Computing may have humble origins in taxing and arithmetic, but has since grown to encompass every facet of daily life – from travel infrastructure, shopping experiences, workplaces and even more crucially, our data security.
Computers make limitless positive changes to a technologically-driven world, and have a universal appeal to any business or professional hoping to distinguish themselves. The Association of Computing Machinery urges all to consider the universal appeal and professional distinction a computing background offers.
“Computing is a discipline that offers rewarding and challenging possibilities for a wide range of people regardless of their range of interests,” the Association notes.
With such a healthy industry, it’s no surprise that new schools of computing and innovation depend on an influx of tech-savvy graduates to keep the computing world on point.
But as American Musician, Ani DiFranco, warns, “any tool is a weapon if you hold it right”. This year has seen some of the most powerful malware and cyber-attacks to date, with social media accounts and hospitals among just some of the targets. Forbes named Cybersecurity the biggest concern of 2017 in professional hacker, Cesar Cerrudo’s post on the ‘hackability’ of the vulnerable technologies that surround us.
Cerrudo lists three of the biggest problems facing cybersecurity, with the main cause being “a lack of knowledge and awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. Some companies don’t care about cybersecurity, while others care but don’t know what to do or how to do it.”
The second problem arises when new and different technologies are used as businesses update, creating chances for insecure components to forge gaps in the security network.
The final threat to cybersecurity is in lack of time and money to invest in it, with many unprotected technologies being sold to the detriment of all once the loop holes are exploited.
Businesses now recruit computing graduates as a solution to cyberspace threats; students bring with them the knowledge needed to stay abreast of the transient nature of up-to-date security software and tech trends.
Aspiring computer science students should seek schools that teach at the frontline of computing and technological advances, so their education reflects industry demands for practical and secure computing.
Here are 5 UK universities that lead the field in Computer Science education…
The School of Computer Science and Technology at Beds is committed to educating “tomorrow’s scientists and engineers and actively engage in research” that improves teaching.
Research focus here is demonstrated by projects conducted with Horizon 2020 – the EU’s largest Research and Innovation programme. The school’s Centre for Computer Graphics and Visualisation takes part in international projects with partners like supercomputer centre CINECA.
The school has 29 undergraduate courses – a sample being Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Computer Security and Forensics, Computer Games Development, and Electronic Engineering – plus a range of comprehensive and highly specialised postgraduate programmes.
The school offers top quality labs and facilities, including iMac suites, computer security labs, Games, Animation and Graphics studios, and an Electronics workshop.
Beds Computer Science students have access to current industry standards in a practical and engaging environment, resulting in continuous and recognisable impact on its students’ learning. Beds is consistently performing well in student satisfaction scores, as well as being in the Top 10 Universities for Improved Teaching.
Computer Science Bangor University is producing the next generation of dynamic digital leaders. Through their interdisciplinary approach to computer science, they promote a special focus on ‘cross-discipline projects’.
Here, undergraduate courses cover a wide range of industry-applicable content, such as Computer Science for Business, and Creative Technologies, examining the versatile digital technologies of television and radio, film, computer games, design, and advertising.
At postgraduate level, Bangor offers specialised courses in exciting new frontiers likeArtificial Intelligence and Intelligent Agents, and Advanced Visualization, Virtual Environments and Computer Animation .
The university’s computer research often crosses disciplines to solve bigger problems, like the institution’s development of long-range micro backpack trackers for bees, using cutting-edge micro-technology to study how nicotinoids affect bee navigation.
At Bangor University, students and staff alike are encouraged to embark on experimental endeavours that change the technological world and shape the creative thinkers of the future.
UCLan’s School of Physical Sciences and Computing acknowledges the industry’s need for up-to-date, practical education in computer science, staying focused on helping graduates become “creative professionals with the skills to work with rapidly changing technology”.
The school runs ten highly-desirable undergraduate computing courses like Computer Networks and Security, and the popular Computer Games Development course that holds a 97 percent student satisfaction rate in the National Student Survey (NSS) for its content tailored around industry demands. All courses are fully-accredited by the renowned British Computer Society.
UCLan also runs postgraduate courses that study the human element of computing, like Child Computer Interaction and IT security, that teach the investigative skills and counter-measures needed to block cyber-threats.
Computing students at UCLan learn both the practical and technical expertise needed to mould them into the professional and employable graduates the industry sorely needs.
Durham’s Department of Computer Science offers “demanding and intellectually challenging” degrees that teach scientifically, technologically and industrially-relevant content.
The Computer Science courses run at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with focuses on Computational Thinking, Algorithms, Data Structures and Software Engineering. There is also an option to take Computer Science as a joint degree with either Mathematics, Business, and Physics, allowing students to diverge in their chosen career specialities.
Durham Computer Science students also take part in work placements with leading companies such as BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Data Interchange and Waterstons, who recruit and train students to working standards while offering crucial applied experience.
Both the BSc Computer Science Programme and the BSc Software Development for Business boast professional accreditation from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, an example of Durham’s pledge to innovate business and science through education:
“The future is digital. We enable the science that drives it.”
Warwick’s Computer Science Department is “internationally renowned for their blend of foundational rigour and research-led” degrees, with undergraduate options like Computer Systems Engineering, Computer Science, Discrete Mathematics, and Data Science.
Warwick also runs MSc courses in Computer Science and Data Analytics, and a PhD in Computer Science.
The Computing modules are diverse and detailed ventures into practical application of topics like Advanced Computer Architecture, Cyber Security, Digital Forensics and Computational Biology.
The Department celebrates its close links with mathematics and other natural sciences, and as such the department plays a key role in multiple cross-faculty research centres, such as the Centre for Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP), the Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC), plus the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities (WISC).
With University involvement in start-ups and software projects like Allinea Software Ltd and Warwick Warp Ltd, students studying at Warwick have the chance to contribute to meaningful research impacts used around the world.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International