Hello Brian! I have got an offer for the MSc in Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Birmingham, I am interested to know more about the course, modules, the research offered by the university. Does this course offer more programming modules or they focus more on research? Is it course offered by the University of Birmingham better than other Universities? Does this course have better job opportunities in the UK?

I’d reach out to the faculty for details on the curriculum.

Birmingham University is (according to the link below) the number one targeted university by the UKs top graduate employers.’s-top-graduate-employers.aspx

Hi Brian, My name is Amey Kulkarni and I have got an offer from UoB and my course is Data Science. I want to know from you about the computer science department of the university and especially about the Data Science section. Apart from this what do you think about the research scope in the university? How will you rate the research scope of the university? Also after the completion of the masters what are placements scenarios in the UK considering the current covid state.

The University of Birmingham has one of the best Computer Science departments in the UK. This is calculated based on the research they produce as well as the teaching faculty plus a number of other vectors. There are various league tables that get published each year which you can access with a google search. These should give you a much more balanced and data rich insight than I am able to. If you work hard and use the time and opportunity to really embrace the path you have chosen, then you will have lots of opportunities to work.

COVID is a global phenomenon. So what the UK labour market experiences will be similar to what other similar countries are experiencing. By the time you finish your MSc, let’s hope the worst of COVID has passed. There are already signs of a significant turnaround in the labour market and a jump in demand for skilled (and unskilled) workers. Even if the labour market remains challenging (unlikely as current economic indicators suggest demand for workers outstrips supply), Data Science is a field that allows you to work remotely.

Hello Brian, I am seeking to pursue a Masters in Computer Science this September. I am an international student, and I was looking at some statistics on the turnover of students that are able to secure a job at a tier-2 visa sponsored company, 6months post graduation. As pursuing Masters in the UK is quite an investment, my question to you is this: what advice would you give to me in preparing myself to secure a job while studying?

My advice would be – “do not beg… build”. Build things and share what you build online on social platforms where your desired employers hang out e.g. LinkedIn. You will likely have a lot of competition from domestic students/graduates who do not need a visa and to be frank are a lot less hassle for an employer to hire. So I suggest you find a way to shine brighter than the crowd. Most students will do what everyone else does – write a CV and send it to 100s of companies. You can follow the crowd, do this and then find your timeframe to secure a job expires and you have to return home without a role and with an empty bank account. Start building things and sharing your journey on how you build things where your target employers hang out. To attract a mouse, you have to lay some cheese:-)

Hello Mr. Brian My name is Jaskaran and I am from India. I am interested in applying for a masters' course. Can you give me some advice on what to write in SOP? As I don’t have experience in technical field but I am quite enthusiastic about information security, especially after this pandemic, and people resort to work from home generating a high amount of data. I have work experience in an administrative role, but not in a technical field. However, the pandemic has really shifted my interest towards computers again and I have spent this time in learning skills like ethical hacking, python and javascript. Can you tell me if I fit the entry requitements? And give me more information on needs to be added in the SOP?

Have a think about the story you want to tell. Try and make it paint a pathway that leads the reader to the understand why you have chosen the MSc you are applying for. Think about what you have done up until now that makes you the ideal candidate for the admissions team shortlist. I think if you are passionate about the subject you are about to pursue and you also have a track record in self guided learning (Javascript, python etc), you should have some great material to craft a credible story with. Good luck.

Hi Brian , I am Renukesh and I am from India. I have been working as an IT professional in India for almost 5 years as a developer(dot net). I am interested in pursuing a MSc in data science. I wanted to know how to make the transition, pre requisites and the career prospect after completing the course.

Hi Renukesh, 5 years IT experience I think is a really good foundation for your new path in data science. I think familiarising yourself with some of the core concepts of data science before the MSc starts is a good idea. I would look at the course outline and do a YouTube search for all the key subject areas mentioned in the course outline. Watch the top 5 – 10 YouTube videos at 1.5X and maybe try taking a course or two from somewhere like Udemy, Coursera or LinkedIn. Then try getting hold of an open data set and building something yourself. If you have good computer science experience, a solid understanding of data science and good interpersonal skills, I think most HR managers will bite their hand off to have you join their company upon graduation.

Hi Brian, I hope you are well. My question is, what skills are required to undertake a conversion computer science MSc at the University of Birmingham? What are the skills/experiences that the university is looking for in the cover letter? How could I make my cover letter more outstanding? Thanks in advance, Jazmin

Hi. You can find details of the basic entry requirements here:

In your application, I would do your best to emphasise why you are interested in making the transition to computer science and what you have done in your spare time or work experience that demonstrates your interest. If you can, I’d also ask a native speaker of English to cast their eye over your application to make sure you haven’t made any grammatical errors.

The department is also running an online chat event where you can get your questions answered about the MSc:

Best of luck!


Greetings Mr Brian, I hold an admit for MSc Data Science from the University of Birmingham. Could you please tell me about the job opportunities post-graduation? Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Yours Sincerely

Set up a search for “Data Science” AND filter on UK. Apply this search on LinkedIn, Jobserve or All of those sites will give you a flavour of what the demand in the UK is for you skill.

