The Ultimate Guide to IT Jobs
The IT sector is the beating heart of the UK and now a major part of everyone’s lives. Everywhere you go, you will see IT in use in some form. A growing industry means demand for professionals is higher than ever. We’ve collated some of the best content to bring you the ultimate guide to the IT sector, all below for you to read.
Chapter 1: How to tackle the Cyber Security shortage challenges
Chapter 2: Q2 IT sector Roundup and FAQs
Chapter 3: “Don’t touch the firewall, you’ll get burnt…” – Top 8 IT qualifications for 2017
Chapter 4: Heat’s Essential Top 10 IT Events
Chapter 5: Industry Insights: IT Entrepreneur Paul Targett
How to tackle the Cyber Security shortage challenges
We are now 22 years on from the birth of the Internet; in that time it has become an immeasurably important tool for both business and personal life. In 1995, just 1% of the world’s population was online but now it’s over 40% and at the time of writing this article there are 3.7 billion people using the internet.
We are in an increasingly connected world but one that is equally vulnerable to exploitation, with everything from the metrics our smart watches collect and the GPS data our phone records to the bank details that are stored online – all of which are readily accessible for those with the technical know-how to break through the security systems designed to prevent them from doing so; we have, of course, entered the realm of cyber security.
According to recently conducted global survey by Indeed, for every three cyber security jobs advertised there was only one person capable of filling the role. These findings are similar to those conducted elsewhere. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), for instance, predicted that by 2019 there will be a shortage of two million cyber security professionals globally.
So the question that is constantly being asked is how can the gap between supply and demand be met?
An obvious argument is the need to educate people on the very real dangers that come with being online; rather, the way in which people interact with various third parties online. Too many people regard the cyber threat as something that only happens to national and multi-national organisations, such as banks and telecoms companies. But everyone and anyone can be a target of cyber attack.
Then there is the argument that programming and coding skills need to be taught to children as young as five years old in a bid to develop the next generation of workers and provide them with the skills needed to plug the gaps that will exist in the future.
Of course, if companies cannot find cyber security professionals that are sorely needed they will be at increased risk from hackers looking to steal confidential data and disrupt services. This was the case with TalkTalk who reportedly suffered costs of £60 million as a result of a cyber attack, not to mention (some might say) irreparable damage to their reputation and brand. And it seems such attacks are not only increasing in frequency, they are doing so in terms of severity too.
In May 2017, a worldwide cyber attack with the name ‘WannaCry’ targeted computers running Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Within a day of releasing the virus over people in over 150 countries were reporting to have been infected.
The virus itself was relatively simple, but had a devastating effect to the computers infected with many businesses hit including the NHS. The media attention given to this one attack alone highlighted not just the limited services the NHS was able to provide until the virus had been dealt with but also its vulnerability to such attacks.
With incidences like this, one can see why there is such a high demand for cyber security professionals. But there is also the question of ‘image’ that needs to be addressed too – a rebrand, as it were, may be needed to attract people into the profession.
Indeed, with the rise of titan companies such as Google and Facebook Tech now becoming ‘sexy’, why can’t that also be the case for cyber security? It’s an enormous job that is hugely sought after, but currently there is a stigma to ‘nerd culture’. Yet, these are the people with the skills and passion for technology that should be encouraged and nurtured.
So the question that should also be asked: Are the jobs appealing to the type of people that these companies are looking to hire? Currently someone with the necessary skillset can afford to be picky with who they choose to work for. Are they paying enough? Do they come with good enough benefits? Will the job benefit the employee?
Cyber security will always be an important issue for people and businesses alike. As networks continue to expand, cyber security breaches are likely to increase and there will always be a need for professionals that have the skill set to protect and educate companies on the dangers of black hat hackers.
Q2 IT sector Roundup and FAQs
We are 6 months into 2017 now, so we thought we’d catch up with Glen Pearse from the IT team to find out about your most frequently asked questions, the state of the IT job marketing and what’s set to change into 2018 and beyond.
What have opportunities been like in IT in the first half of 2017?
As far as I can see, opportunities in the sector are rife. It’s been our busiest year to date and there are lots of things going on. Both the permanent and contractual desks are busy. We’re also getting a lot of government positions coming through as part of their Digital Transformation which is extremely positive.
