It's been something I've been pondering in the past, and it's just come up again. Distance learning, and qualifications. First, some history.
I'm 34, I've been working with computers since I started at 17, both freelance and contracted within education. Primary and secondary, some infant school work. Everything from maintenance, to repair, to upgrades, software, deployment..and an enjoyable stint as a resource tech, repairing electronics and electricals.
"Official" qualifications come down to a BTEC Nat in comp. Studies (at 17), and I did the A+ several years ago, but never actually sat the final exam..or actually, I may have...I certainly recall sitting an exam on a PC, in a crowded room...but never had anything come of it on paper..heyho.
Now, my job as it stands is very wide-ranging..repair, maintenance, user support, deployment, IP phone management, and so on..and I feel it may be a good plan to "nail down" things a little in a more official way. And refresh that which I haven't used in a long time.
However, I'm primary child transport, I have one toddler of 2 and a new arrival scheduled to arrive in 11 weeks, which limits my options (but family first, as always, no contest).
Given that I already work a full week in addition to transport duties, distance learning appeals more - I can fit it in around the family easily. There is a Pearson-Vue/Prometric centre at Telford College that I can easily get to (3 minutes from the in-laws), so I could easily sit an evening exam there, with minimal inconvenience to the missus/childcare.
What suggestions can anyone chuck in the ring? Hardware is..well..much of a muchness nowadays, yes? So possibly software..or customer support..argh, I have no idea if I'm honest, heh. Cost will be another factor - Missus will be on Mat.Leave, so money will be restricted (on purpose, not through need necessarily).
I'm not sure what aspect you want advice on. What provider, what sort of course, what sort of level ... ?
In your shoes I'd probably look at degree courses offered by the OU and I'd look for something I'd enjoy studying rather than something necessarily work related. In IT once you have 10 years experience, qualifications are of less importance than experience and technology moves so fast that a qualification that is of interest to employers now, will likely be seen as old and dusty in 5 years. A degree though will always act to 'tick the box' - many job specs list that level as a criteria and it can be totally non negotiable even though the actual degree won't matter a damn.