Studying tech-related subjects opens multiple career options
If you like the idea of building a career based around an exciting new technology, then a degree in any IT-related subject can be your first step towards making a contribution to the next stage of technological innovation.
Studying for a degree in an IT-related subject will mean you can apply for more technology jobs once you graduate than if you choose a different subject. You’ll also have the opportunity to specialise in a particular area of IT and technology that interests you. IT-related degrees can lead you to a variety of jobs. Some are quite technical, such as data scientist, software engineer, web developer, etc. Then there are those that have more of a commercial focus, such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) specialist, user experience (UX) designer or product manager. The possibilities are endless and if you are not certain about the direction you want to take your career in, computer science may be the safest choice.
Where to start?
Pursuing a career in new technologies doesn’t necessarily mean you need to study that exact technology right from the start of your studies. When it comes to growing your expertise in a specific area of study, it’s essential that you first learn the basics – the fundamentals of your area of interest. Depending on your desired specialisation, this basic knowledge can be provided across science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) subjects and related technology degrees, including biological science, biomedical science, chemistry, computer science, engineering (electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, aeronautical, etc.), materials science, math, medicine, pharmacy, pharmacology, and physics.
These initial pathways will define the way you study the new technology, so you should take time to consider the route you’d like to take. If you’re interested in innovating medical technology, then biology, chemistry and medicine would each give you foundational knowledge of the sector. Meanwhile, if you want to go into robotics engineering, a first degree in mechanical engineering could be a wise choice.
Although you’ll be focusing on the fundamentals in the first year of most technology degrees, when choosing a programme, it’s important to consider which universities offer advanced modules in your specific area of interest. Although not all technology degrees will offer modules with a specific focus on new technologies, most will offer some sort of specialisation in your second and third years of study, giving you the chance to hone your studies towards a career in new technology. This modular information will often be on the website of the university in question, alongside the overall programme details.
Some new technology subjects to consider
If you’re looking to study robotics, you may be able to undertake a dedicated robotics degree – but more often, robotics is offered via a mechatronics degree, which combines study of mechanics and electronics alongside robotics so students get a rounded knowledge. There are also many other useful degree subjects for a career in robotics, including biomedical engineering, computer science, electronic engineering, information technology, materials engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, physics and structural engineering.
A growing number of institutions are offering specialisations in artificial intelligence, most notably within computer science and information systems degrees. Other STEM subjects from which you could approach artificial intelligence, include computer programming, cognitive science, mathematics, neural engineering and statistics. Relevant specialisations include big data, mechatronics, natural computation, natural language processing, robotics and software engineering.
A networking and cyber security degree will introduce you to the world of forensic computing, enabling you to understand the latest new technologies used in controlling and protecting information on the web, introducing you to software and hardware technologies, as well as theoretical models. If your chosen university doesn’t yet offer a cyber security degree programme, consider taking the following subjects: computer programming, computer science, information systems and software engineering, which can also lead you to this career path.