ICT and computing graduates are in demand by service and user organisations alike, in a range of sectors.
As well as the specific subject knowledge gained from studying for an OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers and which will increase your employability.
The OU Careers Advisory Service defines student employability as: ‘A set of capabilities and achievements that support students in developing their careers, raising their aspirations and enhancing their contribution to society’.
Whatever your motivations for study, your goals and career aspirations, you are entitled to supported personal development planning either as an intrinsic part of your programme of study or through signposted optional activities. You can view our full Student Employability Policy Statement on our website.
For Computing and ICT students the employability skills you will develop will include the ability to:
To see specific learning outcomes related to degrees in this area visit Study at the OU.
To check which skills valued by employers can be developed from studying a particular subject, look at the Employability Profiles on the UCAS website.
In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree. This page will focus on careers directly related to Computing and ICT, but if you want to explore all of the choices open to you, also refer to the sources of help available in the ‘Further Resources’ section.
Given the current economic climate and increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
Research by e-Skills UK has shown that IT and telecommunications now employs 1 in 20 of the UK workforce and makes a 9% contribution to the country's economy. Over half a million new entrants will be needed to fill jobs in this sector over the next five years, hence computing and ICT professionals are in demand by providers (such as software houses) and user organisations alike.
The range of organisations employing graduates from Computing and ICT is extensive. Opportunities exist across retail, financial services, telecommunications, broadcast media, digital media, manufacturing, transport and the public sector. Increasingly, IT specialists are being asked to design and upgrade virtual learning systems throughout the education, cultural and training fields. Beyond pure technology roles, some graduates also enter computing or management consultancy firms, while others go into technical writing roles.
Some general job titles within ICT and Computing are
The emphasis is increasingly towards web-based solutions, and job seekers with a proven track record in this work are in high demand.
Globalisation is having a significant impact on the shape of the UK labour market in computing. The proportion of employees with specialist, high value-added design skills is expected to increase and non-specialist design and development work will move ‘off-shore’. The OU computing and ICT degrees attempt to address this trend by training graduates in the specialist branches of computing that are most needed.
Alongside the anticipated huge demand in the future for IT and telecoms professionals is an increasing expectation that IT professionals will be multi-skilled with commercial awareness, good business skills e.g. project management, business change, risk management and interpersonal skills e.g. networking and relationship management, as well as having technical expertise. Some entrants to IT or telecoms-related work may come from other occupations but will be retrained as IT professionals on the job. People who have developed their ICT/computing skills while working in other areas are likely to be highly sought after.
For IT sector news, analysis and information plus a video discussion of trends currently affecting the UK IT industry visit www.computing.co.uk. IT Jobs Watch gives an ongoing picture of trends in IT recruitment.
We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences that relate to where you live, or where choice of courses may affect future opportunities.
Use the Prospects website to explore career options related to this subject. Click on your subject to see examples of job roles and get information for further research.
To find out about ways of gaining experience through volunteering see our voluntary work pages. You can also make use of the searchable databases on the following websites:
Many graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive. Generally postgraduate study can open up opportunities to work in higher education, in areas of specific skills, and perhaps consultancy work.
A range of Computing and ICT related OU postgraduate study options are available, both taught and research awards, such as Advanced Networking and Computing for Commerce and Industry.
It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer at the OU and elsewhere and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system.
Rigorous academic standards ensure that OU qualifications are recognised and valued by professional organisations and employers.
As an OU student, you can access the Employer Showcase to find out about some of the employers who are keen to recruit OU graduates.
Employers featured on the Employer Showcase particularly relevant to ICT and Computing graduates include
Having relevant experience can be vital in gaining a competitive edge in the graduate employment market. Many of the employers featured on the Employer Showcase also offer the chance to gain experience through internships and other forms of structured work experience.
According to the Graduate Recruitment Manager for Unilever
Combining work and study shows that OU students are ambitious and have a strong work ethic. They are evidently keen to develop themselves and are managing to do this whilst juggling a busy work or home life which is no mean feat. The competencies which OU students therefore develop during their degree become invaluable to us.
If you are a student you might want to see further advice from major employers on applications, the skills they require and the value of OU study. Go to our What employers say pages.
As an OU student you can also register for our online vacancy service and receive email notification about job opportunities.
There are a wealth of resources on the OU careers website. You might want to watch the Guide to the careers site to give you an overview of what it has to offer.
Use the other sections of this web site to
Don’t forget to check the careers home page regularly for news of events, forums, careers fairs and short courses. If you are an OU student you can participate in and read entries on our online forums.
If you are a mature student you may find our tips for mature graduates page useful to help you tackle the graduate employment market.
You may also find it useful to read the publications produced by the Careers Advisory Service and the specialist careers organisation AGCAS (available to download) which provide further in-depth advice and information to help plan your next steps.
For some graduates traditional forms of full-time employment are unattractive and increasing numbers of the workforce are turning to alternative ways of working that better fit their work and life values. Find out more about alternative work styles in the Exploring your career options section of the website.
If you are studying with the OU (or finished your studies within the last three years) you are entitled to a careers consultation with a careers adviser in your region or nation. This is designed to help you through the planning process and identify an action plan for your future. (If you are not studying with the OU or last studied with the OU more than 3 years ago, you should go to the Contact page of this website for other sources of careers advice.)
I had worked for 22 years in a support role within the City in corporate finance, producing reports and large documents. While I was...
I left school with minimal qualifications and spent five years doing a succession of jobs...
To see the experiences of other OU students visit 'Student stories'.
All UK graduates are invited to complete the Destinations of Leavers Survey six months after they graduate. Of the OU Information Technology and Computing graduates who responded to the latest survey:
89.8% were in work.