About this sector
You can read information about role responsibilities, salary, working hours, what to expect, qualifications, skills, work experience, career prospects and related roles on the following Prospects Job Profiles:
You might also see other job profiles of interest in the Information technology profiles page (which gives links to the 25 profiles in the sector)
How to gain experience/internships
Having relevant work experience in computing/IT can be advantageous when applying for graduate jobs. It will also demonstrate to a potential employer that you have an understanding of and interest in the sector and can help you decide if this is the career for you.
Many larger organisations run formal structured internship programmes. They can, however, be very competitive. These are normally open to penultimate year students and take place for a couple of months during the summer. Many employers use their placement schemes as the first stage in graduate recruitment - interns who impress may be fast-tracked through the graduate recruitment process.
Employers who have offered Computer Science and/or IT internships in the past include:
Big employers of computer science graduates (including some of those mentioned above), often advertise 'insights programmes' aimed at first years, (or second years on four-year degree course). They are short (1 day to two weeks) introductory events which normally take place over the Easter break. They may consist of team challenges and some mentoring and are a great introduction to a company and to network. Investment banks, a big employer of computer science graduates, are increasingly also holding short 'insights programmes'.
Organisations which offer internships in technological areas
- 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.
- ScotGrad - this programme allows students to gain up to 12 weeks paid work experience and to enhance their CVs by working in businesses and social enterprises in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
- Many companies conduct research in or have ties to the School of Computer Science. If you are a Computer Science student, ask your staff about opportunities to meet potential employers, and keep an eye on the School Blogs.
- Consider carrying out technical support work for friends or societies.
- Read a number of case studies, written by St Andrews students who have undertaken computing/IT work experience
- Check with your lecturers to see if your School offers placements under the Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship Programme in Research and Leadership.
- 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 Not-for-profit sector. There can be opportunities to help small charities and voluntary organisations with their IT systems and websites. Similarly, your fellow students may need help with their society websites.
- Read TARGETjobs - which IT and technology employers offer summer internships.
Making speculative applications
If you’re interested in working for a small company, or a company that doesn’t offer a structured internship programme, speculative applications can be a great way to generate opportunities - contact them directly to learn whether or not they might offer work experience, shadowing or internships - see our web pages on networking and speculative applications for more advice.
How to find a (graduate) job
In order to find the right type of graduate IT job with the right employer, you should check job descriptions carefully prior to making an application so that you understand the skills, experience and responsibilities required of the role.
Here is a selection of employers by sector who offer graduate training schemes (this is not an exhaustive list!). Some of these employers may not offer graduate positions every year so check their websites for the latest vacancy information.
|Computer Science Employers|
Computing/IT job search websites
- Careers Centre Graduate jobs section
- CV Screen
- Grad Cracker
- Sanctuary Graduates specialist graduate recruitment agency with clients in all sectors looking for technology graduates, science graduates, STEM graduates and finance graduates.
- BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (formerly known as British Computer Society)
- IT Job Board A specialist job board for IT graduates in the UK
- Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) Science, engineering and social sciences-related work in companies managing challenging projects in partnership with a local university, college or research institute, often gaining further qualifications
- STEM Graduates provides recruitment services for Science, IT, Engineering and Maths graduates.
- Bean Counter Jobs: Specialist vacancies site which includes vacancies for IT professionals
- Computer Arts: A site for web and creative designers with a creative jobs bulletin
- IT Jobs Watch Track the IT job market
- IT Graduate Jobs
- Job Serve Job vacancies website (including IT jobs)
- Matchtech Group recruitment consultancy
- Computer Weekly
- The Edge: online magazine for the games industry
- Data Scope: Games and new media jobs
- Eurostaff specialist international recruitment company recruiting for the Finance & Technology markets
- Cititec IT recruitment
- Intech technical recruitment
- Glass Door - jobs and careers community which allows you to search companies for up-to date salaries, vacancies, reviews and actual interview questions.
- Frank Recruitment Group a leading global niche IT recruitment business that employs graduates across offices in London, New York, Newcastle, San Francisco, Melbourne, Singapore and Philadelphia.
- Women in Tech - this site is dedicated to help women already in or looking to join the tech sector.
- Nigel Frank International - specialises in Microsoft recruitment
How to find a job in Scotland
These websites 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.
- ScotGrad offer opportunities for you join a company or social enterprise to complete a short, well-defined project, lasting up to a year. The projects cover some of the most cutting-edge sectors in Scotland, particularly in information technology.
- 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.
- There are a large number of IT recruitment agencies (listed on TechnoJobs), but you may find these more useful later in your career when you can offer more specific skills and experiences. Some IT professionals work lucratively on a contract basis but, again, this is for when you’ve got some marketable experience behind you.
- The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 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.
- Computeroxy is an academic website exclusively dedicated to academic careers in schools of electrical and electronic engineering and computer science in Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.
Applications, interviews and assessment centres
As graduate computing/IT jobs can be found in a wide variety of organisations and business sectors, there are a range of recruitment cycles within the IT business. It’s vital to regularly check each organisation’s recruitment schedule so that you don’t miss a deadline.
IBM states on their website: Please note all roles will be filled on a first come first served basis and we recommend you apply early to avoid disappointment. We often fill some roles well before the closing date for applications!
If you’re considering technology internships and graduate programmes within financial organisations, primarily the investment banks, you need to apply early as some banks have application deadlines as early as the beginning of November.
The application process for computing/IT jobs will vary according to which company (and vacancy) you are applying, but will usually consist of one (or more) of the following steps:
- Online application (smaller organisations may ask for a CV and covering letter).
- Interview (telephone/skype)
- Test (this could involve a design exercise or code analysis activity)
- Assessment Centre
If you apply for a job with a large employer that runs a graduate recruitment scheme, its interview procedure is likely to be much more formal than for a smaller one.
Most firms will provide advice on their application processes - check individual websites for details.
Relevant Postgraduate Study
Postgraduate study is not essential for a career in the IT sector. If, however, you wish to specialise in a particular technical role (eg software development), there are postgraduate study options available which may enhance your employment prospects. Contact your preferred institution to establish specific entry requirements, or try to visit before making an application. Assess what you may gain from such a course before committing yourself to considerable expense and ask questions about how successful these courses have been in gaining jobs for their past students.
Further information on postgraduate courses can be found on the Postgraduate section of the Careers Centre website.
Key UK resources
Use CareerConnect, your central careers hub, to:
- Book an appointment with a careers adviser
- Search for vacancies (Job Shop, internships/work experience, graduate jobs)
- Register for events
Takeaway from the Careers Centre
- TARGETjobs IT & Technology
- TARGETjobs Engineering
- Inside Careers Engineering and Technology
- Inside Careers Information Technology
General Computing /IT-related careers information
The Careers Centre subscribes to GoinGlobal, a specialist website with information and job vacancies worldwide.
The USA job market and recruitment timetables, for both internships and graduate jobs, for sectors of employment often differ from the UK.
The Careers Centre subscribes to the reputable independent USA careers information and vacancy provider Vault. The link below will take you directly to Vault subscription resources which cover this sector. You may find further useful and relevant resources linked from there as well.