Whether you’re interested in developing the next big app or want to use YouTube to market new products, technology work experience will be an important addition to your CV and will help when it comes to applying for university, apprenticeships or jobs in future.
So here’s your complete guide to IT work experience, exploring the benefits and where you can find a placement.
Why should I do IT work experience?
There are a booming number of jobs in the technology and IT fields – everything from software developer to artificial intelligence and data analyst. But these jobs are very competitive, so getting a work placement will help set you apart. It shows employers that you have the commitment and ambition, as well as skills, to do well.
What’s more, a placement with a technology company will help you decide if it’s the right career for you. You won’t always know what a specific sector and job role is like: a placement will help you see behind the scenes, finding out what the work is actually like and whether it might be the right path for you.
Work experience (in any sector) lets you develop key transferable skills that will be crucial for any job. You’ll also meet people and make contacts that will help in future.
Where can I find work experience?
There are two general approaches to finding work experience in the technology space – and this applies for year 10 work experience and well as if you’re in year 12.
The first is to track down companies in your local area and contact them. Start by thinking about which area of technology or computer science you’re most interested in. There’s everything from digital marketing and games development to electrical engineering, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and app development. Check out our IT Career Zone for the full run-down. You can also refer to our Computer Science Subject Guide, which shows exactly where studying computer science at school can lead you.
The next step is to Google companies in your area that work in that specific field. For instance you might want to research local digital marketing agencies or nearby computer hardware companies. Agencies can be a good opportunity as they often work on briefs for clients meaning you might get the chance to see a project from start to finish. Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily need to search for technology companies – there will be technology or IT roles / departments in bigger companies.
Next, send them an email to see if they have any work experience opportunities going. Many companies are willing to offer placements even if they don’t run a formal work experience scheme. Be confident, polite and enthusiastic.
What employers offer technology work experience?
There are several employers which do run formal work placement schemes. We have included a few of them below (this isn’t a comprehensive list!)
Next Tech Girls
Next Tech Girls is an initiative of the technology company Empiric. It’s a work experience scheme that provides placements for year 10 and 11 girls in different companies, including Comic Relief and Expedia. You’ll get first-hand experience in futuristic technology, helping you to decide which career path is for you.
As part of its Ignite programme, Vodafone offers a week-long placement in different areas of their business – including technology and digital. You’ll develop industry-specific skills, experience and an insight into working at Vodafone. The company also runs #CodeLikeAGirl, which are four-day coding workshops for girls aged 14-19.
Sky offers a few one-week work placements in their technology department at offices across the country. You might be learning about code with Sky developers or seeing how Sky TV shows are made. You need to be 16 or over with a keen interest in technology. They also run three-day insight programmes.
Rolls Royce offer work experience schemes in their IT department for 14 to 19 year olds. The programmes are aimed at giving students the opportunity to see how STEM subjects are used in the working world.