I talked to some students at University of Ulster last week about life in the IT industry. To be honest it got me thinking about whether or not this was a good industry to work in or not… here’s a summary of what I said:
Working in the ICT sector is a great career choice for a few reasons:
- Its exciting and gives you the ability to be right at the cutting edge of changing how people’s behaviour, and subsequently their lives can change.
- There are real employment prospects and that’s unlikely to change soon.
- There are literally no limits to what you can achieve. If you want to create a global phenomenon from your dorm room you can… you don’t even need to be that charismatic!
- Your skills are transferable to any country and any technology. This is useful because the technology you may end up making a living from probably doesn’t exist yet.
For me, the future of the web is ‘probably’:
- Mobile – we’ve just passed the point where there are more mobile phones than people on the planet. All that kit needs content and technology to keep it fun.
- Social – facebook and twitter are not fads but there is plenty of room for the ‘next big thing’. Social networking phenomena have shown time and again that the can scale globally in next to no time so this continues to be an exciting space to be in.
- 3D – admittedly I know very little about this but it stands to sense, just from acquisitions and investment in the technology that this will be big… presumably after the bandwidth issues get sorted out.
- Open – the days of proprietary software are ‘probably’ over. All the big global brands focus more on eyeballs and revenue rather than protecting their IP so as a career move, open source looks like a good horse to back.
So if you are a graduate or someone who expects to get a job in IT in the next few years, how do you go about it?:
- Be seen – get a blog and consider this a better alternative to your CV. Promote your work on there and on industry forums and sites so that people will get to know you or be able to find out about your work and you with a quick search.
- Be clean – just remember what goes on tour ends up on facebook and employers look at it. While someone like me won’t care and may even use it as a reason for entertainment at interview, other employers could take a dim view of you running around in your underpants on the internet!
- Be open – you will not end up as a digital animator straight out of school. Take a job that will lead to a better one and work hard as hell to get the next better role.
- Be free – don’t rule out that dream job just because you have to do it for free for a couple of months.
- Be flexible – your first, second or third jobs may not be close to where you want to live. You’ve entered a truly global economy… use it.
Bottom line for me is that ICT, whatever its form, is a great place to work. Where else can you get the opportunity to develop products that be sold internationally minutes after you’ve built them or where your company can grow astronomically and you can grow with it if you’ve got the strength to keep up?