While computer science focuses on the theoretical and academic background behind computers, ICT degrees are usually much more practical. They focus on skills that are in wide demand in the workplace, and will help prepare you for work in IT support, as an IT manager or independent infrastructure consultant.
Although many put down IT as not an academic degree, you will typically emerge from an ICT course with a well-rounded set of skills that you can put straight into practice in your career. And with degrees becoming more expensive, IT can be an attractive option, as it is well paid compared to many jobs out there, there is career progression available, and there is always work available in IT support. It can be easy to get your foot in the door, and progress up to a specialist role that interests you.
It would be a fallacy to say that you have to have a degree, of any type, to work in the IT industry. But if you want to build on your interest of computers, learn about how computers are used in business environments, and experience the student life while you're at it, then an ICT degree may be for you.
Be aware that some universities do run their ICT degrees as 'watered down' degrees, and quality can vary quite a lot. Make sure the department takes your course seriously, and make sure it will give you concrete career prospects. You should pick a degree that you think will be best for you, in terms of the money you are spending, the experience you will get, and what you will learn from it.
A typical ICT degree will focus on workplace computer networks and business uses for IT systems. You may be taught some business analysis courses, so you can map business requirements into systems you will need to provision for a company. You may be taught managerial skills, which will come in useful if you are promoted to an management role in an IT department.
You should be taught the theory of computer networks, of operating systems architectures, how computers work on a hardware level, and some programming and web development and design.
You should be taught a lot of practical skills, such as computer repair, indepth studies of desktop computer hardware, network hardware (routers, switches) and network server operating systems and configurations. IT work is most often practical.
If possible, choose courses that offer training on IT certifications as part of their course modules. IT certifications are well regarded in the industry. Particular certifications to look to get are Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA), the A+ certification, Linux+ and Network+. If you can find courses that offer you training towards any of these certs as well as providing you with a degree, then it will probably be a good idea, as training courses and even self-study for those certifications can cost you thousands of pounds just on their own.
UCAS Form & Personal Statement
Life as a ICT Student
Get help with your course with these University level ICT revision notes.
Graduate Destinations and Career Prospects
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