The question: How do I become a systems analyst?
I am a 24-year-old British Asian woman. I have a BSc in information systems and I am completing my masters in information systems management. I am set on having a career as a systems analyst or working as part of a rapid application development team.
I have no IT experience but have volunteered to work for an engineering company as part of my project. I am also told it is difficult for women to pursue this type of career. Is this so?
The solution: Chase the entry-level graduate positions
Your background makes you ideally placed to take advantage of the number of graduate roles that are currently in the market. There is a real dearth of entry-level people who have gone on to study for an MSc after completing their degree. You have done the very things that would promote your application with any employer.
Undertaking voluntary work is a real winner. It shows you have been able to apply your scholastic knowledge in a commercial way and also indicates that your interest is in gaining experience, not just money.
There are always companies that are happy for you to work for for free but you are at the stage in your career that you need to be paid for your efforts.
There is very little barring women entering this field, in fact there is still a lot of positive discrimination going on. Most IT teams are male-heavy and companies will actively look for females to redress the balance.
I was interested to see you mentioned your ethnicity and wondered if you were concerned that there was any prejudice against this. Rest assured that I have never found that to be so. Candidates in the IT field, more than anywhere, tend to be judged solely on their ability to do the job.
Solution by Tracey Abbott, divisional director, Zarak Group
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp
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This was first published in October 2005