Rise of AI behind the spike in Uni Computing applicants, claim UCAS

17/07/2023

APPLICATIONS to study computing courses have spiked 10 per cent compared to 2022 “thanks to the rise of digital and AI,” according to UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant.

Nearly 95,000 students applied for AI and computer related courses this year with the number of applicants rising every year since 2019 according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). These courses were the 7th most popular area of study.

The field with the greatest rise in applications was software engineering, seeing a 16 per cent jump since last year, while Computer Science received a further 11 per cent of applicants over the past 12 months.

Responding to the news, Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director for Zoho Europe, commented: “Education is a vital part of developing technology skills, especially in transformative disciplines such as artificial intelligence, so it is positive to see an uptick in students looking to get into this area. The key is for industry and education to work together to deliver training and understanding that transitions to the workplace, teaching relevant skills and concepts that truly set students up for careers in software, data analytics and other tech roles. AI is a powerful business tool but ensuring its safe development and implementation is essential, and the next cohort of digital workers will play a central role in maximising its benefits to fuel growth.”

Meanwhile, John Kirk, Chief Strategy Officer at Team ITG, commented: “Tools like generative AI are becoming increasingly commonplace in the business world and, in turn, we need to build a generation capable of leading developments and innovation in this area. Cultivating an interest in learning and innovation at an educational level is an important part of creating a tech-proficient workforce and one that can spearhead our creative industries moving forward. Integrating AI tools alongside the creativity of marketers can scale and unlock more content than ever before for brands, boosting customer interaction and retention, harnessed by the up-and-coming generation of AI and coding experts.”

Only 18 per cent of applications for computing subjects came from females, a one per cent jump from last year but it remains a male-dominated discipline.

UCAS also highlighted a rise in the number of applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds this year.

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