Subjects and skills to help you get a head-start in digital technology

25/02/2016 10:28

Interested in the digital world? If you’re still in school, you can start doing things now that could lead to a career in the industry. Here’s how to tap into the opportunities near you – in school, and out.

Subject choices

Computing science might seem like an obvious choice if you’re interested in this kind of career – and it can certainly help.

But if your school doesn’t offer computing science (or you’re already taking Nationals and Highers but haven’t picked it), there are lots of other subject choices that could help you out.

Some other really useful options are:

1. Maths

Mathematics can really open the door to digital technology courses and jobs. It’s required for university and college subjects that lead to jobs in artificial intelligence, business systems, computer science and IT, cyber security and digital forensics, and much more.

2. Science subjects

Any science subjects – chemistry, biology or physics – will help you build your problem-solving skills, which are vital in digital technology roles. And in the jobs around health and human interaction, they could be a real bonus.

3. Arts subjects

Soft skills like communication, storytelling and creativity were identified by the Tech Partnership as vital in roles in big data. You can develop these through subjects like English, art and design, or graphic communication.

Artistic and soft skills are also important for jobs in digital media, business systems and games development.

4. A Foundation Apprenticeship

Want some more practical experience? A Foundation Apprenticeship in software development, or hardware and system support, could give you a head-start. And you study for it alongside your school subjects.

Find out more at

Extracurricular activities

You can also up your skills in your spare time. Your school might offer a computing club – it’s worth asking.

There are clubs you can join in your local area, to develop your coding skills and build cool things:

You can also start trying things on your own. Websites like CodeOrgUK and Code Academy have free tutorials where you can learn code, a little bit at a time.

Work experience

It’s always helpful to get a taste of a career, before you decide if it’s for you. Check out the work experience section for information on finding a placement, and contacting employers.

Modern Apprenticeships

Another route in to the industry – which will give you experience from a real employer as you learn and gain a qualification – is a Modern Apprenticeship.

For roles that involve digital technology, there are lots of options. Just a few are:

What next?

Check out Digital World to find out more about the exciting opportunities available in digital technology.