What do you think will happen for the rest of 2017 going into 2018?
The pattern, since I have been here anyway, has been that the second half of the year is stronger with new budgets being released and so we think it will get better. There’s a lot of focus on Information and cyber security as well, which is always getting stronger so that will progress in 2018, especially with the GDPR changes coming into effect.
Do you foresee any major changes in IT in the next couple of years that will affect training and recruitment in the sector?
Not majorly. Brexit has had an impact on larger organisations but not necessarily SMEs. We have a few clients in the public sector where there was a slight panic over IR35 but it’s calmed a little bit so less so now. For us, Brexit is almost forgotten about, we haven’t heard it mentioned in about 6 months. This could change in 2019 when we exit the EU but for now, everyone is just carrying on as normal, and rightly so.
How much opportunity is there in IT to keep training and gaining new qualifications?
There are lots of opportunities in the sector to keep training and gain new qualifications, and quickly too. Because the IT sector is always evolving, they are constantly updating the qualifications to mirror what is happening in the real world. As previously mentioned Security is the big thing at the moment, with an ever changing landscape there’s constantly challenges being faced, as we saw with an array of hacks in 2017.
What would you like to see more of in the applications you receive? Is there anything that jumps out at you that makes you put someone’s application straight in the shortlist pile?
We’re looking for particular skills where we tend to deal with more experienced people than graduates. All of the skills are very job-based. For example, we need a .net developer to have commercial experience doing .net. That’s not to say the entry level jobs are not there but even they like to see a good IT based degree.
Then there’s always the generic communication and reliability traits which every business likes to see. As long as they can do what they are asked of by their employers and have a track record of performing then everything else is a bonus.
What is the biggest skills gap in IT in 2017?
The security sector is crying out for people now. We’ve got several clients who are looking for graduates in this sector that can progress up within the company to senior roles. Degrees will also get more focused around cyber or network security and that can only be a good thing.
“Don’t touch the firewall, you’ll get burnt…” – Top 8 IT qualifications for 2017
Here at Heat, we are always looking for the latest and best qualifications to get your career moving and to make sure we can give you the best advice. After all, your career is one of the most important things in your life. Below, we’ve listed the best qualifications that you can pick up!
• Security is undoubtedly the IT buzzword of 2017 and with threat levels at unprecedented high this gold standard certification provides an excellent route into senior positions
• The industry is crying out for new talent with many independent polls predicting an alarming increase in threats and the numbers are simply not there to fill the vacancies that are anticipated to follow
2. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
• If the recent large scale hacks of the likes of Tesco, Yahoo and Netlfix have caught your eye then you will be aware security breaches can happen to some of the largest corporations.
• CEH will allow you to identify vulnerabilities within businesses networks and patch potential exposures, a vital requirement for any ambitious business.
Support and Networking
3. Cisco CCNA (Routing and Switching)
• This should be the starting point for any ambitious Network Engineer looking to make head way in the industry
• Whether you are looking to round of an already strong Server side support skill set or looking to focus solely on networking this will immediately increase your market value
4. Microsoft MCSA: Windows Server 2016
• Another new certification from Microsoft that will be paramount in developing the fundamentals to manage any Windows Server environment.
• This is a solid platform for moving onto the MCSE and a fantastic addition for any candidate with senior infrastructure ambition
5. Microsoft MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure
• Knowledge of Cloud related technologies and managing data centres are highly sort after in 2017 and with the new streamlined certification method Microsoft have developed this should be one of the most sought after
Project Management and Architecture
6. TOGAF Certification
• We have seen a huge upsurge in the amount of companies using the The Open Group Architecture Framework and thus the demand for qualified staff is currently very high
• You will be educated on Business, Enterprise, Infrastructure and Data whilst ensuring you will be well paced to improve return on your IT operations
• The must have certification for any existing or aspiring Project Manager with the added bonus of its cross industry flexibility
• Both the methodology and terminology learnt with this course are vital to any business operating under its parameters thus making any candidates holding certifications highly desirable
8. Microsoft MCSD: App Builder
• The world of Mobile App Development is booming and this qualification is a way of quickly developing skills within modern mobile and web application services
• Massive growth is predicted within the industry so whether you are a seasoned developer looking to add mobile to their portfolio or a recent graduate this will look great on your CV
Heat’s Essential Top 10 IT Events
Every year there’s a huge selection of Industry events across the country and globally, but which to attend? And importantly why attend these events?
