Parents & Carers

Reasons for a young person to consider a career in IT

Wrightbus - Gavin Herron

I would definitely encourage you to consider a career in IT. There are lots of opportunities out there and my confidence has definitely leapt forward in the last two years.

Help your child make the right choices

As a parent or carer there is plenty you can do to support your child and help them to make successful career choices.

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    It is important to be aware of your influence and to make that influence as positive as possible.

children career in IT, career pathways into the IT industry

Your child and their career plans

Your child will have decisions to make at different stages, so it’s worth raising the subject of careers from time to time over a period of years.

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    Get them to chat about the jobs they see other people doing. This could be someone they know or admire. It could be people they pass on the street, see on television or in magazines. You could also discuss types of jobs that might be relevant to their interests, skills or aspirations.

children career in IT

Listen to your child and help explore their options

The most valuable things parents can do to help their child with career planning are

    • Listen, don’t judge
    • Be open to ideas and encourage them to explore all their options


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      • Keep in mind that your child’s choices and decisions should be based on their aspirations and abilities and not on what you think they should do



      • Remember that not everyone has a clear idea what they want to do so your child’s career ideas may change as they get older





children career in IT

Helping your child plan a career

Once your child has some ideas about what they would like to do, encourage them to look into what they need to do to get there, as well as helping them decide on their next steps…

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    You will be helping them to develop the decision-making skills important in adult life. They will need to weigh up the pros and cons of various options, make a decision based on the information available – then put their plan into action.

children career in IT

Encourage your child to:

  • Talk about their careers ideas and future plans
  • Research a wide range of career
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    • Be aware of all the options available, including those in education, employment and training
    • Discuss ideas and options with teachers or careers advisers at school or college
    • Find out about training, college and university entrance requirements as well as what is needed for jobs they are interested in
    • Develop their skills by taking part in clubs and activities, both within and outside of school – this will help them when they are applying for courses or jobs
    • Find out about the world of work through work experience and extra-curricular activities related to it or by talking to relatives and family friends about the kinds of work they do
    • Go to any careers events organised by school


children career in IT

Look at future career options with your child

To make a successful career choice, it is crucial that you and your child are aware of current and future employment opportunities.

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    There are opportunities across all occupations in Northern Ireland but there are more opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). ICT (particularly software development skills, database development, systems architecture and internet specialist skills) is extremely important to the Northern Ireland economy with significant growth and subsequent job opportunities forecast.

children career in IT

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How do they get there?

Select the category which is suitable to you to find out more information on how to gain an education in IT or which employment opportunities are out there for you.

children career in IT

Choosing GCSEs

  • Maths grade B may be a prerequisite for some course/ employment options.
  • English Language is required.
  • ICT maybe required but not essential.


Achieving GCSEs or equivalent, the next step, choosing Level 3 Routes -

  • A Levels – any subjects but Maths is a preferred subject.
  • BTEC Diploma (1.5 A Levels) in a range of subjects including: Broad based IT, Games Development, Creative Media Production, Software Development. Networking and IT Infrastructure.
  • BTEC Extended Diploma (3 A Levels) subjects as above
  • OCR Level 2 diploma in IT.

Post ‘A’ Levels and other Level 3 Qualifications

  • Full Time Degree in IT related subject.
  • Part Time Degree Course in IT Related subject.
  • Foundation Degree/HND in IT related subject
  • Level 3 Apprenticeship

Higher Level Apprenticeship in an IT subject

Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAS) offer on-the-job training and off-the-job learning at higher levels, including Foundation Degrees (Level 4-5), Honours Degrees (Level 6), and post-graduate awards (Level 7-8).


An apprenticeship can give your child the training and qualifications they need to help them get ahead in their chosen career. Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships and the qualifications for each are set out in what is known as a framework. There are currently three levels to choose from. Terms and conditions apply if your child is 25 years and over.

Benefits to Apprentices

By taking part in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, your child can gain the skills that employers need and that are relevant to the local economy, therefore improving their prospects of good earnings and sustained employment.


Other benefits include:

  • learning while they earn
  • gaining a recognised qualification
  • receiving off-the-job training specific to their apprenticeship
  • working alongside experienced staff
  • Employer sponsored Degrees and Employment Programmes.

Higher Level Apprenticeship case study

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Apprenticeship qualifications

Apprenticeships are currently available at Level 2 and/ or Level 3, as well as Higher Level Apprenticeships from Level 4 upwards.

Level 2 is the first level and the one that most new apprentices choose.

Young people can either progress from Level 2 to Level 3 or go straight in at Level 3, depending on their ability and the qualifications they already have.

It usually takes up to two years to complete one level and up to four years to finish the two levels depending on their complexity and their ability.

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Graduate employment from IT and non IT related Degrees.

  • Master’s conversion course in IT subject.
  • Master’s Degree in an IT related subject.
  • IT related Assured Skills Academy

What is the Assured Skills Programme?

The Assured Skills programme is a joint programme between the Department for the Economy (DfE) Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland. It has been in existence since 2010/11 and since then, has promoted a total of 5,371 jobs. Once all jobs have been realised it will create an additional £141m into the Northern Ireland economy.

The Assured Skills programme seeks to assure potential investors, and existing employers considering expansion, that the skills they need to support a growing business can be found in Northern Ireland. It does this by employing all of DfE’s responsibilities for the higher and further education sectors and the Department’s skills and training programmes.

The Assured Skills Academy Model

Under the Assured Skills “Academy Model”, where a company or a consortium of companies have an identified skills need, DfE will consider developing a bespoke short-term training intervention to meet that need.

This typically involves an eight to ten week bespoke pre-employment training programme delivered by a local college or university. The intervention is designed to lower the recruitment risk for companies by providing candidates trained with the exact skills for the opportunities that are available.

The Academy Model is flexible and versatile, and has been used to help companies recruit new staff in areas such as:

• data analytics
• software development
• software engineering
• software testing
• cyber security
• 2D animation
• game development

A Great Choice

The Academies have an 90 per cent success rate of participants progressing into full time employment.

Previous participants continue to recommend Assured Skills Academies as great opportunities to develop skills and start new careers

Candidates’ overview video

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How the Academy Model helps candidates

If you are unemployed, under-employed, a school leaver, a graduate or have experience and would like to change direction in your career, then the innovative Academy Model may be what you are looking for. The Academy Model will support you into employment by providing the skills that expanding companies want.

The vast majority of Academy programmes have been aimed at providing graduate level opportunities for unemployed graduates.

Your existing qualifications are important but, whatever your vocational area, the companies the Department work with want employees with the drive and determination to succeed, and a positive attitude to take on new challenges.

Where to find the Academies

Current academies are advertised in local newspapers and online resources including jobcentreonline, nidirect, nijobs, recruitni and social media.

For more information see the video below or click the link the Department of Economy Assured Skills:

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Employer Support

Find out which companies offer sponsorship programmes
See Employer Support

Job Roles in IT

What IT role would suit you?
See Job Roles

Career Planning

Discover how to plan your career
Career Planning