Careers advice and planning

Conversion courses in technology

29 Sept 2023, 10:10

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Conversion courses offer graduates the opportunity to change direction from their undergraduate studies to focus on a new area entirely. Such a degree can be a great springboard to a more vocational or specialised area.

Conversion courses are typically one-year taught courses and are available in most subject areas, but there is often a particular focus on technology, with most of the major third level institutions offering conversion courses in some area of technology.

Conversion courses can be taken as the first step towards a postgraduate degree or standalone qualifications, and they are highly valued by employers. If you feel you didn’t reach full potential at undergraduate level, a conversion course can offer a chance to redress the balance. Given the high rate of graduate employment in the area, it’s not surprising that many graduates consider a conversion programme related to technology.

Courses typically last for one year and offer a solid grounding in the theory and practice of computer science.

Many colleges offer cross-departmental programmes such as the Higher Diploma in Computer Science (Applied Computing Technology) at University College Cork, the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing at TU Dublin and the Higher Diploma in Science (Software Development) at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. There is also the ICT Skills Computing conversion course at SETU. Students who wish to move into IT in a particular subsector of the industry may wish to explore UCD’s taught master's programme in computer science by negotiated learning.

This flexible and innovative programme helps students to customise their learning to their individual student needs and their prior learning experiences. As well as data science, cloud computing, software engineering, forensics and security, artificial intelligence and cognitive science, students can choose a range of tailored modules to aid their specialisation such as app design, data mining, recommender systems or computer graphics. DCU runs a very successful Graduate Diploma in IT, which is a one-year conversion course. The entry requirement is a 2.1 degree in any discipline and the course attracts people from all walks of life.

A postgraduate conversion course in IT can fast-track you on to a master’s, such as UCC’s MSc in Interactive Media, Trinity College Dublin’s MSc in Computer Science, or an MSc in Applied Data Science & Analytics at TU Dublin.

For employers, they accept that conversion courses provide an alternative pipeline of much needed talent, but some would still view a graduate coming from a four-year degree in the same discipline as someone coming from a one-year conversion course. Also, it is worth remembering that when employers talk about skills shortages in IT, they are not talking about all areas of IT, so do your research about what skills are particularly in demand (programming and development in particular) and choose a conversion course that focuses on these areas, or at least incorporates significant elements of these areas.

Click here to find a conversion course that suits you.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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