Programming, software and AI

Computing, IT and telecommunications is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in the global economy.

What’s it like? 


The fast paced and rapidly evolving nature of the industry means that the range of opportunities – and the demand for people with the right skills - is likely to continue to grow rapidly. Currently, cyber security, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are areas where demand is particularly high and likely to continue to expand in the next few years. 


The current skills gap means that there are opportunities for those with relevant technical skills, whether these have been developed through their studies or extracurricular interests. Many companies are also happy to recruit graduates from unrelated degree subjects and without well-developed technical skills, as long as they demonstrate an active interest in, and aptitude for, technology, and a willingness to learn. 


Women are under-represented in IT roles and companies are keen to attract applications from them. Read this blog post about how IT companies are addressing diversity issues: 

Sector insight: Digital industries  


There are many different roles to consider. Follow the links below for profiles of common occupations in this sector: 


How can I get work experience? 

Relevant experience may not be essential to get a job in IT, but it will improve your chances because it demonstrates that you have an understanding of, and interest in, the sector. 


Many organisations run structured internship programmes, some of which require no pre-existing technical skills and focus more on development of coding skills. Find these advertised on MyCareerHub in the opportunities section or in the case of insight days in the events section. 


The annual Employ.Ed on Campus internship programme is likely to include opportunities relating to IT. Watch for these in early Spring. 



Experience in any field will help you to develop your understanding of commercial awareness, workplace communications, planning and organisational skills, teamwork and more. 


Work shadowing a professional gives you chance to observe their day-to-day activities and find out first-hand what the job involves. 

Speculative applications and networking are key approaches to finding work experience

Speculative applications


Skills development

While being able to – for example – code may not be essential for a successful application, if you take the initiative to complete some online training before applying this will demonstrate your interest and your aptitude.

There are many free courses, from providers such as: 


LinkedIn Learning    (free while you’re a student here) 




In recent years the most common programming languages sought by recruiters (based on MyCareerHub adverts) were: .NET, C++, SQL, Java, C#, PHP, Python, CSS, VBA, MySQL, Ruby On Rails, Perl and HTML5. 


Commercial awareness, curiosity, and receptivity to new ideas are all qualities which will help you stand out to employers. Check out our advice on how to develop commercial awareness:  

Build your commercial awareness

Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs can showcase problem-solving skills e.g. overcoming unforeseen difficulties whilst planning an event or resolving a customer complaint.  

Taking part in sport and university societies provides opportunities to develop team work and communication skills. 

Edinburgh University Sports Union      

Edinburgh University Students’ Association – societies

 Visit the Events section of MyCareerHub for details of relevant events. 

Postgraduate study 

  • Generally speaking, a postgraduate qualification in Computing and IT isn't necessary for entering the industry, and may not put you at a significant advantage compared to those applying straight from undergraduate studies. If you do decide to pursue further study, use these sites to find courses to choose from: Prospects 

  • Target Courses 

Getting a graduate job 

Many of the big IT firms offer graduate schemes, and many of these will advertise on MyCareerHub, but it is also worth checking individual company websites for opportunities.

Use the expired opportunities feature in MyCareerHub to see when companies have advertised in previous years.


IT jobs are advertised on many other websites including:


Techno Jobs  



LinkedIn is a great way to access ‘the hidden jobs market’ – the vast number of job openings that are not formally advertised. Use LinkedIn to network and explore the career paths of people doing the type of job you want to do.

Develop your network and build your profile