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What Would Be Your Perfect Job In The Tech Industry?



Questions & Answers

So, after much thought, you've set your heart on a career in the tech industry. But do you really know what your perfect job is likely to be? Simply answer the questions below and make a note of your scores - they will come in handy as we discuss all the amazing opportunities on offer in technology below.


Creativity


Grab hold of an everyday object within range. Within two minutes, think of as many alternative uses for that object as you can. There are no particular limits here, within reason - list as many alternative uses as you can.


  • If you thought of between 1 – 3 alternative uses, award yourself One Point for Creativity
  • If you thought of between 4-7 alternative uses, award yourself Two Points for Creativity
  • If you thought of between 8 – 11 alternative uses, award yourself Three Points for Creativity
  • If you thought of between 12 – 15 alternative uses, award yourself Four Points for Creativity
  • If you thought of over 15 alternative uses, you can award the maximum Five Points for Creativity

Analytical


How do you go about your Christmas Shopping? Pick an option that suits you the best and take the score for your Analytical side.


  • I don’t get involved! = One Point
  • I do everything last minute = Two Points
  • I bargain hunt and keep it in mind throughout the year = Three Points
  • I have a strict budget that I adhere to every Christmas = Four Points
  • I create an in-depth and to-the-point plan every year that I stick to = Five Points

Mathematical


What are your feelings when it comes to Maths? Again, pick the option that most suits you and keep a tally of your score!


  • I avoid maths at all cost! = One Point
  • I always use a calculator, no matter the problem = Two Points
  • I use it only when I really have to = Three Points
  • I’m extremely confident in my Mathematical skills = Four Points
  • I actively seek out Maths problems and enjoy solving them = Five Points

Social


Which of the below options describes you best when you go to a party?


  • I find the closest corner and avoid eye contact = One Point
  • I only talk to people I know and don’t really mingle = Two Points
  • I try to mingle as much as possible = Three Points
  • I am the life and soul of the party and get dancing as soon as possible! = Four Points
  • I’m the person who throws the parties = Five Points

Physical


Which of the below options describes your holiday habits the best?


  • I don’t do holidays; I’d rather stay home and watch TV! = One Point
  • I love to just relax on a beach or by the swimming pool = Two Points
  • I take in the sites and explore as much as possible = Three Points
  • I regularly go on Skiing and / or activity holidays = Four Points
  • I hate just sitting around. Adventure holidays are the thing for me! = Five Points

Now don’t forget your score for each area as these skills could potentially help you work out just which is tech job is the right one for you! After each section of this article, you'll see a score - this score should give you some idea as to what kind of abilities and character traits will serve you well in some of the. respects involved in carving out a career in the tech sector.


Technical ability is now one of the most sought-after commodities in the business world, and those who possess these skills can expect to find themselves in increasingly high demand as further breakthroughs and developments in the digital world inadvertently widen the skills gap that employers the world are already grappling with.


This advanced technological framework is now indispensable for not only specialist businesses, but practically any business. Therefore, firms need to make sure they have skilled technicians on hand to provide crucial support on matters as diverse as web development and design, business intelligence, market research and online marketing. Even the entertainment industry needs people with real technological know-how.


Michael Dsupin of technology staffing firm Talener believes that, as the tech industry continues to evolve and revolutionise at breakneck speed, “IT professionals are becoming more dynamic than ever before” because this constant motion of the sector “will allow them to avoid menial tasks like support”. The tech industry is crying out for a new breed of professional. In fact, quite a few new breeds are needed; from data scientists who can handle big data and use it in ways that are useful and profitable, to digital marketers who can optimise the online presence of their clients’ brand by a range of new and innovative techniques. In both cases, the ever-changing approaches, techniques and tools that are employed in these fields demand individuals not only capable within the current climate, but who consciously make every effort to keep ahead of the curve; proactively staying up-to-date with industry news, trends and technological advances.


Whether you are a student or graduate looking at the opportunities open to you, or you are a professional looking to take your career in a new direction, what follows will explore and explain some of the most exciting and lucrative jobs on offer in the industry and help to show which one would best suit you.


