Want to study Computer Science? These UK Unis lead the field
As we speed through the high-tech digital age, computer science proves to be an invaluable specialisation. These UK unis lead the field. Source: Hitesh Choudhary/Unsplash

The UK’s tech sector is positively booming. Currently contributing around £184 billion towards the British economy,its value has grown by £14 billion this past year alone, developing 2.6 times faster than the average industry rate of advancement, according to the latest Tech Nation report.

This is a sector in which demand far outstrips supply. Approximately 50 percent of UK businesses recognise a shortfall in qualified IT graduates, with a recent study from Computer Weekly forecasting that 800,000 professional IT roles in the UK will remain unfilled by 2020.

But this trend isn’t exclusive to the UK, and is in fact echoed across most global regions. In the US, for example, the difference between the huge number of computing job openings and the small number of people seeking these roles is exponential, while in China, the age of mobile internet and AI has sparked high demand for talent with IT knowledge – especially in the programming field.

Nevertheless, the UK is home to London; the world’s education capital and the most popular international student city on the globe. This, paired with the thriving nature of its tech economy, makes it the ultimate study destination for aspiring computing professionals.

Here are the Top 10 UK institutions for the pursuit of this discipline, based on data from The Complete University Guide – ranked according to graduate prospects, entry standards, research standards and student satisfaction.

10. University of Bristol

HDR The Victoria Rooms (aka Vic Rooms) University of Bristol in Clifton in Bristol, UK. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*AA

Profile: The Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol offers undergraduates a choice of nine degree programmes, varying between three and four years in length. Courses include the BSc Computer Science, BEng Computer Science and Electronics and BSc Mathematics and Computer Science, with a number of programmes offering international travel as part of the degree. For returning or graduate students there are also a number of masters and doctoral programmes of study.

Career prospects: Students benefit from the concentration of high-tech industries in Bristol and the Southwest. The city itself is home to a number of technical companies, including Hewlett- Packard, STMicroelectronics, Infineon and Toshiba, alongside start-ups such as Xmos, Clementine, and Netsight, promising fantastic industry opportunities for students and graduates alike.

9. University of Manchester

The University of Manchester building on Oxford Road. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*AA

Profile: The School of Computer Science at Manchester offers six specialist undergraduate programmes, including AI, Computer Systems Engineering, Computer Science with Business and Management, and Computer Science and Mathematics. It also provides a diverse portfolio of postgraduate taught and postgraduate research courses, consistently producing advanced global graduates in the computer science field.

Career prospects: Knowing that competition in the computing graduate market can be tough, this school encourages students to pursue a range of industry placements that help them stand out from the crowd. From here, students gain access to some of the most prestigious companies in the field, including Credit Suisse, IBM, Google, Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline, British Telecom and Accenture.

 8. University College London (UCL)

University College London. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*A*A*-A*AB

Profile: The Department of Computer Science at UCL offers a vast array of programmes, including MEng Computer Science with an optional year abroad. Its main draw lies in its huge range of postgraduate taught provisions, spanning the breadth of depth of the discipline through study routes in Business Analytics, Computational Finance, Data Science and Machine Learning, Robotics and Computation, Information Security and more.

Career prospects: Graduates are elevated by UCL’s elite reputation, representing an institution described as London’s global university. Learners reap the benefits of ties with influential industry partners, as well as a prime location the heart of the UK capital. Recent graduate destinations include: Microsoft, IBM, Google, Cisco, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.

7. University of Southampton

University of Southampton. Source: Geograph

Entry requirements: A*AA

Profile: The undergraduate programme in Computer Science and Software Engineering at Southampton offers sought-after units in Programming and Computer Vision, producing students who confidently master the technologies of an increasingly digital world. Postgraduate taught modules cover topics like Cyber Security, Web Science and Web Technology – subjects that are valued in our hyper-connected economy.

Career prospects: A dedicated Careers Hub ensures Southampton students are connected to the best opportunities, maintaining the institution’s reputation for outstanding graduate employability. More than 70 percent of Southampton’s computer science graduates secure employment with the school’s Laureate and Affiliated companies, further extending the school’s enviable reputation.