Hello Brian, just a small question. I wanna do my masters in Artificial intelligence and Machine learning so, what will be the job opportunities in Uk?

I believe if you follow the course, embrace what you learn and be proactive about reaching out to employers in your industry by demonstrating you are really passionate about the subject area and can show them how you will add value to their company, you will get offers for work.

Every company is an technology company now. There are many businesses that are trying to use AI and ML. Have a think about mini projects you could start working on that will give you material to talk about at interview and demonstrate your abilities.

Hello Brian, Can you give your views on the Msc Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Program at UoB, maybe about how rigorous it might be or can you point me to someone who has done the course so I might have a better picture of the course? Thank you.

Hi! I don’t have direct experience of the AI and ML program. I took the MSc in Computer Science. I do have some experience of self-guided learning in the AI/ML space and the problems most suited to applying AI/ML.

I can imagine the team in the computer science department at Birmingham University has put together a rigorous program that will take clever, hard working individuals with no previous experience in AI / ML to a point where you’ll be very capable of building something for yourself, for a startup or for a larger organisation within 1 year.

My assumption here is that the departmental approach for ensuring the course in AI / ML is suitably rigorous is very similar to the approach applied to the MSc in computer science.

I would reach out directly to the department to see if they can connect you with current / previous students. You can also search LinkedIn to find alumni who have taken the course. This will also give you a feel for real career trajectories after graduating.

The last check you can make is searching for online performance league tables. Bear in mind though that every student is different. What 1 student finds rigorous another may find too easy:-)

Hi Brian, just a small question. I wanna do my masters either in MS computer science or MS in data science. which one will be better doing career wise? what will be the job opportunities available for both in UK?

Hello there. Both paths can result in excellent career opportunities. Software engineers and data scientists are both in high demand and are comparatively well paid graduate jobs that can lead you onto rewarding career trajectories. I would say that the computer science path will give you a broader grounding and will keep your options open (software engineer, product management, startup founder). Data science is more specific. I would expect a computer scientist to be able to pick up what a data scientist does and run with it. A data scientist could pick up what a computer scientist does but their scope is a bit more focused. Ultimately I think it comes down to what you find most exciting. If you like having the knowledge / skill / flexibility to build a product from scratch end to end, computer science may suit you better. If you are excited and optimistic about data/ Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Deep Learning then the Data Science path may be better for you.

Hey Brian, I think I read on one of the questions you did your BSc in French and buiness? Is this correct? The reason I ask is because my BSc is in economics and I'm wanting to swap to AI, i was wondering what you thought the switch to STEM was like for you?

My undergrad was in German and Business Studies.
Transitioning from Economics (whether it involved a lot of number crunching or not) is fine. The MSc courses are intended to take non programmers/data analysts and help you make the jump in a short but concentrated period. If you’re thinking of transitioning to the MSc, the most important thing is you have a genuine interest in AI and you are ready to get stuck in and familiarise yourself with the material. The direction that the world is heading in (with regard to AI adoption) means your application to future graduate schemes / jobs / roles will stand out if you have a degree with a substantial element of AI.

Best of luck.

Hi Brian, this is Eva from India. I have completed my integrated degree (B.Tech in Electronics and Communication and M.Tech in VLSI) from India. I also have one year of work experience as a Software Engineer. My integrated degree covered numerous courses on CS and Maths (such as Programming in C, data structures and algorithm, Computer Architecture, Calculus, Linear Algebra and Probability Theory). Which course do you think will work best for me - MSc in Computer Science or MSc in Advanced Computer Science? Thanks!

Hi Eva,
Depends on what your objective is really. On the surface, it sounds like the MSc in Computer Science may cover areas you are already familiar with. The course is really intended to take people who have not had exposure to programming and get them up to a functional level within a year. If you are already used to programming from your 1 year software engineering experience and you are looking at really pushing / challenging yourself, then perhaps the advanced course would be better. Perhaps have a think about why you are taking the course. Most people join the MSc in computer science to improve their employment prospects. However, it sounds like you already have a track record to demonstrate your software engineering capabilities. I’m not sure whether many employers / recruiters will distinguish between an MSc and an Advanced MSc. I’m not familiar with the advanced course but it may be more suitable for you if you are really looking to pursue an academic / research or very specialist route once you graduate. Bare in mind the homepage for the advanced course states “This Advanced Computer Science Masters/MSc programme is designed for graduates with a degree in Computer Science or a related discipline, and a solid foundation in programming.”

Hi Brian, this is Rishabh from India. I have firmed my decision to study MSc in cyber security at the university of Birmingham. As an international student, with PSW in mind, what are the job opportunities in the UK after I graduate from the university?

Hard to say Rishabh. I’m not sure what PSW is. I do know that in recent years it has become much harder for international students to arrange work post graduation. All things are possible so I would have a clear plan and make sure you know exactly what criteria you need to pass in order to be eligible to stay on to work in the UK. If you can tick all the required boxes, there should be a good supply of companies interested in considering your application. I would add a caveat though. With any economic downturn like the one we are currently experiencing, it is a buyers market so employers have lots of talent choose from. So I would also think carefully about how you could make your application really stand out: e.g. select highly relevant project topics that will draw the attention of prospective employers.

