Your future career in digital
Careers in the digital and technology sector are wide-ranging, rewarding, and in demand.
We explain some of the common roles in digital and offer some suggestions to help you start your journey.
Digital jobs are being created twice as fast as
It's not all just code
Building products takes more than just programming.
The industry also needs:
- Project managers
- Business analysts
- Graphic designers
- Software testers
- Customer support
...to name a few.
The National Careers Service lists nearly 50 jobs under digital.
In order to build products, software companies use processes such as Agile and there are pathways to become certified in these methodologies. Tech companies also need the usual business functions such as finance, sales & marketing and HR.
WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED?
Whether you’re interested in a technical or non-technical role, building software is about solving problems so you’ll need to be a creative problem solver.
You’ll need strong verbal and written communication skills and be able to collaborate with a range of people.
Technologies are constantly changing so you’ll also need to be passionate about learning new skills to stay up to date.
What types of technical roles are there?
When most people think of careers in IT, they think of programmers, also known as software developers or software engineers, writing code using a programming language to solve problems.
There are a huge number of different programming languages and most programmers will use more than one language in their daily roles.
Software uses data, so software developers also need to know how to interact with databases; traditionally these use Structured Query Language (SQL) and examples include MySQL, Oracle or PostgreSQL. However, with the rise of the Cloud, Big Data and Microservices, there are some new(er) kids on the block. NoSQL and Cloud databases such as MongoDB, CouchDB and Elastisearch offer more specialist features and are used when SQL isn’t appropriate.
There are also other more specialist languages, for example for mobile app development, which include React and Flutter. As new technologies emerge there is a growing demand for skills in data science, VR, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.
Other technical roles
Of course, not all technical roles are programmers. There is a huge demand for roles such as security consultants, network engineers and solution architects. These all play an important part in the digital industry.
What does a developer do all day?
Lewis Hobden, a software developer who works at custom software agency Switchplane, went to St Catherine's College and then on to East Sussex College to study Computing.
Although he had a place at university lined up to take his studies further, he made a last minute decision to accept a junior software developer position at Switchplane, which he achieved through showing a strong portfolio of work and a keen ability and desire to learn.
His experience and skill levels have gone from strength to strength and is now a senior member of the team.
Lewis has shared what his role involves on a typical day.
Ok, so how do I get there?
The traditional route to a career in tech is via a degree in a subject such as Computer Science or Software Engineering. Often there is the opportunity to take a year out working in the industry during these degrees. These courses often require A-Levels in Maths and sometimes Physics and Computer Science. East Sussex Careers provides a useful list.
Other routes include apprenticeships and organisations such as Multiverse and Creative Process can help match you with a company. Apprenticeships allow you to learn whilst on the job and typically involve one day per week of study.
Build your skills
There are several online platforms that can help you build your skills. If you’re just starting, sites like iDEA, Khan Academy and codecademy introduce the basics. When you’re ready to level up you could expand your skills with FutureLearn, Coursera or Udacity. Local company EnhanceQA also offer courses to help you become a software tester.
What are employers looking for?
Most employers are looking for people who are passionate about solving problems and have demonstrated they are motivated to learn. The best way to showcase your passions is to get involved and start building.
Local groups such as Tech Resort can help get you started and you could create your own website or GitHub account to showcase your projects. This portfolio can be used to get work experience and start to build your digital CV to share with future employers.
Overall, a career in digital technology is hugely rewarding, creative and constantly changing.
Start building now.
What non-technical roles are there in the digital sector?
If you love innovation and want to work in an ever-changing, forward-thinking industry, you don't need to have technical knowledge.
There are plenty of career options in this industry which go hand-in-hand with the technical work being carried out. For more details and advice on how to train for such roles, speak to your careers advisor.
Examples of these roles include:
Products need designing, typically starting with basic wireframes or sketches to understand how they will be used. Graphic designers transform these basic sketches into products that have an engaging, consistent, and coherent user experience that reinforces the company's brand.
Who is going to tell the right people about the cool new product you built? It's the marketeers. Marketing work can cover a wide range of skills and can be a very varied and interesting role, including social media management, content writing, digital advertising, public relations, and analytics.
People who work in HR, or human resources, can be involved in the recruitment and training of new staff, as well as looking after the welfare, happiness, training, and upskilling of existing staff members. It's a very communications-centred role and someone who loves interacting with people would be great at this.
Operations roles cover a variety of business functions - from finance to customer support and sales, legal to strategy, analysing and improving processes and the company's needs. They will typically be well-organised people with strong communication skills and the ability to motivate people.
Meet some of these professionals
In the video below, East Sussex Careers Hub's video showcases three non-technical roles in a digital company in Eastbourne.
Want to have a go?
We've created an example exercise for a typical task that you might be asked to complete in one of these technical or non-technical roles.
Teachers and careers advisors are also welcome to use this in the classroom.