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Postgraduate Programs in IT and Computing

IT and Computing is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today, and it’s also one of the most diverse fields, with the possibility of finding work in a whole host of different industries, from game design and development to social media, government and business. A postgraduate degree in IT and Computing can give you the chance to be creative, branch out into other areas, and develop a skill set that will be unique to you. 

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Because it covers such a broad area, postgraduate programs in IT and Computing tend to focus on specific areas of specialisation such as Business or Animation. Within these areas it is possible to narrow your focus even further if you choose, or simply learn the skills necessary to work in one of several emerging or well-established industries.

Once you graduate, a postgraduate degree in the IT and Computing field still has much to offer. Consistently ranked among the best paid and fastest growing industries, IT and Computing presents one of the few areas of work where graduates are consistently likely to find jobs, and is ranked among the top five best career fields by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, SmartPlanet and CareerCast.

Postgraduate programes in IT and computing

Software, technology, data and computer networks exist in most facets of everyday life. The modern world runs on technology, and the demand for qualified professionals who know how to interpret, create and manage these systems is ever-expanding. 

Different types of postgraduate program

Masters degree programs in IT and Computing are primarily taught courses consisting of theoretical learning and a practical element where students create projects as part of their coursework. Research-based courses are also available however, and these take a primarily theoretical approach with a research project or thesis rather than an applied demonstration.

Many postgraduate courses also include an internship that may be optional or mandatory in order to give students opportunities to work outside the classroom.

PhD courses in this field tend to be more theoretically based and more research oriented, with a more specific focus on a particular subject area of specialisation.

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Requirements for studying IT & computing at PG level

Studying a postgraduate program in IT and Computing generally require you to have completed an undergraduate degree in Computing, Computer Science, and or Information Technology. As the postgraduate courses are specialised, students are often not required to have studied a subject in that specific area before. For example, an undergraduate degree in Human-Computer Interaction is not necessary to study the subject at the postgraduate level, however, a degree based in IT and/or Computer Science is necessary.

Fees & funding

Scholarships exist at both the masters and PhD levels for specific areas of study. You may also want to consider applying for research grants if your course is heavily research based. Course fees will vary depending on the location of the course, the length and the duration.

Opportunities to specialise in areas of IT & computing

Because of the pervasiveness of computers, software, networks and digital information, there are many opportunities available to students in a variety of areas, including arts, maths and sciences.

You can incorporate a love of drawing, design, biology or statistics, or, take a theoretical approach as part of a masters degree or PhD course designed to prepare you for further research. IT and Computing students will leave with a skill set that can be applied across a range of careers, but are focused enough to gain them entry into niche markets.

Universities known for their science and technology programs will often appear to be the best choice for students interested in IT and Computing, but depending on how you want to focus your studies, universities known for arts and humanities can also offer unique opportunities.

Student case studies

Three students on a Game Design and Computing course at Goldsmiths in London shared their experiences:

“It's strange studying a technical course at a very arts-based university but it does give you a lot of scope for creativity, which is great for our course." Will, 25

“The connections our course has now with the Nation Film & Television School are a real bonus, I am looking forward to working with those guys." Harry, 22

“The course is run pretty well, we have access to industry professionals who've been there and done that, what else can you ask for really?" Peter, 27

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Postgraduate degree in Game Design

A popular field of specialisation due to the ever-growing popularity of games, Game Design utilizes computer and IT skills such as programming languages, 3D modelling, digital or computer animation, and software engineering to create multi-level, multiplatform interactive games and animations.

This area also includes designing for Mobile Applications, or ‘Apps’. Due to the rise of the smart phone and the tablet, Apps are more in demand than ever, and games in this format such as Angry Birds and Temple Run have seen steady success.

Courses are offered in Game Design specifically, as well as in Mobile Computing, a course that covers the development of applications for smart phones and tablets more broadly. Masters, Masters of Science, Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates are all offered as qualifications. PhD courses in Game Design are seemingly more rare, but it may be possible to specialise on a broader PhD course in Computer Science.

Where can I study Game Design?

The University of East Anglia and the Dublin Institute of Technology in the UK both offer a postgraduate course in Game Design, while the Linkoping University in Sweden offers Advanced Computer Graphics and the University of Freiburg in Germany offers an MSc in Computer Science that allows a Game Theory specialisation.

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Postgraduate degree in Human-Computer Interaction

As technology advances it forms a larger and larger part of our daily lives. From microwaves to ticket machines, to automated services, this type of course will give you the skills to integrate technology and software seamlessly into people’s daily lives by studying the way people interact with computers and computer based tasks and designing programs that correspond.

A related subject area is Software Engineering or Software Design, which equips students with the skills to create and design interactive elements that can be used to create programmes and platforms. As one of the most in demand specialisations, a course in software development is likely to offer significant opportunities to graduates.

Where can I study Human-Computer Interaction & Software Engineering?

The University of Glasgow in Scotland offers an MRes course in Software Engineering that also allows a specialisation in Human-Computer Interaction. The University of Nottingham in England offers a Master’s of Science in Human Computer Interaction. 

Postgraduate degree in Computer Security

This area is all about protecting digital information. Students learn how to create safe systems, build network defence mechanisms, and cryptography, or the study of online encryption. Some courses also include modules on cyber crime and how to counter or prevent it.

This area also includes Computer Forensics, a focus that includes how to conduct digital investigations of computer systems and networks, and how to present your findings and conclusions to others.

Where can I study Computer Security & Computer Forensics?

The Lulea University of Technology in Sweden offers a course in Information Security, while the University of Glasgow offers Information Management and Forensics.

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Career options

IT and Computing graduates have a variety of career options open to them. From Net Developer, to Software Programmer, to Design Coordinator.

Corporations often hire IT professionals to build and maintain internal networks, sort, manage and analyse data, and create digital products.

Start-up companies looking to develop their own brands may want software developers and designers who can create and promote their brand digitally.

Companies that might surprise you such as Dominos and Kraft, the makers of the Trident Vitality chewing gum have released highly successful apps, as part of an emerging trend that combines corporate sponsorship and interactivity. Students looking to develop innovative and creative new ideas may find work at well-established companies as Application Developers.

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