6. University of Durham

University of Durham. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A* in Mathematics + general university entry requirements

Profile: Durham’s 3-year BSc in Computer Science is accredited by the British Computer Society, allowing students to meet the requirement for registration as a Chartered IT professional. The department offers a spread of unique postgraduate options, including MSc Internet Systems and eBusiness, plus a range of research degrees that place students alongside world-renowned researchers.

Career prospects: A number of unique work placements are available to computing students at Durham – from BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to Data Interchange and Waterstons. With a graduate prospect score of 95 percent for 2018, the future looks bright for Durham’s aspiring computer scientists.

5. University of Warwick

The small amphitheatre in the University of Warwick’s piazza. Source: Wikimedia Commons/Rwendland

Entry requirements: AAA

Profile: Warwick’s Computer Science Department is “internationally renowned for its blend of foundational rigour and research-led” degrees, with undergraduate options like Computer Systems EngineeringComputer ScienceDiscrete Mathematics, and Data Science. Computing modules are diverse and detailed ventures into practical application topics like Advanced Computer Architecture, Digital Forensics and Computational Biology.

Career prospects: What better way to hear about career possibilities at Warwick than from the mouths of students themselves? “I’ve had experiences that have changed my view of the world and the way I approach problems,” says Will Parsons, a computer science graduate from Warwick. “It’s more than just technical ability too. The feedback I’m getting at Bank of America is showing me just how much companies value the range of skills I’ve developed at Warwick.”

4. University of St Andrews

The grounds of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: AAAB (SQA Highers: AAAB)

Profile: The School of Computer Science at St Andrews offers a BSc in the subject, seamlessly blending theory with practice to prepare graduates for the working world. Here, students get to grips with programming and gain a sound understanding of how systems are organised, designed and implemented. The school also offers postgraduate taught courses in Systems Dependability, Data-Intensive Analysis and Computer Communication Systems, just to name a few.

Career prospects: Graduates have taken secured employment with internet juggernauts like Google and Amazon; management consultancies like Accenture, Deloitte, and KPMG; innovative start-ups like Cloudsoft and Skyscanner; and prestigious multinationals like Adobe, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard.

3. University of Oxford

Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*AA

Profile: With a global reputation that precedes itself, this institution needs little introduction. The elite higher education provider encompasses the Honour School of Computer Science; the Honour School of Computer Science and Philosophy; and the Honour School of Mathematics and Computer Science for undergraduate applicants; on top of a dynamic range of industry-informed graduate programmes.

Graduate prospects: Here, students build on a natural desire to uncover how things work, also perfecting the art of using mathematics to solve problems creatively. Oxford Computer Science graduates consistently land enviable professional positions,  from computer manufacturing and software firms to management consultancy, finance and teaching.

2. Imperial College London (ICL)

Imperial College London, known for its faculties in science, engineering, medicine and business. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*A*A*

Profile: With specialisations in Management and Finance, Security and Reliability, Visual Computing and Robotics – computer science graduates from ICL leave with the capability to fill rising global demand. “The result is that our graduates do not just develop essential core computing skills,” the institution notes, “they also learn how to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of technological change.”

Career prospects: ICL currently holds the revered top position for graduate employment outcomes in The Guardian University Guide 2018, an incredible draw in itself. Some of the school’s more popular courses give learners the chance to complete a year-long industrial placement as part of their degree, while 7,000+ employers advertise their opportunities annually through ICL’s comprehensive online vacancy service.

1. University of Cambridge

Clare & King’s College with beautiful sky at sunrise in Cambridge, UK. Source: Shutterstock

Entry requirements: A*A*A*

Profile: The long fought battle between Oxford (an institution you may be surprised to see come in at third) and Cambridge in the realm of computer science has been won. Adopting an intricate, industry-relevant approach to the subject, ambitious computer scientists from Cambridge leave equipped with the ultimate foundation to succeed, further empowered by the school’s reputation that resonates around the globe.

Career prospects: Around two-thirds of Cambridge computing graduates move into further study after graduation – much higher than the average seen across other universities, while highlighting the unparalleled research culture found at this world-class institution. Almost all other graduates succeed in either the IT or new media sector, building software or hardware, facilitating IT and technical consultancy or supporting IT management through graduate entry schemes.

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