The reality of I.T. and telecommunications

You may have heard that you have to be an absolute computer geek to work in the I.T. and telecommunications sector. You’ve probably heard that your entire day will be spent typing out endless codes of technical gobbledygook or taking computers apart and blowing out the dust. You might have even heard that your working life will basically just include playing video games.

Well, that’s not entirely true. So before you make the decision to get into I.T. and telecommunications, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.

It’s all about computers, the internet, laptops, telephones and mobile phones. They call this the digital age and that’s for one good reason: computers rule the world (well, not literally, but I.T. and telecommunications products are absolutely everywhere). They’re in our homes, in our offices and in our pockets. Advances in computer and telecoms systems have improved opportunities for national and international communication, allowing businesses to start, grow and expand. The right I.T. solutions can revive a company, solve their problems and allow them to push on: bigger, better and stronger.

What are the benefits of a career in I.T. and telecommunications?

Careers in I.T. and telecommunications can be incredibly challenging and rewarding. One of the most exciting things about these careers is that they offer employees continuous opportunities for learning. As technologies advance, there are always more things to learn and new skills to acquire.

I.T. and telecommunications careers are flexible in how they can develop, but they are also flexible in terms of location. Many I.T. consultants get the opportunity to work remotely from home or in different locations across the world.

What skills are required for a role in I.T. and telecommunications?

I.T. jobs aren’t all about inputting the right data, using the right codes or putting the right bits of hardware in the right places. In fact, some I.T. employees have a certain amount of creativity in their jobs, especially software developers, web designers and information security consultants.

To work in this sector, it is essential to acquire very specific technical skills and knowledge. However, generally, it is important for people to be able to think logically, have solid mathematical skills and have a genuine interest in how computers and telecommunications work. If you’ve got these kind of skills, you might be the right kind of candidate for an IT apprenticeship.

There are so many different routes to take within the I.T. and telecommunications sector. Some people who work in the industry like to develop a strong mix of skills, as it opens them up to different career options. However, some people specialise in one specific area and attempt to become a subject-matter-expert (SME) in their chosen field.

Hardware vs. Software route

Whatever career path you choose, you will initially tend to choose one of two general technical routes: 1) hardware, or 2) software.

People who choose to take the hardware career path work with the physical parts of computers, networks and telecommunications apparatus. They deal with network cables, motherboards, desktop units and computer peripherals etc. There are a wide range of different jobs in this area, including technical support engineers, network engineers and infrastructure architects.

People who choose to take the software career path work with the intangible computer programmes, which make computers or telecoms systems function effectively. They deal with operating systems, programmes, applications, websites, databases, computer games and so much more. There’s absolutely shed loads of different jobs in this area of I.T. and telecommunications, including web designers, software developers and software testers.

Alternatively, some people who work in I.T. and telecommunications choose to work in a less hands-on technical role and become involved in I.T. consultancy careers. These guys simultaneously analyse and assess other companies’ I.T. systems and their business requirements. They then offer expert advice and planning services to help companies use I.T. and telecommunications solutions to improve their productivity and achieve their business goals.

What opportunities are available in the I.T. and telecommunications sector?

I.T. and telecommunications specialists are needed in all kinds of companies. Some work for technological companies such as Microsoft, Apple, BT or Oracle; some work for I.T. consultancy firms like Capgemini and Logica; some work for smaller specialist I.T. solutions companies; and many people work for non-technological companies, such as public sector departments, investment banks and energy companies.