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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Studying Computer Science and IT abroad

Why should you study computer science and IT abroad? What directions can you go in with a qualification in this area? Read our full guide including what basic skills you need before you apply and more...

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What is computer science and IT?

 As the name indicates, computer science and IT is all about computers and the processes they perform for us, usually involving vast amounts of data. Decades and decades ago, we didn’t begin creating computers simply for fun. We began this journey for the same reasons we invent anything: to solve problems we face each day, the most common of which is making manual processes far more efficient. Due to the rapid growth of technology over the last 20 years, new positions are being created all the time to accommodate for these developments.

 

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), the computer and information technology industry is expected to grow by 13 percent during 2016-2026 — faster than the average rate of all other fields.

 

Why study computer science and IT?

So much of what we do and how we live today utilises computers. It’s therefore important that we continue to develop, which is why the computer science and IT field is a pivotal one to be a part of. While the average person’s knowledge of computers has improved as they have become more widespread and accessible, it doesn’t change the fact that they are still complex pieces of technology and they require experts to create, improve and repair them.

 

Even if you’re not working for a company which creates new computer technology themselves, nearly every business requires technical support in order for its employees to carry out their jobs – this is where students can find careers in I.T. support, technology officer and consultancy roles to lead a business’s IT directions.

 

Basic computing skills, like coding and programming are becoming more common in job descriptions for careers in digital marketing as employers are expecting candidates to become more hands-on themselves. Coding is even being taught in schools for pupils aged just 5 years old. So, it’s clear that computer skills are considered to be an important part of the digital world of work.

 

Who would be good at studying computer science and IT?

Students with an inquisitive nature as to how computers work will find that a computer science and IT qualification is the gateway to a career where they can put this into practice every day. Similarly, if you’re someone with an intense fascination to “dig deep” into problems you’re trying to solve, you’ll find that this field will satisfy this urge to find solutions to real problems. On the other hand, if you’re someone who is only interested in completing an action – as opposed to how and why something works – you should look elsewhere.

 

Studying a course in computer science and IT involves long hours of staring at a computer screen as part of your work. Whereas a science-related degree might give you the opportunity to venture outdoors for practical work, this isn’t really the case for this field. Many projects will require working alone on (sometimes frustrating) projects involving lines and lines of code (there is an element of group work too). If you are happy to work in this way, then you’ll land on your feet quickly.

 

When it comes to your career after studying, you can expect to work with those who have little to no understanding of computers (especially if you work as in-house support for a business). Often individuals will come to you with a problem which needs a technical solution; therefore, you need to be able to manage expectations and explain the technical “science” in an easy-to-understand manner, so they come away satisfied.

 

 

What is the criteria for studying a computer science and IT qualification?

It will be expected that you will have a basic knowledge of computers. A knowledge of computer systems, programming & coding etc. will help your admission. If you lack some skills like coding in a particular programming language, you can always take short, introductory courses to give you the basic knowledge to begin your course. You might be surprised to learn that you do not need to have studied a computer science subject at high school level. In fact, a university might instead look for a qualification in mathematics and even physics.

 

When demonstrating your interest in the field, any side projects which you have worked on in your spare time (e.g. websites, apps or software you’ve created) will be good to mention in your personal statement. It also gives you something to distinguish yourself against other candidates and something to talk about it a potential interview scenario.

 

Remember, you should always check the entry requirements of a course with the university themselves.

 

What specific courses can you study?

 

What can you do with a computer science and IT qualification?

Every company requires IT support to carry out their business, just as the individuals who work in them need to carry out their role: Sales need working laptops and accessories when they go to client meetings to present; web experience need monitors to test on; designers need software to use; editors need help resetting their password when they forget it.... the list goes on. This is why this field makes for endless job possibilities in city areas where businesses usually operate.

 

However, because the applications of computers are so expansive and far-reaching, a computer science and IT qualification can allow you to really move into some exciting areas, particularly for those who study the software and multimedia areas. Careers can include the following, to name a few:

 

  • App developer
  • Games developer
  • Software tester
  • Software engineer
  • Information security
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Technology officer
  • Web designer

 

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