An IT (Information Technology) related qualification is an invaluable one, and increasingly so. Most organisations either have their own IT department or will be outsourcing the work to other organisations specialising in the kind of IT they need. So, with an IT related qualification under your belt, you might find that you’re able to slot yourself into any industry you’re interested in. Plus, you won’t be tied into any particular type of company so you’ll be able to move around freely between employers within the world of IT, gathering great experience, contacts and connections along the way.
As well as this, IT is an incredibly fast-moving industry in terms of the speed of change as tech is always developing and organisations need to invest heavily to keep up. So, if you’re keen on working in a fast-paced environment, this might be a career that’s well suited for you. Plus, getting your foot in the door in the capital of the UK, an IT hotspot, will be a huge advantage for your career.
If you’re considering a career in IT, you’re probably a naturally tech-savvy person – perhaps someone who’s always had an interest in tech and computers.
Having fluency in tech is something not everyone has and it is certainly something to celebrate. You’re in a unique position with the opportunity to turn an interest into a very rewarding career.
If you’ve ever wondered why study Information Technology in London… this guide is for you.
This guide will take you through a few reasons why IT is a great choice of study, especially in the current climate. And, why London is one of the best places to study it and start your career in the IT world.
Your first career move
Choosing a career path can be tricky and can feel a little daunting. We understand that most people want a sense of stability and security out of their job, but as well as that, it’s important to choose something you really enjoy. Try to remember that whatever you choose, you don’t have to do it for the rest of your working life. Your first career move is simply a stepping stone into the world of work. Once you’re in, you’ll make more connections and gain lots of experience that will both help shape you and help you figure out where your skills lie and what you enjoy most of all.
Here are just a few of the roles a career in IT might lead you to.
- Computer network architect
- Computer programmer
- Computer systems analyst
- Cybercrime consultant
- Database administrator
- Data analyst
- Data scientist
- Database developer
- E-Business specialist
- Information architect
- Information security analyst
- Information system security expert
- IT consultant
- IT project management
- IT system developer
- Network administrator
- Web developer
Why choose IT?
- You’ll be challenging yourself in an everchanging landscape
Constant technological developments mean that your day-to-day job will be incredibly varied. You might have to change tack regularly to keep up with the latest technology in your own workplace and the other organisations your company works with. It means that you’ll often be thinking on your feet and you’ll always be learning. This is a great attribute to develop and take forward, especially at the beginning of your career.
IT allows entry into a huge variety of industries
Because most organisations have an IT department or outsource their IT needs to an IT agency, there’s no end to the kind of industry you can enter, even as a recent graduate. You might be well-suited for technology-based work like IT but also have an interest in fashion, music or art for example, and decide that you want to combine those interests and work in IT, but within a particular industry.
When starting out, you can use your IT experience to get your foot through the door and then once you’ve gained more experience you can decide to move around. Because of the huge need for IT across the UK (and everywhere), it’s an area where you can move around between organisations quite freely.
- IT specialism is nicely rewarded
With those constant developments comes the need for investment. Organisations are aware of the need to really compete with their competitors. To do this, they’ll need to be investing in the latest IT on an ongoing basis. As well as this, they need to invest in the right people, with the right knowledge. As it is such a fast-moving industry to be an expert in, your knowledge as an IT expert is highly sought-after – especially if you specialise in lesser-known IT or are up to date with the latest developments.
Work both independently and as part of a team
IT is a field that tends to have a need for a mix of both individual work and collaborative efforts, of course, that will vary depending on the organisation you’re a part of. You might find that your workweek is made up of a mix of working solo and spending time with colleagues to problem solve as a team. We understand that often people prefer working in one way to the other, but it’s good to recognise that finding a healthy balance between these is important.
You wouldn’t necessarily think of IT as being a creative field of work, but it can be. A lot of IT-related work actually relies on creativity as well as proficient technical problem-solving skills. You’ll be tasked with using your specialist tech skills to come up with new and innovative solutions to the problems faced by your organisation and its clients. Depending on the company you might be a part of, you’ll also most likely be working creatively and collaboratively with colleagues from across all areas – finance, law, compliance, data privacy, creative departments and many more.
Starting your career in London
By studying here, you will have the opportunity to mix with a hugely diverse range of people – and most importantly, you’ll be making great connections from all over the world before you’ve even started in your profession.
