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Returning to Full-time Education

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by wannabe, May 31, 2009.

  1. wannabe

    wannabe New Member

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    I'm pondering whether or not to return to full-time education to get a degree in computer science. The problem is attaining the entry-requirements. I believe them to be a one year full time course. However, living alone and paying the bills that come with it, I would not be able to meet this commitment.

    The part-time version is 3 years, and I can't guarantee that in 3 years I'd still have the scope to do another 3 years of full-time eduction. Ironically at which point the fees would cover all my expenses (maintenance etc [so I'm told]).

    I suppose I'm just soliciting for some advice that may open my eyes to other possibilities I may be unaware of....or for someone to shatter my dreams:(.

    Only joking. Whatever happens in life I'll be happy; getting a degree would facilitate many positive things, though.

    P.S What about OU access courses? Would it be possible to work my nuts off and complete their access courses in a year and then move on to a tangible university?
     
  2. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Not all degrees for mature students have strict entry requirements, if you are bright and have some good work experience you may not need to do a foundation year.

    Some colleges are wary of allowing you straight onto a degree course if you have no obvious education, in some cases this is justified in others not. It can depend on the course, for example for a hard science course you really do need the gounding.

    The OU has entry level modules, you are encouraged to take modules at whatever level you feel comfortable. An OU degree can be taken full or part time, generally they are taken part time and it takes 5-6 years to complete enough modules to get an honours degree.

    I believe there is some sort of national points system that allows you to transfer credit from one university to another, I'm not sure how this works however.

    It depends what you want, you can break it down into manageable sub qualifications to give yourself jump off points. You can get certs, diplomas, foundation degrees and non honours degrees on your way to a full honours degree. All of them would potentially allow you an exit strategy before 6 years.

    How old are you ? Do you work in IT ? Would you be sacrificing a large wage ? What do you hope to gain from the process ?

    Do you feel you need to do a full foundation year ? What is your current level of experience and education ?

    Theres a lot of options to consider, in general for people on a good wage I'd find reccomending leaving work for 3 years full-time hard to justify.

    Have you looked at part time foundation degree or HNC courses at local universities ? Have you looked at what the OU have to offer ?

    If you already have a degree you could consider a conversion MSc.

    You seem interested in development, I certainly would reccomend a fulltime degree to a school leaver as the ideal path, but this is an expensive option for mature students and there are unconventional routes into development positions.

    Do not underestimate the amount of effort required to get a break in the current climate, you may need to relocate nationally perhaps even internationally, you may need to submit hundreds of applications. You may be better off changing your approach and networking or taking a sideways move in order to progress. This can apply regardless of degree / no degree.

    It may be you just need to focus on your job hunt more, also be aware that many new degree qualified candidates enter the market around this time of year, your chances of success may go up later in the year when there are less candidates about.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  3. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    If you were going to go down the Access to Higher Education route, I would double check not only with the institute/college you got the info from, but also other colleges in your area. The college in our area does the Access to HE part-time in a year (2 evenings a week for 33 weeks).

    Entry requirements for mature students on part-time courses can be waived/differ from standard entry requirements as it is down to the individual colleges/Uni's and not down to UCAS.

    There is nothing wrong with OU courses/degrees. You can complete their own Access course and then move on to another Uni or stick with the OU. One thing I've found with the OpenU is that their course costs/module costs are higher than part-time degrees.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  4. wannabe

    wannabe New Member

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    I currently earn 20k as a CAD technician. But I do some programming to develop autocad customisations using C# and the autocad .NET API, although this is through my own endeavours and discretion.

    After spending about 8 or 9 months dedicating nearly all my spare time to programming, and enjoying immensely, it seems to achieve the maximum would be to do a degree whilst I can.

    I'm 23 years old, with no qualifications that are relevant and no real commitments...

    So that's my rationale.

    Cheers for the replies.

    You think I should enquire more about access courses and maybe look for some uni's that will allow me on without any quals? Is it not a bit late in the year to be applying for courses starting in Sep?
     
  5. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    Provided it's the part-time degree course (you'll do the HNC/HND->Degree route which can take 4-5 years to complete), I would say yes. And as for if it's a bit to late to be applying for courses starting in Sept, no.

    For the part-time route, you're not going to be applying directly onto the degree program, you'll be applying for the HNC part-time, this will take 2 years. Then you'll apply to do the BSc top-up which can take another 2-3 years, depending if you go for the standard degree or the Hons.

    Hope this helps :)

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  6. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Like ken said, its never too late until they tell you its too late, I turned up several weeks late to my university, they'd given up calling my name on the register ! :D

    I also know other people who had last minute jitters and changed uni's 1-2 months into their first terms.

