The number of prospective students seeking to study computer science has increased by 12.3% to 86,294 compared with last year, according to figures from admissions body UCAS.
Computer science saw the highest increase in applicants, with the total number of students applying for university degrees growing by 3.5% compared with 2012.
Joanna Poplawska, director at trade association the Corporate IT Forum, said the increase reflected the recognition among young people that IT will play a key role in future job creation as the economy becomes increasingly digital.
“This is a very positive signal. But we have to remember that according to European Commission figures there will be 300,000-800,000 IT-related vacancies across Europe by 2015. We still need to do a lot more to encourage children and primary and secondary school level to consider careers in IT,” she said.
Richard Hadfield, chair of trade association Intellect’s education group, said: “Intellect is massively encouraged by these kinds of statistics and the push behind the e-skills agenda from schools to higher education. It’s all about making sure we have the right skills for general work and to bring into the IT industry. So this is fantastic news.”
He added that IT skills need to be improved across the board to ensure the UK stays economically competitive.
“It’s not just about building IT and computer science capability, but young people and adults being ready to go into whatever profession they choose with the right technology skills,” said Hadfield.
The results come after A-level results dipped for the first time in two decades last year, with fewer students achieving top grades and the number choosing to take ICT exams continuing to plummet.
Last year, the government
scrapped the GCSE ICT curriculum in schools, with plans to replace the subject with the more
rigorous teaching of computer science and programming subjects.