The demand for talented graduates in these fields is outstripping supply, says Bob Jinks of Coventry University

It is predicted that, by 2002, we will see a shortfall of more than half a million people possessing the fundamental skills to design, build and manage the networks that are the bedrock of almost every business and government world-wide.

In fact, all businesses ­ whether they are local, national or international ­ are suffering the effects of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skill shortage. The use of the internet in all aspects of business life is creating a demand for better networks and media. Capital expenditure on ICT is estimated to reach over $230bn (£165bn) by the end of this year and will continue to escalate.

Higher Education has responded quickly to the challenge of the shortage of skilled ICT professionals and this is reflected in universities offering degree programmes in the fields of software and media.

Career opportunities

An important role frequently undertaken by an ICT graduate is that of Network Administrator. This multifaceted role is of vital importance in any organisation. Responsibilities could include providing and planning appropriate services to support a particular organisation.

E-commerce is another global field where there are shortages of Web designers and staff who know something about running an e-business effectively.

Large multinational telecommunication companies need engineers who can exploit synergies that exist between the more traditional world of telecommunications and the faster more flexible world of data-communications. Mobile phone companies need graduates so that they can rapidly develop next generation handsets. Publishing needs better and better ICT support but so does every other type of industrial and commercial concern. The list literally goes on and on.

For further information

Details of all UK ICT degrees can be accessed through the UCAS website at: