IT and Technology: Graduate Area of Work
Technological solutions have helped improve the quality of the services provided by banks to their clients on nearly all levels – from front-end sales and trading applications to back-end roles such as the maintenance of quantitative analytics engines, risk analysis systems, and data storage solutions.
In other words, finance IT professionals serve as important business enablers – a support department that facilitates business performance by increasing data quality and security.
Demand for IT specialists with excellent communication skills and outgoing personalities is high in the finance industry, as is the case in most other career sectors.
Banks have been making heavy investments on the construction of efficient IT infrastructures and the employment of knowledgeable specialists within strategic fields in order to enhance their performance. This has made this line of work a particularly favourable option to new graduates.
An excellent starting place in finance IT – as in all areas of this sector – is to acquire an internship. The time and energy put in to expand your knowledge of the industry will pay off handsomely when it comes to applying for jobs.
Granted, not every finance employer recruits entirely from internship programmes, but recruiters do place great weight on them when reviewing applications for finance IT roles. Plus, they’re a safe way to get a taste for the work.
Depending on company policy, some IT departments may choose to rotate you across sub-divisions periodically in order to give you a taste of how every division works. Working under such an arrangement also gives you the opportunity to try out a variety of roles and to work out what you may like as a long-term profession.
Some may find themselves interested in a particular position enough to want to specialise, while others may prefer to become generalists. Work is often project-based, so your hours will be dictated by the deadlines of the assignments. You will regularly be expected to navigate through such projects in teams of anywhere from 10 to 20 people across various departments.
Graduates who enter this field with an IT-related degree will generally have an advantage over those who do not. Still, this also depends on the role that you are applying for.
For positions that require knowledge of programming languages, for instance, an IT degree would most certainly be a prerequisite. However, openings for business analysts will place less emphasis on such a degree.
Some applicants may also opt to take a postgraduate course to get into the business as well, but it is always recommended that those who intend to work in this field start with an internship instead.
Banks are always on the lookout for applicants who show a keen interest in and a strong aptitude for the field. Enthusiastic, energetic, people who are willing to learn and possess an innovative mind are also especially favoured.
While financial knowledge is a plus, it is not must – remember that IT specialists are recruited for their IT knowledge, not their financial expertise. It is more important to be aware of the latest technological developments, and the way they can help to support and enable the market.
Strong communication and teamworking skills are equally important because you will be liaising with people both internally and externally. Equally important is the ability to work under pressure as your working environment can be a fast-paced, taxing one.
Ups and downs
Most graduates working in this field get the satisfaction of being able to put the knowledge that they had gained at universityto good use as they will be able to seethe results of their work firsthand.
You will also get interesting perspectives on how business and IT come together and co-influence each other as you work; and also the opportunity to learn to design, implement, and manage a project from scratch.
However, bear in mind that finance IT is an extremely fast-paced and high-pressured line of work. Those who are unable to sustain working in such an environment for prolonged periods of time may want to rethink this career option. Also, those who prefer to go it alone may not be well-suited for this line of work, given the fact that roles in finance IT often require you to work in teams.