Courses filling up as students decide IT is no longer geeky

More students are applying for IT courses and the IT profession is losing its geeky image.

More students are applying for IT courses and the IT profession is losing its geeky image as technology increasingly becomes part of everyday life.

Nine out of 10 graduates believe IT is a culturally topical and acceptable subject, a survey of 1,500 university graduates by recruitment agency Computer People has found.

The IT profession is "chic," now that IT professionals' expert knowledge is being transferred to so many aspects of everyday life, such as using iPods and downloading music from the internet, the survey said.

Computer People managing director Adam Fletcher said, "Over the past 18 months we have seen a 20% increase in the number of graduates applying for IT positions. It is encouraging to see IT's increasing impact on our daily lives having a positive effect on how industry outsiders view people within it."

The survey found that 64% of graduates thought a career in IT would provide a challenging profession that offered a lot of perks.

This change in perception has been helped by the fact that IT graduates are among the highest paid, with a starting salary of up to 30,000. The survey revealed that graduates are motivated strongly by high starting salaries and future prospects.

Graduates also value the opportunity to work in a profession that keeps them intellectually engaged and on the learning ladder. IT contractors spend an average of 31 hours a month learning new skills and IT-related qualifications in order to keep up with technological developments, the research revealed.

IT contracting, and the flexibility it brings, is particularly attractive to undergraduates. Some 42% of those surveyed said they liked the idea of being able to pursue hobbies during the working day.

University students perceive IT to be a source of financial security, the report revealed, with IT graduates expecting to be in a position to buy houses much sooner than those in other professions.

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