Careers in Data, Information and Technology

 

In brief

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.  More and more organisations are accepting applications from graduates across all academic disciplines for roles within data and IT, opening up new career paths for LSE students with a passion for technology and analytics.

The growing trend for both private and public sector organisations to apply data analytics to business decision making is also a key influencer on graduate labour market trends. With the adoption of new technologies, such as machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing, highly analytical graduates with strong quantitative skills, are actively sought by employers.

Where can you work?

  • Technology focused companies – range from global giants such as Microsoft, Google and IBM to fintech and health tech start-ups, with a huge range of IT and data focused organisations of varying sizes in between. 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.
  • Companies with large IT functions – including organisations across sectors such as finance and banking, business and government. Often run an ‘in-house’ graduate IT scheme as one option within a range of graduate programmes.
  • Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – 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.

What’s changing in the sector?

This is a sector defined by continuous change and innovation. The recent focus on big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things gives an indication of the importance and impact of technological change on societies, economies and the labour market.

The recent explosion in fintech (financial technology) companies, facilitated by developments in Blockchain technology, has created a new occupational area for LSE students to consider. It also demonstrates the rapid pace in which technological innovation is shaping the careers landscape for graduates. In job descriptions for graduate roles across the sector, innovation and creativity are increasingly required alongside technical skills. This is a field in which adaptability and openness to change is highly valued.

Useful Websites

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

Jobs websites with a focus on IT and data

Indeed IT graduate jobs

Milkround IT graduate jobs

IT graduate jobs

For internship opportunities in start ups

Work in Startups - internship opportunities

Online learning sites providing courses in technical skills including coding, programming etc.

Code Academy

Udemy

Udacity

Hack Design

Mijingo

A useful listing for hackathons in London

Hackathons in London

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

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 Generate at LSE 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 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.

Not sure what to do next?

We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a Careers Consultant on Career Hub.

Job roles

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. 
  • 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.

 

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 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.

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