Computing & IT Jobs & Graduate Schemes

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Working in Computing & it

Internet and Digital Media is a fast-growing sector, vital to many fields. There are two halves of the sector which require different skills and experience. The first, the technical side, requires specific training in computer programming and includes areas such as web development, cyber security and data analysis. Graduates going into this side of the field must have excellent knowledge of how computers and the internet work, as well as an understanding of the concepts and practicalities behind them. Candidates must understand what makes websites function and look great, as well as the security threats posed to big companies by the digital medium.

The second side of the sector is the creative side. It includes positions in web development, but focuses more on digital marketing, search engine optimisation and harnessing social media. These roles do not always require experience working with HTML and java script, though IT skills can be beneficial. Graduates wanting to work in this side of the sector should show an understanding of how they can utilise the internet to advance a company's online presence and reception.

How to Get a Job in Digital Media

Digital Media centres largely around online marketing, and while there is cross-over with the Marketing and Media sectors, the digital side offers different career paths and requires a different skill set:

1. Experience

Digital and online marketing is a competitive field. While skills learned during a degree are appreciated, graduates who have gone the extra mile to develop marketing skills outside of university will be more likely to get noticed. This experience can come from work placements or internships, or even from marketing campaigns for events or university societies. Graduates should show evidence of marketing skills learned outside of their degree.

2. Technical skills

Digital Media requires knowledge of search engine optimisation (SEO) and other technical skills which can help improve a website's visibility and readability. Computer programming and web development skills are all beneficial, and graduates should make sure to highlight any experience in university marketing, student media promotion or the promotion of a personal blog.

3. Writing skills

Content production is becoming more important for web-based companies, and many positions in Digital Media require producing written content for websites, social media and other types of copy. Graduates should provide examples of their writing skills, and would do well to go beyond the writing done for their degree and include samples of work such as articles for student newspapers or magazines, copywriting or writing for a blog.

Computing & it Case Studies

I think my success in obtaining the job was down to my ability to convey and articulate my strengths. Whilst I had no prior experience in Project Management or IT, I had done my research

The Employer - Madeleine Field (Recruitment Strategy Manager - FDM Group)

Madeleine Field

Name: Madeleine Field
Job Title: Recruitment Strategy Manager - FDM Group
University: Open University
Course: Politics, Philosophy and Economics

What competencies do you like to see in candidates?

I see a number of candidates every day at our assessment centres and those that stand out for me demonstrate enthusiasm, motivation, a keen interest in technology, an analytical mind and logical thinking.

Can you talk us through the application process?

We are always on the lookout for high-calibre graduates who want to progress their career in IT and become a leader in the industry. Unlike many graduate employers, FDM hires all year round holding assessment days weekly and, in the summer months, daily.

Firstly, potential candidates will need to send us their CV via our website and if they pass the screening processes, a member of the recruitment team will call you to arrange a telephone interview. Your phone interview will involve talking about your educational and work related backgrounds, your current situation and your future career goals. If you pass the telephone interview stage, you will be invited to one of our assessment centres in London, Manchester or Brighton.

The assessment will focus on your interpersonal and technical skill sets, and will also allow you to gain an understanding of FDM's working environment and visit our training Academy. At the assessment, you will complete a number of tasks and exercises that will assess your technical skills and business knowledge.

What is the most common mistake you see in an application, which leads to candidates being rejected?

The most common mistakes I see are spelling and grammatical errors. Proof reading your CV and covering letter really does make the difference. It shows that you pay attention to detail and have good written communication skills. I also see many applications from people who do not actually know what they are applying for i.e. generic applications from graduates hopeful for any job in any industry and no evidence of an interest in technology.

What is the main piece of advice you would give a graduate entering the Computing and IT sector?

Identify an area of technology that you are most interested in and have the most to contribute to. Saying that you have a keen interest in social media because you have a Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn account is not enough. You need to demonstrate what skills you have or would like to learn and why. The more generic piece of advice for any graduate looking for any job would be to research the company you are applying for and express that knowledge in your interview, CV and covering letter.

What's the main challenge graduates face when they start?