Hello Brian, this is Miguel from Dominican Republic. I am thinking on taking the MSc in Cyber Security. What makes Birmingham unique about others universities. Accreditation? Modules? Thank you

Hello Miguel, I’ll try and summarise as briefly as possible:
1. Consistent High Score in Uni League Table both for Bham Uni as a whole and Computer Science specifically – Usually ranks inside the top 15 in UK.
2. “Red Brick” status and “Russell Group” status i.e. well thought of by employers – Even though there have been steps to flush out uni status / bias, it still exists. So worth bearing in mind.
3. Campus University – More important if you are an undergrad but if the archetypal all-in-one uni campus is something that is important to you, Bham has it.
4. Busy City with lots going on – Normally this would apply but pretty much everywhere is quiet during lockdown.
5. Cheaper than London and cities further South.
6. Culturally very diverse.

Best of luck!

Hi, hope youre well. I just graduated in economics and was thinking to do the computer science masters in jan 2021. I have no background in the subject so i was wondering if im in over my head ? How intensive is the course and how quickly would i need to pick up the relevent skills? Any advice would also be helpful

I’m well thanks. Congrats on graduating! There’s a lot to learn in the first two semesters and then the coding project takes priority for the last semester and summer.

If you enter with the right mindset, I don’t think you’ll be in over your head.

I think there are 3 types of people that end up on the MSc. There’s the 2% of students who are natural coders and somehow missed their calling in their first degree. Their minds are just made that way to get things really fast and will usually be a few steps ahead of the rest of their cohort. Try and make friends with these guys/girls:-)

Then there’s a handful of people who are not really interested and give up.

Then there’s the rest. I honestly think, if you enter the course with the mindset to do the assignments each week and keep up with the programme from the start, you’ll be fine.

If you are open to learn, a little patient, understand how to seek help in the real world (from tutors and class mates) and learn how to follow tutorials and seek out answers yourself online, you have a great chance of succeeding.

If you have time between now and January, maybe see if you can find a low cost online coding course you can follow. Udemy has a few. Best of luck!

Hello Brian! I am interesting in applying for a M.SC degree in Data Science in UK universities. Can you tell what are the core programming languages(except Python) I must learn for this subject (at least beginner level)? Is knowledge about the deep learning frameworks required or taught during the programs? Is any research relevant to this subject required or advantageous during application? Also,what are the job opportunities in UK for data science? Thank you!

Hi, my experience is with the MSc Computer Science. However, regarding the Data Science MSc ….

PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES: I would not try and spread yourself too thinly learning lots of different languages. This can be confusing and counter productive for someone just learning to code. Get familiar with Python then deepen your skills. Python is the main language used in Data Science / Machine Learning and it’s better to be master of Python than beginner at 3 different languages. Do an online course like “Automate the Boring Stuff” (15 of the 50 lessons are available free on Youtube. The remaining lessons are available for circa $20 on Udemy). This is one of the better online tutorials I have come across.

DEEP LEARNING: DL is a core part of Data Science / Machine Learning. I would imagine Deep Learing will be touched on for more comlex ML problems over the course of your 1 year study. Contact the faculty to confirm for sure.

RESEARCH: Find an area that interests you where you can start experimenting with small personal projects that matche the use cases for applying machine learing. Hint: Not every data problem requires a Machine Learning solution.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Go to / or and search for roles mentioning words like Python, Data Science or Machine Learing. This will show you what the current demand is. I understand demand continues to be strong for this skillset.

Hope this helps.



Hello Brian. How are you? I planned to do my masters in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Could you please tell me how to prepare for it? I know python, and I have also worked with CNN's, and Lstm's. Can you help me on this?

Hi! Your decision to pursue AI and ML is a timely one so congrats. If you have spare time on your hands and you want to prep for the course, I would take a look at the curriculum and try and find ways of familiarising yourself with the material in advance. Watch YouTube videos, sit courses on Udemy and Coursera, EdX and MIT. Once you have the essence of the basic concepts, try and start putting the principles you have learned into your own mini projects. If you have a hobby or an interest, base your projects around your interests so that you keep motivated. The MSc should not just be about getting another qualification. Use it as an opportunity to really embrace the AI/ML area you are entering. Drink deeply and enjoy!

Hello Brian! I just got an offer for the Msc in Computer Science, I am interested to know about more about the course, do you think its was up to date? and are the projects were related to real companies? Also, about the city, how is the IT industry in Birmingham? and finally what tips would you give someone that is about to start a career change to MSc, I also have a background in business, my major is in Economics. Thank you!

Congrats on your offer. The Bham Uni MSC is still one of the finest in the country. I took the MSc some years ago now. However, as far as I can tell, the course continues to be relevant. Java is a solid programming language that is still widely used and will provide a good grounding for industry and for learning other languages. The weekly programming exercises start off simple and become more challenging. In my time, one of the first exercises was to design a simple tick tack toe game. Towards the end of the tuition period, the group exercise was more advanced involving designing a database driven application.

