Navigating a world of careers
Virtually any employer you can think of across every sector – from finance to media and engineering to creative arts – is looking to invest in specialist technological talent.
Whether you want to work in a boutique start-up or a huge multinational, having mathematical, computational and programming skills will open doors to many industries.
With seven dynamic specialisms on offer, including Machine Learning and AI, Games Development and Virtual Reality, the BSc Computer Science from the University of London will equip you with the technological insights, key transferable skills and career-ready portfolio you can use to build an exciting career.
But with so many opportunities open to you, how can you navigate this new world of options? And how can you leverage your degree to get the best possible job for you? We spoke to Laura Brammar, Senior Careers Consultant at the University of London, to find out how she and her colleagues can support you to make those all-important career decisions.
New industries are constantly developing and roles are rapidly being created all the time. That’s really exciting but it also means that if you want to work in this field you have to keep up to date with those changes, be a life-long learner and maintain a strong professional network.
Laura has been working as a Higher Education careers professional for more than 15 years and was an instructor on University of London’s award-winning ‘Enhance your career and employability skills’ MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). As part of her role she has worked with a wide variety of students from University of London’s member institutions as well as international and distance-learners.
Laura said: “There is a wealth of core career management resources available on the Student Portal, from tips on tailoring your CV to managing your job search and strengthening your application strategy. There is also a diverse programme of webinars, both live broadcasts and recorded sessions, which cover a range of careers-related topics”
Laura’s main piece of advice for anyone considering the computer science programme is to take time choosing the right specialism. She said: “There are seven different routes available and you need to think about which specialisation is most attractive to you and crucially why. Inform your career decision making by speaking to relevant professionals in that area of the industry. For example, machine learning might sound exciting but are you really clear on what machine learning professionals actually do? Many roles in ML involve some highly specialised coding and algorithmic work and if that’s not your passion then maybe it’s not the right fit for you.
“Equally, in an industry like games design you need to think, ‘where do I see myself?’ Do you want to be a designer or a developer? Which platform within games development appeals to you the most and why?
“Computer science is a really interesting sector for me as a careers professional because it’s a really dynamic area. New industries are constantly developing and roles are rapidly being created all the time. That’s really exciting but it also means that if you want to work in this field you have to keep up to date with those changes, be a life-long learner and maintain a strong professional network.”
It’s important to remember that your degree is only one part of what you can offer an employer, whatever the sector. Another key part of your offer as a prospective hire is your relevant work experience, so you need to be proactive in gaining some.
In such a fast-paced and expanding sector, it’s important that the careers team has to work hard to stay also keeps up-to-date with the latest trends, as Laura explained: “Any careers support is only as good as its relevance. We read industry press and speak to people in the industry, but critically we are also focused on being student-led. For example, if many students are really interested in SEO specialist roles then we have to produce materials and resources which provide them with valuable information for that specific field.
“Finally, it’s important to remember that your degree is only one part of what you can offer an employer, whatever the sector. Another key part of your offer as a prospective hire is your relevant work experience, so you need to be proactive in gaining some. Whether it’s connecting with relevant professionals on LinkedIn, attending an industry networking event or ideally arranging a couple of days’ worth of unpaid work-shadowing, all of these activities can lead to some vital and insightful work experience which will really add to the value of your qualification.”
Find out how you can develop cutting-edge technical knowledge and essential transferable skills with a BSc in Computer Science.
Amongst the information and resources on offer from The Careers Group is a useful list of roles available to you depending on which specialism you choose to study. These include:
Machine learning engineer – Machine learning is a growing area of artificial intelligence, and as a machine learning engineer you will create algorithms and programmes that enable machines to take actions without being directed, such as a self-driving car. Crossing over with fields such as computational statistics and mathematical optimisation, you’ll use computer science fundamentals to build specific algorithms and produce projects.
Data analyst – In high demand across all sectors, such as government, finance, consulting, manufacturing, education and pharmaceuticals. Roles include setting up and maintaining automated data processes and implementing tools and services for data cleansing and validation.
Games developer – Your role as a games developer will vary depending on the size of the games company that employs you. Games developers are involved in the creation and production of games for a variety of platforms, from games consoles to online, from arcade games to mobile devices.
UX designer – User experience designers design digital services and products, such as mobile apps or websites for target groups and specific end users. You need to make sure that the ‘user experience’ is as pleasurable and efficient as possible. Your role may also link to interaction designers (UI) or usability testers.
VFX artist – Visual effects artists create digitally-generated, photo real imagery, which is integrated into TV, film and increasingly gaming. Using cutting-edge technology VFX artists produce computer generated figures. Typical jobs in this area include compositing artist, FX animator, VFX supervisor or FX technical director (TD).
Web designer – You’ll be involved in all stages from planning, creating and coding web pages, using both technical and non-technical skills to produce websites that fit your client’s requirements and needs. Touchscreen phones and tablet devices have changed the way websites are designed so ensuring websites function across a range of devices is key.
For more information and even more job inspiration check out the Prospects website.