Careers in tech


This guide seeks to provide you with an overview of what it might mean to work in the tech – or technology – sector, the types of organisations offering opportunities and how you can get started, including links to employers, jobs boards and further sources of information. If you are interested in careers in data (such as in data analytics, data science, artificial intelligence or machine learning), you can also read our Careers in data employment sector page.

What is a career in tech?

The technology sector is increasingly attracting LSE graduates, providing a range of dynamic and innovative working environments and the opportunity to develop sought-after skills and knowledge. In the sector, it is a real asset to have some technical skills and a genuine interest in technology.

There are however opportunities for non-technical roles, in different support functions, including strategy, project management, business development, marketing, PR, finance, HR or sales, and there are opportunities for students with no technical skills, if you demonstrate interest and enthusiasm for the industry. Transferable skills such as problem solving, communication and teamwork, as well as the eagerness to learn, are critical and will be assessed in the recruitment process. 

Where can I work, what can I do, and how can I get there?

Where can I work?

Beyond the very large American tech companies, aka ‘tech giants’, namely Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft, the tech sector comprises a huge and increasing range of technology-driven industries from big (such as the Chinese Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance, or such as the popular Netflix, Twitter or Uber) to smaller players, to start-ups.

All of these employers are technology focused, with some creating technology – hardware or software –, others using technology in their core activities, and others offering technology-focussed professional services and consultancy.

  • Big tech companies – such as Microsoft, Google and IBM. When researching employers in this area, investigate the purpose and function of an organisation: for example, does it provide IT services to others, e.g. SAP and Hewlett Packard; offer consultancy and advisory support, e.g. CapGemini or Gartner; or develop new innovations in technology, e.g. Google and Apple? Which would suit you best?
  • Large IT-focused companies –such as IBM and Microsoft, offer a range of specific technical and business focused graduate schemes. 
  • Technology-focussed consultancies – such as the ‘Big Four’ (Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC), or Accenture. Most of these consultancies offer technology graduate schemes 
  • Companies with large IT functions – including organisations across sectors such as finance and banking, business and government, telecom, retail. Often run an ‘in-house’ technology graduate scheme as one option within a range of graduate programme. Companies offering technology graduate schemes include Sky, Tesco, Barclays, HSBC, BT, Vodafone, or GSK
  • SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) and Start-ups – while the larger employers often have a higher profile, the majority of tech focused roles are advertised by SMEs (organisations with fewer than 250 employees). For example, the digital start-up scene in London is currently flourishing and there are plenty of ‘meet-ups’ and networking events, such as Silicon Milkroundabout, taking place to help companies and entrepreneurs engage with potential employees. Start-ups are launched in a wide range of tech-driven sectors, some of the fastest growing being: e-commerce, cybersecurity, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech and BioTech, FoodTech, mobility, and media. 

What can I do?

There are a huge number of different roles in this sector, some for specialists with technical skills in coding and programming, and other more generalist opportunities in business consultancy, sales and marketing. We've outlined some of the ones likely to be of most interest to LSE students, with links to where you can find more information. If you can, try and talk to someone who's doing the job you're interested in, so you get a real flavour of what it's like. 

  • Software developer/engineer – develops software solutions, creating, maintaining and improving systems, programmes and applications. The Prospects Software engineer job profile provides further details. 
  • Systems analyst – examines existing IT systems and business models, analysing systems requirements and developing and testing products and solutions. Check out the Prospects Systems analyst job profile. 
  • IT consultant – advises clients on how best to use IT to support their business objectives or overcome problems. Provides technical expertise and develops and implements IT systems and solutions. The Prospects IT consultant job profile is a useful resource. 
  • Web designer – plans, designs and creates websites or web pages for colleagues or clients. Access the Prospects Web designer job profile for more information. 
  • Data scientist – turns data into information using algorithms and machine learning. The Prospects Data scientist job profile provides further details. You will find more details on our Careers in Data employment sector page. 
  • Operational researcher –uses both mathematical and computational modelling to support decision making and strategy within a range of organisations. Check out the Prospects Operational researcher job profile. 
  • Cyber security analyst – helps to protect an organisation by employing a range of technologies and processes and by monitoring networks and systems, to prevent, detect and manage cyber threats and intrusion attempts. More to be found on the Prospects Cyber-security analyst job profile. 

