The IT field has blossomed over the last few decades, with the UK labour force climbing from a few thousand developers thirty years ago to more than one million today. The skills available for an IT student to learn have also proliferated with the development of new programming, scripting and markup languages, which appears to give those hoping for a career in IT more choice—except that all of those skills do not pay the same or offer the same earnings prospects for the future. The following is a summary of what skills IT students should seek in order to launch their careers and enjoy success and greater earnings as their careers progress.
Right After Graduation
The more money IT graduates earn right out of uni, the faster they can be rid of their student loans, so a decent earnings rate early in your career is important. In this regard, Java is widely taught by IT schools, and many study it, but the market for Java developers has become oversaturated with candidates, and rates at which employers hire new Java developers has not kept pace. Similarly, PHP is relatively new and exciting and everyone is jumping on the PHP bandwagon, but that serves to oversaturate the employment market and make obtaining a PHP job directly out of school more difficult.
For new graduates, the market is particularly attractive in older, more basic languages such as C++ and .net. More than half of junior developers use their C++, .net and related skills in the early stages of their careers, so having them is attractive to prospective employers and increases the chance of quality remuneration to begin with. Jobs requiring Perl tend to pay better than jobs requiring PHP.
In a Progressive Career
The type of initial IT job makes a difference to career progress, as does the industry. For example, testers are far less regarded than first-instance developers, so that a job in testing often means lower initial pay and much lower prospects for career advancement—which greatly affects future pay rises. Also, while the game industry seems to be rich with opportunities, the rates of pay in game development are comparatively low and the hours long and taxing, with some game development work even being outsourced to other countries such as India, where the cost of living is much lower and programmers work for much lower wages.
One nugget of gold for progressive careers is Oracle. Although beginner jobs rarely use Oracle skills, developers with solid experience and facility with Oracle tend to make among the best salaries available to developers today.
With so many IT students graduating today, and so many working IT professionals already in the market, a wise choice of skills to learn in school, as well as a wise choice of job types and industries to join, pays off in both the short term and the long term.
About the Author:
Tim Aldiss writes on behalf of workcircle.co.uk who search the UK’s top job boards, employers and agencies so you don’t have to!
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