With the rise of IT apprenticeships, university is not the only way to achieve a career in technology. No matter what your A-level or GCSE results are, an IT apprenticeship can get you into work with the UK’s top employers and provide you with the hands-on experience you need.
There are now dozens of IT apprenticeships to choose from, so you might be surprised what careers are available to you. Here are four surprising IT careers you don’t need a university degree to achieve.
To become a skilled Digital Marketer or Digital Marketing Officer, you’ll need creativity, technical IT know-how, data analysis abilities and great attention to detail. If you can gain these skills you’ll be able to start an exciting and creative career in digital marketing.
Digital Marketers work in-house for marketing departments or marketing agencies and roles vary massively. You could find yourself working across Paid Search advertisements, PR, social media, content creation, email marketing or Natural Search. In this flexible role, you might begin your career working across multiple technologies before specialising in the area that interests you the most.
University degrees are rarely required for a role in digital marketing; if you can prove your skills to an employer you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition. A Digital Marketer Apprenticeship will get you straight into a paying and rewarding role and set you up with the skills you need for this rewarding career.
Penetration Tester (Ethical Hacker)
Cyber security is crucial for every modern business and as we’ve seen from recent high-profile hacks -- from the US election email-leak to the recent NHS shutdown -- no one is really safe from well-funded and powerful cyber criminals.
As the threat posed by cyber crime increases, businesses are rushing to boost their cyber defences by hiring penetration testers.
Penetration Testers (also known as Ethical Hackers) are cyber security pros paid by businesses to conduct safe hacks. These professionals identify the weaknesses used by real hackers to steal sensitive information or takeover systems. Businesses get their defences tested safely and receive valuable information on how they can protect themselves in future. In return, the Penetration Tester is paid for their specialised hacking skills.
With high salaries -- £52,500 for Ethical Hackers according to data from ITJobsWatch -- and a real demand for more skilled ethical hackers, this is the top job of 2017. Hacking knowledge is now so crucial, even the police are now learning to hack like the pros.
You won’t be expected to be a master-hacker to start a fulfilling cyber security career. Get your first job in this exciting field with one of many cyber security apprenticeships. Build your skills with a cyber security apprenticeship and you’ll eventually be able to specialise as a penetration tester.
Data Analysts boost the performance of businesses by harnessing mountains of otherwise useless data. There is now more data being generated than most businesses can handle – that’s why we need Data Analysts and Big Data professionals.
Big Data careers are now among the highest paying in IT and cover roles like Data Analyst, Data Scientist (the sexiest job of the 21st century) and Big Data Visualiser. These roles are cutting edge and only the most advanced businesses are beginning to take advantage.
Like ethical hacking, big data is a young area of IT; careers in big data are not typically tied to university degrees. Most professionals transition to Big Data roles from other areas of IT, but those new to the industry can get straight into a Big Data career with a Data Analyst apprenticeship.
Networks allow computers across offices, cities, continents and oceans to share data with one another. They’re crucial to modern life and if something goes wrong, they’re highly disruptive. Behind every network sits a team of skilled network engineers responsible for everything network-related, from servers to wired and wireless networks.
“Network Engineers often work in the shadows, but we have a massive amount of responsibility to keep the business operational. I work with my team to monitor four business regions, so we have to act quickly to prevent the ripple effect caused by any issues,” writes Steven Rincon, Networking Engineer Apprentice at Firebrand Training.
As a Network Engineer, you’ll be in high demand - businesses now rank networking jobs as one of the hardest areas to recruit for. This has resulted in impressive salaries for networking professionals – the UK average salary for a Network Engineer role is £46,000.
Kick-start your career without going to university with the Network Engineer Apprenticeship. Or, if you’re new to IT (or have recently finished your GCSEs), start with the Level 3 Infrastructure Technician apprenticeship, and move onto the Network Engineer when it’s completed.