If you want to explore the sector further, the TARGETjobs summary of ten typical graduate jobs and the Prospects overview of graduate jobs in IT provide details of several other related roles.

For LSE students without an IT related degree, roles within project management, sales, consultancy and business analysis, marketing, HR and finance are available within the sector. However, it will still be essential to demonstrate your strong interest in technology to support any application to these areas. 

How can I get there?

An honest appraisal of your current technical skills, and your willingness and capacity to learn and develop in this area is a good starting point. For example, if you have developed programming and coding skills, how confident do you feel in this area? Speaking with employers on campus and attending events run by LSE Generate and LSE Careers can help clarify which role might suit you.

If you are looking to gain experience:

Internships and work experience will provide an advantage but are not the only option. Look out for coding clubs, hackathons and other collaborative tech focused events on campus or beyond. Meeting with students from different institutions, including those with technical and engineering degree programmes such as UCL and Imperial, can help develop your knowledge and skills along with your network of contacts.

If you are early on in your career:

Technology graduate programmes are available across a broad range of organisations. A graduate programme can be a good way of accessing training and development opportunities for non-IT graduates, and are often used as an entry point into this field by LSE students. Alternatively, you may wish to explore opportunities within SMEs and start-ups where your drive, adaptability and entrepreneurial skills will be equally valued.

If you have more experience:

The best route is likely to be through recruitment agencies and search firms, networking within the sector and applying directly for roles on company websites and via LinkedIn. An ability to demonstrate your continuous professional development in relation to technology and innovation will be key to ensuring that your previous work experience is relevant to future employers.

If you’re changing career:

Reflect on what your existing skills might add to a technology-focused role. Be prepared to be flexible. LSE Alumni who have changed career often emphasise the important of making a number of moves in the first few years. This blog from LSE Careers highlights some of the areas to focus on.



Where can I find out more about working in this sector?

Interested in finding out more about a career in tech?

Here are some helpful links, including the ways LSE Careers can work with you on your journey.

Events

  • Look out for events and resources part of the Discover | Tech programme.
  • The LSE Digital Skills Lab with LSE Careers are organising a yearly Python Coding Challenge open to all LSE students. This is a good way to gain experience in the tech sector and meet with likeminded students in a team.
  • To engage with the start-up and innovation world at LSE, Generate offers a lot of networking opportunities and events with entrepreneurs.
  • The LSE Data Science Institute are organising a range of events.
  • Bear in mind that London is one of the biggest tech hubs in the world, and there are a lot of London meet-up groups in the tech sector. On Meetup, you can find a list of groups dedicated to different areas of the tech field and identify events you’d like to attend. You can also choose other locations than London or the UK.
  • There is a range of other events in London, in the UK and overseas in the tech sphere, listed by TechMeetups, Silicon Milkroundabout or Tech.London.
  • Here is also a useful list of Hackathons in London.

Resources

LSE Careers resources:

Online courses to develop your technical skills:

Other online courses include:

External resources:

  • Founders and Coders
  • Code at Uni
  • OpenLearn's Make a changing world a better place (free online courses on topics such as Internet of everything, ICT systems, cyber-security, themes and theories for working in virtual project teams, software and the law).
  • Courses run by big tech companies such as Amazon, Google Cloud, Grow with Google and Microsoft
  • HackerRank have a platform with coding tutorials and practice problems, along with interview preparation challenges and tips.
  • Codecademy gives access to help with preparing technical interviews. 
  • Coderbyte have listed the best coding challenge websites, which are a great way to prepare for coding interviews.
  • Interview Cake offer advice on technical interviews and list programming interview questions and how to solve them.

Active tech communities:

  • LeetCode is a platform to help you enhance your skills, expand your knowledge and prepare for technical interviews. 
  • Blind is an anonymous professional network. 
  • Women in Tech has resources and advice for female graduates.

Professional bodies and associations: 

Jobs and opportunities

Job boards are a good way to understand what roles are out there in the tech sector, or tech roles in any sector, and what are the trending skills required.

For jobs specifically in start-ups:

Appointments

If you’d like to discuss your options in this sector, or chat through your current plans, please book an appointment with an LSE Careers Consultant.