Sometimes it can be hard to get away from work and spend the day, or even an afternoon in the knowledge that tasks are piling up back in the office however the benefits of attending such events can far outweigh the negatives.
All events will host a plethora of vendors selling their wares but in addition to this most have technical workshops, hands on training and key note seminar tracks as well as plenty of after-hours networking events to attend.
Key reasons to attend
• Keep up to date with Industry trends
• Take advantage of the access to experts, get expert advice and gain fresh insights
• Meet new people and network, forming new relationships, and strengthen existing ones.
• Invest in yourself, learn something new in the many workshops and hands on training sessions
• Evaluate latest technologies to bring back to your business
• Have fun and remember a bag for all the freebies
HEATS ESSENTIAL TOP 10 IT EVENTS
Mobile World Congress: The world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organised by the GSMA and held in the Mobile World Capital Barcelona
RSA Conference: One of the largest cybersecurity conferences in the world, attendees discover the latest technology and interact with top security leaders and pioneers.
Red Hat Summit: A must for anyone interested in open source celebrating the individuals, the explorers, the builders
London Tech Week: a festival of live events across the city, showcasing and celebrating the best of tech whilst providing networking, social, learning and business opportunities.
Festival of Marketing: a unique experience where ambitious marketers can discover, learn, celebrate and shape the future together.
EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference: A high-energy, fun and friendly celebration of the craft of testing in Europe. Held over 4 days, it features over 60 sessions including tutorials, workshops and talks and also includes a software testing exhibition
Cisco Live: Where IT and communications professionals come to get the knowledge and skills they need through in-person events, live webcasts, and on-demand sessions.
Black hat: provides attendees with the very latest in information security research, development, and trends in a strictly vendor-neutral environment.
VMworld: VMware’s premier thought leadership and education destination for cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology professionals
Infosecurity 2017: information security event featuring Europe’s largest and most comprehensive conference program and over 360 exhibitors showcasing the most relevant information security solutions and products
And lastly Local Tech Meetups: remember, not all events require travel, there’s some great tech meetups locally wherever you are based, https://www.meetup.com/ is a good place to start to meet and network with likeminded professionals in your area of expertise.
Industry Insights: IT Entrepreneur Paul Targett
Paul Targett is a health and social care entrepreneur based in Bath, UK. He has spent the last 16 years working for his own businesses mostly around helping NHS and independent health organisations launch and deliver services which focus on using information to improve the quality of people’s lives.
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
RIVIAM Digital Care is a technology platform that connects health and social care organisations and their service users / patients. Their focus is on supporting referral management between providers and helping to deliver new models of care interfacing with GP Systems.
What have been the biggest changes to your sector in the last year?
Brexit – first hit as it dried up new funding in the public sector for projects and services. Trump – impacted our US clients and how they saw business moving forwards. The snap election actually seems to be fuelling new projects.
With training, qualifications and CPD options always evolving, what do you think is the most important thing potential candidates can do to develop themselves?
They need to have a focus on self-improvement. I don’t care where they have come from as long as they look to improve. Having a passion for new technology, or interested in UX, I need people to have an edge.
What would you like to see more of in the applications that you receive?
Example of what they have done in projects. The abstract paragraph about project management or a simple one statement saying “I love coding” doesn’t help me understand what they have achieved.
Recent reports have shown that it’s getting increasingly hard to recruit, due to the political uncertainty still surrounding Brexit, do you feel this is affecting your business, or the wider sector?
I think it has made non-UK residents question if they have a future – especially those from the EU who have been here for less than 5 years. However, I hope Brexit will do the right thing by them.
What do you find is the most common misconception about working in your sector?
That health and social care is some easy ride. We need people who are committed and willing to deliver beyond the call of duty.
What do you feel are going to be the biggest challenges facing your sector in the next few years?
Being able to create new solutions for the health and social care market in the cloud that people will buy and trust. Cost is a major consideration. Cloud economic allow amazing value for money to be delivered.
What are likely to be the most exciting developments within your Industry in the next 5 years?
The application of artificial intelligence to health and social care. It’s going to be a game changer.