Ask Brian: What’s my best bet for an ICT postgrad?

There is a a wealth of full-time and part-time options available for graduates

Photograph: Thinkstock

Photograph: Thinkstock

 

PROBLEM: I’m completing a degree in business this summer and want to boost my job prospects with a postgraduate course in ICT. As money is tight, are there any courses available where fees are reduced or part-funded?

ADVICE: It is a good idea to first identify which skills you would like to develop. The ICT sector is very broad and has opportunities for software engineers, web developers, project managers and data analysts, for example.

If you want to understand more about what is happening in the ICT sector in Ireland, take a look at the ICT sector page on careersportal.ie.

Current employment trends are profiled alongside a list of the occupations currently in demand. Links are available to where the jobs are today, together with news stories on new job announcements.

Occupational videos and articles are also available, as is information provided directly by employers in the sector.

Once you find the occupation that you want to pursue, you can use this website to explore in depth the skills needed, the knowledge required, the personal qualities, right down to the appropriate educational pathways and entry routes.

If, for example, you are interested in pursuing software development, apart from graduate conversion courses under the Springboard programme (springboardcourses.ie), it’s worth exploring the new apprenticeship options under development. If you explore vacancies on websites (such as irishjobs.ie and jobs.ie), this will give you an additional source of information concerning the types of skills employers are looking for, and will help you to choose.

I would also recommend reading salary surveys from recruitment companies such as morganmckinley.ie. These often include a comment about each sector and highlight jobs that are in demand.

If you are interested in doing a full-time course and are looking for reduced fees, I would recommend researching scholarships for graduate courses. Many will be available for full-time masters.

There are some companies that pay for their employees to complete postgraduate courses relevant to their jobs.

In addition to full-time courses, you could also consider part-time courses while you work. There are courses that provide traditional classroom-based studies, but increasingly many institutions also offer part-time online courses that people can fit in around their jobs.

“We recognised that businesses are looking for employees with the ability to analyse data sets that give companies unique insights into their products or services,” says Prof Gary McGuire, head of school of mathematics and statistics at UCD.

“We set up an online data analytics course that can be taken part time or full time as a professional diploma or an MSc and is ideal for graduates looking to improve their numeracy skills with a view to working in the ICT sector. As the course is completely online, it is very flexible and students can take it at their own pace.”

If you are interested in a more detailed course, you could take a look at a conversion course in computer science. Conversion courses are usually at an MSc level and are geared towards graduates with no computer science or ICT background.

  • Email your education queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com
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