What to study to get a Job in IT

Casual man working on laptop in library

So you want to work with computers after you graduate university? That’s great news!

This means that if you’re just about to enter university, you may think that in order to get a job in IT, you can just do an IT degree: simple right?

Not quite.

For instance, there is quite a lot of confusion about the term ‘IT’. Whilst it is used as a catch-all term for ‘working with computers’, it ALSO refers to the specific field of working in computing maintenance and repairs. 

This means there is no one degree that will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know about how computers work. Instead, there are a couple of different degrees you can depending on which IT job you want after graduating.

For instance, there are degrees in IT and Computing, but there are also degrees in Computing Science that you can do.

All of this is confusing right? That’s why we’ve broken down the difference between the different types of computing-related degrees you can take, and the sort of jobs these will lead to.

Information Technology or Computer Science? 

Yes, IT can be used as a catch-all term to describe any job that involves working with computers, but and degrees in IT are a specific field of their own.  Although both have overlap, they specialise in very different things, so read on below to find out what they are and what jobs they may lead on to.

Information Technology

Potential Jobs: It Technician, It Systems Manager, IT Support

Information Technology, or IT (as it’s commonly known) involves working with the upkeep and maintenance of computers, as well as their network and systems. This degree will train you to effectively work as an IT Technician or Manager.  This role involves helping people when their machines break down and making sure all the programmes and machines are working well.

In order to prepare you for this role, the degree will teach you about how computers work: including software, as well as the hardware (the physical parts of the computer). You’ll also learn about how to maintain networks and troubleshooting in case something goes wrong with the computers or the Internet systems.

However, your job as an IT manager may involve soft skills, such as business or project management, and a good IT course will offer modules in these areas as well.

A word of warning: specialising in IT is about having a general understanding of computers, so you will most likely not be taught any advanced coding in HTML, Java etc. If you are interested in programming, read on to see the qualifications you can do for this.

Computer Science

Jobs: Systems Analyst, Software Developer, Website Developer, UX Engineer

Although there will be some crossovers with a traditional IT degree, Computer Science requires more technical and mathematical skills. Whereas IT is all about learning how computers and networks operate, computer science specifically focuses on the programming side, using algorithms often based in heavy mathematics, as well as learning about programming theory.

Essentially, a Computer Science Degree will give you a rigorous training in how the software programmes (that is, all the installed programmes on your computer) works. Due to its widely transferrable nature, the coding and mathematical skills you will learn in a CS degree will lead to a wider range of jobs. Computer Scientists have been known to work in anything from video-game designers to software developers.

Check out the wide variety of jobs you can do with a Computer Science degree.

In essence, go for this degree if you know maths is a strong suit and are more interested in coding and software rather than learning about networks or the hardware of computers.

Alternative Training Courses

If you aren’t sure that university is for you, but still want a job in IT, have no fear. The most important thing that IT employers want from you is your competency with computers.

Luckily, there are alternative courses you can take which will open the doors for you to have a career in IT. Check out a list of qualifications here.

However, in order to give yourself the best chance possible, make sure you also get some industry or work experience to showcase you can put those skills to use in the workplace!

Industry Experience

However, we should warn you that a degree or a qualification is not a guarantee for a job.

Employers are looking for skills and working experience alongside your degree: a CV with only a degree and not much else does not do you any favours.

Instead, your potential employers will be looking for evidence of your enthusiasm and skills: so ensure you have some work experience and other IT-related projects that you can put in your CV by the time you graduate.

Did you intern at a software company? Did you make a website for your friend? All of these look great in your CV as it shows your enthusiasm and skill.

So now you hopefully have a clearer idea of what you want to study, and the sort of roles your qualification may bring you.

We wish you the best of luck with your future in IT!

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