We Need to Talk!

CPHC calls for a summit meeting to bring employers and universities together to address Computer Science graduate skills

The Council of Professors and Heads of Computing today called for a summit meeting to explore the issues behind what David Willetts recently referred to as employer ‘frustration’ about the lack of skills in Computer Science graduates.

The CPHC’s view is that there is a complex landscape.  Different employers have radically different needs, and different Computer Science degrees deliver widely varying skill-sets with this in mind.  Avowedly poor early employment figures for students with Computer Science degrees are negated by data from the same source for later employment that suggests students are slower at getting into the market rather than simply not doing so.  At the same time government figures show that Computer Science degrees are taking on more students from deprived backgrounds than other subjects and that Computer Science graduates achieve good salary levels.

Current CS degrees are benchmarked against subject descriptions provided locally in the UK by the Higher Education Academy and in the US by bodies such as the Association for Computing Machinery.  These are refined through discussion with institutions’ own Industrial Liaison Groups.  In this context there are many levers that can be pulled to address the kinds of issues being reported, including ensuring that employers know where to look for students with the skills they need, and that universities currently producing those students are fully aware of the employers that need their graduates.

Sally Smith, Chair of CPHC, called on the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, industry representatives and universities to join forces, saying “Let’s get round the table as soon as possible to talk about how we can work in partnership to ensure we are acting together for the benefit of our students and the economy.”

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