Graduate Recruitment: IT offers a career: Philip Schofield meets a graduate who successfully changed direction

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The Independent Online
BRENDA CARPEN read Geography at the London School of Economics following a year in retail banking. She graduated in 1990 and joined Logica, a company involved in computing and communications - notably consultancy, software development and systems integration.

'Computing was one aspect of my course that I really enjoyed, so I chose a career in Information Technology,' she says. 'I went to my career library and got a list of IT companies and recruitment brochures and went to graduate presentations. Logica had one of the best brochures and presentations.

'When I started, I joined a project straight away and was involved in programming. In Logica you're given the general title of Graduate Consultant. There's no hierarchy. Your position in the company depends on your skill and quality of experience, not length of service. We work in small teams and the company culture is informal and relaxed.

'Graduate training lasts a year and covers personal development, learning about the company, business writing, presentation skills and so on. So you combine project work with formal courses.

'My first project, lasting three or four months, was on an existing financial system. I chose to work in systems because of my interests at the LSE and my experience in banking.

'Each client who purchases a system needs it to be tailored to their own particular needs. Having done this, I went on site to train the client's staff in its use. To do this you really do need good team and communication skills. You're given a lot of responsibility and work quite autonomously, so you have to use your initiative.

'I enjoy going out and meeting clients and seeing the system in use. Sometimes, though, if you're away from the office for some time you can feel a little isolated. You do need to be self-reliant and be able to manage situations as they arise.

'If you don't come from a technical background, but have an analytical mind, a career in IT is open to you.'

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