    I'd try and get a job as a junior developer somewhere and then study part time, foundation degree for three years or part time HNC/D for two to three years.

    Failing that I'd do a fulltime foundation degree or HND fulltime for two years.

    You will however need to land that first IT job sometime and its unlikely to get that much easier.
     
    Certifications: CITP, BSc, HND, SCJP, SCJD, SCWCD, SCBCD, SCEA, N+, Sec+, Proj+, Server+, Linux+, MCTS, MCPD, MCSA, MCITP, CCDH
  7. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hi, as the guys have said, its never too late to start your degree. I got a place at Liverpool to do applied biochemistry when I was 18 after my A'Levels. Bottled it and got a job instead. I then spent 4 years gutted that I could of had a degree had I gone so started my degree part time at 22. I had mine in Computer Science at 28 and now I'm working on my Certs.
    Although I didn't follow a traditional route through my education, getting a job meant I started in IT at 20 and have been on 40k+ for the past 9 years. Basically what I'm getting at is there is no right or wrong way to go about your career so even if you do your degree part time, still apply for the roles you want.

    I'm a big fan or "learn while you earn", so are the Yanks apparently as its the only way to have both experience and a degree.

    Thats my 2 pence worth. Aim high and stay motivated and you'll get where you want to be . . . .

    Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  8. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    Is anyone else drunk or is it just me? :p:twisted::D:biggrin:D:lol:
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  9. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

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    Just you ! :p

    To the OP - I went back at 24 to do my degree and was the oldest on my course. Having been out in the "real" worl working for 6 years I did notice the students coming straight from school seemed a bit immature. It was also more difficult to mix with them as I had my own friends locally.

    From a graduation viewpoint, I was 28 and many companies turned me down from their graduate programmes due to my age ( a lot had a cut-off at 26) so bear that in mind also.

    Having said all that, you can never beat a good education and rather than worrying about entry requirements I'd concentrate on what you can get out of it and go for it ! Why not talk to your nearest Uni/College of FE and you'll find you can usually speak to one of the admission tutors for advice and guidance on your entry given your background.
     
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  10. Sco0t

    Sco0t Byte Poster

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    A questions I've been wondering regarding this topic, is it worth getting your honours. I'm just about to get my degree and want to know how more benefically is it in the long run?
     
    Certifications: Bsc Net/Sys Support, HND Tech Support
    WIP: Network+
  11. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I almost finished with my Hons, however due to personal circumstances had to drop out half way thru (I was aiming for a 2.2 or 2.1) and didn't want to do another year, at alone repeat another year. So I graduated with a standard BSc, I have to say that I really haven't noticed the difference, I'm an IT Manager & I received my Chartered status (CITP).

    I think in the short term it would be more benefical to you especially if you're going to do a Masters or migrate to another country relatively soon afterwards. However in the long term with experience & further education/your CPD what I've noticed is a degree is a degree, unless you're going for a graduate program, I haven't seen requirements of a Hon's - just a degree.

    -Ken
     
    Certifications: CITP, PGCert, BSc, HNC, LCGI, PTLLS, MCT, MCITP, MCTS, MCSE, MCSA:M, MCSA, MCDST, MCP, MTA, MCAS, MOS (Master), A+, N+, S+, ACA, VCA, etc... & 2nd Degree Black Belt
    WIP: PGDip
  12. jk2447

    jk2447 Petabyte Poster Moderator

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    I agree with you entirely Ken. My degree is only a basic degree. I just chose not to sit the final year as I wanted to get some Certs under my belt as I seen enough of my friends with no degree at all but CCNP's and MCSE's doing really great for themselves. I suppose moral of the story is, its about you and how you carry yourself. An ignorant or boring person with a flawless CV wouldn't go far in our place, or in a social respect either. Its hard to know what to do for the best so do what you like the look of and if it turns out not to be the best option, at least you did it your way. Jim
     
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), HND IT, HND Computing, ITIL-F, MBCS CITP, MCP (270,290,291,293,294,298,299,410,411,412) MCTS (401,620,624,652) MCSA:Security, MCSE: Security, Security+, CPTS, VCP4, CCA (XenApp6.5), MCSA 2012, VCP5, VCP6-NV
  13. wannabe

    wannabe New Member

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    I'm going for it. Cheers for all the inspiring and insightful words.

    Gonna do a part time Access course for a year and then apply for a degree at whichever uni's will have me and are the most credible.

    I guess my current CAD and programming skills might help me get part time, or freelance, work whilst at uni. Whatever the case, I'm a healthy eater who thinks positive,- I'll be all right :)

    Thanks everyone.
     

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