Regarding the project, well that’s entirely up to you what you choose. If you have a particular industry you’d like to enter, it makes sense to make your project relevant to that industry / company so when it comes to interviewing time, you have something very relevant to explain to your interviewer.

Birminham is considered the UKs second biggest city after London, so I would imaginee there are lots of IT opportunities in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. I would have two priorities 1. With your skills though virtual working anywhere in the world should be a reality.

Commit yourself to learning coding and database integration – embrace it:-) 2. Start planning early what you’d like to do once you finish. If you’re trying to land a job, start lining up those ideal interviews from the early autumn.

Good luck!

Hi Brian, I have an offer for the Compter Science conversion MSc and am trying to figure out how I can have some income while doing the course. I currently have a great part time job teaching one day per week at an academy. Do you think it would be realistic to continue to do this alongside the course? And is it likely that the timetable would give me a free daythat I could reliably commit every week? Thanks, Robin

Congrats on your acceptance to the MSc conversion. It’s a world class course! Working 1 day a week at the academy while also attending your MSc should be fine. The more organised you are, the better:-) You’d have to double check though that there are no clashes with the day you need to work. If there are, you’d just need to be a bit creative with negotiating a different day to work or figure out a way to catch up on any material you miss.

Hey Brian Downer, I have applied for a Ph.D. position in the Department of Computer Science. I wanted to know if top tech companies like Google Research or Microsoft Research are one of the recruiters of PostGraduates at Birmingham.

That’s an easy question for postgrad recruitment to answer. I suggest you reach out to them directly. It’s more difficult for me to say exactly which exployers have hired bham grads historically. However I would imagine that all top international organisations including Microsoft and Google will give your application consideration. If you’re really keen to find out without trying to get through to postgrad recruitment, I suggest doing a quick search on LinkedIn for people who have worked at Microsoft or Google and also have a postgrad from Bham.

I am currently going into my a levels(computer science, statistics and law) and i am planning going into a undergrad in computer science and then a postgrad masters in cyber security, i would like to know how hard is it being a graduate from UoB and getting a job.

Hello, based on your selection of courses at A-Level, degree and postgrad, I think you’ll be just fine. It’s rare to see such detailed forward planning. Where possible, I recommend you try and get some industry / commercial experience (even if it’s virtual via upwork or fiverrr). If you focus on building your real world experience while you’re still studying, you’ll have a much better idea of what you really enjoy and what you are good at. By the end of your Cyber Security masters and with several years practical experience to your name, I imagine employers will be fighting over you:-) Good luck.

Hi Brian. I currently hold a MSc in Computer and Information Security (U Liverpool). Now I am wanting to pursue a track in project management related to systems projects. Is this available at UBgham?

The best way to find out is to check the course catalogue online:

Already holding a masters in computer science puts you in a strong position. Normally to access a career as a PM, you would typically work as a junior member of a software projects team (developer, business analyst, Project Management Office admin) and then work your way up by demonstrating your interest and capability as someone who can lead/manage projects.

So it may make more sense to get some experience of working in a software team somewhere with the intention of levelling up to a PM / Scrum Master / Product Owner role.


Hi Brian, I have a few queries: 1) Are all lectures recorded online? 2)Is the course a year long, exactly from September to September as opposed to an undergrad degree? For example, the summer project, does that actually take 4 months or do some students finish it earlier? 3)Would you recommend learning some Python before the course, or stick with JAVA? Thanks

1. Best to check directly with the faculty on this. Lectures were not recorded when I was at Birmingham.
2. The course is one calendar year long. You start in Sept/Oct and then in the same month of the following year you are expected to submit your Project.
3. If you’re new to programming, I would stick with the main language being taught (Java). The best coders will pick up multiple languages throughout their career as new languages rise in popularity. I learned Java on My MSc and I’ve spent time learning Python in recent years.

Hello Brian. I have applied for several Cyber Security master courses, and just received offers from four of them: Birmingham, Manchester, Lancaster and York. Would you be so kind as to try to compare them in general and in this particular field? In fact, I have seen numerous videos about these universities, but it is really hard to find out which is better than the others in cyber security. Thank you for your answer!

Congrats on the offers!
It’s tricky for me to comment on Manchester, Lancaster or York. But I would take 3 key factors into consideration, all of which you can Goolge:
– National University Reputation (“Best UK university”)
– National Faculty Reputation (“Best UK university for Cyber Security”) OR prehaps (“Best UK university for Computer Science”)
– Consider the type of city you want to live in (see
Good luck!

