Sunday, 26 June 2016

Leaving Certificate Students Should Consider Choosing Computer Science / ICT Course

Leaving Certificate students finalising their third-level options should consider a career in Computer Science and ICT. That’s according to the Higher Education Authority (HEA), ahead of the CAO change-of-mind deadline on Friday, 1st July 2016.

In its recent publication ‘What do graduates do?’, the HEA provided insights into the lives of ICT graduates of Irish universities and colleges of education, nine months after graduation. Key findings included:

At Honours Bachelor Degree level, Computer Science / ICT graduates are the highest earners, with 62 per cent earning €29,000 or more.

73 per cent of Computer Science and ICT got jobs in Ireland – the highest proportion of any discipline. Another 11 per cent got jobs abroad.

78 per cent of ICT Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported high levels of relevance between their education and area of employment.

Commenting today, Tom Boland, CEO of the HEA, said: “The Leaving Certificate is over for another year and many students and parents are now turning their attention to the CAO change-of-mind facility. I urge students to consider the strong employment opportunities in Computer Science and ICT, particularly as graduates in that area report high levels of employment and pay. It is an area of continuing growth with Ireland facing an average increase in demand for high-level ICT skills of around 5 per cent a year to 2018.”

“Traditionally, young men have pursued careers in ICT, but these exciting and rewarding careers are very much open to young women too where they will find an enthusiastic response from employers. Since 2009, women account for between 13 and 15 per cent of enrolments in ICT courses in year one. Given the excellent career prospects and their undoubted ability, young women should buck that trend and take up one of the many fantastic ICT courses available in higher education Institutions throughout Ireland when completing their ‘change-of-mind’ form this week.”

And women don’t have to take the word just of the HEA!

One woman who placed an ICT course as first choice in her CAO application is Deirdre Corr from Newcastle, Co Dublin. Deirdre graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) Computer from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) after being awarded the ‘Overall Winner’ at the prestigious Undergraduate Awards in the Computer Science Category for her Sleep Apnoea Detection System. She is currently working as a Technology Analyst with Bearing Point.

Speaking about her experience, she said, “I think young women have a perception that they won’t fit in on a computer science / ICT course but women can bring great balance and new ways of thinking to the industry. I chose computer science in DIT because I’ve always been interested in technology and fixing computers. I think that girls leaving school don’t always know that computer science is an option for them but it’s so broad and there are great career prospects.

My interest in ICT and recent advancements in health technology is what inspired me to create wearable device prototypes and develop my breathing pattern algorithm for detecting sleep apnoea. I hope to improve my system so that it could be used in the medical field as an aid for sleep diagnostics. I think Computer Science and ICT has the potential to make a contribution to improving our world and young women should be part of that.”

As part of the ICT Skills Action Plan which sets out key actions to establish Ireland as a global leader in the availability of ICT talent, the HEA have encouraged the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to provide additional places in their computing courses for autumn 2016.

The ‘Change of Mind’ facility allows CAO applicants to add, remove or re-order course choices until the deadline on Friday, 1st July 2016. Applicants are encouraged to place all of their courses in their genuine order of preference and not make choices based on how they feel they have performed in their examinations. Full information is available at