The UK’s tech sector is huge, with over 1.5 million people working within the digital sector, or in digital tech roles across other sectors, in 2017.
For students who are just starting out on their careers, there’s a whole world of technology job options available – whether you’re aiming to become a software developer, or you want to work in network support, there’s a lot to choose from. And while some tech jobs are focused on particular skills, such as coding and programming, there are other jobs in this industry that don’t require technical abilities at all – such as technology marketing, sales and product management.
Here are some of the main ways in which your university experience can help you carve out a career in this exciting sector:
You’ll never have as much free time to experiment with different career choices and build a CV as you will when you’re a student. For that reason you should try to get as much work experience in as possible. Your university careers office may be able to help you in this regard, and there are often schemes set up that link institutions to tech companies looking for talented individuals during the summer break. Failing that, emailing or calling a tech firm to ask for a placement can produce results: the firms tend to have loose structures and flat hierarchies, so unsolicited approaches aren’t necessarily going to be frowned upon.
Freedom to work
In the past, students often worked in bars and supermarkets to earn a bit of extra cash, but in today’s economy, there are plenty more jobs available – and some of these are in the technology sector.
Quite a few tech jobs these days are contract-based, which means you can fit in some coding or some programming around your degree and bring some extra money in. While the main downside of this sort of work is that you’ll need to sort out your own tax return for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), you can also hire an umbrella PAYE service to do it for you. So, if you want to earn cash to fund your studies (or your trips to the pub), contracting is definitely an option.
Outside the box
Remember, the tech world is about so much more than software and coding. If you’re not proficient in a coding language or you’re not studying computer science or a related degree, you can still get a placement in tech.
Consider approaching technology firms to see if they have any internships available in their product management department, for example. That function within a tech company is responsible for planning the way a product will be released and predicting how it will perform, so it can give you a broad overview of many aspects of the tech world while also giving you transferable skills.
Working in the UK’s tech sector, either on the technical side or the product side, is a rewarding experience, and you don’t have to wait until after you graduate, either. You can jump into a tech career even while you’re still studying if you choose to take on a freelance role. Whatever your skills are and whatever stage you’re at, there’ll be a technology related role out there that’s right for you.
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