Computer courses growing in popularity

There is a resurgence of interest in computing courses, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) claims. According to the Agency's latest report, there has been an increase of 5 per cent in the number of students starting an undergraduate computing course in 2014/15.

A total of 24,900 students signed up. The computing courses significantly outperform undergraduate enrolments as a whole, the Agency continues, saying that in the same period, it rose by only 2 per cent.

The rise comes after a few years of decline, suggesting a resurgence of interest, but some problems are still present, including a fairly high percentage of dropouts, as well as a low percentage of females.

Just 15 per cent of those signing up for computer courses are female – while out of all undergraduate students, 55 per cent are female.

The dropout rate is also fairly high, and goes up to 20 per cent, which is another reason to be worried. Only 19,480 achieved a qualification in 2014/15, which represents a fall of 3 per cent on the previous year, and the third consecutive year of decline since 2010/11.

What's also interesting, and quite unbelievable, is that 10 per cent of computing graduates have been unemployed for six months after graduating in 2014. Unbelievable, knowing how severe the lack of IT staff is.

The report claims this is the highest level compared to any other subject grouping, which is why it is the topic of investigation by Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.