I was disappointed to read on this morning’s Journal front page that the number of A-Level students choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related subjects is falling.
Having just recruited a record number of truly talented individuals into our annual graduate programme, I was also surprised, as a great many of our graduates stay with us to build a long, successful and highly rewarding careers, as software developers, project managers, testers and User Experience (UX) designers.
We’ve also trebled the number of women in our technical roles in the last year, so there are signs the tide is truly turning.
As stated in today’s TechMarketView, it is also heartening that maths has overtaken English as the most popular subject choice at A-Level, so perhaps statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt and we shouldn’t panic about the future of industry quite yet?
While I am the first to admit that the STEM arena has a long way to go to be considered diverse, we must remember that the average UK adult experiences more than one type of role or industry in their working life, and unlike some professions, it isn’t essential to be under 25 to start thinking about a role in technology.
Among our current staff, we have graduates from a huge range of disciplines, including animation, medicine and even marine geography, but getting a job isn’t just about qualifications.
Although computing is a welcome addition to the compulsory school curriculum in the UK, the number of free and easy to access resources available outside academia to learn skills like coding at any age is vast, from Code Academy to Scratch and Code Club, which some of our own developers teach as volunteers at local schools.
Experience and ability also matter to employers, so if your A-Level choices send you down one path before you get into STEM don’t worry. Not everyone’s career path is a straight one, and you’ll have more experience from which to draw, which is likely to be particularly useful when dealing with clients from different sectors.