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General Chat Thread, What are the alternatives to Uni? in General; Hopefully *fingers crossed* I have a job lined up for next year which is working as a network tech at ...
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    mdench's Avatar
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    Smile What are the alternatives to Uni?

    Hopefully *fingers crossed* I have a job lined up for next year which is working as a network tech at a school. Now my original plan was to work for the year and then go to uni but I personally never saw myself going to uni and the thought of it doesn't really interest me...

    So i guess my questions are:

    a) Would you recommend going to uni?

    b) what different options do i have to build upon the experience i already have - ie Microsoft courses etc? and could you named a few



    Just trying to work through my options as If i can I would prefer to work and build upon it as i go always been the way i have done things and its worked so far for me, rather sit through another 3 or 4 years of education but i will if i think it will benefit in the long run

    Cheers for the help

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    I went to uni and done two degrees in networking.

    I really wished i didnt bother , instead i wished some one could have told me that for this job the better way is to do the high end MS courses .

    You already have a job lined up which is great , get some experience and see what job roles you can get after that .

    I doubt after working for a year you will want to go back to uni/school.

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    jamesbmarshall's Avatar
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    You're probably going to get a variety of different opinions here, so I will add mine to the mix.

    I left school at 18 with two A-Levels and went straight into work as an IT technician at a local school - I'd got my place at Uni reserved and deferred for a year and I genuinely planned to go.

    The problem is that money is an incredible incentive to buy things, and I bought a car on finance and as the months progressed I was so artificially happy with my new-found employment, money and car that I began believing that Uni wasn't quite so necessary after all. After a year at my first job I moved to a different school in the same authority where after a period I became Network Manager; who needs a degree, right?

    I didn't earn very much though, and certainly couldn't afford the things that I really wanted (like my own place, or a nice holiday) - I was young, inexperienced, unqualified and above all: cheap. It was only thanks to my girlfriend at the time that I made a complete career change decision and dropped it all to go to Uni. Even though it is expensive, and even though you might not think it is worth it, getting a degree is important if you want to have a career working for big companies, and especially if you want to work abroad. At Uni you'll meet a whole range of different people, have new and exciting experiences, and be exposed to opportunities you will never get working in a public sector job. It isn't just about the studying - it's everything else that comes with it.

    People used to say to me that university years are the best years of your life, and I always thought of it as a load of guff. They are right though - and you're only young once! You can always go and work for a local authority, or a services company, academy group, etc., once you graduate.

    My advice, to sum up: if your heart is set on it, take the gap year and work, but make 100% sure you go to Uni if you can. It will change your life!

    Also - network. Even if you ignore what I've said above, Uni is only half of the job, building up a strong network of friends and contacts is important. Twitter, blogging, events, etc. played just as much of a part of me working at Microsoft as my time at university.

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    garethedmondson (11th April 2012)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I think it depends entirely on each individual. Education, whether it's secondary, further or university doesn't always hit the spot; some people can't learn in that way. Plenty of people do and can, and go on to do better things, however you'll only know if it was right or not in hindsight. Plenty of people go to uni, pick up some fairly impressive bits of paper and have nothing to show for it 10 years later because it's not a ticket to automatic success like it was 50 or 60 years ago. Plus a fairly sizable debt that goes with it to boot.
    Some people are just more vocationally minded. They have an idea and they want to achieve it as soon as possible. Sometimes, "good things come to those that wait", sometimes they need to take the bull by the horns. Again, this isn't a bad thing, getting into your line of work whilst you still have wet ears is a great way of building up experience, something a lot of employers find attractive. Sometimes more so than paper qualifications, sometimes not. Depends on the employer.
    There's the cost side of it - if you have a very set plan, then it will often be more beneficial, financially and educationally to go on courses for the subjects you wish. If you still have yet to make up a mind, then the broader education of most Uni subjects can open the doors for you a little more.
    It's going to be impossible for anyone to say what's exactly right for you, because only you know what your goals are, or at least what direction you want to kick at. Personally, I went straight into being a tech straight out of school and haven't regretted it one bit (only started in Edu 3 years ago). I originally wanted to go into Uni however the more I looked at the options the more I didn't like the idea. In hindsight, I'm over the moon I didn't take that option because only after my education did I find out that it wouldn't have benefited me anyway. But that's just me and my slightly odd mind.

