Becoming an IT Person: Field, habitus and capital in the transition from university to work

Martyn Clark, Miriam Zukas, Neil Lent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transitions from university study to graduate work in new industries such as information technology (IT) are not well understood. As the IT industry is a significant recruiter of graduates and an important component of the UK economy, the transition into the IT profession needs to be understood better. In addition, understanding the transition into IT work may contribute to a broader understanding of transitions in the new industries more generally. We focus on three cases selected from a broader longitudinal project and take as our starting point graduates’ perspectives on their transitions. We use Bourdieu’s conceptions of field, habitus and capital to move beyond existing policy discourses which tend to concentrate exclusively on the qualities of graduates. Specifically, we argue that, to understand transitions we need to focus on the work and the organisational context (field), the habitus of the individual making the transition, and the resources (capital) that individuals may deploy. That is, individual transitions are better understood by considering field, habitus and capital and the interactions between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-150
Number of pages18
JournalVocations and Learning
Issue number2
Early online date29 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


  • Information technology
  • capital

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