Careers in ICT

  Fateful Shadow 13:11 30 Dec 2005

I didn't really know where to post this on the forum, so I guessed speaker's corner would be the best bet...

I'm rapidly approaching the end of my education in 6th form and I've got a decision to make on where to go next. I have applied to UCAS but I'm not entirely sure that I want to go to University. I also feel that i have really narrowed my options down as I've only gone for one specific course in design.

Does anyone know of any way into a job in ICT (such as training others to use systems or programs, for example) that offers training as you work? I have a GCSE in ICT but due to the course options at A-level, I could not take an ICT course at that level.

It's probably a long shot asking this, but any replies would be welcomed as I'm completely confused about my future :P

Thanks :)

  recap 13:18 30 Dec 2005

I personally do not know of any business that allows you to train students or personell without first acquiring a qualification first. You could opt to do a 7307 teaching certificate, for which you do need to teach for a certain number of hours to gain the qualification.

That is one option, but to hold a degree in computing may be the route for you?

  pauldonovan 13:46 30 Dec 2005

My wife has a successful IT career with a major bank, but has no degree in IT - they trained her.

I'd be tempted to write to some companies (the IT/HR director) that you are particularly interested in and explain what you would like to do, why you want to do it and what experience you have got (are you a bit of an IT guru despite not taking A-level ICT?) and see what you get back. You could use the various job guides that they dish out at university careers centres to track down some companies, or just web research.

If my IT department had room for someone i'd say get in touch but unfortunately we don't at the moment. Someone else on here might know of something. To me, hiring people is about 90% about the person and 10% qualifications and experience. That may sound silly but i'd rather have someone bright and keen who doesn't know something but can learn it quickly, than someone who knows it but can't be bothered and has to be pushed and chased up. Ideally you'd want both but experience and the right personality but then there is the danger that someone can do the job so what is there for them to learn and they get bored!

  Fateful Shadow 14:27 30 Dec 2005

Thanks for the replies so far.

Paul, that reply has lifted me up somewhat. To answer your question, I do like to think of myself as a kind of ICT guru (blowing my own trumpet here, sorry :P ) as I maintain the household computers, help around sometimes with problems at school and give my family and friends advice with problems over the net and the phone.

I think I'll do a bit of searching around for companies around my area and see what i can come up with. Believe me, a job in ICT will not bore me :D

Any more replies are welcome. Thanks again :)

  jack 14:52 30 Dec 2005

I do agree with Paul D about qualifications or the lack there of
Going back more than 50 years I worked in the reprographic industry- We took on newly'qualified' young people only to find that the qualification was about 50 years behind the current technology then in use.
They had to learn the hard way - sweeping up - making tea getting the grub in and watching, watching watching,
I could feel their frustration at not being allowed near a £5000 project- some stuck it out and went on to be useful, others drifted off to more lucrative but dead end careers.

  Forum Editor 15:42 30 Dec 2005

about the fact that formal qualifications are not necessarily the key that opens the door to a career in IT, but..........

There are other considerations here.

Your comment that "I'm not entirely sure that I want to go to University." is not an uncommon one, and I urge you to think very carefully before you make a decision now which may be regretted later. Hundreds of thousands of people your age are completely confused about their future, and I venture to say that a very large number of graduates leave university with exactly the same feeling. University is not going to make everything crystal clear - that's not its function - but it will do something for you that will stand you in good stead in later life, whatever you end up doing. Quite apart from any academic schievement, you'll meet people from all backgrounds, and from all parts of the UK. You'll be exposed to concepts and philosophies about which you currently have no inkling, and you'll probably form friendships which will last for many years - even for the rest of your life.

University is a life-experience that can be second to none, and is not to be sacrificed lightly. My advice is go there - get a degree, and pursue your interests in IT as you go along. When you graduate you'll look at life in many different ways, you'll have acquired some new values, and a good deal of maturity.

If I have to choose between two candidates for interview - one with a degree and one without - I'll go for the graduate every time, regardless of the degree. The degree subject isn't quite so important, what matters is that employers will know this: "Here is a person who has already demonstrated the ability to apply himself/herself to a task, and to achieve a degree of success. Here's someone who has matured in a gregarious environment, and has formed opinions and acquired values that will enhance my business".

The IT industry will still be there in three or four years time, and by then who knows? You may have honed your IT skills AND have a degree in a totally different field. How bad can that be in terms of your future?

  pj123 17:19 30 Dec 2005

And give this thread a check out as well:

click here

  Haol 17:31 30 Dec 2005

If I were you I would go to the local computr shop near you and ask around there, show them you know about computers and they might hire you.

  SG Atlantis® 18:45 30 Dec 2005


On my course in college BTEC ND computer studies, I was the higher scorer on tests and helped them with course work. Some of them persued degrees in Computer Science and are now earning a much better salary than I am. I had an offer of a BSc (Hons) at Queens' University in Computer Science. I wish I had went to University as my friends did but family issues and the like meant I couldn't go. Anyone that has the opportunity to go and doesn't is a fool it's a life changing experience not to be missed.

I'll go back hopefully some time in the near future.

  pauldonovan 22:44 30 Dec 2005

But it isn't for everyone. I too am guilty of choosing graduates over non-graduates when recruiting but from personal experience, with my wife, it is not essential to have a degree to have a successful career in IT.

Put another way, it can't do you any harm and will most likely do you a lot of good, so in some respects you really have to ask yourself "why not go"?

I would as FE says take the decision carefully, why do you think you don't want to go to Uni?

My comments were made on you having already apparently decided not to go, or worrying that you won't get a job if you don't go, neither of which is a bad position to be in.

  LastChip 14:14 02 Jan 2006

Whilst I would not disagree with anything that has been said, you could also try working for a year, and if you find that you end up in a dead-end job with no prospects, that may be the spur that makes you realise, University is the way to go.

Equally, if you end up in something promising and you can see a good career ahead of you, then maybe Uni is not for you. It would be wrong to assume it is for everyone, but there is no question, it does lay a good foundation for everything you may do throughout your life.

If you choose Uni, make sure you understand fully the contents of the degree you are taking. My eldest daughter has just completed a degree in computer science, and whilst she leaves me in the cold when talking about programming, give her a network that wont work and she's lost. Her words; "they didn't actually teach us anything useful in a practical sense". In other words, her course was heavily biased towards programming, but would be little use in a Help Desk or practical environment. It seems "generalists" are more in demand at the moment than specialists. That said, she's decided on a teaching career and they couldn't get their hands on her quick enough! Degree level ITC is in demand (at the moment) in the teaching world.

The sad part is (as far as I'm concerned) Human Resource departments seem to write off anyone without a degree or over fifty years of age. It appears you are "past it" by then, but that is a discussion for another day!

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