London has an incredibly diverse population. If you choose to study here – whether that’s an IT related course or something else – you’ll be studying alongside students from all over the world. Wonderfully, London generally is a place where everyone is welcome, and this is something that tends to be mirrored across the universities here and in places of work. There’s a good understanding of cultures compared to other cities across the UK and Europe, and people are generally keen to learn about each other. It also means that wherever you’re from, it’s easy to find other people from a similar background and going in a similar direction to you.
Plus, having a good understanding of other cultures can only be positive for your career, whether you end up staying in London or working elsewhere. Having experience in working closely with people from a range of different cultures, backgrounds and abilities also means you can bring values of inclusivity to the organisations you work for in the future.
If English is not your first language and you want to improve your fluency (which can only be an advantage for an international career like IT), spending time studying and working in the UK will be invaluable for this.
Making friends and connections who are native speakers is the best way to truly pick up a language. While at university, your classes, readings and coursework will of course help with your written English, but as well as this, your spoken English will really benefit from all the conversations you’ll be having with the people you meet through your course and those you meet socially.
People talk about the buzz found in London, and generally, it’s a real hive of activity wherever you go within the city. You only need to take a walk in a busy area like Bank on a weekday to get an idea of the kind of fast-paced environment that working professionals are a part of here. We understand that this kind of working environment doesn’t suit everyone, but if that’s a driver for you, you might find it incredibly motivating for your career to be a graduate living and working here following your studies.
Plus, even if you don’t plan to stay in London to start your professional career, experiencing the unique energy the city has to offer while you study here can be inspiring. With 18 universities, London is home to more than any other city in the UK. It’s a city full of students. So, you can enjoy being surrounded by students exploring the city too, with a rich network of societies, support groups and social clubs to appeal to everyone. The droves of students that arrive in the city each year are welcomed by the abundance of student-friendly spots – parks, cafes, coworking spaces and libraries.
London’s global connections and English-speaking workforce mean that many of the world’s leading businesses decide to operate from the city. This makes it an incredible place to study business, finance, IT or a professional service degree of any kind. Two of the Big Four accountants are based in London (EY and PWC), as well as global institutions like the BBC and professional services agencies like MediaCom.
Carrying out your studies in London means you have access to unrivalled opportunities at these world-leading businesses when you finish your degree, or during your degree if it offers a placement opportunity. Organisations like these will often offer graduate schemes that allow you to work with teams from across the business as soon as you graduate. So whether you’re considering IT or something else, the experience you can gain in London will be sure to set your career off in a great direction.
London is recognised for its educational standards. So, acquiring an IT-related qualification in London might give you a real advantage over others when applying for IT (or any) jobs within the UK or across the world.
Topuniversities.com have ranked London the best city for students in 2022. There are more than 30,000 courses on offer here, across a whole variety of fields. So if you are considering a career in IT, there will be plenty of options available to you – either for starting off with a generic IT qualification, or maybe you want to specialise in a certain area like security.
UWS (the University of the West of Scotland), for example, offer a 1-year MSc Information Technology qualification from its School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences. The course offers entry from either January, May or September, and is a great choice if you have an interest in IT but don’t necessarily have a computing background. So, even with little experience, you can delve into a year of developing your IT experience, knowledge and skills.
The course allows you to learn from both academics and IT professionals with the real on-hand experience that’s needed for an area like IT. It’s designed for allowing you to enter a career in IT straight away or to move onto a more specialised area of study following the course.
Here are the modules covered by the MSc Information Technology offered by UWS:
- Business Computer Networks (core, 20 credits)
- Database Design (core, 20 credits)
- Object-Oriented Analysis & Design (core, 10 credits)
- Technologies for Business Intelligence (10 credits)
- Mobile Business Technology & Design (20 credits)
- Project Management Fundamentals (20 credits)
- Ethics for the IT Professionals (10 credits)
- Research Design and Methods (core, 10 credits).
- MSc IT Project Dissertation (60 credits).
Teaching is delivered through a mixture of face-to-face group tutorials and activities, lectures and hands-on laboratory sessions which are supported by the online teaching system Moodle. Groups are kept small for the development of the kind of key competencies that employers in the UK and elsewhere are looking for in IT candidates. Assessment takes the form of coursework, exams and a dissertation.
