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Computer science degrees are more popular than ever

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / carlos castilla)

Computer science has never been more popular among students, but the subject area still suffers from a pronounced gender imbalance.

According to a new report from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, 129,610 applications were submitted for computing courses at UK universities last year. This represents a four percent increase year-on-year, as well as a record high, the organization said.

Breaking the figures down on a gender basis, it was said that women accounted for just 17.5 percent of applicants, a similar percentage to the previous year.

Brexit also seems to have played a part, as the number of applicants from EU countries dropped by 58 percent, not just for computer science applications, but across the board. On the other hand, applications from students outside the EU rose by more than a quarter (26 percent).

Students from England and Scotland showed more interest in computer science than those in Northern Ireland and Wales, with applications dropping in these countries by 7 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Last year, the popularity of A-Level computer science increased by 12 percent, with the share of female students increasing slightly to 15 percent.

“Job prospects in this transformed landscape, where so many of us are now increasingly reliant on technology across all sectors, will continue to expand,” said Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS.

“While there is still a long way to go to achieve true diversity in our sector, the rise of groups such as Coding Black Females is helping to shape the range of new talent coming into the industry, making it more relevant to society as a whole.”