guaranteed job cao
Image: janews/Shutterstock

What should I study that will give me a guaranteed job?

31 Jan 2017

The first CAO deadline is almost here and, while students mull over their options, there’s no doubt that some courses will yield more jobs than others.

They say that money doesn’t buy happiness. Follow your dreams. If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

While ‘they’ are not wrong, it would be naïve to think that students these days are not thinking about the viability of their dream jobs and degree choices.

As such, we’ve taken a look at five of the areas with the biggest skills gaps at the moment and broken them down. Skills gaps mean talented, educated candidates pretty much have guaranteed job opportunities when they leave college.

If you want to fill your CAO form in with choices that will have plenty of job opportunities in the foreseeable future, these are the areas you need to look at.

Data analytics

Data science and data analytics in particular are both hugely expanding fields at the moment. According to James Milligan, IT director of Hays Recruitment: “As organisations continue to build out their analytics and data science functions, they seek to hire graduates with a strong mathematics or statistics background. Any work experience is viewed positively, as is the ability to use SQL and advanced Excel skills.”

Degrees in computer science, data science, mathematics or physics will help you on this career track. Salaries start at between €25,000 and €35,000, depending on level of degree and experience.


There are currently more than 20 pharmacology courses in Ireland. “It involves the study of drugs, substances produced naturally within the human body, food additives and agricultural components like insecticide,” said Elaine Nicholson, life sciences associate consultant at Hays.

“Pharmacology graduates typically pursue a career in research and development within the life sciences sector.”

Pharmacology graduates are looking at a salary range of between €40,000 and €45,000.

Software development

“There is high demand for graduates who can develop front-end/back-end websites,” said Milligan. “Employers normally look for some experience in college, an internship or a personal project using one of the core languages such as: CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, Java or .net.”

There is a huge number of software development, computer programming and IT degrees available across the country to put on your CAO form. A graduate position in software development would earn you a salary of between €28,000 and €35,000.

Civil/structural engineering

“The recent growth in the construction sector has seen an unprecedented demand for civil/structural engineering graduates,” according to Ferdia White, manager at Hays.

“Employers will look for candidates with strong project work in university. Graduates are most likely to find employment in the construction industry, whether it be with a consultancy or contractor.”

Engineering courses are available in most third-level institutions, many of which have civil or structural engineering degrees specifically. Salaries can range from €25,000 to €35,000.


It’s no surprise that a career in cybersecurity made this list. With data breaches, system hacks and phishing scams becoming more prominent, companies are looking to control cybercrime with talented IT security consultants.

There are specific degrees in digital forensics, cybersecurity and computer security, but a more general degree in computer science or IT can always be topped up with further study if you want the career option without limiting yourself too soon. Salaries in cybersecurity can range between €35,000 and €50,000, depending on your experience and education.

Looking for jobs in tech or science? Check out our Employer Profiles for information on companies hiring right now and sign up for our Career Republic e-zine for a weekly digest of sci-tech careers news and advice.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading