You have got to be in it to win it…

[flickr]5841344401[/flickr] On Friday 27th January, I am heading down to The Deepings School with John Murray to speak to sixth formers about computer science as part of their post-18 options day. We will demo some cool robotics gadgets and a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), as well as talking about what students typically study in a School of Computer Science and where it might lead to in the future.

The current prospects for computer science related careers is improving. Statistics from ITJobsWatch report a steady increase in demand for computer science related jobs over the last three years. Salaries have remained broadly constant over the last two years however, which is no surprise given the current economic climate. Demand for graduates and post graduate qualified applicants are the top two qualification requirements for jobs, while skills in areas such as Java, C#, C++, OO methodologies and mathematics all rank at the top of the skills most needed.

It is a good time to get into computer science. A rapidly evolving platform landscape is seeing traditional workstations, mobile devices and tablets now joined by cloud-driven Chromebooks, open API’s in new and exciting areas for example – all providing new and interesting uses of technology to support our everyday lives. Studying computer science is a great way to get into this exciting world – a choice that I hope many students will be making in this coming application round.

The choice that Peugeot have made is a disappointing one. Demands from their retail sections and an economic tightening of belts has seen them cancel their hugely successful endurance racing programme with immediate effect. It is not only bad news for their drivers and support teams, but also for the fans of endurance racing – no more Pug-Audi head to head battles a Le Mans for a few years at least. What compounds this disappointment though is that the sport is at a turning point – hybrid petrol/electric and diesel/electric cars are in an advanced stage of development. We will surely see history at Le Mans this year from a car with hybrid technology. Endurance racing is no stranger to pushing boundaries though. The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) has sanctioned the use of ‘alternative’ fuels in their race series for a while, with major breakthroughs coming in the last year for cars running on renewable fuels. Peugeot will now be out of this hybrid development programme, and with racing being the ultimate test programme for new technologies, surely Audi and now Toyota will will see their commitment to hybrid development research ┬ábear fruit.