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Looking to the future

IT recruitment is on the up as we climb out of recession. Throughout the recession many organisations were forced to impose a moratorium on new hires, meaning that companies that continued to hire – like Sophos in the IT security sphere – benefited from an increase in applications from technical candidates.

Nevertheless, as a result of the IT skills shortage, competition for the best-qualified technical recruits – particularly skilled graduates – remained high. Recession or not, most companies have still had to work hard to attract the top candidates.

According to a report by CWJobs, there was a 4% increase in IT job postings between the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. Indeed, companies like Sophos report that competition for the top recruits is now increasing again, a sure sign that businesses are once more becoming confident about the economy and business prospects.

Requirements for graduates going into IT

Throughout the recession we’ve also seen clearer signs of the IT industry migrating away from the ‘geek’ label. While some companies have for a number of years recruited graduates with the ability to apply their IT skills in a commercial environment, this is now becoming more widespread. As consumers and businesses rely more and more heavily on IT, the market must hire graduates with this ability, meaning that IT graduates must typically bring more to the table than just ‘geek chic’.

In general Sophos looks to recruit candidates who have experience and exposure to other activities outside their course, and not just the technical disciplines required to work in SophosLabs, product test and development. This is particularly relevant with graduates as they have no, or little, previous work experience.

While many will hold a degree in Computer Science, Maths or a related discipline, ultimately most IT companies will look for candidates who have been involved in activities that develop real-life skills as well as being able to demonstrate their technical abilities.

This is important as they need to work within a team and adapt to a commercial environment. In any industry people are key, so the process of employing the right ones is crucial. With graduates this usually means assessing potential rather than proven ability. Therefore the top tip has to be to ensure that your CV displays relevant achievements and activities outside of your course as well as all your academic credentials.

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