IT as a Career

I got sent a short message today by a friend who’s currently studying in college, which was simply ..

“I am wondering what type of industry IT is and if it’s a good career choice to move into it now?”

As I started to write the reply, I realized my answer would make for a decent blog post, so I moved it here :


 

Well, that’s quite the loaded question you’ve managed to squeeze into quite a short sentence there, but I’ll give it a shot! J

I’ll take the question in two parts i.e. A) What type of industry it is, and B) if it’s a good career choice?

What type of industry it is?

Its massively broad in terms of the types of roles it encompasses.

Some of the titles we use around here include :

  • Network engineer. …
  • Software engineer. Also known as: application programmer, software architect, system programmer/engineer, web developer
  • Technical support. …
  • Technical consultant. …
  • Systems analyst. …
  • Software tester.
  • Business analyst. …
  • Project Manager (PM)

And broadly I’d consider them to ranked in order of how technical they are. So while some of our software engineers (aka programmers) are super nerdy, and love to spend all day programming with their headphones on and speaking to no-one, our Business Analysts and PM’s spend most of their day in meetings with the business trying to bridge the gap between what the business want, and what “IT” can or can’t do for them. There’s are many exceptions to that, but broadly its a reasonable generalization.

Whats common to all the roles is that they all relate to technology in some fashion, and require an understanding and even an affinity for technology if you’re to succeed / prosper. If you like to solve problems, understand how to make something work, or how to fix it, or how to make it better, while learning new things along the way, then maybe IT is for you.

Is it a good career choice?

IT continues to be a solid career choice in terms of remuneration and opportunity. The market continues to grow and good people are always in demand. The money is good (I’ve included a couple of salary survey in the links section), and there are endless opportunities for growing your skills and experience.

My only caveat here is that it can be a little tricky to get your foot in the door somewhere straight out of college, and often the first role someone takes will heavily influence the jobs that follow if they’re not careful.

For someone coming from a Computer Science degree then a job as a junior programmer is the best bet (ie Java/Javascript/.Net/Web Technologies etc), whereas if you’re coming from a Business degree and can show an interest in technology allied with some communications skills, then a junior Business Analyst role is likely a more natural fit.

I sent your question onto a few of my colleagues around the office here, and got a range of replies including

As an industry it is always a good time to move in to IT, as it is resilient to the general economic market cycles.

The most important question is it a good career choice for you yourself?

Are you comfortable with logic, detailed work, organisation, abstract ideas.

Do you enjoy technical design, problem solving,  team work, open to continuous learning?

If yes to a lot of these question then  IT may well be a suitable choice for you,  it is a broad and varied industry and potentially provides ample opportunity to move in to project management, people management.

Software Engineer

 

There are loads of jobs and competition in IT in Ireland with lots of opportunity.  The IT skills shortage is off the charts and growing.  There is lots of varied work (e.g. analyst v. IT v. PM) to suit a broad range of skills, so don’t be too put off by the ‘propeller head’ image.   Don’t get into the more technical roles (Networks, Developers etc.) unless you have a genuine interest.

Business Analyst

 

IT is an ever expanding industry with many varieties of sectors people can work in.

Due to it ever expanding it means job creation is on a high, but the market is a tough one to break into during graduation.

Once you’ve obtained 1 or 2 years experience there are a lot more choices/opportunities available to you.

If you’re like me and weren’t fully sure of which areas you’d like to work for straight after college it’s perfect for you. You can transition between various sectors of IT, or work in IT for a while and then transition out of it (for example you could transition into a financial role if working as part of IT in a financial organization).

In summary, it’s a solid option with a high starting salary in the capital in comparison to many other career choices, also with a lot of flexibility and growth with regards to skills and salary bumps.

Business Analyst

 

The IT industry is broad and forever expanding as businesses are migrating many of their tasks towards IT solutions, therefore creating more jobs in the IT Sector.

In my opinion, problem solving is a key attribute to working in IT, so if you get satisfaction from solving problems. This is a good career to get into.

Software Engineer

 

IT is a very, very broad industry, with lots of different types of jobs in it. The common skill requirements pretty much across the board are problem solving and communication, so if you like those things, then IT is a good industry to work in.

There probably aren’t many career choices more certain to get you a decent job at the far end of college, and the jobs generally pay pretty well.

Software Engineer

 

Its :

— Young, fast paced.

— You might like it, if you like

  • – learning new things
  • – understanding why something is broken

Software Architect

 

IT is definitely the best career choice you may move into, for many many reasons!!!

You will have the doors open for:

Loads job offers (anywhere in the world)

Competitive salaries

Universal language

Every day is different

etc etc

However all of this is only true if, and only if, you breathe technology then it will seem like you are not “working” at all.

Software Engineer

 

Career choice is dependent on expectation and perception.

  • The perception is that the I.T. industry is in demand, fast moving and upwardly mobile. A very diverse industry with lots of employment opportunities. I think this perception is accurate and the diversity gives scope for career mobility.
  • Expectation is based on the level of interest and the worth or return you will get from opting for this career choice. This is a more personal decision but certainly it is a career that will produce returns if you invest.

Taking both expectation and perception  into account, I think the I.T. industry is an excellent career choice

Business Analyst

 

In terms of industry IT is a very diverse area to work in.

You have the full range of possibilities from highly technical (infrastructure or development) to very business focused(analysis) or even mathematical (Analytics or statistical).  It also changes very quickly over time so great for someone with a low boredom threshold and who likes learning and doing new things on an ongoing basis.

In terms of it being a good career choice, more and more businesses are having to rely on IT and technology to compete in the commercial landscape so it’s definitely not going out of fashion.  If anything its becoming more and more core to businesses.  In the past you might not have seen an IT person on the executive management of a company but now it’s becoming much more the norm so there isn’t necessarily the upper limit on where an IT career can eventually end up.

eCommerce Manager

 

IT is an industry where you need to keep your skills up to date as it’s a fast changing industry. Your skills travel really well across different countries and continents. Moving job types (developer, sys admin, analyst, tester, project manager etc.) within the industry is possible and most companies facilitate it. For most roles in IT it helps if you are creative, have an analytical mind, are good at problem solving and adaptable to change. For some roles, you don’t necessarily need to have the best people skills in the world, but there are people-facing roles which require good people skills. IT is generally more laid back than most industries with regards to dress code, flexible working hours/patterns etc. It tends to pay better than a lot of other industries and bigger companies tend to have good packages + benefits. IT is an industry with a lot of contractors, so you always have the option to contract or go permanent.

I don’t think it’s ever a bad career choice to move into IT but you need to be IT-inclined; IT is embedded into nearly every industry and the IT jobs market is under supplied.

Project Manager

 

I’d say it depends what he wants… money?  Then something like IT Security, IT Project Manager, Computer Hardware Engineer, Robotics Engineer??

Most IT people start almost in the same way until some year that we are able to move to something specific.

Software Engineer

I’m not sure I can say much beyond what the guys have said for me there. IT is great, if you like IT, and its an industry filled with opportunities to succeed if you’re good at it, but can almost certainly be miserable if technology etc turns out not to be your bag!

-M.

 

Links

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/follow-your-heart-not-just-career-prospects-1.2474020

http://www.straighterline.com/blog/which-information-technology-career-is-right-for-you/

http://www.bridging-the-gap.com/42-reasons-to-consider-starting-a-business-analyst-career/

Salary Guide (mckinley)

Salary Guide (sigmar)

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