Hi Brian, I'm an international student and planning to study Electronic and computer engineering in Birmingham this year. Since there's no PG advice person from electronic, I leave a question here. I wonder - how much did you satisfied with the course? enough project to skill up for industry field? - fully supported by school in Engineering compared to other colleges such as law? - the proportion of students in Engineering from China? Thank you

– how much did you satisfied with the course? enough project to skill up for industry field?
Brian: I was very satisfied with the course when I took it. Bear in mind this was back in 2000 – 2001 when we were experiencing the fallout from a recession and dotcom crash so it was a good time to spend in educating. I found there was a lot of interest from employers when I started applying for jobs.
– fully supported by school in Engineering compared to other colleges such as law?
**Brian: Professor Uday Reddy and his team provide an excellent support network. You should be assigned a tutor who will have weekly office hours. The PHds are also on hand to help you if you have questions. Making friends with fellow highly motivated students is also a good idea.

– the proportion of students in Engineering from China?
**Brian: To find the precise percentage you’ll have to check with the university. But anecdotally, I believe Birmingham as a top Red Brick university and with a computer science department that often places in the top 10 in the UK, The University and the department are popular with international students including those from China.

Hello Brian, I'm Chetan. I got an offer from the University of Birmingham and UCL (University College London) for MSc in Cyber Security. I'm confused between the two of them. Which university is the best according to academics (theory and practicals) and the job opportunities after the completion of masters? Can you help me in this regards? Thanks, Chetan

There are a few things that can help you. Firstly, I would do a search for “Best Computer Science University Departments in UK”. As you’ll see, some ranking tables rate one above the other.

Reputation-wise, both universities and comsci departments usually rank among the top 10 or 20 in the UK. Both universities are highly recognised by employers as being among the best in the UK.

So it really comes down to personal choice. Birmingham and London are two very different cities. I lived in London growing up and wanted to live on campus and away from home so chose Birmingham for my Bachelor degree. After a few years working in London following graduation, I chose Birmingham again for my Masters degree because I wanted to minimise the amount of time I had to adapt to a new university. I knew Birmingham well and didn’t have to waste time on the usual distractions when you arrive on a new university campus.

If you are on a tight budget, living costs in Birmingham will be significantly lower than those in London. London on the other hand is huge in comparison to Birmingham and perhaps has 20 different equivalents to Birmingham’s downtown area – not to mention museums, attractions etc. But hey, I’m guessing you won’t have much time for that stuff:-)

Either choice will give you a memorable yet different experience. A good pass grade from either institution will be looked on favourably by an employer.

Hi, I am from India. I have received an offer from the university for MSc in Cyber-security. I have heard that the placements in UK are not based on the ranking of University you are passed out from, but completely depends on the knowledge you have. I wanted information regarding this as i have the same offer from the Birmingham City University. The difference in fees between both is large so I want to know if Birmingham is worth it. thank you

Hello. Times are changing. Employers are now more open to looking at what an individual has done in their professional and personal life rather than just looking at what University you have attended. In recent years, some employers have actually removed a university degree as being one of the criteria they use for considering applicants.

That being said, there is still a place for educating yourself in a formal environment and receiving the associated accreditation. Many employers are openminded to consider applicatants with no formal degree but the reality is many employers still make this a requirement.

Specific to your question Bham Uni vs Bham City, even though it is politically correct not to have bias, I believe there is still a huge amount of bias. Birmingham University has a much longer history as a university than Bham City University. Some employers may consider this a factor in assessing your application.

Even I’m a little biased too. I would say go to Bham Uni because that’s an institution I know. The reputation of the Bham ComSci department when I was applying was outstanding. I believe it was one of the 3 best departments in the country at the time. But City may have something special that suits your personal circumstance much better.

In terms of making your choice, well I would research the league tables on Google. This is exactly what the HR departments of the organisations you will be applying to will be doing.

If you can, I would also try and visit both campuses and talk to faculty staff. If this is not possible, reach out to as many people from each institution as you can (past and present) to get their view on what each university is like. You can even search for people on LinkedIn who have attended each Uni and ask them what it was like (just like you’re asking my opinion here).

Hi, Brain, my name is Elaine. I just got an MSc Computer Science offer a few days ago. Could you please tell me if Birmingham is a good university for computer science? I really care about whether the MSc is practical or not cause I desire to learn some practical skills in programming rather than learning by lectures only. And how can I get the further information about my programme cause the programme page only shows the name of the modules. Many thanks.

Elaine hello. Congratulations on receiving your offer. Great news! Birminham has had an excellent reputation for computer science for some years now. You just need to do a Google search for Best UK universities for Computer Science to see the current rank. Birmingham was in the top 10 when I was there and still appears to be placing among the top 10 universities in the UK for ComSci.

The main opportunity to learn practical skills is in the weekly programming assignments. These start off as quite basic exercises and become gradually more challenging. By the end of the teaching calendar (spring), you will have covered most of the essential skills required to make a start on your summer project. The summer project is where you really grind in the practical programming skills. If you need further information, I suggest you call or email the Computer Science admissions department. Good luck!

