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

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Guru Careers: Graduate Marketing Executive / Marketing Assistant

£18 - 23k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Marketing Executive / Assistant is n...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider to the fa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Analyst - Global ERP Implementation - London

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable global business is l...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'