Hands on development experience. This is what employers want.
I know a few recruiters that don't even look at quals. They look at work experience, they pick the good looking ones, get them in the door and gauge the person once they are there to see if they could fit the role / know their stuff.
Ugh. It's even worse than that. I will admit that I don't have a clue how businesses in the UK hire, but I'd bet that they hope to filter on the same things that we do in the US.
That said, and I apologize to anyone on this site that already knows this stuff, but
1) can you follow directions? Really? Did you read the design spec?
2) can you investigate how the current software is written and expand upon it?
3) if you run out of ideas, will you at least investigate the current software enough so that I don't have to simply hand you the solution?
4) If it gets difficult to figure out, will you at least make an effort to code it to the point that you don't understand?
5) Do you understand encapsulation (*sp?)
6) will you accept that when you can't figure it out, my solution might be right? Will you avoid telling me that it might be 'slow'?
7) Do you have friends that we can hire to replace you?
I swear to all that is holy, I will never work a consulting job again.