Clearing 2021
School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

Career prospects

Two women laughing as they look at a computer screen

Your future starts here

Studying a degree within our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering provides you with the technical and transferable skills you need to succeed in your career after graduation.

Computing and electronics are major industries both in the UK and around the globe, and demand for graduates in these disciplines is outstripping supply.

The sector also offers one of the highest starting salaries for graduates with degrees in computer science and electronic engineering.

Career prospects

Public sector

Many government departments are undergoing significant digital transformation, particularly in areas around security, sustainability, and providing digital platforms for the public.

The public sector doesn’t just cover major London-based departments such as the Cabinet Office or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It also includes smaller and non-ministerial bodies, such as HMRC and the National Crime Agency; local government such as County Councils and London Boroughs; and major public bodies like the NHS and Highways England.

There are a broad selection of jobs for computer science and engineering graduates in the public sector, and you may find the same or similar roles are advertised in multiple departments.

Roles in the public sector can include:

  • Cyber security or forensic computer analysis.
  • Electronics, networks or systems engineering, including for specific projects within the Ministry of Defence.
  • Quality assurance, ensuring that suppliers are delivering products within contractual obligations and working on process audits and compliance resolution.
  • Software development, either to support the activities of Civil Service teams or for use by the public.

Civil Service Fast Stream

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a highly competitive leadership development programme run by the UK Civil Service. Successful applicants will work in relevant government departments as part of one of fifteen potential schemes.

Different schemes have different durations, ranging from 2 to 4 years, and different degree level and subject requirements. For example, the Digital, Data & Technology scheme  develops Civil Servants who will work in teams that build and maintain government digital services. It requires a 2:2 but no specific degree subject, although you may find a computer science or engineering degree very helpful.

Conversely, the Science and Engineering Fast Stream requires a postgraduate degree (either Masters or PhD) that must be in a science or engineering subject as you will act as a specialist in science and engineering fields. 

Teaching

Computer science and engineering are essential subjects for the 21st century, with technology dominating many aspects of our daily life. However, in the UK we currently struggle with teaching computing at GCSE and A-Level. This problem is made worse by a shortage of teachers who have an Undergraduate degree in computer science. Students who have a poor IT experience in school are less likely to study the subject at degree level, making the situation worse.

To help improve the number of teachers in subjects that have a shortage (including computer science and mathematics), financial support may be available for graduates who are looking at teacher training. This can include government-funded bursaries of up to £24,000, or scholarships funded by bodies such as BCS The Chartered Institute of IT, of up to £26,000.

Remember to check all the requirements carefully as you may need a minimum Undergraduate award (such as a 2:1), or a Masters degree. Bursaries often change from year to year so you may find there is less support in the future, or more!

Private sector

Many computer science and engineering students dream of working for major technology companies such as Facebook and Google.

But computing and engineering are now so prevalent in our society that almost any business will need IT support and management. Smaller companies may outsource this support to specialist consultants or agencies, but larger organisations will have in-house teams.

Private sector roles that many engineering and computer science graduates go into include:

  • Games design and development, including small, independent games companies working on mobile-based games.
  • Media, such as broadcast engineering and acoustic consultancy.
  • Finance organisations, from network engineering and security to computational finance and FinTech.
  • Website management, this may be focusing on content specialisms such as SEO or developing and maintaining websites based on CMS platforms such as Wordpress, Drupal or Sitecore.
  • UX design, supporting businesses by ensuring that their platforms (whether apps, websites or ecommerce) are helping their clients find what they need quickly and easily.

Our alumni have taken roles with a range of organisations including Conde Nast, Formula One, and American Express.

Third sector

The “Third Sector” is a term commonly used for organisations that don’t fall within the public or private sectors such as; charities and NGOs, community groups, think tanks and private research institutes, and social enterprises and co-operatives.

Working for the Third Sector can be very rewarding. You may be helping influence policy making through research and campaigning, supporting a charity’s fundraising efforts through better data management, or helping improve support or quality of life for people with serious health conditions.

Roles within the Third Sector can include:

  • Building or enhancing databases and CRM platforms to support fundraising and campaigning activities.
  • Data management and governance roles, overseeing an organisation’s use of personal data and ensuring that it is appropriate and in line with legal requirements.
  • Campaigning on data and technology privacy issues or building platforms to help human rights organisations collect evidence for legal challenges.
  • Creating and developing apps or software to support an organisation’s users or aims (for example, St John Ambulance has a range of free first aid apps). 

Self-employment and entrepreneurship

If you prefer the idea of being flexible and picking your own work then you may prefer self-employment or starting your own business.

Many graduates from computer science and engineering decide to go down the route of self-employment through consultancy roles.

We also have graduates who decide to start their own business. Our University recognises how important this route can be for students and has invested in support such as:

  • The Start-Up Hub, which provides hot-desk space and business support for student and graduate start-ups.
  • The Innovation Centre, which offers support for businesses looking to scale up, and holds talks and networking events throughout the year.
  • Angels@Essex investment platform, helping start-ups find an “angel investor” who offers advice along with funding in return for a stakehold in your company.

Our School has excellent links with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which can also help you with networking and understanding how to take your first steps towards entrepreneurship.

Our graduates

The journeys they’ve taken, the opportunities they’ve experienced, the contacts they’ve made, and the variety of careers paths that have been embarked upon. Our graduates have shared their stories with us, and now we get to share them with you.

Benjamin Tilbury
Intern Story: Media Assistant at Signals Media Ltd

Read more about CSEE graduate Benjamin Tilbury's experience as an intern with creative digital learning company Signals Media Ltd.

Read the blog