applying to. Research the company to understand the skills, competencies and values they are looking for. Also check the company’s website, as many provide details on their recruitment and selection processes.
If you would like personalised help on any aspect of applying for a job, you can book an appointment with a careers adviser.