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13 types of graduate jobs in the tech industry

Jaymes Carr

Careers Commentator
You’ve finished your IT degree, so what happens next? Here are 13 jobs you might find yourself in as a graduate.

Getting Started

Your graduate career is like the ultimate role playing game and, just as with Skyrim or World of Warcraft, it starts with you selecting the type of IT professional you’d like to be. To help prepare you for this decision, we’ve assembled a list of thirteen typical jobs that attract graduates in the IT sector. You’ll probably be relieved to discover that there’s more variety than you anticipated, giving you an excellent chance of finding a job that matches your specific set of skills, passions and talents.

1. Computer support specialist

Also known as: technical support, helpdesk support, operations analyst, problem manager

When things go wrong in an IT environment, technical support staff are there to patiently troubleshoot the problem. Generally, technical support teams have client-facing roles, helping the customers of software or hardware companies get the most out of their products. While some support roles will require employees with specific knowledge, others are a great match for patient graduates with exemplary communication skills.

Key skills include:

  • wide-ranging tech knowledge
  • the ability to problem solve
  • excellent communication and the ability to listen
  • patience, patience and more patience!

2. Hardware engineer 

Also known as: network engineer, network designer

Hardware engineers design, build, and test computer hardware (such as computer chips and circuit boards) and computer systems. They also work with peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, modems, and monitors, among others. Generally, hardware engineering roles become more specific as graduates move from entry-level roles into senior positions. To begin with, graduates are likely to be tasked with general duties related to the design, development, and testing of computer systems and components.

Key skills include:

  • analysis
  • logical thinking
  • teamwork
  • attention to detail

3. Computer systems analyst

Also known as: product specialist, systems engineer, solutions specialist, technical designer.

Systems analysts identify business challenges and then design information systems that provide a feasible solution. This is typically done in response to a brief from a business or customer. In addition to designing IT solutions, systems analysts are frequently required to  take financial and administrative considerations (such as total costs and implementation times) into account. As a result, the job requires a mix of business and technical knowledge, as well as excellent interpersonal skills.

Key skills include:

  • ability to extract and analyse information
  • good communication
  • persuasion
  • sensitivity
  • strategic thinking
  • the ability to deal with multiple stakeholders.

4. Software developer 

Also known as: software engineer, application programmer, software architect, system programmer/engineer

If you’re looking for a creative role in IT, software development could be for you. Software developers design a range of software solutions, from operating systems and databases to mobile applications and games. To understand what the software is required to do, developers often liaise extensively with customers and colleagues. You’ll need top programming skills to be a software developer - but the rewards will be worth it, because this is typically one of the best-paid graduate roles.

Key skills include:

  • high-level technical knowledge
  • the ability to think in a procedural and strategic manner
  • the ability to work within a team
  • attention to detail.

5. Programmer 

Are you a crack coder with a penchant for solving problems? If so, maybe consider a career in programming - it’s lucrative, challenging and offers numerous opportunities for advancements. Programmers write and test code that allow computer applications and software programs to function properly. This often involves taking the program designs created by software developers and engineers, and turning them into instructions that a computer can follow.

Key skills include:

  • analysis
  • logical thinking
  • teamwork
  • patience
  • attention to detail

6. Web developer 

Also known as: web programmers, web designers, internet or intranet developers, webmasters

In a world where people rely on the internet for everything from banking to social engagement, the work of talented web developers is indispensable. Web developers are responsible for day-to-day Web site creation and design. They combine the skills of a computer programmer with those of a graphic designer. Developers work with all of the elements of a Web site—text, images, graphics, and more—to come up with functional, interesting, and user-friendly designs. You’ll find web development particularly rewarding if you want to balance technical challenges with opportunities for creative work.

Key skills include:

  • basic understanding of web technologies (client side, server side and databases)
  • ability to keep abreast of latest developments in HTML, CSS and other coding languages
  • creative and analytical thinking
  • eye for design and aesthetic
  • the ability to problem solve.

7. Network engineer 

Also known as: hardware engineer, network designer

Network engineering is one of the more technically demanding IT jobs. Broadly speaking, this job involves setting up, administering, maintaining and upgrading communication systems, local area networks and wide area networks for an organisation. Network engineers are also responsible for security, data storage and disaster recovery strategies. It’s a highly technical role and you’ll likely end up with an impressive collection of specialist technical certifications.

