Routes into the IT industry

IT, or information technology, is the driving force behind almost every single business niche in the modern market – there are very few businesses, or industries, that do not make the most of computers and technology to further their reach and service. For this reason, IT roles are available in virtually any sector you can think of, creating a world of opportunity for just about anyone with computer knowledge and skills, and a determination to succeed in their chosen career.

Choosing a career in IT

Whether you’re facing the world of work as a recent graduate, fresh-faced high school student or apprentice, or as an older, more experienced adult in need of a career change, IT is perhaps one of the most exciting choices you’re ever likely to make. It is never too late to choose IT, retrain, and make the most of your new career. There are a wealth of training options available, including computer science courses at college and university level, online training programs, and those offered by similar professional bodies.

In-house or as a contractor?

For those with the relevant IT skills and experience, deciding upon the right career path will often come down to a choice between working as an in-house specialist, or as a contractor. Both have merits and disadvantages depending on the type of work and responsibility you’re familiar with. While in-house IT workers are often afforded more security than contractors, and are protected by certain employment laws, contractors are free to accept the work they wish, can work with more flexibility than fulltime staff members, and command better rates of pay. Essentially, working as a contractor affords you the right to be your own boss.

Programmers, developers, digital designers, and web designers, for example, will often choose contracting above in-house employment, as it ensures they’re free to choose their own projects, on their own terms. Businesses are also at the receiving end of the benefits if they choose a contractor to undertake a particular project; flexibility, skill, and experience all tend to go hand in hand with hiring a contractor, rather than offering the work to an employee.

While working as an IT contractor appears to have endless advantages, it is important to stay on top of the legal aspect of being self-employed. After all, managing files and paperwork, registering yourself with HMRC, and keeping records of financial matters will all ensure you can continue to work and enjoy your career without any of the hassles often associated with self-employment. To keep things legal it pays to register yourself with an umbrella company, allowing them to help with legal matters, paperwork, and finances. Their help will be invaluable to you as a contractor, and will ensure you never miss a beat.

With such a variety of careers available, IT has perhaps one of the most widespread fields of expertise. From analyst and programmer, to designer and administrator, there are few sectors that won’t offer roles to those experienced in information technology. While operating as a contractor can often appear the most tempting route to take, it is essential to conduct yourself properly; register with the correct governing bodies, stay on top of paperwork, and take the advice of the experts if you really want your contracting career to flourish.

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