The Science of Data

The buzz about data has been inescapable over the past few months, and for very good reason. Big data is at the cutting-edge of information technology, offering the optimist cause to rejoice over the prospects it promises regarding data collection, analysis and use. For the pessimist, the possibilities of big data are likely to provide cause for concern for some time to come. The realm of big data is so advanced that technicians with a skillset suitably advanced enough to work with it are still few and far between - so if you're looking to get into this line of work, you're likely to find plenty of opportunities.


Education and Training


Big data is increasingly relevant to all industries, and being able to apply the principles and practices of the sector you are working in - or that you intend to work in - to how you look at and use this information is of the utmost importance. The trend over the last few years is that professionals in, say, the legal sector have effectively retrained themselves through online courses, learning Hadoop and NoSQL, so that they are able to apply big data techniques to the benefit of their firm. As Craig Carpenter, VP of marketing for Recommind explains: "The people who deal with this data used to be either tech people or lawyers and paralegals. Either they knew the law, or they knew speeds and feeds. That's changed dramatically. We're finding that people on both sides of this need to be able to speak both languages. The hottest area in hiring today is people who understand both areas really well." Therefore, big data is a field open to professionals not strictly trained in technical skills, just as long as they are tech-savvy enough to pick these skills up.


A number of institutions around the UK - such as Sheffield University - offer data science as a 1 year Master’s Degree.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


The future looks very bright for data scientists, given the myriad potential uses for big data – including in such areas mining, visualisation, analysis, manipulation or discovery – over the coming years.


One of the most appealing aspects of a data scientist role is that the skills involved are needed in such a wide range of sectors. The firms that will be looking to hire data scientists are those that are adopting big data technologies like Hadoop. The use of these technologies is now present everywhere from consumer packaged goods and retail to financial and legal services.


Data scientists, as highly regarded technicians, work in conditions that reflect their status and typically work a 40-hour week in regular shifts. They will be treated to all the benefits that come along with such positions, including vacation allowance and paid leave, as well as other perks.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


According to Computer Weekly magazine, workers with the appropriate data skills commanded an average salary of £52,500 in 2013 - which should give you some idea of just how lucrative this line of work can be.


Score


Analytical: 5 | Creative: 1 | Mathematical: 4 | Physical: 0 | Social: 1


Games Programmer

Are you a stickler for the fine details? Is code your mother tongue? As a games programmer you will need a seriously strong knowledge of code, a passion for video games that includes comprehensive understanding of game mechanics, and the ability to work to strict and often demanding deadlines. While designers craft the look of the game, programmers are responsible for how the game runs and are therefore fundamental to the development process.


Education and Training


Video game programmers must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science, alongside strong analytical skills. Degrees in computer game development are becoming more common, and these are a perfect means of breaking into the industry as course projects will provide tangible evidence of your ability and potential. If you are actively involved in open source software development this will aid in strengthening your application, demonstrating your passion for programming software. You will be expected to have a high level of working proficiency in C/C++ or Java. Programmers with experience may look to take a management degree with an eye set on managerial positions.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


Progressing up the career ladder in video game programming hinges largely on the skill of the individual programmer and how quickly they demonstrate their effectiveness in the role. Adaptability is also essential as the concepts that underpin game programming are changing rapidly, with trends evolving at a rate that shows no signs of slowing. Between the years 1996 and 2006, video game sales grew by almost 200% and demand for video game programmers has increased as a consequence. This demand is expected to increase further as the rapid growth of the gaming industry appears set to continue.


As they gain experience, skilled game programmers should be able to realistically anticipate promotion either to senior programming or managerial positions. There are now opportunities for graduates fresh out of college to secure a job in the industry, although these applicants face stiff competition for the relatively few and much-coveted positions available.


Video game programmers working for well-established studios can expect to work in comfortable, modern offices kitted out with the most recent technology in their field. Programmers typically work a 40-hour week in regular shifts, but as deadlines approach they are often expected to put in additional hours to ensure all bugs are fixed and program code is optimised for peak game performance - so this is something you need to bear in mind if you're tempted by a career in this sector. It is common at particularly demanding times for game programmers to spend over 60 hours in the office.


