Employment opportunities for IT graduates have continued to grow, but they still suffer one of the worst unemployment rates in the sciences sector.
Statistics from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu) show that six months after graduation 71.5% of IT graduates who left college in 2005 were in employment or continuing to study.
This compared with the 71.7% average for all other science subjects. IT graduates, however, were still less likely to be in further study (as a sole activity) and more likely to be unemployed.
At 10.3%, the unemployment rate fell from the previous year’s 10.7%, but was still substantially higher than the average for all science subjects (6.2%).
Hecsu said a comparison of job destination statistics for the last few years demonstrates that the IT industry is in the midst of recovery.
It said employment rates have increased steadily for the subject whilst unemployment has fallen.
Alongside this, however, is a general decline in the numbers entering IT courses in higher education and the possible threat of a skills shortage within the sector.
Hecsu cites an article in Computer Weekly last July which revealed that the level of students applying to study computer science has halved in five years, leaving the sector short of the 150,000 new entries needed by businesses.
The key to success for prospective IT students lies in choosing the right course, said Hecsu.
A recent survey by FDM Group revealed that 47% of IT graduates felt that their degree course had not provided them with the latest IT skills, thus emphasising the importance of researching courses thoroughly.
Potential undergraduates should look for courses that will not only equip them with up-to-date IT skills, but also the business skills required by employers, said Hecsu.
The opportunity to do an industrial placement can also be a distinct advantage, it said.
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