Why Study Computer Science

Why Computer Science?

Computer Science and Information Technology (IT) have a profound impact on modern life, playing a vital role in every key facet of society.  Few developments in recent times can rival computer technology for the pace of its progress or the breadth of its application; it has become an indispensable tool in all areas of Business, Science and Engineering, and the cornerstone of a range of modern services.

Although computer technology underpins almost every aspect of our daily lives, many of us are unaware of the extent to which we depend on it.  The degrees offered by Computer Science will provide students with an understanding of the principles of computer systems and a range of core IT skills.  Students will acquire knowledge of the fundamental scientific principles that underpin today’s computing technologies, and the engineering skills required to apply those principles in practice. 

Often, students are unaware of the vast range and variety of roles available in the computer science and information technology sector.  A wide range of career opportunities is made possible by the extensive growth and application of computing in industry, commerce and science.  Recent graduates have been recruited by financial institutions, management consultants, telecommunication organisations and many others.  Starting salaries are extremely attractive and long-term prospects for such graduates are excellent with many proceeding to management level or starting their own enterprises.


The ICT sector in Ireland is a thriving and growing industry with 9 of the top 10 global ICT companies maintaining a presence in Ireland. This sector is one of the country’s most prevalent employers with over 75,000 people employed by ICT companies in Ireland. There are currently 5,400 ICT enterprises in Ireland, 233 of which are foreign owned. The sector is amongst the top three Irish growth industries, with both indigenous and international companies creating large bases in the country (www.ictireland.ie).

According to a press release in http://www.education.ie commenting on the reskilling for employment in growth sectors, while commenting on their findings, Minister Halligan said that “Springboard+ is a great example of education providers and employers working together to develop the talent required in the economy and changing people’s lives by giving them the chance to reskill to gain employment.   This is reflected in the finding that just one-third of employed respondents had a previous employment history in their current sector.

Almost three-quarters of employees in the ICT sector are new to the sector, 68% are new the Biopharma-pharmachem sector and 80% are new to Medical Devices.

Minister Halligan also welcomed the strong female participation on ICT courses, “Data tells us that there are great job opportunities for graduates in the ICT sector and wider economy.  I’m delighted that Springboard+ ICT courses are attracting a higher proportion of female participants and we need to build on this success in the coming years.

The proportion of females participating on Springboard+ ICT courses is 27% which is almost double that entering through the CAO system to mainstream ICT courses at 15%. ICT Skills Conversion graduates had the highest employment rates 3-6 months after graduation at 73% in 2014.

Survey results show strong positive sentiment to participation in Springboard:

  • 90% of respondents strongly agree or agree that Springboard+ has had a positive impact on their life
  • 96% of respondents said they would recommend a Springboard+ course to their family and friends
  • 71% of all respondents, and 78% of ICT Skills Conversion course respondents, either strongly agree or agree that since finishing their courses, their overall outlook and optimism about their career prospects improved

Springboard was designed to help reskill people who lost their jobs as a result of the recession. The programme has been continuously monitored since its launch in 2011.   Further information on Springboard+ is available on www.springboardcourses.ie

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Seeking Employment Numbers

Those reported to be seeking employment has decreased significantly:

2015 (0%), 2014 (10%), 2013 (10%), 2012 (8%), 2011 (3%), 2010 (5.5%),

2009 (11%) and 2008 (17%).

Looking forward, we need to continue efforts across all relevant policy areas to ensure shortages outlined in the report (National Skills Bulletin, 2015), which have been intensifying in some areas, such as ICT, and emerging in other areas such as hospitality, are addressed adequately.” Una Halligan, Chair of the Expert on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), July 2015.

The report indicated that skills shortages include ICT software developers, cloud, databases/big data, testing, security, technical support, networking and infrastructure.

Back in 2012, the National Skills Bulletin published by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs in July 2012 identified that ICT skills are difficult to source. “I would very much encourage those making career choices to focus on the areas of greatest job opportunities and to focus their education and training on specific skills needs in those areas”, said Una Halligan, Chairperson of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (www.skillsireland.ie).

Many employment agencies report on typical salaries for different sectors; an example of those reported for careers in computer science are as follows: • Software Engineer: €22,510 - €53,107 • Senior Software Engineer / Developer / Programmer: €37,095 - €55,218 • Software Developer: €23,718 - €47,367 (These figures are indicative only; students must satisfy themselves of potential remuneration based on their own research.)


A survey conducted by UCC Careers Services indicated our graduates are employed by companies such as IBM, Credit Suisse, Apple, Pilz, Xerox, as IT analysts, project managers, software engineers and developers, technical consultants, to mention just a few.


“The bond among Computer Science students in UCC is amazing, everyone tries their best to help each other out, and I have made some lifelong friends here. The lecturers are so approachable and genuine; they are also really passionate about what they teach. The biggest benefit of doing a computer science degree is the wealth of jobs out there for us when we graduate. In third year students can do a 6 or 12 month industrial placement, an experience which I found invaluable as I have already secured a job with IBM as a software engineer.”

David O’Leary, 4th Year Computer Science Student (2013)

Firstly, I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my last four years studying Computer Science here in UCC. I have made many great friends and been inspired in my work by highly intelligent, enthusiastic lecturers. In January 2008, I made Computer Science in UCC the first choice on my CAO application. For me, the deciding factors included my interest in technology and problem solving. Despite being warned by teachers in my school that it would be a difficult course and traditionally full of male students, I stuck with my decision and have never looked back. The first week was led by Dr Derek Bridge who managed to have the entire class making their own websites by day 5. This exercise sparked my desire to work with web technologies, in which I now specialize. The Computer Science department is one of the few that offers work placement as part of the degree, making their graduates more favourable for any employer. I spent 12 months interning with Microsoft, where I found the skills I had learned in college proved to be invaluable. I worked in the Office division on the office.com website as a Technical Program Manager. Now that I am in my final year, I can really appreciate everything the college has provided for me. In fact, last December I was offered a position with Microsoft Redmond, WA along with another student in my class. This is reassuring as it allows me to concentrate fully on my exams and get the best degree I can!

Marina Lehane, 4th Year Computer Science Student (2013)

School of Computer Science and Information Technology

Scoil na Ríomheolaíochta agus na Teicneolaíochta Faisnéise

School of Computer Science and Information Technology, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Western Road, Cork, Ireland