IT jobs IT skills

The best IT jobs for new college graduates, and what skills are required

In IT, apps developers, tech support and business/systems analyst skill sets in demand; work experience trumps GPA and academic pedigree.

According to a recent survey of more than 250 IT hiring managers across the US conducted in March 2017, organizations are showing a heavy preference for generalized IT degrees over specialized, where in the future they can develop the skill set of a capable individual to fit their own specialized requirements.

The survey, conducted by TEKsystems, the IT staffing arm of privately -held staffing firm the Allegis Group, conducted primary research into hiring trends so that TEKsystems can advise clients on what they should prepare for when it comes to attracting and hiring top talent.

The company researched the factors related to the top IT jobs for upcoming graduates along with the key elements hiring managers look at when considering entry-level IT candidates.

“Those graduates entering the IT market in the next several months are in the enviable position of seeing high demand for their skills, depending on their specific qualifications,” said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “In fact, our research shows that truly exceptional candidates stand a good chance of being offered a 10 percent premium above what has been budgeted for a specific position.”

Hayman noted, however, that it is still true that graduates are most likely going to be offered the types of junior/entry level roles where they’re primarily being asked to maintain, update or fix currently deployed software programs.

“Organizations are showing a heavy preference for generalized degrees over specialized, where in the future they can develop the skill set of a capable individual to fit their own specialized requirements. Newly graduated job seekers may be surprised that it’s not about the name recognition of an expensive school or a cutting edge degree that gets you in the door, it’s more about experience, skill sets, programming languages, and making yourself a valuable member of whatever team or project you get the opportunity to work on,” he continued.

More Key highlights from the Survey

According to the survey, developer roles provide the best job opportunities.

Q: What skill sets provide the greatest opportunity for recent college graduates searching for entry-level positions and how difficult are they to source? Select all skil sets that apply.
Job Percentage Ranked by Difficulty in Sourcing as of Q2 2017
Applications developer 60%  


Technical support 54%  


Business/systems analyst 52%  


Web developer 48%  


Network/systems administrator 39%  


Network/systems engineer 37%  


Database administrator 35%  


Quality assurance engineer 27%  


*Includes Programmers and developers (i.e., Java, .NET, web, etc.)

According to analysists at TEKsystems, IT hiring managers recommend applications developer roles as the best opportunity for new college graduates. This experience provides a foundation for future growth in a more specialized area of software development.

Coincidentally, developer roles are consistently difficult roles to fill—a result of the sky-high demand for qualified tech professionals across the industry.

Technical support, business analysts and web developers are also mentioned as good opportunities for new graduates with generalized degrees.

“Digital transformation will continue to create significant opportunity for new IT professionals as organizations take on more and larger IT projects,” noted analysists. “These initiatives will require a small number of highly skilled and experienced individuals to design, but a larger number of junior or entry-level workers to implement.”

According to the company, hiring managers should note that those skill sets representing the most opportunity for recent college graduates are not necessarily difficult to source. Network/systems admins, database admins, and quality assurance engineers are, relatively speaking, easier to source than some of the other skill sets identified as representing the most opportunity for recent graduates.

(Next page: Types of IT degrees favored; work experience and salary)