Salary and Benefits


Programmers are highly valued in the video game industry and this is reflected in the earning potential of the role. According to Prospects.ac.uk, "Starting salaries for artists/animators and programmers will be around £18,000 - £25,000" moving up to "£35,000 - £70,000+ (at) the higher end of the scale relating to technical directors, developers, producers and team managers".


Score


Analytical: 4 | Creative: 2 | Mathematical: 4 | Physical: 0 | Social: 2


Games Tester

Perhaps the dream occupation of the avid video gamer, working as a games tester involves playing games and reporting back on any glitches or ‘bugs’ present in either the programming code or graphics layers of the software to the development team. This helps to ensure the quality of the software before the game is launched and distributed to the general public - so while games testing might sound like a bit of a lark, it is in fact very important to the entire development process. The common belief is that a games tester plays games all day, every day. This is certainly a large part of their remit, but the role involves more than that, with testers required to document all their findings in a software quality management system and liaise effectively with the development team.


This role requires diligence and motivation that is backed by a resilience that will help you maintain your concentration levels after the novelty, and any residual fun, is long past spent. That said, if you are successful in your application and work for a large studio you will be one of the first to play some of the most highly anticipated games and play an integral part in their development.


Education and Training


Generally, employers will require games testing candidates to hold an HS diploma, but seldom ask for any further qualifications. A bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer science or fine art, however, would give you an edge over the competition. A passion for video gaming is essential and a familiarity with all the various gaming platforms will be desirable as you may be required to test games on PC, various consoles and mobile devices.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


To advance your career as a games tester you will need to be skilled at testing and have a strong instinct for spotting errors. Technical knowledge that aids in your ability to explain any bugs to the development team will also stand you in good stead. Game testers that have proven their skills and value tend to earn promotion to senior and lead tester positions, in which they are responsible for overseeing a group of testers. With around three years of experience and the relevant qualifications you can expect to move up the ladder and into managerial positions.


The video game industry offers a relatively high degree of job security. However, competition is fierce for candidates not already within the industry due to the desirability of roles of this nature.


Video game testers work in similar conditions to video games programmers (see previous section). A 40-hour work week with regular shifts is the standard, but this can increase to around 70 hours a week in the final stages of game development.


Salary and Benefits


Starting salaries for games testers tend to be around £12K per year, but at the end of the day you will be doing what you love! Salaries will rise to up to £30K.


Games testers employed on a permanent basis in large organisations can expect benefits such as paid leave, vacation allowance and regular work shifts. Freelancers and part-timers, however, are likely to receive little to no benefits and may be expected to work in cramped conditions for long hours.

A good place for more information on starting out on a career in games testing is the UK government's National Career Service website.


Score


Analytical: 3 | Creative: 2 | Mathematical: 1 | Physical: 2 | Social: 3


Visual Effects Artist

A role that encapsulates the perfect synergy between technology and art is that of visual effects artist. Visual effects have advanced so dramatically in the last few decades that we baulk at the graphics of films released only a few years ago as unrealistic and substandard when we may have praised them at the time for what we then saw to be startlingly life-like images.


A visual effects artist is a multimedia professional who creates mechanical, optical and computer generated illusions in the post-production stage for the television and film industries, ensuring that all visual effects are woven seamlessly together. Visual effects artists are responsible for all effects, from renderings of kaiju and giant robots to the adjustment of lighting and colour.


Education and Training


A visual effects artist will typically be required to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, animation or art, together with a qualification or proven interest in another relevant technical area such as physics, mathematics or engineering. However, of most importance is a portfolio of previous work, this being the true measure of talent for visual effects artists. A portfolio will support or contradict an applicant’s claims regarding their ability and demonstrate their level of skill with editing, illustration and animation software.


One of the generally unspoken rules of success as a visual effects artist is mastering the art of listening, as the role requires you to translate the original concept proposed by directors and writers into an image that is as close to their original specifications as possible.


Experience earned through an internship will increase your chances of landing a visual effects artist job dramatically as you will have gained hands-on experience that you can then flag up in your portfolio, enabling you to hit the ground running. Networking with industry professionals can also be advantageous, with who you know being almost of equal importance to what you know when it comes to working on large-scale, big budget projects.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


Very much dependent on the setting and way in which a visual effects artist works; working for a specialist visual effects company typically offers the highest job security, followed by that offered working for a post-production studio. Freelancers have the lowest job security, but to be a successful freelancer usually requires a good amount of prior experience working in organisations to build a portfolio, accumulate contacts and hone skills.


