Computer Science fastest growing STEM A level, says professional body for IT

10 Aug 2021 03:34 PM

Record numbers of young people have been awarded Computer Science A-level and are choosing to study computer science at degree level, analysis by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT reveals.

This year sees record number of students placed on Computer Science degree courses in the UK, with an increase of 5% from 2020, according to the latest UCAS data. Data also show that the number students placed on Computer Science degree has increased 60% over the last decade.

BCS, has welcomed the rise, which has also seen a 9% increase in female students placed on undergraduate Computer Science degrees in the UK.

There are variations across the UK countries, with the number of students from England placed on Computer Science degree courses up by 6%; from Scotland up 5%; Wales remains the same, and Northern Ireland down 14%.

The numbers of young people awarded computing at A level across the UK has also risen, with an increase of 11% from last year.

Fastest growing Stem A-Level

Computer Science is the fastest growing STEM A level, with numbers in England rising by 12% (compared to 6.4% overall for STEM subjects; Maths and Further Maths, Computer Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry).

In Scotland, Computer Science is also increasing in popularity with data showing a 7% increase in the number of students awarded Computer Science Higher. 

More female students than ever took Computer Science A-level this year, with yesterday’s figures showing an increase of 13% on 2020. The numbers of female students choosing Computer Science A-level in 2021 has increased by over 350% since 2015, according to analysis of A-level results data by BCS.

In Scotland, 17% of Computer Science Highers have been awarded to female students this year.

High marks for women

Women now make up 15% of all A level entries and are also achieving high grades - with more than 51%  (45% in 2020) of female students receiving a 'high' (A-A*) Computer Science grade in 2021, compared with 43% (35% in 2020) of male students.

Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS yesterday said:

“More young people than ever before are choosing to study Computer Science at university. Computing is a rich and creative subject which can lead to exciting and rewarding careers as well as skills which are in high demand from employers, and will help to address the digital skills gap.

“We’re particularly pleased to see rising numbers of female students choosing to study computer science at A-level and as a degree and hope this will lead to an increasingly diverse workforce in tech industries.

"Congratulations to everyone receiving their results today. We know students and teaching staff have worked incredibly hard through a challenging year.”