A new employer-backed undergraduate degree in software development will be available at universities across the country from this autumn.
The Software Development for Business degree has been designed by tech employers to combine high quality teaching and learning in software application, business practice and employability skills. It is being delivered in partnership with employer body e-skills UK.
Companies including Accenture, BT, IBM, the BBC, Intel, Tata Consultancy Services and General Dynamics have worked with academics to devise the course content.
The degree has been specifically designed to equip graduates with the analytical skills and global business knowledge to enter a career in software engineering, while enhancing students' project management capabilities.
The course offers opportunities beyond traditional computing courses, covering hot topics in emerging technologies, multi-platform development and open source innovation delivered by industry. It aims to reduce the skills gap in big data and software development for the UK tech industry.
Like its sister degree - the IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree, offered at 18 universities around the country - Software Development for Business will connect students with a range of employers through regular activities and resources, including industry assessed "guru lectures", work placements, networking events and skills-based competitions.
The universities of Sheffield, Surrey, Durham, Oxford Brookes, Hertfordshire, Glasgow Caledonian and the University of the West of England will be among the first to offer the new degree. Plans are already underway to extend the offering to other universities in 2015.
Paul Billing, Accenture UK Delivery Centre lead and executive sponsor of the programme, said: "This is a first - a degree designed by and for employers that will give students the skills they need to become valuable software developers as soon as they graduate."
He said: "This is a priority area for organisations across the UK, and people who combine technical skills with business acumen will be in great demand. The new degree will be regularly reviewed and updated by employers to ensure that the course content keeps pace with industry developments."
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: "The Software Development for Business degree is all about giving graduates the best possible start in their careers. Employability rates in computer science courses have been too low for too long - courses like this one that are designed by employers will ensure that young people are equipped with the skills and experience to add value as soon as they graduate."
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