All next week (7th-11th November) we have a series of events all related to Careers in the Technology sector. Which ones are a good fit for you?
If you’re wondering what’s expected of you as a tech student candidate
If you are researching your tech career options and even a bit unclear about what’s on offer or what direction the sector is going in
If you want to meet some real life tech professionals and hear things directly from them
If you know which tech careers you want to target but are now trying to get through the recruitment processes
Just a short one but here’s more evidence that 2016 grad vacancies with large companies are still out there. This time Fidessa and an IT role for a graduate. Click on the link for the full job description.
The myths relating to those elusive 2 year graduate schemes/programmes with typically large employers are many. One relates to timing and the whisper that if you haven’t got one by, say, January or February you’ve had it. They are all full. Come back next time. Sorry.
Three things tell more of the truth. Firstly each year many graduate scheme positions go unfilled. They really do. Over 25% of vacancies in some cases in some sectors. The affected companies will continue to look for suitable applicants to fill these gaps. Secondly if we look at a couple of sites that are very clear about application deadlines, Gradcracker and TARGETjobs, there are still vacancies being advertised with deadlines into April and May. Even beyond that.
Finally we get companies coming in to City to tell us! This week it was global IT firm CGI’s turn to bring good news in the form of around 16 brand new graduate positions on their Business Graduate Programme, specifically working within their Financial Services & Digital business unit. Basically the part of CGI that does work for big name finance companies amongst others. You’ll be the Service Delivery Managers supporting the delivery of a first class service to these clients. You don’t need a technical background but you do need a genuine interest in working in the technology sector. The roles have elements of both data analytics and project management as well as plenty of client contact. All degree backgrounds will be considered as well as a predicted 2:1 or above in your (first) degree and 240+ UCAS points. What’s equally as interesting is that they have a relatively short application process. One application form, a very short phone call, and an assessment centre. That’s it. They also still have technology and year long placements available as well. Read the full job advert here: Business Grad Advert 2016.
A frequently mentioned part of what employers want from you as a student or graduate candidate is your commercial awareness. You’ll find many definitions of what “commercial awareness” means and I’ll add another definition now. In a nutshell it’s “what’s going on right now” in the sector/company/environment. Knowing where to start to acquire this knowledge can be mesmerising (damn internet!) but here’s some ideas from the perspective of the IT sector:
- Blog articles like this one entitled “25 big tech predictions for 2016” – some of the info is particular to the United States but the points on internet connected cars, the oil and gas industry using the Internet of Things to increase revenues and small businesses greatly increasing their use of payment apps caught my attention.
- Major professional services businesses like Deloitte often produce annual summaries of what they see as major trends in particular sectors. You can read their 2016 predictions for the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors here. You know they are worth reading as these professional services companies get their information from clients that are major players in this sector means this information can be read with a good degree of trust.
- Gartner is an American marketing, market research and advisory firm providing information technology insights targeted at CIOs and senior IT leaders in industries that include government agencies, high-tech and telecom enterprises, professional services firms, and technology investors. You can read about their “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016” here.
What’s the competitive edge for you as a job candidate? Firstly it will help you answer any questions you get in interview about whats currently happening in the sector. Secondly it could give you an idea of where to target your own job search. Growth areas more often than not need more people to work in them. And that can include placement students and soon to be graduates.
Strange things are happening in the world of recruiting placement and graduate Computer Science students. It’s generally agreed that there aren’t enough Computer Science related students being produced by UK universities to meet the demand employers have to recruit them. So employers can’t get enough of you. On the other hand the largest number of unfilled grad scheme vacancies (11.8%) in 2013/2014 were with IT and telecommunications employers*. Why were 1 in 10 vacancies left unfilled? Employers aren’t lowering their standards and they want something more from you as a Computer Science student.
What’s that something more? Two things specifically.
