Life after Study!

My dissertation was finally submitted a week ago now. I can’t quite believe it is all over. Seems like yesterday since I started this degree and now I’ve finished. It’s a great feeling though and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my career.

Before I move on – a big thanks to everyone who helped with my research. The project was a lot more challenging than I had first anticipated and finding participants was difficult, but I think my findings were interesting and I hope it will prove useful for those trying to understand why many computer science graduates end up unemployed. I now have a couple of months to wait for the results before I can share my report with those who are interested in reading it and then a few more months to wait before I get to finally graduate (assuming I’ve passed of course!). Continue Reading…

The missing unemployed computer science graduates?

Sadly a lack of participants is continuing to prove a challenge for my master’s research into Computer Science graduate employability.

I’ve decided to cancel the planned focus group event as I’ve not had enough people sign up to take part. This is a shame as I had hoped it would generate some interesting debate and data, but unfortunately it seems I may be the only person interested in this issue!

Instead, I am focussing my efforts on increasing the number of survey participants and conducting interviews with CS graduates. I have my first interview this evening and am looking forward to it.

So far my survey data is proving interesting, but the sample is somewhat unrepresentative. I have had lots of responses from highly employable graduates with first or upper second class degrees and relevant work experience. I do not have enough “other STEM” graduates for my comparison group and in particular, I’m really struggling to find the unemployed computer science graduates this research is all about. I know they are out there somewhere, but so far they seem elusive.

If you have studied a Computer Science or related degree anywhere in the UK and were unemployed for 6 months or longer after graduating – I really want to hear from you!!

If anyone has any suggestions of how to reach more computer science graduates, particularly those who studied in Manchester, I would really appreciate your suggestions.

For more information about my dissertation project, visit My Research – Computer Science Graduate Unemployment.

#SocialHRMcr – The Weapon of Mass Inclusion

Perry Timms speaking about the Weapon of Mass Inclusion

This post was originally found on my business blog and has been reposted here in May 2015.

On Thursday 16th March, Manchester’s CIPD Branch held a fantastic event #SocialHRMcr at Lancashire County Cricket Club. Many HR professionals and other interested folk gathered together to discuss the use of social media in the workplace.

An innovative combination of conference and unconference, it was great to not only listen to some of the leaders in the exciting world of social HR, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to share my love of social whilst participating in the lively discussions that followed.

Weapon of Mass Inclusion

One of the key moments in the conference for me was @PerryTimms declaring Social Media as the “weapon of mass inclusion”.

I completely agree. The accessibility and inclusiveness of social media and social technology is one of the reasons I believe it has so much power to bring about change and why I believe we should adopt a social mindset in the workplace. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

Can you help with my dissertation research?

A little over a month ago, I wrote a post introducing my master’s dissertation topic – Are Computer Scientists Unemployable? Over the past month I have been progressing my research and trying to work out how I can try to understand this problem a little more.

I’ve chosen to focus on factors which cannot be identified from the Destination of HE Leavers survey data alone, but instead aim to understand computer science graduates’ attitude and behaviour towards career development and employability. I want to identify whether computer science graduates are different to other STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates and how this may influence their employment outcomes.

I’ve developed a survey aimed at computer science and other STEM subject graduates asking questions about their employability and career decisions at the time of graduation. I am targeting people who studied at the three central Manchester-based universities (University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University & University of Salford) who graduated within the last five years from a STEM undergraduate degree.

If you fit this criteria and have a few minutes, please help me out by completing the online survey here: www.survey.bris.ac.uk/salford/manc-stem-employ. I really appreciate every response – thank you!

I am also keen to interview computer science graduates who were unemployed 6 months after graduating to ask them more in depth questions about their job search and career development. I am happy to conduct interviews in person, via telephone or on Google Hangouts/Skype. Potential participants can indicate their interest when completing the above survey or contact me directly.

