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BCS calls for A-level students to enter IT

A-level students and other young people who have not yet set on a career path are being urged to consider an IT career by the British Computer Society (BCS).

BCS also hopes to encourage young people - and young women in particular - who have not taken the traditional route of science-based A-levels and university, to investigate a variety of ways into the IT industry.

The BCS call comes as school students receive their A-level results.

Mike Rodd, BCS director of learned society and external relations, says, "IT can be both a lucrative and satisfying career choice and we want young people to know they have not missed the boat on getting into IT, just because they did not study the 'right' combination of A-levels, or because they chose to go out to work instead."

Figures from university application administrator Ucas for 2007 show a modest increase in the number of applications for computer science undergraduate courses.

But the UK is still expected to have an estimated 40% drop in graduates from IT-related courses in 2009, from the peak in 2004. This could have serious repercussions for the UK economy, which greatly depends on its ability to exploit IT effectively, said Rodd.

Rodd said, "IT is driving business growth in the UK, and is also behind a number of extremely important private and public sector projects. We need bright and capable individuals to be leaders in IT-enabled change, yet we are concerned there will be critical shortages over the next decade."

There are a variety of routes into an IT career, including part-time courses, work placements, or studying an IT-related subject at university.

Rodd said, "A-levels and A-level choices are often portrayed as the make-or-break time for teenagers in terms of their career choices.

"However, for those A-level students and other young people who do not have a clue what they want to do, but who have an interest and ability with computers, they will be surprised to discover the breadth and range of exciting roles that can make use of their talents."

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