Young computing graduates have been urged to take on unpaid work experience, to help them enter the workplace.
Last week it was revealed that the UK needed to recruit 110,000 more IT workers over the next year. It's a positive figure for the industry, but one that conflicts with anecdotal and statistical data that suggests Computer Science graduates struggle to find employment when they leave college.
Richard Nott, website director for CWJobs wanred, " At the moment it's still very competitive and very difficult for raw graduates. The big employers have not been doing the traditional graduate intake because they have wanted people with experience who can hit the ground running."
He added, "It's a Catch 22 because even with a good computer science degree if you have no experience it's very hard to find a job, although you can't get experience without a job."
While the idea of working for low or no pay might be unattractive for graduates with ballooning student loans to pay off, Nott suggests that they might have to take " any means possible" - whatever productive employment they can find - in order to build up a portfolio, rather than waiting for the right jobs.
"If I was 22 with a computer science degree, I would be doing anything necessary to get some workplace experience," he said. "That might be an internship or even working free of charge - if it gives an opportunity to get some experience, you need to aggressively attack the market."
The comments came as IT workers in general saw a 5 per cent increase in pay during 2010, as companies continued to hire IT professionals across all sectors.
SQL, C, C#, .NET and SQL Server remained the top five skills most in demand for permanent IT jobseekers, while SQL, C, C#, Java and Oracle database skills were the most sought after skills for contract IT staff.
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