3. Get a strong foundation before you specialize
You may already have a clear idea of the area of computer science you want to specialize in, and it can be tempting to dive straight into a highly specialized course. But don’t go too fast! You don’t want to waste time following a specialization which you later decide to change, or risk skipping past some of the essential elements which underlie all computer science careers.
At UCLan, all undergraduate students start with an introduction to the core computer science topics, before deciding on a specialized pathway. Starting from a broad skills base allows students to select a specialization with more confidence, and also means a wider range of careers are open to them.
4. Check the accreditations of your course
Before deciding on a computer science degree, you may also want to find out whether it is accredited by any professional bodies. For instance, UCLan’s computer science programs are accredited by the British Computer Society. This ensures high standards of course development and delivery are adhered to, with the department undergoing regular external assessment. It’s also an effective way for graduates to prove to employers that they are workplace-ready, as many companies will want to know students have studied a program with professional accreditation.
Of course you’ll also want to know what other students think about the course, perhaps by seeking out the results of student satisfaction surveys. In the 2015 National Student Survey, UCLan was rated first in North West England for its computer science faculty, and 13th nationally (out of 105).
5. Gain the ‘soft skills’ needed for computer science careers
You might think technical skills are all you need for computer science careers – but in fact interpersonal skills are just as important. With this in mind, make sure your degree offers opportunities to develop communication and teamwork skills, as well as related areas of knowledge in high demand among employers, such as agile project management.