The biggest challenge for graduates when finding their first job out of university is the infamous Catch-22: holding the necessary academic qualifications to do the job but not possessing the relevant industry experience. FDM has a strong belief in bridging the gap between academia and the workplace; in fact, it is the fundamental reason why we created our unique Graduate Programme.

We offer graduates the opportunity to be trained in one of our five academies worldwide to gain industry relevant certifications and further learning about current IT disciplines. After completing this training, graduates must work for FDM for a minimum of two years on one or more of our client sites, thus allowing graduates to become fully fledged IT Consultants with at least two years commercial work experience.

Where do you see the company in two years' time?

FDM is all about growth: our CEO founded the company in 1990 in the loft of his Brighton flat, now we have ten offices worldwide and have kick-started the IT careers of thousands of graduates. We will continue this rapid expansion in the UK and across the globe with our new flagship London office next in line. We will be moving to the other side of London Bridge and our office will be three times the size of our current one in Monument.

With regards to the HR graduate programme, we tend to recruit similar numbers each year. We don't like our intake numbers to get too big because we treat our graduates as individuals.

If you weren't a Recruitment Strategy Manager, what would you be?

I love working with people so that is vital to any career path I choose, I also enjoy helping people and I absolutely have to work for a company where my contribution is valued. Failing that, I'd be a professional golfer!

The Employee - Leanne Lawrence (IT Consultant - FDM Group)

Leanne Lawrence

Name: Leanne Lawrence
Job Title: IT Consultant - FDM Group
University: University of Sheffield
Course: Economics

Was there a particular strategy or method you stuck to when applying for graduate jobs?

There wasn't a specific method I stuck to when applying for graduate positions but I did find it helpful to explore the potential career paths and opportunities that my particular degree or skillset would enable me to do. This really acted as a filter for me as I was not spending time applying to jobs which would be deemed far out of my reach.

What made you choose FDM?

I was approaching the end of my degree in Economics and whilst I had considered a career in Project Management, many businesses required relevant industry experience, something that many graduates lack. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an organisation out there that catered to graduates and were willing to invest in them and provide an opportunity to work for some of the most influential organisations in the world.

Why do you think you were successful in getting the job?

I think my success in obtaining the job was down to my ability to convey and articulate my strengths. Whilst I had no prior experience in Project Management or IT, I had done my research into the skills that were required to be successful within the role. I was able to demonstrate my potential to fulfil the role despite my lack of experience. I believe that in any job interview you have to be assertive and confident in your own abilities. Many companies aren't expecting you to be the finished article, but they just want to see how you would deal with particular situations and challenges given the right training and guidance.

What one piece of advice would you give to fresh graduates starting their job hunt?

Explore your options - it really is important to explore all options and opportunities and to concentrate on what you can do as opposed to what you can't. Many industries have some common ground and the right pitch and some additional training could open hidden doors to new careers.

How much do you think your degree played a part in your success?

I studied Economics at the University of Sheffield and I do believe that my degree was the stepping stone in paving the way for my career or at least getting me that first interview. Your degree and higher education provides you with the core skills to enable you to logically reason and think. However, I do believe that your higher education tends to become increasingly less relevant as you progress up the career ladder. You are not so much commended on your degree type or classification but on your ability and proven track experience in actually fulfilling a role.

What's the best experience you've had whilst working for FDM?

FDM are really keen on keeping their employees engaged whether on site or in office. Whilst I am now placed as a Consultant in a leading Investment Bank, I am never left out or removed from the activities that are taking place at FDM. They really do reward your efforts and hard work, whether this is through their Consultant of the Month nominations, commendations in the monthly newsletter or the all expenses paid annual Summer Party.

If you had to do the whole job hunt again, from graduating to starting your first graduate role, what would you do differently?

If I had to do it all again and without the help of FDM, I would definitely explore pursuing further qualifications to get me on par with other entry level professionals within the field. FDM has successfully tapped into the notion of providing their trainees with a head start by training them and enabling them to undergo industry recognised qualifications within a short space of time.

I definitely believe that this has been positive influence in my career path, whether it is the PRINCE2 qualifications or the VBA and SQL training, they have all helped to shape me into a more attractive "prospect" for employers.

If you want to find out more about graduate jobs with FDM Group, please take a look at their minisite.