Hello, I'm interested in applying for the Computer Science MSc or Data Science MSc degrees. My question is, how intensive are the mathematical components of these courses? I am currently a Computing student at Abertay University predicted to graduate with a first-class honours, however, we haven't done any math modules aside from artificial intelligence, which only really touched on the maths. I am concerned the mathematical demand of the courses may be too challenging for my background. Any of your input about the matter is greatly appreciated. Kind regards, Angelo

Hello Angelo,

I can only speak of the requirements of the ComSci MSc. I would say if you were able to handle the Math you took in School at 16, you should be OK with the math required for the ComSci course. It’s kind of a different type of math though. You’ll need to understand / follow the programming syntax (loops, try catch blocks, the implications of missing a semi colon, different data types etc).

But rather than being a brilliant mathematician, I would say it’s more important that you are organised, patient and good at following guides and instruction manuals. You’ll need a capcity to think logically of course. You’ll also need to quickly learn how to search for and find solutions to problems you encounter.

Learn how to read the documentation too. The answer is often sitting right there. And of course, once you get these basics in place, you will also need a little creativity to apply the skills and techniques you learn to building new things.

Hi Brain I am 36 years old and experienced computer engineer applying to Mcs Cybersecurity in both Birmingham and Warwick. Could you help me decide the advantages of Birmingham over Warwick? Thanks

Both universities have great track records and regularly score well in the league tables both for ComSci and overall. I would say the Birmingham “Brand” is stronger… but then, I am a bit biased:-)

You should also consider the two very different locations. Warwick is closer to Coventry. Birmingham Uni is a couple stops from downtown Birmingham city centre.

do msc computerscience have job opportunities in uk

Lots yes. Companies recognise Birmingham university as one of the leading UK universities and the comsci MSc is very well regarded.

Hi Brain, I'm Ricky. I got an offer from computer science postgraduate and I want to know what software projects that students will often do, also how it relates to real world stuff.

I believe there is a directory of all previous software projects held by the ComSci department. But rather than looking back at what others have done, I would pick a project that you are interested in and is also in some way related to developments in industry and the field you would like to enter. Being interested in the subject matter will ensure you keep going when things get tough. Making sure it’s somehow relevant to industry trends will give you some valuable material to discuss if / when the time comes to go job hunting… and if the project is good enough, maybe you won’t need to hunt for a job and can turn it into a business once you finish;-)

Hy Brain, my name is Dewank and i am an international student offered a place at University in Msc Data science program. My question concerns about the companies mentioned in the employability link ( are ones which visit for campus placements or ones which students can get placements into.

Hello Dewank,
I imagine some of these companies may visit the university at some point. However, I suspect though that the companies named are really to give you a taste of some of the organisations that could be interested in taking you on as a graduate once you’ve completed your degree. If there are companies in the list shown that you would really like to work for, I would start researching their recruitment process and getting to know more about the company from its web site and social media (especially LinkedIn) activity. This means when the time comes to apply, you are really well equipped to demonstrate you know the values and personalities of the organisation.

Hi Brian, I wanted to ask you a question more specific to the entry requirements for this program. I have some relevant work experience to apply for this program but I have not done the equivalent of maths a-levels or gcses. I read that it is important to demonstrate good mathematical ability on the application. Do you think this would be an issue?

I think a good basic grasp of maths will put you in a good place for the course. You may not have a formal qualification at GCSE or A Level but maybe you’ve had to use some maths or basic equations at work. If you can demonstrate this in your application you may be OK. A big part of the course will involve constructing algorithms that work so having an appreciation of building formulas e.g. in Excel will help you.
You’ll have to check with the department of course to see if they will accept your application if a previous maths qualification is one of the entry requirements.

Did you join any clubs or societies, go on any research trips or do any volunteering?

The university has a great sporting pedigree and top facilities. I was a member of the track and field team.

Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

I did my undergraduate degree in German and Business Studies at Birmingham so I knew I wouldn’t waste any time getting up to speed in a familiar environment. As well as this, I was also encouraged by the fact that the university ranks as one of the best places to study computer science in the country.

What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

I thought an MSc in computer science would give me a competitive advantage in my career and would form a good foundation for understanding how to build great software.  I also thought that in comparison to an MBA, an MSc in computer science represented better value, the opportunity to acquire practical skills that were in high demand and also meant a shorter timeframe before returning to the business world.

What was the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

After my final exams, I really enjoyed spending the summer working on my end of year software project. It was a lot of fun creating a significant application from scratch and getting to grips with the Java programming language.

What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

Make an early trip to the careers lab to line up opportunities for when your MSc completes. Invest in “how to code” text books – the good ones will become your best friends. Reach out to buddies or tutors if there’s technical stuff you don’t understand. Choose an end of year project you are really passionate about – that way you’ll keep coding even when you’re tired. Most importantly have fun and make the most of your year as it will be over before you know it.

How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?

My MSc helped build my confidence of databases and programming. It also reinforced my belief that if you put your mind to something and commit, all things are possible.

How did your degree prepare you for what you are doing now?

The skills from my MSc, which I’ve found most useful in my career in technology consulting, have been software programming, requirements gathering and working with stakeholders.

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I had several job offers confirmed before my MSc completed. I accepted the offer from Accenture as I saw it as a great place to build broad experience early in my career. After several years travelling the world working for Accenture, I set up my own consulting business and have spent my career since then working with financial services companies and startups.

