The IT Programme deals with the principles underlying computing, including the structure and nature of computers themselves, the development and use of programming languages, and the application of computers as tools in problem-solving. This technical knowledge is complemented by skills in a specialist area (viz. Mathematics, Science, Bioinformatics, Engineering or Business), chosen according to interest and career goals. Bioinformatics is a new specialization which is now offered because of world-wide demand and the government’s call to make this a research and development priority.
Who would be interested in this Programme?
The Programme is designed for students who wish to become IT professionals, equipped with technical knowledge to prepare them for immediate employment in the industry as well as the skills and abilities to cope with a changing computing environment throughout their life. If you are interested in computers, enjoy solving puzzles, with a numerical aptitude and the ability to be precise, then you are ideally suited to the IT Programme. There is no requirement that you should have done Computer Studies at school or indeed any previous exposure to computers or programming.
What courses will you take?
There are 5 fields of Specialisation offered:
Applied Computing is a preparation for inter-disciplinary work reliant on computing,
Bioinformatics provides the core skills for using computation to integrate and analyse biological data.
Business Computing is geared toward IT careers in business.
Computer Engineering is a software/hardware combination
Computer Science is aimed at those wanting a future in research or academic fields.
Compulsory Courses: The following courses are compulsory in the IT Programme: 2 semester courses in Computer Science in each year and 2 semester courses in Mathematics in the first year.
Additional Core Courses depend on your choice of curriculum:
In Applied Computing any other major is taken, such as another Science or psychology (for a future focus on Human-Computer Interaction, Virtual Reality or Artifical Intelligence etc.
The Bioinformatics curriculum combines courses in computer science, biology, mathematics chemistry, statistics and biochemistry with specialised training in bioinformatics.
The Computer Science curriculum requires courses in Mathematics or Statistics or Applied Mathematics in each year of study.
The Computer Engineering curriculum involves courses in electronics and microprocessors in the second and third year.
The Business Computing curriculum requires Accounting and Economics in first year and additional business-oriented courses in senior years.
In addition, these curricula will include a semester course on Environment and Structure of Business and workshops on Professional Communication. It is also possible to take senior courses from other programmes in the Science Faculty, and even from other Faculties.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
The Computer Science curriculum is targeted at those who wish to become academics, researchers or IT specialists (in computer networks, computer graphics, etc.). Applied Computing careers include computational chemistry, computational physics, Geographical Information Systems etc. The Bioinformatics curriculum provides students with a broad scientific education and they will be ideally placed to benefit from the advanced training opportunities in bioinformatics coordinated by the National Bioinformatics Network and to participate at the leading edge of molecular biology research within South Africa. This “New Biology” is characterized by the exploration of vast amounts of information generated by global collaborations such as the Human Genome Sequencing Project. Computer Engineering is a software/hardware combination for careers in computer support and for systems engineers. Lastly, the Business Computing curriculum aims at IT consultancy, IT management and systems analyst positions. Employers include companies dealing with software development and consulting; the insurance, oil, manufacturing and distribution industries; computer hardware and software companies, local authorities; private and state-funded research institutes; the CSIR, the MRC, technikons, universities and private training institutions.