A visual effects artist’s working conditions are contingent on who they work for and the imminence of a deadline, but due to the specialised nature of the hardware and software used it is an office-based job. There may be need for studio space in cases where the capture of certain mechanical visual effects is necessary. Visual effects and post-production studios tend to have spacious, comfortable offices, more often than not with video game consoles and other forms of entertainment on hand.


Tight deadlines and high volume workloads mean that visual effects artists tend to work long hours – around 10 a day – and often work at weekends too.


When working for specialist visual effects companies and post-production studios you are likely to have little to no control over the projects you work on, depending on your seniority and influence within the firm, while a freelancer will have more freedom to choose the projects they work on.


Salary and Benefits


Multimedia artists earn an average annual salary of £40K, though this is contingent on experience and whether they work as salaried employees of companies or as freelancers. Freelancers set their own rates, with the most skilled able to charge relatively sizable amounts based on the breadth and quality of their portfolio.


Score


Analytical: 2 | Creative: 5 | Mathematical: 2 | Physical: 0 | Social: 2


Digital Marketer

The digital marketer is a relatively new breed of technician. As Michael Nicholas, head of strategy at digital marketing and advertising agency Isobar explains: "In the past, creative people in traditional ad agencies were dreamers, which meant they didn't make things. Now we expect our tech people to be creative, and we expect our creative people to understand technology well enough that they can make their dreams a reality." This rise in expectations proves an obstacle for many who are of a more traditional ilk, but for those with the appropriate skills and character the opportunities promised by this new frontier in marketing are exciting, fulfilling and potentially lucrative.


Education and Training


In general, a bachelor’s degree in marketing, or in a related specialism such as computer science, will be highly beneficial. However, there are other ways in which you can demonstrate your ability, which is what a digital agency really wants from its employees. In preparation for your application for digital marketing roles be sure to nurture your online presence in advance. You must come across as an authority in the field – something you will be aware of if you already have an interest in this sector. Blogging on the latest news and trends, as well as anything else that interests you, will be beneficial as employers want to know those they have on the payroll are passionate about what they do because passion guarantees commitment. Securing an internship while still a student is a great way of gaining a head start in your career and over your peers as most companies will require applicants have 6 to 12 months prior experience.


Career Progression, Employment Outlook and Working Conditions


The marketing sector is evolving along with technology, and the internet provides an avenue rich with untapped potential. Career progression is based largely on skill, but also hinges to a large extent on ability to manage and interact with others as positions above the technical SEO and PPC skillsets will require client liaison and man management.


Alternatively, developing a comprehensive knowledge and technical expertise across all digital marketing platforms can lead to consultative freelance work, with many smaller businesses without the funds available to justify either an in-house marketer or outsourcing to an agency looking to freelance consultants to build their online presence.


The environment you work in will be dependent on which side of the fence you are on. Digital marketers in agencies work in fast-paced, pressured environments in which they will be expected to multi-task and prioritise, often working on a number of clients at any one time. This type of work will not suit everyone, but you can expect the developmental curve in such conditions to be extremely steep, something that will benefit your prospects greatly in the long term. Agencies tend to nurture a work-hard, play-hard attitude and, depending on their size, tend to be located in comfortable, spacious offices with entertainment facilities.


The working conditions for a client-side marketer will depend hugely on the employer. Businesses with an in-house marketing department tend to be of a certain size, but the difference between a multi-national corporation’s offices and those of a medium-sized logistics firm, for example, will be worlds apart.


Salary and Benefits


The expected salary for digital marketers varies greatly, depending on a number of factors such as experience, whether you work agency or client-side and location. Salaries in London will be high, although this is in large part due to the increased living costs workers have to pay out of their wages. The average digital marketer has an earning potential of around £30,000 annually, but junior marketers could earn an annual starting salary of £15,000.


Score


Analytical: 4 | Creative: 3 | Mathematical: 3 | Physical: 0 | Social: 4