    Oh, for a time machine for us all!

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    I loved Uni, and despite the cliché it was also some of the best times of my life. I am however someone that loves to learn, and always have done. I enjoyed school and college so uni was a logical next step. I was also very lucky - I graduated with a good Masters degree from a good university and stepped into a well paying NM role. I've managed to move on from there fairly quickly. I know from talking to people that interviewed and shortlisted me that they did so because I was so well qualified, but it's not what everyone is looking for!

    If your not the studying type then uni probably isn't for you and I'd be looking into working your way up within a company and gaining tangible experience and MS/Cisco/ANOther vendor qualifications.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    Perhaps look at open uni and do an open degree, based on modules you want to do. I am looking at this as a serious option as I want a degree but do not want to be tied down to one area.

    I have a HNC in ICT, which I am transferring and will be continuing doing modules in ethnobotany, engineering, media and biology. So my degree will cover 5 areas in total.

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    garethedmondson (11th April 2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesbmarshall View Post
    You're probably going to get a variety of different opinions here, so I will add mine to the mix.

    I left school at 18 with two A-Levels and went straight into work as an IT technician at a local school - I'd got my place at Uni reserved and deferred for a year and I genuinely planned to go.

    The problem is that money is an incredible incentive to buy things, and I bought a car on finance and as the months progressed I was so artificially happy with my new-found employment, money and car that I began believing that Uni wasn't quite so necessary after all. After a year at my first job I moved to a different school in the same authority where after a period I became Network Manager; who needs a degree, right?

    I didn't earn very much though, and certainly couldn't afford the things that I really wanted (like my own place, or a nice holiday) - I was young, inexperienced, unqualified and above all: cheap. It was only thanks to my girlfriend at the time that I made a complete career change decision and dropped it all to go to Uni. Even though it is expensive, and even though you might not think it is worth it, getting a degree is important if you want to have a career working for big companies, and especially if you want to work abroad. At Uni you'll meet a whole range of different people, have new and exciting experiences, and be exposed to opportunities you will never get working in a public sector job. It isn't just about the studying - it's everything else that comes with it.

    People used to say to me that university years are the best years of your life, and I always thought of it as a load of guff. They are right though - and you're only young once! You can always go and work for a local authority, or a services company, academy group, etc., once you graduate.

    My advice, to sum up: if your heart is set on it, take the gap year and work, but make 100% sure you go to Uni if you can. It will change your life!

    Also - network. Even if you ignore what I've said above, Uni is only half of the job, building up a strong network of friends and contacts is important. Twitter, blogging, events, etc. played just as much of a part of me working at Microsoft as my time at university.
    I have to say I've had a similar experience with this, but I'm now working for a FTSE 100 company, in a successful secure role, on a good wage, and plan to do an open degree - because I want to - rather than because I feel I have to. Everyone I know who has joined the company at the bottom rung since I started has a degree. I started on that bottom rung over 5 years ago, and I'm still climbing. I have no Uni debt, and I'm 7 years ahead. I'm not saying there won't come a point where I'm stuck and can't get any higher because I don't have a degree, but if i'm happy what does it matter? And if I'm not, I'll sort that at the time.

    As people have said, it affects different people in different ways and all the opinions and advice here are completely valid.
    I know that I wouldn't of made it to the end of uni successfuly because I'm just not the academic type and had simply decided it wasn't for me. My heart was in my work, though, and that's what's got me this far. If you go into making any of these decisions half heartedly because you think it's the best thing to do (according to society or the masses) but you're not committed to it yourself, you'll not get very far. So whatever you do and for whatever time period, give it your all, and it will work.