Finally I hope to run a focus group with computer science graduates, IT professionals and other interested folk to see if they can identify any particular behavioural or attitudinal factors which may affect computer science graduate employment outcomes. I am yet to work out the best format for this (e.g. online or in person), but if you are interested in participating, please let me know by commenting, tweeting me or emailing my university account (l.campbell3 [AT] edu.salford.ac.uk).

If you don’t fit any of the above criteria, but know someone who might be interested in this research, please do pass on the survey link or ask them to get in touch.

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

10 Reasons to Learn through Improv

This post was originally found on my business blog and has been reposted here in May 2015.

Recently I blogged over on my personal blog about my journey into the world of improvised comedy.

Since writing that post, I’ve been thinking about all the reasons why I think learning through improv is great. Here are ten of those reasons.

1. “Yes, and…” is a great mantra

Anyone that knows anything about improv, will know that the fundamental principle is “Yes, and”. In practice, this means you have to listen and observe what has happened, accept it and build upon it.

Although simple in theory, this can be a challenge for some people. You have to resist the urge to forge ahead with your own idea or to shout down your partner. Instead you must think about how you can take their idea and improve upon it. Accepting other’s ideas and building upon them is an important lesson in business. No one wants to work with the negative person that ignores or criticises every idea someone else puts forward. They want to work with people they can collaborate with to build something great. Continue Reading…

Top 10 Tools for Learning

This post was originally found on my business blog and has been reposted here in May 2015.

So Jane Hart is currently compiling her annual Top 100 tools for Learning list, as voted for by learning professionals worldwide. It includes tools used for both personal or professional learning, as well as tools used to create or develop learning in all forms, so it is often an eclectic mixture of online, productivity and creativity tools.

Below you can see my vote – it has a social feel to it, with a touch of academia. For me, the best learning is social, preferably online and on demand. These tools are just a few of the many tools that help facilitate that. Continue Reading…

Applying improv to life and business…

Over the past two years I have been introduced to the wonderful world of improv comedy. It all started when my partner signed up for an 8 week Foundation in Improv course with ComedySportz UK Manchester back in autumn 2012. He’s always been fairly shy and thought improv would be a great way to step out of his comfort zone, improve his confidence and have some fun. Soon enough he was addicted and trying to encourage me to get involved. I started watching lots of improv shows and once I had also got to know most of the ComedySportz UK crew, I was being roped into signing up for the classes as well. Continue Reading…

Are Computer Scientists Unemployable?

So a few weeks ago I was searching for a focus for my dissertation and after a conversation with Margaret Sambell, head of strategy at e-skills UK, I’ve identified a subject which really intrigues me:

Why do Computer Science graduates consistently have the highest rates of unemployment by subject (as reported in the HESA Destinations of Leavers (DLHE) survey), despite widespread skills shortages within the IT Industry?

Every year the HESA DLHE stats are released and the press reports the facts – Computer Scientists have the highest unemployment rates. However alongside this headline figure, there’s usually a lot of speculation about the reasons for this figure, very little of which is based upon fact. Some years the students are blamed – they have poor soft skills and can’t operate within the real world (e.g. headlines focusing on “geek speak”). Other times it is the universities that are to blame – the courses don’t teach the skills wanted by employers. In the media coverage, rarely has there been an attempt to truly understand the problem and the main factors behind the headline figure. Continue Reading…

Finding a Focus

Ever since I started my master’s back in November, I’ve been thinking about the impending dissertation and the topics I might like to research. Whereas I dreaded my undergrad dissertation, this time around I have been looking forward to the research element most of all. There is so much about the world of work and talent that I want to understand better and the opportunity to spend three months looking at some of these issues in depth is exciting. I have worked on research projects over the past few years, but rarely have I had time to really dive deep into an issue and try to truly understand it. The ‘real world’ moves quicker than academia and often demands answers and insight in a few days, rather than a few months.

Now the taught part of my course is behind me, it is time to make a decision on my research focus. The only problem is I can’t decide. Continue Reading…