Why study a masters in Computing and Computer Science

Whether we like it or not computers are part of all our lives, and the global economy would not exist without IT systems. The technology sector is very diverse, and as a result includes many specialist careers. This article looks at the options for students in order to explain why now is a good time to study a masters in computing.

What is a masters in computer science?

All masters courses build on the core knowledge offered in an undergraduate degree. In general, Computer science requires the same. It's helpful for students to have a background in the study of technology subjects, but this is not always required.

People interested in computing without STEM degrees can study conversion courses. These allow students who may have had a different skill at undergraduate level to apply and study in a new area. Graduates acquire extra skills, and as a result they can look forward to an exciting potential career in IT.

An MSc Computing degree will equip you with the key skills and knowledge in order for you to impact the future of technological advances in computer-based systems. A typical masters course helps you to further develop your knowledge and skills within the cutting-edge areas of computing and information communication technology.

What is included in a masters in computer science?

A typical masters in computing usually includes four core modules that cover broad subjects. Knowledge, thinking skills, subject-based practical skills and skills for life. Within each of these includes a number of detailed assignments covering practical aspects of computing such as:-

  • Demonstrate critical knowledge of designing and implementing software
  • Critically survey and analyse relevant theories and research methods
  • Critical thinking and evidential reasoning
  • Systematically analyse problems and implement effective solutions
  • Show a conceptual understanding of the principles of key topics within the area of computing science
  • Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • Design and develop software solution based on a set of specifications
  • Demonstrate cognitive, intellectual skills and theories while establishing appropriate criteria for informed recommendations and conclusions
  • Demonstrate an ability to study independently and effectively and to be able to convey technical information clearly and concisely
  • Develop interpersonal skills and be able to contribute and work effectively in a team
  • Integrate research, and articulate research results into professional practice

How does a masters in computing prepare me for the future?

A masters in computing is a stepping stone to a new career. In essence the course develops the ability of the student to think and perform in an IT environment. Teamwork is key to the success of IT infrastructures. Successful masters graduates lead IT teams in growing businesses.

A number of high-profile specialities make up the areas of demand in computing. These include: -

Artificial Intelligence and Data Science

What was once science fiction is now reality. AI pervades the home and workplace. As a result the next generation quantum computing systems are on the brink of entering into everyday environments. This remarkable innovation requires a flexible workforce of skilled AI and Data Science graduates.

The UK Government has identified gaps in the workforce and has made generous scholarships available to candidates seeking a masters degree, particularly from among students that are under-represented in the sector.

Information Systems and Computer Infrastructure

Traditional network management roles have evolved over time to focus on cloud-based infrastructure. As a result many organisations seek to streamline costs by outsourcing their infrastructure to third party providers with network engineering resources. As a result the types of skills required have changed significantly.


There is a huge demand for cybersecurity professionals to support critical infrastructure and prevent hacking. Small businesses and the self employed are not immune - on the contrary online fraud is a huge problem. There are many opportunities well qualified IT personnel who have experience in cybersecurity. Given that interconnected systems are the norm, it is possible to support organisations globally, and in fact many support services are based remotely or at home.

As a graduate of a masters in computing programme, you'll have a solid understanding of the main disciplines that fall under these emerging and current areas. The kind of role you could go into includes:

  • Big Data Analyst / Business Intelligence / Business Analyst
  • Senior Software Architect / System Architect
  • IT Project Manager / IT Consultant / IT Programme Manager
  • Software Engineering / System Developer
  • AI Specialist / Robotics
  • IoT Specialist / Smart Device Programmer
  • Cyber Security Specialist / IT Security Consultant
  • IT Infrastructure Manager
  • Cloud Architect

Can I get a work placement on a computing masters course?

A number of UK universities include a work placement as part of their masters in computing degrees. Including a placements as part of the masters degree is an ideal way to get real world experience in an IT environment while you are studying.

Placements vary in length. Most are offered during a few weeks in the summer term, but some masters programmes include 6 months or a full year on placement. Students often have to pay an extra fee to take up the placement. Check that the university you are interested is accepting students onto their placement version because these are very popular.

Placements are assessed in a number of ways. Sometimes they don’t count toward your final degree but others will require the student to complete a specific project, and this forms part of their final assessment. Moreover, having the experience of working in a real environment makes a big difference when you are looking for work, as this is an excellent feature to include in your CV.

Sometimes universities will restrict placement places to home UK students, but other universities accept students from everywhere, provided you can cover the additional fee and you meet the English standard requirements for the course.

Take advantage of universities that offer programmes that commence in January as well. This means there should be less pressure on travel arrangements if you can enter the UK in the new year when enrolments are usually quieter.

Where can I study a masters in computing

Around 120 UK Universities offer postgraduate courses in computing. By and large they enrol over 37,000 students each year. A wide range of different universities offer Computing degrees. Many of the courses on offer include postgraduate certificate and diploma level qualifications as well.

Course are provided on campus full time, part time and online. Without a doubt, a computing masters is a very versatile course with lots of future opportunities. You can enrol at one of the many top ranked UK universities to take a computing masters, or you can choose a university closer to home. Of course, a fully online computing masters is another option.

Most UK universities enrol around 200 to 300 masters students each year. Some enrol students through local universities and colleges, so a student can study a masters in computing in their home country but be awarded a degree from a British university

Many computing masters degrees are recognised by the British Computing Society. This is a professional trade organisation which sets standards for business computing skills.

There will be opportunities to top up your degree with additional qualifications in networking and infrastructure, through Microsoft and Cisco. In the final analysis these extra certificates can help you with future career pathways.

Seven top reasons why I should study a masters in computing

  • You can upskill from a different undergraduate subject to a masters in computing with a computing conversion course
  • Computing degrees are available in most UK universities
  • Universities include work placements and they accept overseas students
  • There are thousands of jobs waiting to be filled in computing
  • There are many specialist pathways in IT, many of which are business critical
  • All the skills acquired in a computing masters can be applied in different careers
  • Salaries in computing are very good and open ended for top qualified IT experts.

Interested in more articles? Don’t forget to subscribe to Masters Compare and Postgraduate Studentships to get our regular newsletter for the latest course updates, advice and study funding opportunities.