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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?