Careers in IT and Computing
The School of Computer Science is an excellent department that supports, encourages and challenges students, and which has many strong links with employers.
We are committed to employability and have a comprehensive and well-resourced Careers and Employability Team, with Careers Advisors and a Careers Consultant, Internships Officer, and Application Support Advisor and an Employer’s Liaison Team.
Our curriculum is industry and research led, providing a comprehensive programme which includes employer engagement, regular employer presentations, and specialist careers fairs within the school.
The Guild of students actively supports employability. It services include JobZone for part-time work and a volunteering service, giving students the opportunity to develop their employability skills outside of their studies.
The School of Computer Science has a dedicated academic lead for supporting students to gain employment. We work alongside the college Careers and Employability team to provide information and support to students to enhance their employability and to find graduate-level employment after completing their degree.
A degree is essential for a number of careers; it demonstrates the level of competence that many employers are looking for. The recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey shows that 90% of our recent Computer Science graduates are in graduate jobs, earning a starting salary of £20,000 - £25,000 within six months of graduation. There is a growing number of graduates each year and the job market remains competitive. As a consequence, employers are raising or changing their entry requirements, and a degree, in itself, does not guarantee a good job.
In the School of Computer Science, we provide a holistic range of support to students to give them the best opportunity to gain graduate-level employment once they have completed their degree. Please visit the links below for more details of the support and services offered to our students;
Computing graduates might find themselves in a variety of environments in academia, research, industry, government, private and business organisations -- analysing problems for solutions, formulating and testing, using advanced communications or multi-media equipment, or working in teams for product development. Here's a short list of research and vocational areas in computing;
Mobile Computing and Software Engineering of Apps – Develop internet applications that run on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Social Computing – Develop new technologies to form and extend community networks.
Cloud Computing – Apply computing and software development to design ways for sharing information and resources over the internet.
Artificial Intelligence - Develop computers that simulate human learning and reasoning ability.
Robotics - Design, construction and application of robots and computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.
Computer Design and Engineering - Design new computer circuits, microchips, and other electronic components.
Computer Architecture - Design new computer instruction sets, and combine electronic or optical components to provide powerful but cost-effective computing.
Information Technology - Develop and manage information systems that support a business or organization.
Software Engineering - Develop methods for the production of software systems on time, within budget, and with few or no defects.
Computer Theory - Investigate the fundamental theories of how computers solve problems, and apply the results to other areas of computer science.
Operating Systems and Networks - Develop the basic software computers use to supervise themselves or to communicate with other computers.
Software Applications - Apply computing and technology to solving problems outside the computer field - in education or medicine, for example.
Security Software Engineering – Using programming and cryptography to design security systems.
Financial Computing – Accurately determine the financial risk that certain financial instruments create using various computational and mathematical methods.
Scientific Computing - Construct mathematical models and quantitative analysis techniques, using computers to analyse and solve scientific problems
Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) –Plan and design user interfaces to improve the way in which people interact with computers.
Game Development – Many modern games are based on 3D computer graphics and Level Designers use 3D modelling or world editing tools in order to create and edit the levels. Game development can involved the design and programming of games.
These are some examples of roles commonly undertaken by our computer science graduates. They have been selected to give a flavour of the variety of opportunities that exist.
- Applications developer
- Database administrator
- Information systems manager
- IT consultant
- IT trainer
- Multimedia programmer
- Software engineer
- Systems/business analyst
- Systems developer
- Technical support officer (IT)
Recent graduates have found employment with software houses, major manufacturing companies, commercial and financial services organisations and local and central government. Many of our best graduates go on to study for higher degrees.
Employers of our Computer Science graduates include: 3Com, Accenture, Barclays, British Telecom, the Defence Evaluation Research Agency, Dell, EA Games, EDS, Fujitsu, GCHQ, Goldman-Sachs, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, KPMG, Logica CMG, Lucent, Marconi, Microsoft, NCR, Nortel, Oracle, Orange, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Vodafone
Dedicated Careers Support
We offer a dedicated careers and employability service for Computer Science students, and each week careers adviser appointments are available in the School. During these sessions, the Careers Officer will provide CV and Application form advice and workshops, mock interview practice, and help to students identifying and applying for vacancies.
