What’s It Like Studying to Become an IT Specialist?

Tech talent is in huge demand. An astonishing 72% of IT teams in the UK report problems finding and hiring people with the skills they need. 

That makes a career in technology potentially very lucrative.

Because there is such high demand, companies are prepared to pay big money to get the right people.

As a result, salaries in tech roles are, on average, 80% higher than in non-tech roles. 

Aside from opportunities to earn big, IT is a highly rewarding career path. It’s extremely diverse, with opportunities to work in areas such as software programming, cybersecurity, data science, and hardware engineering. 

And because every other industry depends so fundamentally on technology these days, you get free rein to pick and choose how and where you apply your skills.

Whatever sector you want to work in, you will be right at the cutting edge of making the future happen.

So how do you get into a career in IT?

It’s a technical area that demands advanced skills and knowledge, so your best starting point is a bachelor’s degree.

But what’s it like studying for a bachelor’s degree in IT? and what can they lead to? Here’s a brief overview:

What Will You Learn?

Most degrees in software engineering and computing share a lot in common, providing you with a solid grounding in the core principles and disciplines of modern IT and computer science.

Both courses include core modules in software development, computing infrastructure, computer science, data science and analytics. But there are a few differences. 

Software engineering courses take a deeper dive into advanced software programming and engineering, with options to learn specific development approaches such as Agile.

In contrast, computing degrees focus more on systems than programming, with a core module in systems analysis and design.

It also has a broader range of optional modules, giving students the flexibility to pursue different areas of interest, such as ethical hacking and digital forensics, or emerging technologies.

How Will You Learn?

As with all undergraduate courses, computing and software engineering programs progress on a module-by-module basis, with assessments at the end of each module contributing to your final grade.

Both IT courses also include a compulsory individual project.

Teaching and learning involve a combination of lectures, seminars, personal study, and hands-on practical experience.

Universities and colleges that specialize in IT can also have strong connections with employers, so there may be plenty of opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills to meet the real-world needs and expectations of the tech industry, particularly for your individual project.

Class sizes can also vary to ensure you benefit from meaningful and personalized interaction with teaching staff.

This also enhances the opportunities for you to zoom in on areas of study that are of particular interest to you and start to shape your learning toward potential career paths as you progress.

What Will an IT Degree Lead To?

People with degrees in computing and software engineering are in huge demand across all industries.

With the skills and expertise you gain from an IT degree, you will be able to pursue a wide range of employment opportunities.

With a degree in software engineering, one obvious route is to go into software programming and development.

Even this is a hugely diverse area these days, covering everything from websites, APIs, mobile apps, and even video game development to the huge field of systems software, the ‘back end’ processes that keep digitized systems running.

But software engineering is a much larger field than straightforward programming.

As a step up from writing code, it involves designing and building the ‘architecture’ of digital systems, the complex interplay of how different programs complement and enable one another.

Skilled software engineers often find themselves progressing to become project managers specializing in digital implementation, either leading teams in-house or working as consultants.

With a degree in computing, the range of options is even greater still.

With a solid grounding in a broad range of IT disciplines, computing graduates can progress into areas such as network design, technical operations management, IT support, multimedia production, data science, cybersecurity, and more. 

While some end up working for tech agencies or even starting up in business themselves, there are plenty of opportunities to move into other industries such as telecommunications, aerospace and defense, financial services, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and the public sector. 

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