Key skills include:

  • specialist network knowledge
  • excellent communication
  • the ability to develop, follow and adjust a plan of action
  • analytical thinking
  • the ability to problem solve.

8. Software tester 

Also known as: test analyst, software quality assurance tester

Undetected software bugs can have a massive impact on the productivity and reputation of an IT firm, causing all sorts of problems, from software crashes to security breaches. Testers try to ‘exterminate’ bugs by anticipating all the ways an application or system might be used. They test scripts and macros, analyse the results, and give them back to a project leader so that any necessary fixes can be made. Testers can also be involved in the early stages of a project to weed out any predictable vulnerabilities before software development begins in earnest.

Key skills include:

  • attention to detail
  • creativity
  • organisation
  • analytical and investigative thinking
  • communication

9. Technical sales

Also known as: sales manager, account manager, sales executive.

Technical sales might be the least hands-on role on this list, but it still requires an understanding of how businesses use IT. You may sell hardware, or extol the business benefits of software, network systems or services (like cloud products). Day to day, the job could involve phone calls, meetings, conferences and drafting proposals. At the heart of this role is a willingness to understand what customers want and speak to them in a way that conveys your determination to equip them with an appropriate solution. An IT degree isn’t necessarily essential, but you will need to have a thorough technical understanding of the product you sell.

Key skills include:

  • product knowledge
  • persuasion
  • interpersonal skills
  • drive
  • mobility
  • business awareness.

10. Business analyst 

Also known as: business architect, enterprise-wide information specialist.

As with technical sales, this isn’t necessarily a hands-on IT job. However, the best analysts are those who understand the technologies employed by their clients and employers. Business analysts are responsible for analysing an organization, documenting its business processes and systems, evaluating its use of technology and identifying ways to improve outcomes related to efficiency, performance, sales and cost-effectiveness. It could be a great fit for you if you’re a talent IT graduate who likes to look at the big picture.

Key skills include:

  • communication
  • presentation
  • facilitation
  • project management
  • problem-solving

11. User experience (UX) designer

Have you ever used a website or app and been frustrated because you couldn’t find what you were looking for in the place you expected to see it? A UX designer’s job is to make sure that this never happens. In other words, a UX designer researches, understands and designs processes that create a seamless user experience by focusing on three key areas: look (aesthetics), feel (user engagement) and usability (ease of use). UX designers often work closely with web developers who have the technical know-how to ensure the UX designer’s feedback and recommendations are implemented correctly. In architectural terms, a UX designer would create the blueprints while the developer builds the house.

Key skills include:

  • people-oriented
  • curious
  • interested in/good at predicting human behaviour
  • empathetic
  • great verbal and written communication skills
  • always interested in the ‘why’.

12. Security engineer

Also known as: security analyst, security engineer, security administrator, security architect, security specialist, security consultant

Security is of increasing concern as businesses become more digitised. Data breaches could spell the end of even the largest and most successful companies if they are not contained properly or companies don’t have proper processes in place to prevent or address them. Increasingly, companies want people dedicated to strategising how to protect their information, networks and systems and how to prevent, address and curtail disasters if they should occur. This has resulted in a specialised niche being created for security engineers when not long ago this role may have been a part of a network engineer’s task list.

Key skills include:

  • specialist network knowledge
  • specialist knowledge in relation to cybersecurity protocols
  • attention to detail
  • excellent communication skills
  • ability to handle stressful situations.

13. Data scientist

Also known as: data architects, data visualisers, data engineers, data ecologists.

Data scientists are experts in wrestling with huge amounts of (often messy) data points and using their arsenal of skills in maths, statistics and programming to clean and organise them into value-adding insights. Straddling the worlds of business and IT, data scientists are being sought after to help businesses make the right decisions and uncover solutions to their challenges.

Key skills include:

  • solid grasp of statistics, including statistical test and distributions
  • the ability to work with a variety of programming languages like SAS, R and Python
  • excellent researching skills
  • the ability to visually represent data and insights for easier analysis
  • the ability to look for and find order, patterns and trends in data.