The number of people applying to study computer science degrees has risen by 13% this year - the biggest increase of any UK university subject, according to the professional body for IT.

Overall, there were 158,340 applications to start full-time undergraduate degrees in computing, compared to 140,420 last year, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said.

The number of UK 18 year olds hoping to take computing degrees increased by 21% according to BCS’ analysis of new January deadline data from admissions service, UCAS.

Most of the increase was driven by applicants from England (up 18%) and Wales (up 10%) with Scotland and Northern Ireland broadly unchanged.

Gender gap has closed only fractionally

Over 30,700 applications to computing degrees were from women (19% of total applicants to UK undergraduate computing degrees) meaning the gender gap has closed only fractionally on 2021.

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Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “The demand for computer science follows the rising profile of AI, global cyber security, social media safety, and tech’s role in understanding climate change and pandemic modelling.

“The impact of COVID-19 and lockdowns have also made us realise how important digital technologies are in our personal and professional lives. The long term challenge of closing the gender gap in computer science remains clear and starts at school level.”

Full reporting on specific fields contained within the broad Computing subject area, such as AI, and gaming, will be published at the end of the year.