With 18% of computer science students unable to find a job six months after graduating last year*, CWJobs.co.uk has drawn on help from seasoned IT pros to advise IT grads how to navigate the industry, identify opportunities, and bolster their CVs to help find work.

The survey of 1,300 IT professionals by CWJobs, the IT jobs specialist, reveals that over half (56%) believe that unpaid work experience is considered the most valuable activity for increasing a graduate’s chance of finding work. 48% feel that the tradition of joining industry bodies is still considered beneficial, and despite the increased use of social networking among graduates, IT pros say it’s more important to join industry bodies than to use blogging and social networking sites for jobseeking.

Over half (52%) state that Web development is a burgeoning area for job opportunities and this is also reflected by the skills in demand, with Java and SQL identified as key for maximising prospects. Finally, reflective of the city rebound, banking and finance was identified as the top sector for opportunities, closely followed by telecommunications and software houses.

Although cloud computing has taken the spotlight in recent months, 87% of IT pros feel that security or mobile IT jobs offer superior opportunities, while application development, although on trend, isn’t considered as attractive. Linux, Cisco and Oracle are also rated as key skills for graduates to focus on.

Richard Nott, Website Director of CWJobs comments, “Although opportunities are certainly improving for IT graduates, useful advice and valuable industry insights still go a long way to helping find suitable employment. While we have seen opportunities in banking and finance improve rapidly, other sectors such as telecoms and software are now following suit. It is however undeniably still a tough market, and so is essential that graduates emerge from university fully equipped with all the knowledge and guidance possible.”

*Higher education statistics agency (2010)