Firstly they are still looking for that golden combination of tech ability and the ability to work with others and communicate well. The stereotype of a nerdy uncommunicative computer science student who only works on their own is a myth and employers know that but they still want reassurance. And more than just your examples of working together on group projects in university. Everyone has that opportunity. Instead look at other ways to demonstrate your collaboration and communication skills. Volunteering opportunities like CodeClub and paid roles in initiatives like FunTech.co.uk are opportunities to teach technology to kids and are excellent ways to make yourself stand out from all the other computer scientists and pick up one of those 1 in 10 empty vacancies.
Secondly they are looking for computer science students that live and breathe technology. That means doing more than your degree. Are you entering hackathons? Are you coding in open source communities like GitHub and online collaborative games design communities like GameSalad.com? All activities that, incidentally, help you develop your collaboration and communication skills as well!
If either of these don’t quite match your own tech career ambitions there’s always tech volunteering opportunities via do-it.org where you can search for opportunities to volunteer in your area under the headings of “IT”, “Technology” and “Web development”.
Do more = Be different = Get hired.
*Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) Winter Survey 2014
With the connection between City University and the UK gaming industry continuing to grow I couldn’t miss out on the chance to attend a recent whole day session unveiling the secrets of how to get into the gaming industry. A heck of a lot of ground was covered by the representatives from Creative Skillset, Gamesys and Frontier (amongst others) but here are the top 5 things that stood out to me.
1. The role of the portfolio – a killer online portfolio can go a long way to getting you an interview. Make sure it’s kept up to date, is error free and looks professional. Feature specific games projects, ideally smaller less complex projects that you actually completed rather than unfinished more complex ones. Show the beginning, middle and end stages you went through to complete the project. This should include your thought processes and rationale behind the decisions you made along the way. Feature the range of capabilities you have by including a variety of projects.
2. The ‘exotic’ locations – tie yourself to the bright lights of London and you could be missing out on Continue Reading
If you are than you really need to read this post. Here is prooof that the grad scheme door does not shut with the arrival of Santa on his sleigh. PwC have been in touch to draw your attention to their continued graduate vacancies for 2014, with start dates as soon as April! Here are the technology ones. Here are the finance ones.
Here’s an unashamed steal from the TargetJobs website concerning two articles (here and here) written about the subject of handling technical interviews. Something for the I.T. and Engineering students amongst us. I particularly like the highlighting of the following 3 aspects of what you’re likely to encounter:
1) Know your basics – the fundamental things that may have been taught to you at the start of your course.
2) When you’re given a practical problem to solve with a technical solution it pays to show your thinking and your rationale as you think through it ahead of, perhaps, trying to give an absolutely spot on technical solution.
3) It’s okay to say you don’t know. Technical interviews are often done to test the boundaries of your technical knowledge and we all have boundaries. Even the most experienced techy will have a boundary to the questions they can answer well. Just be prepared to maximise your own boundary of technical knowledge.
Simon Copsey – Technologist at Goldman Sachs will be attending our “Careers within an Investment Bank” panel on 31 October. We asked him to provide us with a short bio – here is what he had to say!
“It feels as if I started using a computer before I learnt to walk, though perhaps I just learnt to walk late in life. Ever since that moment I’ve felt an affinity with technology and, especially, with software development.
I graduated from King’s College London in 2006 in Computer Science. After spending some time working with Continue Reading
Whilst we’re on a (blog) roll, also check out Claire Adams’ blog in our blog roll and the posts relating to the employer sector focus groups. Claire is the Ops Manager of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the professional body that the recruiters belonging to the companies who are trying to recruit you are members of.
The employer sector focus groups happen every 3 months and involve recruiters in different sectors like Finance or the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) getting together to discuss the issues they are having recruiting you. It’s a real opportunity. A chance to spend time in their shoes and perhaps glean some insights to help your own approach with them. I try to attend in person or dial into the ones relating to Engineering.
Here’s a link to the post based on the Information Techology focus group from February 2013. For instance did you know some IT companies find it hard to fill roles outside London? Now you do, and if you know you are flexible on that it might be something you want to make clear to them in your applications to them and at interview. A true sign of inside knowledge giving you competitive advantage.