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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Students in computer labs
Students in computer labs

What is Computing and Information Technology (CIT)?

CIT is a broad computing degree in that it not only covers the software side of computing but also the technical side, which involves keeping a computing system running.  For example, every organisation of a certain size needs someone to keep the system running on a day-to-day basis (often referred to as a system administrator), by backing up information, setting up email accounts, networking printers to computers and generally maintaining the equipment.  This could be any organisation such as a bank, hospital, commercial company etc.  Software companies also require system administrators, as they need people to keep their systems running too.  Some CIT graduates also work in software companies testing the software produced by the company before it is delivered to the customer/released onto the market.

What is the difference between Business Information Technology (BIT) and Computing Information Technology (CIT)?

BIT places more emphasis on the business side of things in an IT company. It basically looks at how companies can make the most of IT systems.  CIT is a more technical course than BIT. If a BIT and a CIT graduate were employed in the same company, the BIT graduate is more likely to be employed in a job such as project management or sales or marketing – their role is to deal with customers and advise them on their IT systems, or they could be involved in growing the business. The CIT graduate may be employed to manage the company’s own IT system – they would therefore set up email accounts, back up information, fix computers that have broken down, network computers to printers etc. They could also be involved in developing and/or testing of software. Both courses include some programming but not as much as the Computer Science, Software Engineering and Computer Games Development degrees, which would lead mainly to jobs as programmers/software developers for software development companies.

Software and Electronic Systems Engineering combines software and hardware, so they develop the hardware in the first place and write the software to make the hardware work.

What is the difference between Computing Information Technology (CIT) and Computer Science, Software Engineering, Software and Electronic Systems Engineering, and Computer Games Development?

CIT involves programming (just like these other degrees) but  focuses additionally on the more technical side of computing systems, including  maintenance and administration  CIT graduates may also gain jobs as software developers although are less likely to do so, compared to those on these other degrees.  CIT is also the ideal degree to do if you want to become a website developer.

What if I am not sure which course to choose between Computing and Information Technology and the other computing degrees at Queen’s?

You have no need to worry!  Computing and Information Technology, Computer Science, Software Engineering and Computer Games Development share a common core of modules in first year, so you may transfer between them at the end of first year, subject to the normal progression criteria.  Students who do not hold an A-Level in Mathematics or Physics (or equivalent qualification) and wish to transfer to the Computer Games Development degree from these other degrees need to pass an additional Mathematics exam. 

Just remember that Software and Electronic Systems Engineering and Business Information Technology do not share a common core of modules with the above courses in first year, so if you are trying to make up your mind between applying for CIT or one of these two courses, you may need to give it a bit more thought about which course you would prefer to do.

What is a typical timetable for a first year CIT student?

Modules covered include topics such as multimedia, programming, computer architecture and the science of computing. Each semester students will have approximately 14 hours of class including lectures, practicals and tutorials. Students are encouraged to spend a lot of time on individual study and work on assignments and have meetings with their teams for group based assignments.

Do CIT students complete a placement year?

As with all computing degrees at Queen’s CIT students are required to undertake a placement year (optional for overseas students). There is a vast amount of help available for students to gain placement and our department has links with over 500 companies. The placement for CIT students provides the opportunity for the student to gain experience of the business world, put into practice what they have learnt and develop employability and technical skills.

What type of job roles do CIT graduates do?

Typical roles for an IT professional include: design of IT architectures, integration of software and hardware products with organisational needs and infrastructure network administration and security, design of web pages and development of multimedia resources, maintenance, upgrade and repair of computer assets and support of IT users. The course will also equip graduates to pursue research/ further study within the IT academic discipline.

What sort of companies do CIT graduates secure employment with?

CIT graduates are employed with a wide range of companies.  Examples include Bank of Ireland, Belfast City Council, Citi, Cybersource, Kainos, NYSE and Microsoft to name just a few.