As a Modern Languages and Business graduate, how did you find the transition from studying a "wordy" degree to a more technical one? Did you find the course challenging especially at the beginning and were you "judged" for being an arts/social sciences graduate?

The course was a challenge for sure but extremely rewarding.

My background in learning foreign languages helped as learning to code is like learning a new language.

I never felt judged. Most of the other students on the MSc do not have a coding background and all the teaching staff are there to help you.

If you know how to follow a manual and can learn the steps for debugging your code you will be fine.

Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions. But don’t leave asking the silly questions until it’s too late. 

In your MSc, how much coding was involved and how difficult was it? I understand that you have to code for your final project but if someone does not have the best coding skills in the world but is still able to code and has an interest in the subject, do you think they will be able to hack the course? Thanks

Coding exercises are set for the group from the first few weeks of the course. The exercises get progressively more complicated. I recommend you get a good coding textbook to support any material you access online. I also recommend attending the workshops where postgraduate comsci tutors can provide you with additional help. Form a few alliances with other students so you can help each other out. The quicker you can get your head around the coding basics the easier things will be for you later on.

Hi Brian, how well do you feel the conversion MSc would prepare a student for a career in cyber security, and which careers within the information security field are open to graduates of the MSc Computer Science (Conversion) at Birmingham?

Hi. The MSc focuses on equipping you with software development skills. Lab time, weekly exercises and software projects aim to get you up to speed with writing software programs to solve problems. The MSc will get you familiar with coding and databases. It will help you to abstract problems and start thinking of problems in terms of coding solutions.

One or two members of my cohort went on to careers in cyber security. However, if cyber security is the path you have your heart set on, there may be more relevant / direct ways of getting there. That being said, cyber security is a major topic of concern for every CEO. I would imagine a recruiter looking to hire a cyber security graduate would shortlist a candidate with a computer science degree over one with no computer science degree (all other things being equal that is).

Hi Brian, I'm considering applying for the MSc conversion course for Computer Science. I have a bit of experience in learning as using python and am currently completing an online course on MATLAB from coursera. I recently applied for an MSc in Biochemical Engineering course at University of Birmingham (this was before I knew the University offers a conversion MSc course in Computer Science). After finding out about the MSc in CS, I have decided to apply for this course but I'm wondering if applying will cause any speculation? Do you have any advice in terms of applying to two different MSc subjects? Cheers

(Safe answer) As long as you can explain why you are interested in both areas then you should be fine. (Honest Answer) an MSc is not cheap. You are also investing a year of your life. You’ve mentioned you’ve already started on your coding journey. Sometimes, you have to pick a side and go for it. At this particular point in history, I would say an MSc in Computer Science will give you the skills to either launch your own startup or become very desirable to almost every industry that requires software engineers (ie every industry). I am biased though:-)

How heavy is the workload and do you think it's better to live on campus for this MSc or does it make no difference?

The workload is heavy yes. You have a lot to learn in a short space of time so clear your social diary:-). Most MSc students do not live on campus. That’s usually for freshers who really want to lap up the experience of being in a university environment – making friends, partying etc. However, I would recommend being close to campus – ideally walking distance if not a short ride on public transport. This way, you be able to make the most of the labs, teaching facilities and working with your MSc colleagues.

What do you think is the most important thing to highlight in your personal statement? How can I make myself standout?

Dig deep to find something remarkable you have done… especially good if it has some relevant technical aspect or has positively impacted the lives of others.

Hello Brian, I have a bachelor degree in software engineer from a Latin-American university. I only have one year experience on web systems including PHP/Javascript, and a little bit on Android. Am I ready to take the MSc Advanced Computer Science or should I wait and get more work experience?


Really depends on your motives for taking the MSc. The course (at least when I took it) takes motivated non-coders and exposes them for a calendar year (not a shorter academic year) to the rigors of software development and all that entails. Most people are taking the course to 1. Get hired into a job requiring a software dev qualification 2. learn how to code so they can launch their own thing.

If you already have a Software Engineering degree (the fact it’s from a Latin-American uni should not make the slightest bit of difference as 1s and 0s are the same the world over), I would question why you feel you need to take an MSc.

I would spend the time doubling down on your commercial exposure either through working for a traditional employer, offering your services on a virtual / freelance basis or focusing on building something awesome yourself from scratch either to commercialise or as evidence of the relevant skills you have.

Hope this helps.

Hey Brian, I'm a second year student studying classics. At school I enjoyed maths and science but was not academically mature enough to pursue them further and this is probably my biggest regret. Granted that I am now capable and willing, is the conversion Msc a good springboard for entering the industry of not just computer science but engineering and design also?


I’m not sure how they teach classics nowadays but I’m assuming you spend some of your time reading Latin and Greek. If that’s the case, then you may have an advantage on your side:-)

If you have an aptitude for languages, learning how to program is not a million miles away (grammar, rules, punctuation, syntax, nouns, objects, verbs, methods etc).

