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.
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…
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.
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.
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…