If you’re a logical thinker, with great problem solving and organisational skills, together with a passion for learning, a career in IT and Tech could be for you.

It’s an incredibly fast-moving sector as companies of all shapes and sizes embrace business transformation, technological advancement and automation, the need for enhanced security, data analytics and agile working processes. That means there’s plenty of demand, a range of entry routes and endless ways to grow and develop a career in IT.

Here in Stockport, and across Greater Manchester, we’re home to a thriving tech hub for disruptive, industry-leading successful firms as well as emerging ‘unicorn’ start-ups. In 2019, Manchester leapfrogged other major cities to become the fastest-growing tech hub in Europe and this pace of growth has continued despite the pandemic, with companies both large and small seeing significant expansion.

Labour Market Information

Despite recent challenges posed by COVID-19, certain sectors across the UK have continued to thrive and IT is one of them. Businesses in a range of industries have needed to embrace new technologies – from remote-working IT networking and advanced security through to e-commerce and online payment solutions to reduce cash transactions.

As a result, the UK’s tech sector has shown resilience and continued growth as many technologies have been adapted at a quicker pace than in normal times. This has naturally meant an increase in new job creation as skilled workers are needed to fuel this momentum.

According to Tech Nation’s ‘UK in Tech’ 2020 review, almost 3 million people were employed in the UK’s digital economy – an increase of 11% within the last 2 years. Plus, according to the UK Tech Ecosystem Update 2020, a tenth of all UK job vacancies are tech roles.

However, this pace of growth and changing technologies has had an impact. It’s recognised that there are now no formal progression routes within the tech sector and the vast differences between role titles and job descriptions from company to company can make it harder to navigate the opportunities available.

On the flip side, the flexibility created by these different entry and development routes can lead to diversity and social mobility as it opens up opportunities to non-traditional employment and educational backgrounds.

Starting Salary

£12.50 per hour or £18-£21,000
per annum

Typical Salary Range

£18,000 – £85,000
per annum

Working Hours

35 to 39 hours per week, usually between 8am and 6pm

LMI Logistics infographic

LMI Infographic from GMACS

GMACS have produced a range of helpful infographics to summarise careers in the Digital & Tech sector and the current employment landscape in Greater Manchester. According to the stats, the most in-demand roles are as a Cyber Security Engineer, Systems Analyst, IT Product Manager and Software Tester and you may find yourself working for Google, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, GCHQ or even Stockport’s own CDL.

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

Working in IT & Digital

Digital skills are undeniably needed in all sectors due to digital transformation and process automation. The biggest areas of growth are:

  • Cyber security
  • Cloud
  • IT governance
  • Automation
  • The ‘as-a-service’ model
  • Agile methods
  • Mobile/Apps
  • AI
  • Internet of things
  • Machine learning
  • 5G

To pursue a career in the IT and Technology sector, you will need to be able to demonstrate skills like:

  • Technical skills
  • Knowledge of specific software, hardware and applications
  • Problem solving skills
  • Logical and analytical mind set
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to understand and translate technical requirements
  • Team-player with ability to work independently
  • Resourcefulness and flexibility
  • Willingness to learn and ask questions
  • Project Management

There are lots of different roles available within IT – working for large global companies or smaller businesses and tech start-ups. SMEs can often be a good route into the sector through consultancy or technical support roles. Some of the traditional roles may include:

  • Applications development
  • Computer forensics
  • Cyber security and risk management
  • Data analysis and analytics
  • Game development
  • Hardware engineering
  • Information management
  • IT consultancy (business & technical)
  • IT sales (hardware, software, services)
  • Multimedia programming
  • Software engineering (designing, building, developing and testing)
  • Systems / network management
  • Technical support
  • Web design / development

IT professionals often work in other sectors too – with manufacturing, financial services, public sector and retail being the biggest growth areas.

To start your career in IT, you’ll need to develop some practical knowledge or expertise as most employers expect you to have some understanding of the technologies or methodologies most commonly used. Freelance or project work can be a big advantage and there’s plenty of opportunities to play around with tech for free at home – from gaming to graphic design.

In terms of technical skills, the most common include technical writing, social media management, coding, networking configuration, hardware deployment, OS knowledge, database management – or just being good at figuring out how things work or how to fix them!

Secondly, you should try to develop the soft skills that employers are looking for from IT and tech applicants. These include communication skills, resourcefulness, project management, analysis, team work, leadership skills, flexibility, innovation, curiosity and organisation.

There are lots of routes into the IT sector through education – from traditional university routes such as Computer Science, through to vocational and academic pathways, as well as apprenticeships.

As a buoyant sector where there are recognised skills-shortages (that is, more jobs than applicants), what are the benefits of starting a career in the tech sector?

  • High levels of demand due to skills shortages and strong jobs outlook
  • Higher than average starting salaries
  • Flexible working hours (but tend to be longer)
  • Opportunities to travel, work abroad and work from anywhere
  • Variety as part of a constantly changing industry

Starting a career in IT could lead you to working your way up with an employer or in a particular field or specialism, moving across into a different but related sector or field, or branching out and starting your own business or consultancy.

There’s plenty of different career routes and some great career prospects, as long as you keep adapting with newly emerging technologies and trends.

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