The number of students accepted onto UK computer science courses in 2013 increased by 12 percent compared with the previous year, according to figures from university admissions body UCAS.
Last year, a total 99,165 people applied for all computer science degrees, of which 21,710 (or 22 percent) were accepted onto courses.
The figures had increased compared with 2012, when 89,673 applications were made. A similar proportion, 22 percent (or 19,353) were accepted.
“We’re delighted to see the growth in popularity of computing courses,” said Karen Price, CEO of employer body e-skills UK.
“Given the continuing shortage of technology professionals in the UK, graduates with the right combination of technical and interpersonal skills can expect to be in demand. We particularly encourage potential students to consider courses with a lot of industry involvement. e-skills UK’s Information Technology Management for Business degree, for example, which is backed by 70 employers and available at universities worldwide, has proven the difference this can make to employment outcomes as well as academic achievement.”
In a breakdown of the 2013 figures, the highest number of applications and acceptances were for pure computer science degrees (67,795 applications, 14,390 acceptances).
Health informatics continued to be the least popular course, with just 25 people applying and five being accepted, down from 28 and six the previous year.
There were increases in the number of applicants in most (six out of nine) courses, namely pure computer science, software engineering, games, computer generated visual and audio effects, others in computer sciences and combinations in computer sciences.
In contrast, as well as health informatics, interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and information systems fell.
The UCAS data also suggested that students were becoming more aware of the creative applications of computer science.
The course that showed the greatest increase in demand was computer-generated visual and audio effects, with a more than fivefold increase in applications from 43 in 2012 to 240 last year. Acceptances on this course increased from 19 to 80.
There was also a significant rise in the applications and acceptances for games courses, from 2,351 to 3,400 applications, and 500 to 875 acceptances.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, the trade association representing the UK games industry, was pleased to see the growing interest in the sector. He believed that it shows that students are aware of the potential of the international games market, which is increasing in value year-on-year.
"Students recognise that the games industry globally is big and getting bigger. In the UK we are seeing a lot of small game development firms set up," he said.
"They're seeing the rise of the mobile and tablet games market. This is where the growth of games is taking place and a lot of students recognise it's a realistic dream [to build and launch mobile games into the market]," Wilson added.
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