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    mdench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2097 View Post
    I went to uni and done two degrees in networking.

    I really wished i didnt bother , instead i wished some one could have told me that for this job the better way is to do the high end MS courses .

    You already have a job lined up which is great , get some experience and see what job roles you can get after that .

    I doubt after working for a year you will want to go back to uni/school.
    Do you have any links or anything to where i can look at these MS courses?

    Cheers to everyone is definitely giving some things to think about

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdench View Post
    What are the alternatives to Uni?
    You could investigate doing a degree abroad - you can roam around the whole EU, some European countries have very reasonable fees and some universities even do courses taught entirely in English to cater to the market for English students. You could always look at North America or Australia, too, if languages just aren't your thing.

    As other people have suggested, you could do a degree with the Open University. Personally, I think the best way to go about that would be to find some other like-minded students to house share with in an existing student town. As a student you'd probably be able to register to use another university's library and other facilities, too, so you could get the whole university experience but on the cheap. The Open University is a good university, too, generally accepted to be in the top 10 or 20 teaching universities, so you would be getting a proper degree.

    This being computing we're talking about here, you could always simply skip the degree and get on with running your own startup. If you don't feel like running one yourself, go and work for one:

    Home - Silicon Milkroundabout

    For something like the above you'll need a portfolio of work you'll be able to show to prospective employers - you could spend your year working on having a really top-notch portfolio ready to take round recruitment fairs next september time.

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    There's a life experience aspect of going on to. Uni and living away from home at 19 or 20 that you don't get from doing
    A distance learning form of study...

    It's also the case that statistically your more likely to earn more over your career, but more specifically placements on graduate trainee schemes are available if you meet the academic standards expected by the prospective employer. This could be in finance, law, IT consultancy and various other area that might not otherwise be available if you don't go the uni route. sure you can work your way up over a number of years without being a lucky one who's being trained up a s a graduate professional, through a combination of diligence and luck but I would think it's more common for the very well renumerated jobs to be filled by graduate professionals eventually.

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    garethedmondson (11th April 2012)

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    Degrees provide the degree holder with a well rounded CV when mixed with:

    1) Good well rounded experiance

    2) Technical certificates:

    a ) Management/service certs - ITIL v 3 Foundation / Prince
    b ) Technical - MCITP, MCTS, Security +, CCNA etc

    Ive done a fair amount of job searching over the years and generally ive made up my mind that degrees are on the required section of job adverts in most higher level jobs such as the 'manager'. Some may even ask for masters. Infact a cousin of mine couldn't have risen further in his career without a MBA as his bosses and future jobs required it as standard! Degrees can can also be useful at all levels of your career. If you wanted to join a graduate scheme which pay very well for entry grads up to 40k for banking it jobs for example. It also shows the employer you have reached a certain level of proficenency and have a level of intelligence in order to actually gain an academic qualification.

    I would say if you want to progress you career perhaps in the later years of your career a degree is quite important to get you through the first round of cvs in the bin. Perhaps you could look at doing PT studying whilst working. You could also during this time do soft skill certs which probs wont expire any time soon like ITIL v 3. Or perhaps fill out your cv with a few easy MOS certs. Also looking into is a FT degree with a placement year allowing you to bulk up your cv with a year in a possible blue chip company.
    Last edited by DadRocks; 9th April 2012 at 03:24 PM.

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    I had the chance of going Uni but chose not too purely because I believe bits of paper are not always the way to go and experience is better, every IT job I have been in and gone for very rarely ask for any "bits of paper" - I've even heard a previous employer say to me they don’t touch Uni people...., when I interview people I really don’t care how much\many qualifications they got from Uni, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to me.

    We recently took on a guy for one of the schools we run and he's bloody brilliant, he's no smart a$$ but he's intelligent and willing to learn (didn’t go Uni), the 2 other guys we interviewed went Uni but from interviewing them they just didn’t cut it.

    "Uni IT Grads" put me off when interviewing them, a lot of them seem to think I've been Uni, I've got a degree, I know what I am doing - wrong!

    If you want to work within IT (Support or Management side) I would recommend experience is the way to go, that’s what I did and I'm in a very good place and working with some wonderful people!

    Now some people will come back and disagree\moan\trash\argue and get all emotional with me but I am a prime example of not going Uni and doing very well, I also find most none-uni people do better in there careers than a uni person.
    Last edited by IanT; 9th April 2012 at 03:27 PM.

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    I didn't go to uni, I'm not really sure why but I chose to do an HND instead. It hasn't harmed my career, I'm earning good money and have enough experiance that I doubt a lack of a degree will hurt me much as far as IT jobs in this country go.

    However....I really regret not going, REALLY regret it. Ok I might have been a year or 2 behind where I am now earnings wise, and would have had a large student loan, but I think it would have done me the world of good when I was younger - its only in the last few years I would say I am a confident person, uni probably would have sped that up a lot. And from talking to plenty of graduates, it does genuinely sound like 'the best years of your life'

    Also, I would really like to work abroad in the next few years, not necessarily in IT, but I'm finding that my lack of a degree could be quite a big disadvantage away from these shores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder View Post
    I didn't go to uni, I'm not really sure why but I chose to do an HND instead. It hasn't harmed my career, I'm earning good money and have enough experiance that I doubt a lack of a degree will hurt me much as far as IT jobs in this country go.

    However....I really regret not going, REALLY regret it. Ok I might have been a year or 2 behind where I am now earnings wise, and would have had a large student loan, but I think it would have done me the world of good when I was younger - its only in the last few years I would say I am a confident person, uni probably would have sped that up a lot. And from talking to plenty of graduates, it does genuinely sound like 'the best years of your life'

    Also, I would really like to work abroad in the next few years, not necessarily in IT, but I'm finding that my lack of a degree could be quite a big disadvantage away from these shores.
    If your young and thinking of doing a degree then moving away from hom and coping with all the new ways of life is part of the experiance. Thats the thing your not just going for a degree your going to develop as a person! Though this only counts for the younger of us. Degrees also teach you to write in a professional way, making you think in a certain way and develop your reports in the right way! You develop ways of thinking and researching not all those who have gone to uni can do.

    Networking is another important thing which comes with Uni!

    I also worked abroad and without the degrees I did have I wouldnt have been able to work abroad.

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    Personally think it's down to you as an individual. I went uni and really enjoyed the "uni lifestyle", Do I think £30k~ is worth it for a bit of paper? Well hard to say really.

    Although it may not help you in a job as IT tech etc, if you ever decide to go for promotions, or a change in career it shows you have proof you can study/learn etc etc.

    I know a lot of people say MS/Cisco certs etc are better, and that's fair enough, they may show more for an IT tech position, but if you ever decide to go into something else, e.g. Software Developer, Will a Windows 7 (insert "other) cert, or a course on the fundementals and basics of programming etc etc help more? End of day how long does a cert "truly" last?

    Guess it really comes down to yourself, Do you have the patience to finish uni, and get a degree/debt etc, which hopefully should give you access to any "IT" job, or do you want to get into work instantly, earn some cash, and progress as it goes but "may" find issues moving into new careers unless they're directly related to your position.

    End of day, both certs and degrees cost a fair amount of cash (If you're aiming for the higher certs), whether this is in official courses, books, online subs etc.

    Personally I'd go for the uni side, and then if in the future you want a certain course, do that after. I like the freedom of having a wider variety of potential paths in the future, if for any reason a job is lost, or you need to move house/quit etc.

    But anyway, both have advantages, both have disadvantages Your opinions must be telling you one way?

    Steve

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