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Why Not Consider a Career in IT?

Sep 3, 2008
Any IT qualifications or experience in IT will help you with a career in IT, but many companies use their own IT tests from typing and calculating to logical problem solving to asses candidates. Increasingly academic qualifications are becoming less important than industry recognised ones or relevant experience, as the rate of change within the industry picks up more and more speed.

IT job titles can be complicated and confusing, but there are basically three types of role; programmer, operator and support staff.

Programmer
Also known as software engineer or developer. To put it simply, a programmer writes in code to get a computer or piece of software to complete a certain tasks. You are likely to be working as part of a team, all working on small individual elements of the overall operation. Only if you were experienced would you be in charge of overseeing a whole program.

Because the computers and software are constantly changing, you'll be constantly learning new programming languages on training courses, and you will be expected to adapt to these changes.

Big IT companies tend to only recruit IT graduates, although smaller companies may accept an NVQ or relevant experience. Doing a work placement during your academic study will greatly increase your chances of being able to find a job in programming.

Qualification or no qualification, your prospective employees will probably issue an aptitude test, most likely to include basic problem solving using logic.
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Operator
Operators are responsible for setting up and maintaining computer systems. This may be a particular area, such as a network which connects users in an office or a database which users access.

Being an operator is a much more 'hands on' IT career. If things need setting up or altering, you will be under the desk moving cables and testing the IT systems.

You don't need a degree, but any qualifications will help. An aptitude test will probably be carried out by employers, although many will supply training. Look for 'trainee operator' positions if you are less experienced.

Support Staff
This is the IT role which does not require a great deal of qualifications or experience. This involves helping other people with their computer problems.

Companies are usually happy for candidates to start at the bottom and learn on the job.

You could be working from a helpdesk, waiting for calls to come in from users needing support or just keeping checking that programmes are functioning correctly.

More important experience for a support role would include customer service and communication, although obviously any additional knowledge of computers would be beneficial.
About the Author
John McE writes for Arc Consulting, specialist recruitment consultants for the Financial Services Industry , Insurance , IT Recruitment and Healthcare sectors.
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