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Technology firms reveal the skills graduates need at meeting with School of Computing and Engineering

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Cutting-edge companies involved in cyber-security, gaming and manufacturing lifted the lid on the latest trends shaping their sectors at a knowledge-sharing event hosted by the University of West London.

The third ‘Computing Industry Consultative Committee Meeting’ was an opportunity for the School of Computing and Engineering (SCE) to find out which skills are in demand by employers hiring the next generation of talent.

Representatives attended from Sega, Fujitsu, Enterprise Services PLC, Lombard Street Research, Birst, Acumin Consulting Ltd and a number of innovative start-up organisations. They shared insights from industry about the skills which large, medium and small-sized companies need tomorrow’s graduates to have.

Also high up on the agenda was providing students with apprenticeship opportunities with businesses. Liz Sokolowski, course leader in IT Management for Business at UWL, told impressed delegates about a recent successful apprenticeship scheme between the University and gaming giant, Sega.

Stuart Wright, the Director of Technology at Sega Europe, chaired the event on 7 December and said data scientists who are not shackled to one particular field of specialism are in demand.

Returning to the University for the day was UWL alumnus Edy Manzin, Customer Success Manager at Birst, which is an analytics platform for business. He emphasised the continuing importance of business intelligence as a source of investment.

Simon Ordish, managing director of Masagi Ltd, said graduates with skills in front-end, back-end and mobile development – known as ‘full stack developers’ – are valued highly by companies. Meanwhile, databases which locate relationships in data are spreading in popularity among companies outside of the technology sector, he said.

Computing Industry Consultative Committee Meeting at UWL

Rafael Narezzi of Lombard Street Research said graduates with skills in machine learning – or Artificial Intelligence – are in demand. This is because the volume of data requiring analysis is vast and growing. He said such skills are particularly important in the field of threat analysis, which attempts to identify security threats before they occur.  Similarly, Chris Batten of Acumin Consulting Ltd identified a shortage of skills in behavioural analytics – which is about predicting future events based upon likely behaviour.

Jason Cunningham from Fujitsu advised students to always bear in mind the target platform they are working on. He said companies are investing in Design Thinking courses to emphasise the importance of a step-by-step process in the development process, discouraging a dash to a solution.

Afterwards, Professor Amir Alani, Head of the SCE School, said: ‘This event is always fascinating and the School is very grateful to these organisations for sharing with us the priority skills which they value so much. This knowledge helps us to create courses which are valued by employers and provide graduates with a strong foundation for a successful career in computing. I want to thank the companies for giving their time for the benefit of our students.’

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