Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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ICT

IRISH TIMES and THE INSTITUTE OF GUIDANCE COUNSELLORS
HIGHER OPTIONS CONFERENCE
WORKING IN INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
SPEAKER: Brona Kernan CIO – The Irish Times Group
DEFINITION OF CAREER AREA: Information & Communication Technology
TYPICAL DAY:
Working in IT Operations: Solving problems. Planning upgrades and generally ensuring the
smooth operation of IT.
Working in IT Development: Interpreting requirements, interviewing client, writing and
testing software.
Working IT Support: Dealing with User Issues and ensuring customer satisfaction. Solving
problems. Escalating serious problems.
Management/Supervisory role: Preparing work schedules, Preparing reports, monitoring
performance, Writing strategies, Recruiting staff, managing personnel issues.
ProjectManagement: Creating work plans, Identifying resources, Allocating tasks,
Monitoring progress, keeping documentation.
Compliance/RiskManagement: Conducting Risk Assessments, Ensuring Process
improvements, testing controls, Writing Reports.
KEY COMPETENCIES:
Adaptability– This is a rapidly changing environment.
Dependability – IT Systems can be the backbone of an organisations operation.
Creative Problem Solving – Solves problems logically and methodically looking beyond the
obvious.
Ethical/Professional – Respectful, committed, trusted and admits mistakes.
Motivation – Sets and achieves challenging goals
Teamwork – You will never work alone
Technical Skills – Pursues Training and Development
Time Management – Uses time effectively & efficiently
Paradoxical – Compassionately tough. Sets flexible standards
IT SKILLS USED IN THE JOB:
The skill sets in IT today are changing rapidly. For example, the programming languages that
programmers use today were not in operation 10 years ago. This is why it is important to
focus on your key competencies e.g. adaptability, motivation, problem solving as you will be
working in an environment where practical skills are changing. Note: Playing Computer
games is not an IT Skill !
JOB SATISFACTION & EXCITEMNT
Technology is always changing and there is the always the challenge of learning new skills.
In software development there is the feedback of seeing your product in use and changing a
little piece of the world. At present people with IT skills are not tied to one industry so there
can be the opportunity to move around.
PERSONAL SATISFACTION – The ICT sector is very broad and there is
opportunity for you to find a place that you are passionate about.
ROUTES OF ENTRY
In 2009 it is necessary to have at least an IT degree froma 3rd level institution. There
have been in the past many people who found themselves in the ICT sector and
studied for specific qualifications such as MCSA, MCSE or Comp TIA but this route
is becoming less frequent due to the widespread availability of 3rd level courses.
CAREER PATH
Diversity is the key word. A common route is to take an entry level position in an
organisation in the area where you feel you will specialise. In the programming world
the path could be junior programmer leading to either a Senior Programmer or
Systems Design. In the Operations field a career path would take you fromSupport,
to SystemAdministration to CTO. On the Analysis side a typical path would be
Analyst, Project Control to Project Management. Compliance and security are fast
growth areas which require some high end technical skills as well as the more
traditional skills of an Auditor.
DIFFERENT JOBS IN THE CAREER AREA
Depending on the subject you specialise in, the following are some of the jobs open to
IT graduates:
 Applications engineer  Software Developer
 System Architect  IT Consultant
 DataAnalyst  IT Auditor
 IT Manager  Systems Administrator
 Network Engineer  Technical Writer
 ProgramManager  Teacher/Lecturer
POSSIBLE TRANSFER OPTIONS
IT skills are transferable across a range of Industries. The broad range of roles
involved mean that most IT professionals find a place of interest. Often the IT
Staff can become experts in their Industry sector and have transferred out of IT into
roles within that Sector
LIMITS
The general job market is currently suffering but the IT sector is suffering less. Most
organisations require IT systems to simply operate so there is demand. However the
minimum entry level will now require a degree.
SALARY SCALES
There are many online salary surveys available for IT jobs. The recession has had an
impact but IT Salaries had probably risen ahead of the market due to a skills shortage.
This is being corrected as the demand and supply of IT jobs is more inline. You can
read a full salary survey for 2009 on jobs in IT at http://www.cpl.ie
ADVICE ABOUT CHOOSING THIS AREA
Be open to learning new skills and adapting your knowledge, this is a broad Sector
with lots to offer.

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