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What skills do you need to study Computing?

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Published: 11 September 2017

With so much investment and a heavy reliance on fast, effective technologies in the 21st Century, computing is truly a global industry, which means making yourself stand out in the job market is arguably more important than ever. Do you have what it takes to work for growing companies like Coatsink? Daley Johnson, Community Manager at Coatsink, discusses what she looks for when recruiting for jobs in the company.

Students on Computers


Telecommunications, cyber security, computer forensics and app, games and software development are all industries that are flourishing in this highly digitalised era, and many companies are crying out for talented students and graduates like you with a solid foundation of practical experience and loads of ideas to help take them forward. The boom in digital technologies has opened up a new world of jobs for students and graduates, meaning a degree in a computing based course will take you so much further and into jobs that may not have even existed ten years ago.

“Graduates bring a fresh perspective and skillset into the studio, so versatility is key.”

Sunderland is a city that’s riding the crest of the technological wave. Hundreds of start-ups and software developers have made the city their home, and the financial support and resources they receive from Sunderland Software City mean they can flourish on a scale that could only be seen in more prominent cities like London in the past. Coatsink is a Sunderland-based games development team, working at Sunderland Software City. Specialising in virtual reality gaming and having worked on projects for PS3, PS4, PC, Android, and IOS, they believe the North East of England is the perfect place for you to make your mark in the digital sector.

Be a team player

It may seem like every job you apply for in the computing sector requires you to have several years of experience and a diverse portfolio full of outstanding, industry-standard work. While this may be true for some jobs, Daley believes the ability to blend into a hard-working, dynamic games studio and hit the ground running from day one is equally as important.

She says: “Experience and a strong portfolio certainly are qualities that are attractive to a potential employer. However, in our case, extensive experience isn’t always necessary. We look for you to have a genuine passion for what you’re doing and the ability to gel well with our team. Enthusiasm and a good attitude go a long way.”

Learn how to adapt

While the rate at which technology is advancing makes working in the computing industry incredibly exciting, it also makes it a challenge. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments is key to success, and adapting and constantly improving your skillset is crucial.

“Having to adapt to new technology comes with being a games developer. We’re from a generation that has seen technology grow and evolve at an incredible rate, so we’re always ready to ride a new wave," says Daley.

Group of students in library


Grow your list of contacts

No matter what position you’re applying for, whether it be an artist, designer, programmer or developer, getting your name out there, in a highly competitive sector, is vital. This is where your soft skills come in handy, and Daley believes effective communication and the ability to put yourself out there at networking events will count in your favour in the eyes of employers, especially if you lack the relevant industry experience so early on in your career.

“It’s important to keep working toward your goals. Keep building up your portfolio and make an effort to attend networking events to meet people from the industry. We’re regular attendees of a networking event in Middlesbrough, called Game Bridge, which is a place for students and fledgling developers to mix with professionals in the industry. It would be a great place for you to start,” says Daley.

Robot car
Remote car, designed and programmed by students


Code in C# and C++

The perceptions of coding have changed dramatically in recent years, and it’s a skill you need to succeed in the computing and digital sectors. Gone are the days where these programming languages would be reserved for programmers and developers, now if you want to succeed in any sector of computing, especially the games industry, a good understanding of these languages is important.

Daley says: “For designers, it’s especially advantageous to have a basic knowledge of coding. It helps the designer to articulate their ideas to the programmers and create conceptual examples. It’s a similar case with artists. It helps if they know how to optimise their work for use in a game engine. In non-coding roles, it isn’t necessarily a must, but it’s certainly desirable.”

Thankfully, all our computing courses give you skills in these platforms, as well as a solid grounding in HTML 5, CSS 3, Java programming for robots and so much more. 

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