Explore some exciting careers in tech

Scotland’s tech industry continues to thrive, meaning skilled programmers are in high demand.

There’s a huge range of roles you could find yourself in depending on your experience and background but the key is finding the role that’s right for you.

Here’s a quick look at four exciting careers in tech.

Programmer

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Many people who programme would probably do it for no money at all. That’s how most get started, through hobbies and ‘passion projects’ – things they make for enjoyment.

The constant demand for improved software development continues, so people with a desire to code are highly sought after. Here in Edinburgh we have some of the biggest organisations in the UK – FanDuel, Skyscanner, the Scottish Government and RBS – all with hundreds of openings between them.

That’s not to mention the countless exciting new start-ups looking for talent, many of which can be found in CodeBase, the UK’s largest tech incubator.

Whether you want to be a front-end developer making things look nice or a database developer setting up those all-important foundations, it’s such a huge industry that there will always be work.

Creative designer

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If you love everything to do with design, digital content and have a ridiculous attention to detail, this is the job for you.

It’s a highly collaborative role where you deal with user-experience designers, account managers, art directors, photographers, marketers and of course web developers.

So how do you get ahead in the competitive world of creatives? The advantage is learning to code. The industry is still full of creative people who would admit they’re not expert coders, so getting some programming skills under your belt will give you a big head-start.

If you’re already familiar with HTML and CSS, next look at JavaScript, the language of the web. Then you’ll be able to better communicate with your web development colleagues.

Virtual Reality designer

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Flickr/Creative Commons/Nan Palermo

If Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is to be believed, virtual reality (VR) is the next major computing platform.

The Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, is incredible. There’s nothing else like being immersed in a 360-degree, 3D environment.

But how do you get a job in that world? Gaming is the key. The two people leading the Oculus creative team both have backgrounds in design, creating 3D multiplayer games.

Before joining Oculus, Mike Booth was best known as a pioneer of massively multiplayer online games and virtual worlds in his jobs at Activision Blizzard and Valve, which produced zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. His Oculus colleague Daniel James came from Sega.

If you’re obsessed with gaming, then a career in VR could be for you.

Gaming

Woman at a deskNow that you’re excited about VR, you might be wondering how you get into gaming.

Testing, or quality assurance as it’s often known, is the most common route into a games studio. The process tends to go like this: Get the tester job, pass your probation, live off a relatively low salary (to begin with) then get a full-time staff role.

This can take up to a year or even more as you climb the tester ladder.

Once you’ve got that foot in the door, it’s up to you to impress by proving you’re methodical, have an eye for errors and can report them clearly and concisely. Follow-on roles include Junior Animator, Development Assistant and AI Programmer.

After that you could become a Mission Scripter, Senior Graphics Programmer or Level Designer. It’s competitive, but if you’re ambitious and ready to work hard, you could find yourself in a team of people making real life computer games.

Scotland is home to one of the biggest games studios in the world, Rockstar. Their careers page is full of useful job descriptions that could help you get into gaming.

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