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Careers for law graduates in IT and communications

Jaymes Carr

What do professionals in this sector do?

IT and communications is a broad field and arguably the one with the most rapid and dramatic changes. Just ten years ago, for example, Facebook, Youtube, Skype and Twitter were in their infancy; ‘big data’ and ‘real-time analytics’ were still conceptual, rather than practical; and, perhaps most tellingly, the mobile phone market was dominated by Nokia and its range of non-smart keypad phones. Now, almost everything has changed, and the most successful IT and communications organisations are those that have embraced new developments to stay ahead of the curve.

Careers in the information and communication technology field include a variety of roles and tasks associated with planning, researching, installing and monitoring the performance of IT and communication systems and transmissions. It’s possible to provide only a representative sample here. Web developers are responsible for designing and maintaining websites; systems analysts focus on the integrity and efficiency of various networks; IT managers oversee large-scale projects to ensure that they are completed on time and within budget; and engineers of various types focus on testing, implementing and troubleshooting new technologies.

Where do they work?

IT and communications professionals are ubiquitous, working directly for, or servicing, a broad range of organisations. Some of the more prominent employers include the government, the technology sector (which boasts big names such as Atlassian, Microsoft, and Google), and the communications sector, where standout organisations include Cisco, Optus and Telstra.

How can I take advantage of my law degree?

While employers tend to prioritise graduates from IT-specific degrees when filling technical roles, the sector at large remains relatively degree-agnostic: what matters is your passion, evidence of diligence and determination, and ability to perform whichever tasks are specific to a given role (bearing in mind that these can be quite technical). As a law graduate, your proven ability to work through complex problems, make sense of precedents, and apply known ideas in novel contexts will give you an edge.

Bear in mind many large IT and communications companies – from Amazon to TechnologyOne – rely upon the support of non-technical personnel in positions well-suited to law graduates. These include marketing, project management and stakeholder engagement roles, as well as in-house counsel roles for lawyers particularly interested in the legal challenges facing businesses in the IT sector.

What is the average salary?

Within Australia, the average entry-level package for graduates in the IT and communications sector is $60,000 to $65,000 per year. They work an average of 30-40 hours per week.