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Postgraduate study in IT

Computer motherboard
There is still a skills shortage in the computing and IT sector, which means that there are skilled jobs waiting to be snapped up by qualified postgraduates.

Over half of all permits issued in Ireland are for those working in the IT sector. This is because, according to most colleges and employers, not enough Irish students are graduating with computer science and maths degrees, and there are a lower number of PhD students here than many other western economies.

This puts highly qualified graduates in a very good position. 54 per cent of employers say that they are struggling to hire graduates with the right IT skills and IT companies make up the third largest group of graduate recruiters (18.4 percent). Remember IT is one of the easiest fields to convert to. One-year courses are the normal route in, such as the Higher Diploma in Applied Science (Applied Computing Technology) offered by University College Cork, the Higher Diploma in Information Technology at the Maynooth University, or the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology at Dublin City University.

Pure conversion courses, such as DCU’s Diploma in Information Technology, are designed specifically to fast-track graduates from other disciplines into an IT career. For unemployed people in receipt of social welfare payments, many postgraduate courses in ICT are currently offered free of charge as part of the government’s Springboard initiative. Participants also get to keep their social welfare payments.

Preference for acceptance to a course is given to the long term unemployed, though all people receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit are eligible. Multidisciplinary postgraduate programmes, such as University College Cork’s MSc in Bioinformatics, have also become very popular, reflecting the convergence of formerly distinct fields such as pharmaceuticals and ICT in recent years.

Professional bodies, such as BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT in the UK andNorthernIreland,alsoofferindustryaccredited courses such as the Professional Graduate Diploma in IT.

Professional bodies and trade associations

• ICT Ireland www.ictireland.ie

• BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT www.bcs.org

• Institution of Engineering and Technology www.theiet.org

• Irish Software Association www.software.ie

• Irish Computer Society www.ics.ie

• Momentum (trade association for ICT industry in Northern Ireland) www.momentumni.org

• Science Foundation Ireland www.sfi.ie.

Further study and courses Check out gradireland.com/furtherstudy for a searchable database of computing and IT courses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Visit Springboard for further upskilling information.