Does UK need more IT graduates?
Back in the days when mainframes ruled, there was a close ratio between IT workers and computers. Now, PCs worldwide number close to 1 billion, but the number of IT workers joining the field is dwindling fast.
There has never been a better time to be a graduate entering the IT profession. On-line services and web presence are becoming imperative to companies. Many large companies are experiencing skill shortages as the IT industry continues to grow. One reason given might be the lack of women being attracted into the industry. Female graduates are more likely to enter non- IT-related professions.
Demand is high for IT graduates and salaries are averaging almost £22,000 for those with little or no work experience. IT graduates seeking a career in software/web development can expect a higher salary of over £22,000 and those looking for a career in technical support can expect £20,000.
Computing graduates acquire not only specific knowledge in their subjects, but also general training in many of the skills demanded by work environments across most industrial sectors. These include the ability to think logically, analyse information, handle difficult problems, communicate effectively and work on projects. As employers place high value on this combination of knowledge and skills, this puts computing students in a strong position in the graduate recruitment market.
But the increase in unemployment amongst computing graduates may be due to the fact that many IT jobs are open to graduates from any degree background. Job hunting for computing graduates is now much more competitive: personal qualities, skills, relevant work experience are all as equally valuable as the title and class of the degree. In addition, although there is a general shortage in IT skills, this is more pronounced in certain areas.
According to a new survey by Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD, 70% of IT professionals do not believe IT graduates make the best recruits. A project manager at engineering company BAE Systems said: "IT graduates are not always the best option. It depends purely on the level of experience and specialism that you require. Individual factors and circumstances should also be accounted for."
Some IT firms are keen to train graduates on the job without first insisting they obtain postgraduate qualifications.
On the other hand, there is as expected strong demand for skilled IT Graduates at this time of year and especially those with some commercial experience. Matthew Iveson, managing director at CV Screen said: 'We are increasingly finding that employers will specify a preference for candidates who have experienced a year out in industry during their degree course.
'Our advice to those candidates who may be beginning or in the middle of their degree is to try and gain some relevant work experience, either through a placement year or indeed during their university vacations,' he added.
Graduates with IT skills and a second language are also in demand as are those with programming skills.
UK IT graduates complain that their university courses do not prepare them for work in the real world
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