The creative, digital and IT industries continue to grow despite the recession.
Central to our creative industries is the quality and supply of software engineers and computer scientists. Although we have seen a steady increase in the number of university students wanting to study in these areas, graduates of these subjects find themselves amongst the least and most employable graduates:
- The least employable because there is a healthy proportion of software engineers and computer scientists who have studied a degree programme which is not recognised by the main employers in the industry coupled with the inability to secure relevant work experience.
- For those who are the most employable, it is typically because theirs is an accredited and recognised course with work experience opportunities embedded into the teaching programme.
Separately there is a serious gender issue in computer science and software engineering too.
With women making up just 16% of undergraduate computer sciences in the UK (HESA), serious changes to the perception, content and recruitment for our university courses and employers are required. Sadly the stereotype associated with computer science – namely geeky teenage boys stuck programming in their bedroom until the early hours of the morning – remains prominent.
A radical and open approach to ensuring our undergraduate programmes are relevant and meet the needs of industry, coupled with a more direct and attractive offer for women should be placed at the heart of a changed approach to software engineering and computer science.