This particular Masters in IT will help you to:
- Develop, introduce and manage IT systems and projects to support business
- Analyse, design, deploy, utilise and manage business-relevant IT-based systems and services
- Gain a deep understanding of database and network technologies
- Develop key personal skills, such as effective communication with stakeholders
- Apply theory and knowledge to improve organisational efficiencies.
For more information on the structure of this course, as well as more on the learning outcomes and full details about all the modules, see the MSc Information Technology page.
Why international students choose London
There’s always something to do
During your time in London, of course, you’ll want to hit up the obvious tourist spots that London is famous for. But as well as all the classic must-sees you might have on your bucket list, there’s so much more to see and do that you’ll find through exploring the city yourself.
The must-see tourist attractions
Buckingham Palace is found in the City of Westminster, and if you do have the chance to see it, you should. It is often very busy, so be prepared for that. The Changing of the Guard happens at 10.45 every single morning, so aim to be there for that time if you’re keen to get a picture of the iconic scene. It can be difficult to get a good viewing point, especially during the summer months. Not far from there, you’ll see the London Eye on Southbank. You can board the huge Ferris wheel and take in the magnificent views of the city.
Or, at the top of one of London’s highest buildings, you’ll find London’s highest public garden. Sky Garden sits at the very top of the Walkie Talkie building in Langbourn and is a great viewing spot.
Try embracing being new to London and hop on an open-top bus to get a tour of the most iconic and most-visited landmarks. With most of the tours, you’re able to hop on and off at each stop, so you can choose how long to spend at the attractions and join another bus when you’re ready for the next stop. Some of the tours will take you through Camden Town which is an energetic and full-of-character part of the city. There’s a huge international food market and the streets are always bustling with performers and buskers. It’s also a great area of town to visit if you’re a keen second-hand shopper.
You can have fun for free
We realise London isn’t cheap, but there are still plenty of things to see and do that are completely free of charge. Some of the city’s best museums and galleries are free entry to the general public. Landmark museums like Tate Britain and Tate Modern are government-funded so ask for voluntary donations only from those who can afford to donate. If art is your thing, the Victoria and Albert Museum is world-famous. The art and design objects that are shown there span across all disciplines of art, design, fashion, sculpture and interiors so there really is something for everyone. As well as these, the National Gallery is home to work by Da Vinci and Van Gogh along with about 2,000 other paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
If it’s something more historical you’re interested in, see the Egyptian mummies on display at the British Museum in Bloomsbury amongst the collection of 8 million exhibits shown there, or the display of dinosaurs and blue whales skeletons shown at the Natural History Museum. Or, head to the Museum of London to explore the city’s fascinating history.
London has a lot of green space for a city of its size. No matter how hectic city life can get, you’re never far from a park or garden to sit yourself down in. The city’s parks are perfect for a picnic with friends when the weather is good – a much cheaper alternative to heading out to the bars and restaurants. Huge parks like Alexandra Park, Battersea Park, Regents Park or Hyde Park have good connections with the underground. Most of the major parks also have WC facilities and refreshment vendors too, so they can be a change of scenery for studying too. Hampstead Heath can be the perfect spot when the sun comes out with its Lido, or spot the deers wandering around in Richmond Park.
Study spots all over London
If you’re a bookworm, London is the place to be. If you enjoy sifting through old book collections, there are second-hand book shops all over the city – try Camden for example, or one of the pop-up markets that are happening across the city. Book stores can be a great setting to get some studying done too. Foyles bookstores (of which there is a handful dotted across London) have comfy seating with enough desk space to get some work done. The Charing Cross shop has four huge floors full of books to peruse on a study break.
If you like to spend time in the library, you’re spoilt for choice there too. The British Library holds 150 million copies of books and growing. Libraries like the Barbican Library are creative spaces where you can enjoy a music area as well as a quiet study zone or take your laptop outside to sip coffee while you work in the courtyard. There are also 19 (yes, 19) Carnegie libraries across the city which means you’re never far from a free-of-charge space to study. Plus, it can be a good idea to mix it up and try new study spots to keep things interesting. These libraries are often home to beautiful architectural settings, so you can be inspired while you work.
The city is famously well-connected
TFL (Transport For London) run the London Underground throughout the capital meaning you can explore the whole city for the cost of a 1-day travel card, which includes much of the overground train service, London buses and a boat service along the Thames too. Connections run through the night on some services, so it’s easy to get back to your accommodation, wherever you are and whenever it is.