In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, information technology’s role is becoming even more essential to the functioning of the modern marketplace, with virtual classrooms, colleges, and business offices and eCommerce changing the shape of our future. Computer science and the occupations that stem from the degree have never been in higher demand and thus, higher competition.
It is still hard to get a job in computer science even though big data engineers, software engineering and development, data security analysts, and AI engineers all stem from this field because experience and soft and technical skills are necessary beyond a degree.
Employment in computer and information technology is projected to grow 12% through to 2028 and is the fastest-growing field of all occupations, so it may come as a surprise that it is not as easy as it sounds to get a job. Read on to find out some of the reasons and their explanations.
Why Is Finding a Job in Computer Science Hard?
Despite the plentiful employment and projected growth of the IT sector and the increasing reliance of business and industry on technology, there are still factors that will make finding employment with a CS degree more complicated than you thought.
Many IT Recruiters Expect Skills That Are Outside of the CS Degree Curriculum
Many recent CS graduates are faced with a catch 22 situation. They are passed over for entry-level employment through lack of experience, and cannot gain experience without opportunity for entry-level employment.
Many graduates lack the knowledge and experience of different programming and coding programs. The technology field is continually adapting and changing, and sometimes universities fail to equip students with the most up to date technology skills.
Many Major Companies Are Increasing Their Qualification Requirements
Although job prospects are good for those with computer science degrees, sometimes they may remain just prospects. With so many technology positions being occupied remotely, the top companies have upped their standards, and a degree means far less than it used to. 2.1 degrees ACSA points are becoming the requirements for the top-ranked companies.
UCAS tariff is a system that translates college qualification and grades into a numerical point value. Increasingly larger, more profitable companies have been including a UCAS point minimum on their job applications.
Many Companies Seek Graduates With Work Experience
Graduates who lack working experience may find it challenging to stand out in the surplus of entry-level applicants in the IT industry. More and more proven soft skills are becoming a deciding factor when employers hire employees.
Soft skills is a blanket term for a host of skills related to the way you work, such as:
- Interpersonal skills
- Conflict resolution
- Work ethic
Employers are finding soft skills as crucial as technical abilities because soft skills determine how productive a person will be in their work environment. Typically employers will present scenarios to a potential employee at the interview stage, and assess their responses.
Be aware that often these questions include commercial awareness, which means you need to research competitors’ products and ethos of your prospective company.
A good idea is to include your best soft skills in your cover letter and highlight those areas in your interviews.
Entry-Level Is No Longer Entry-Level
In today’s fast-paced and data-driven workplaces, employers seek candidates who can hit the ground running and perform at the get-go. Generally, they prefer employees with a broad skill set and expect them to get up to prove their value to the company as quickly as possible.
What Can I Do to Increase My Employability?
Keep Developing Your Skills
Careers in computer science are based on learning and acquiring new skills. The industry is progressive, and technologies are evolving at an exponential rate. Your degree is just a starting point in this field, and you must continuously and actively acquire knowledge to forge a successful career.
Find Your Intended Subfield
The most successful candidates new to the workforce have shaped their tertiary education to fit their intended subfield. The practical application of computer science is vast and spans across many fields and is too extensive for one person to master at once. The US Bureau Of Labor Statistics divides the main subsections and median wages of the field as:
- Computer and Information Research Scientists
- Computer Network Architects
- Computer Programmers
- Computer Support Specialists
- Computer Systems Analysts
- Database Administrators
- Information Security Analysts
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators
- Software Developers
- Web Developers
Vocational experts stress the importance of finding your intended specialization early on and hone your employment skills in a specific area. In a field full of CS graduates, those who have narrowed the field to an intended specialization are more likely to stand out in job applications.
Improve Your Soft Skills
With the job market increasingly turning to soft skills as an essential aspect of job applications, there are ways to improve your soft skills while studying. Placement programs, part-time internships, and graduate programs are all means to show your soft skills experience.
If you have graduated, it may make sense to work for a year in a smaller industry sector while finding your feet in the market. Smaller companies usually allow greater responsibilities and a more mentored approach to the workplace. The graduates who have had work experience while studying and after graduation are more likely to find employment in their chosen IT fields.
Incorporate Soft Skills Into Your Resume
Instead of presenting your stats and the numerical value of your contributions to previous companies, you should learn to integrate your number value with your soft skill set. Instead of just showing an employer a successful figure, you should incorporate numerical success with a soft skill that you used to achieve it.
For example, instead of saying that you achieved a 17 % rise in sales, you could explain how your problem-solving and conflict resolution helped you realize that figure.
Ideally, you should match your soft skills to your chosen company when applying for a job. Many larger companies include a soft skills list in their job requirements. If not, a careful analysis of the workings and success of your prospective company of employ could give you an idea of the candidate that will suit their ethos.
Include some appropriate soft skills in your job application skills and match them with the skills in the experience section. Always try to put forward soft skills that you already possess, as they will show in the interview process or the workplace if you are successful.
Keep Learning and Acquiring Knowledge
Online courses can be taken part-time to brush up your technical skills. More so than any field, computer science is evolving new technologies at a giddy pace. Keep abreast and informed of any new developments in your chosen field, and you will have a competitive edge when it comes to employment.
There are many free online courses offered these days. They can be done at your own speed when you have any extra time, and they are a really good way to keep yourself up to date on emerging technologies.
It is important to remember that 4 million college graduates entered the job market before COVID-19 disruptions, and they are facing a business sector in unprecedented upheaval. It is more important than ever to make sure that you do all you can to improve your employability and prospects. Computer science could lead you to some of the best-paid careers out there. You are just going to have put in the work.