Careers: Dig into the goldmine

They've never had it so good. Graduates in IT have the best opportuniti es and can soon name their price. But not everyone is able to take the hi- tech road to riches, says Roger Trapp

It is, admittedly, hardly a surprise, but information technology is a boom area for graduates. The latest edition of What Do Graduates Do?, which is published by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services with support from The Independent, shows that more than three- quarters of those graduating in 1995 were in employment by the end of the year, with fewer than one in 12 embarking on further study or training. This compares with overall figures indicating that more like 60 per cent of home first-degree candidates were in employment by the end of the year, while a 10th started a higher degree and a further 10th were in some other form of study or training.

The picture is particularly healthy in the financial sector where, according to Claire Mowat, recently recruited director of Essential Systems Partners, a division of Hewitson-Walker, the market is "extremely buoyant". It is, she adds, "almost back to where it was in the 1980s".

This boom time for IT contractors is being partly driven by the onset of European monetary union and the much-hyped "Year 2000 Problem". But, as Ms Mowat explains, a lot is due to the fact that the area is constantly developing. Because the people working inside an organisation cannot keep pace with such change, businesses must rely on consultancies to do the work for them.

Traditionally, large international players such as Andersen Consulting and Computer Sciences Corporation have dominated this line of work. But in recent years, smaller niche operators have also made inroads.

Among them is Braxxon Technology, which was founded in 1988 and now has about 40 staff working with such clients as JP Morgan, Nomura, SBC Warburg and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Where the large firms typically takes over a large project such as the installation of a new dealing room by devoting a small army of people to it, Braxxon seeks to differentiate itself by contributing only a handful of experts who will then work alongside the client to achieve the desired result, says Francis Morton, associate director.

This policy helps to deal with Ms Mowat's concern that excessive use of consultants is contributing to the IT skills shortage through preventing a transfer of knowledge and expertise.

But banks and other institutions are increasingly taking the view that large parts of information technology are a commodity which can be supplied by a specialist operations outfit rather than an activity that provides a competitive edge. At the same time, they take the view that while technology is changing faster than ever before, the big projects do not come along often enough to justify keeping often expensive well-qualified staff permanently.

Consequently, contractors and consultancies like Braxxon are able to build their businesses by picking up employees with one to two years' experience of banking.

But both Mr Morton and Ms Mowat are agreed that not just anybody will do for this role. There is a huge demand for people who can bridge the gap between IT and the broader business issues.

They are so few and far between that people fitting the bill can apparently almost write their own salary cheques. But as Mr Mowat explains, anybody whose vocabulary is limited to "bits and bytes" need not apply

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

Physics Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

KS1 Teacher

£21500 - £31500 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work...

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?