Research update – planning an event to debate computer science graduate unemployment

So a big thank you to everyone that has shared information about my dissertation research so far and an extra special thank you to those that have completed my survey. I have had a few responses and the results are looking interesting, but I still need many more participants, so please keep sharing and anything you can do to help me reach relevant graduates will be greatly appreciated.

To support my survey, I am also planning to organise an evening focus group / workshop / event / debate (need to give it a title I think!!) in Manchester during the first week of November to discuss the subject of high unemployment rates for computer science graduates. I plan to invite computer science students and graduates, IT professionals and other interested parties (e.g. careers advisors, graduate employers) to attend the session to debate and discuss some themes and questions related to my research topic. Possible subjects for discussion include:

  • Why are computer science graduates less likely to have any prior work experience when they graduate compared to other students? Does this impact upon their ability to get work upon graduation?
  • Why are computer science graduates less likely to consider further study than those studying other subjects? Is post-graduate study under-valued in the IT industry or is it over-valued in other subjects?
  • Do computer science graduates hold out for their ideal job, rather than taking a stop-gap option? Are they less willing to compromise on industry and job type?
  • Does the fact that more computer science students study at post-1992 universities affect their employment opportunities? Do employers care about what university graduates study at?
  • Does the fact that computer science graduates on average achieve lower degree classes than other graduates affect their employment opportunities? Does degree class matter?
  • Are there enough entry-level opportunities for computer science graduates to enter professional IT careers? Has outsourcing had an impact on UK job opportunities in the technology industry?
  • Should employers be doing more to help computer science graduates into employment? If so, what should they be doing?

I hope to make the session as interactive as possible. I want participants to debate and discuss their ideas and personal experiences of these topics and questions. I will facilitate the session, as well as providing a basic introduction to some of the existing research and theories to get people thinking. The outputs from the session will be analysed and used to supplement data gathered through my survey and interviews – all participants will need to consent to this, although all contributions will be anonymised.

I really hope this will be a successful addition to my research design and will generate some interesting insight, but it’s only going to work if I can get enough interested participants. At the moment I’m still arranging the logistics, but I will share details of how to sign up to attend shortly. Location is likely to be a room at the University of Salford’s Media City campus, with networking (thank you) drinks at The Dockyard afterwards.

Edit: – You can now sign up for this event on eventbrite: Are Computer Science Graduates Unemployable?

Update – For more information about my research visit the overview page: MSc Research – Computer Science Graduate Unemployment

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