Push yourself to learn as much as possible in the year and visit the careers center early to start lining up opportunities.

The MSc conversion is a great access route into working in technology.

The story of you taking your MSc in order to apply your skills as a software engineer makes sense.

To take the course to pursue engineering or design will take a bit more explaining to a prospective employer.

Carpe Diem!

Is there an option for taking a placement or studying abroad for the CS conversion programme? I know it's available on the Dubai campus but for funding reasons I wouldn't be able to go. Also, is this degree recognised by institutions and industry abroad?

Hi. The course is recognized widely by industry and employers. Birmingham Uni has one of the best reputations for the MSc Computer Science program in the country / world.

I would check direct with CS admissions but in my day there was no placement or studying abroad option. You have  so much new stuff to learn, adding extra complexity would realistically require the lengthening of the course.

Primary objective for the MSc is to pick up speed and get to grips with computer science fundamentals. Note that the course is a calendar year (12 months) rather than a shorter academic year (Sept – June). You’ll need every single waking hour to get confident with the new tech.



Hi Brian, aside from Java programming, are there any other areas that you would suggest students learning ahead of the course start date? Did you find that the course was mathematically intensive? Many thanks

Funnily enough, one of the most valuable skills I can think of is the ability to follow the instructions you see in the various tutorials you’ll encounter. If you still have time, perhaps try working your way through some online tutorials so you can start getting the hang of what’s to come.

Also, knowing where to go online to seek help when you hit a roadblock is super valuable. Almost without exception, someone somewhere else on the planet will have experienced the same programming problem or error you encounter so try and see if the answers to their questions also provide a solution for you.

A good head for numbers is useful. Although, you do not need to be a mathematician to succeed on the MSc. I took maths to GCSE level and did not struggle with the math required on the MSc. What is helpful is the ability to think logically / laterally. The ability to break down human problems into logical blocks so you can convert each block into lines of code will carry you a long way.

Hi, I know everyone says the MSc Computer Science course is for beginners but I am still a little worried as I have no experience at all of coding/databases/software/Java. Is this okay?? Thanks, Carly

The MSc takes people with no previous coding background Carly so you will  be OK. I do recommend using a combination of online tutorials as well as good old fashioned text books – especially for learning to code.

Sometimes having a text book makes it easier to start from Chapter 1, jump ahead to get a flavour of what’s yet to come but then carry on where you left off at Chapter 2.

Buddy up with someone on your course so you can help each other out. Attend the labs and ask for help from the tutors – I recall them being very willing to break things down in simple terms that were easy to understand.

Coding is like driving a car though. No matter how many books you read on cars, you never really learn until you get behind the wheel and start to drive. Good luck and have fun!

A graduate of the Department of Information Science and I want to complete Master in Cyber security Will I accept?

Sorry, I don’t understand your question.

Hi Brian, How are the engineering facilities and the labs and are there any placement year?

When I was at Brum, the labs were pretty good. It’s been a while though, so I’m sure more recent students will be able to give you more relevant insights. The computers were fast. The labs were open 24/7. For the MSc conversion (the course I attended) there is no placement. I paid a visit to the careers centre within the first few weeks of arriving on campus and made sure I knew about all the juicy graduate schemes that required students with a computer science background. I applied and was really surprised by the interest that was shown in comparison to when I was applying as a BA student.

Hi Brian, I was wondering, roughly how many students are generally in the course cohort? Additionally, are the modules specific to the MSc Computer Science course, or are there students from other computer science degree programmes taking the same modules?

Hi .There were about 150 in my cohort. Some of the classes I attended were also attended students studying other computer science degrees.

Hi sir,im shivani .im from india pursuing BCA(bachelor of computer application) and i want to do my further study related to computer field . i hope you can help me to figure it out and about this course. Thankyou sir . ill ne glad if you can help me with this

It’s a great course that will enrich your study, strengthen you technically and broaden your career horizons.

Hi Brian, I was hoping you might be able to shed some light on the workload, roughly how many hours of contact time did you have per week? Did many of your classmates hold part time jobs alongside their studies? Was the masters complete by mid June as per the end of term dates or did the summer project extend into the summer months? Thanks in advance.

  • roughly how many hours of contact time did you have per week?

BD: The timetable is not untypical of a STEM subject. It should be a quick check with the faculty to find out the hours required per week.

There’s a significant “unscheduled” time commitment you’ll have to anticipate though in order to get up to speed with the software programming assignments early on in the course and then the software project you’ll have to deliver at the end of the course.

  • Did many of your classmates hold part time jobs alongside their studies?

BD: Not that I was aware of. Not to say that it isn’t possible to do a part time job and the course. But I would try and set yourself up for success by reducing distractions. If a part time job is essential for you, maybe you’ll have to cut something else out of your social timetable?

  • Was the masters complete by mid June as per the end of term dates or did the summer project extend into the summer months?

BD: This is really a 12 month course. Official term may end in June, but the people who tended to get the best results were either the naturally talented programmers or the people who allocated the summer to ensuring the software project is the very best it can be.

Best of luck!