With demand for jobs high and the digital sector booming, there’s never been a better time to study computing.
MC Digital is Middlesbrough College’s specialist technology school, offering industry-leading computing courses to learners at all levels.
The tech industry is facing one of the UK’s biggest skills shortages, with an estimated 600,000 open vacancies nationwide creating huge demand for skilled workers.
The average salary for an experienced computing job is around £52,000 – and with the North East’s digital sector thriving, it pays to study for a career in computer science.
Nicola Loughran, curriculum team leader at MC Digital, said: “Many people don’t realise the different options available to them in computing – or the careers it can open up for them.”
There is a starting route for everyone with courses ranging from Levels 1, 2 and 3, which are ideal for young people leaving school, to Foundation degrees and Access to Higher Education (HE) aimed at adult learners and those wanting to learn higher level skills.
Pathways include BTEC courses in networking and web development – and this year saw the launch of a brand new Level 3 cyber security qualification, delivered by City and Guilds.
Nicola explained: “Cyber security is a key concern for the future of digital technologies and this new course equips learners with essential skills for a career in the sector.”
Covering topics such as ethical hacking, data encryption and access control, the course provides a basis for further study at university or through an apprenticeship.
Courses are delivered across Middlesbrough College’s specialist computer labs, using industry-standard equipment and software.
And, thanks to the backing of an advisory board made up of more than 20 employers from across the region, there are plenty of opportunities for learners to get hands-on experience with established digital businesses.
Nicola said: “We work closely with industry employers to ensure our courses equip students with the skills they need to hit the ground running in their chosen careers.
“Each course includes a work placement element and there are regular opportunities to hear from guest speakers and digital experts which give our students invaluable industry insight and experience.
“Some of our students have even had the chance to work with local businesses on digital projects – giving them the chance to see first-hand what it’s like to work on a live brief.”
It’s not just work experience that sets MC Digital courses apart – the College is one of the only further education centres in the region offering prestigious Microsoft qualifications.
Nicola said: “Each of our courses includes an additional globally-recognised Microsoft certification, providing learners with essential skills in programmes such as Word, Excel and Access.
“Information from our digital advisory board has highlighted that these key skills are what employers are looking for in candidates – it’s just another thing that helps set our students apart.”
Microsoft’s world-recognised Office Specialist (MOS) and Technical Associate (MTA) qualifications can only be delivered by certified colleges.
The industry recognised qualifications provide validation of students’ abilities, skills and knowledge in Microsoft Office applications.
They are also available to adult learners on a part-time basis, with classes taught in the evenings or online – making them ideal for people looking to fit training around other commitments such as work or childcare.
Are you considering a career in the digital sector? Come along to our next open event on December 11 and see for yourself what’s on offer at Middlesbrough College.