Regular school newsletters are produced to inform students of job opportunities, careers events and application deadlines.
The University of Birmingham has a vacancy database with over 2000 graduate job vacancies and internship opportunities targeted towards University of Birmingham students each year.
At the University of Birmingham we are making steps to tackle the under-representation of women in technology. In 2011, we hosted the BCS Women Lovelace Colloquium, a national one-day conference for women undergraduates in computing and related subjects, and an opportunity for female undergraduate students to present a poster demonstrating their own work to people from industry, the public sector and academia.
For more information about the careers support offered by the EPS Careers and Employability team, please visit their website.
Each year, in conjunction with the University we organise two major job fairs relevant to computer science students. Large and small companies come to the school to advertise their vacancies to our computer science students.
In addition to the computer-science specific job fairs, the University holds an annual Science, Engineering and Technology Fair attracting up to 60 key employers. The University’s annual Finance, Consultancy and Professional Services Fair (FCPS) and the Autumn Fair also attract large numbers of employers seeking out Computer Science applicants.
Over 400 companies advertise vacancies with the University for our computer science graduates.
We run a series of presentations by prospective employers for computer science students. These presentations are not only a way for students to learn about opportunities across a range of industries, but also to talk to prospective employers, gaining valuable insight into what they look for when recruiting graduates.
Employers who have visited the school to present to our students include: Deloitte, IBM, Goldman Sachs, Teach First, Imagination Technologies, Credit Suisse, Citi, Accenture, FactSet, RIM, Asidua, Jumar Solutions, Logica, Microsoft, Micro Focus and Essar Energy UK.
Computer Science Alumni Mentoring Scheme
The Mentoring scheme is open to students from any year of undergraduate study who are interested in gaining first hand career insights and industry know how from successful alumni and employers. The mentors on the scheme have a diverse range of career backgrounds and work in a variety of roles. Mentors are matched as closely as possible to students interested in their sector of work and career aspirations.
More information on the Alumni Mentoring Scheme can be found on the Careers and Employability website.
We encourage our students to gain as much real world experience as they can during their studies. The University has strong links with a number of employers offering internships or formal placements that can range from two months over the summer vacation to a full sandwich year as part of your degree course.
The college internship officer and industrial liaison tutor supports students to find work placements. We also have a vacancy database with over 2000 graduate job vacancies and internship opportunities targeted towards University of Birmingham students each year.
For further information contact our Work Placement Officer on Tel: 0121 414 8814.
Industrial Year Placements
Competition for graduate jobs is tough so you need to do what you can to stand out from the crowd. Gaining relevant work experience can often give you that point of difference, helping you to develop skills and experience that will enhance your university education and maximise your prospects.
School of Computer Science students all have an excellent opportunity to supplement their studies with a year working in industry. In fact, many of our students go on to work for their year-out employers after graduating.
How does it work?
If you choose this option, you will spend the first two years of your degree at Birmingham, followed by the placement year on a salary, then back to the University for your final year. During your year in industry you will be able to put taught theory into practice, as well as gain valuable experience and skills.
Who will my placement be with?
Several well-known companies sponsor our student prizes and offer work placements, all of which are organised by the University Careers Service and the School of Computer Science Work Placement Officer. To gain a placement you will need to find an opportunity that suits your career goals, present your CV and attend an interview, all of which you will be supported in by our Work Placement Officer.
What will I do?
The School and placement company work together to devise a programme of study for you that is linked to the industrial work. This will include basic skills and project elements. At the end of the year you will be awarded a Certificate of Industrial Studies.
The Guild of Students
We encourage students to get involved in other activities to develop skills which will make them stand out to employers. The Guild of Students is a great place to find out about other opportunities, such as getting involved with clubs and societies, volunteering, or taking on part-time employment alongside studies.
The Personal Skills Award
The Personal Skills Award (PSA) is the University's award winning employability programme for undergraduate students. Celebrated by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and supported by a range of employers, the PSA can enable you to develop, recognise and articulate your skills effectively in preparation for the graduate job market.
The PSA is supported by: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Teach First,Volunteering England, Sanctuary Group and Birmingham Community Healthcare (NHS). Visit the PSA Supporters' page for more information on these organisations.