I have just been accepted into a university in Melbourne to study a bachelor of computer science (fully online as I work full-time).
Are there any Aussies (or anyone knowing the Aus job market) working in the industry who may be able to pass on some advice?
I want to know if this is the best road to take for a developer job. I really enjoy learning code, whatever the language but I am very new to it.
Bit of background, I work in finance and I already have a bachelor of commerce. 26 years old.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
I can’t actually offer any advice that your original question asked for (someone who has experience or working in the industry)—but when I looked into this about half a year ago, I came to the conclusion that getting a CS degree isn’t the way to go for me; it may be worthwhile to consider the following:
- A university degree is another couple of years of investment both financially and temporally
- The general consensuse appears to be that a CS degree is that you do learn programming but its primary focus is on learning the theory of how computer-related things work; in terms of building fun and useful things, good, solid programming boot camps appears to be the way to go. These opinions could be biased as most of the article I read are written by people who have been/are involved in communities such as FCC (naturally so)—but every now and then articles that appear on Medium do suggest that there are employers who don’t care about formal qualifications
- What kind of developer you want to become and in which sector you want to want to work in (or perhaps starting your own business)? If I’m not mistaken some programming languages are preferred in certain sectors, particular if you are considering non-web applications—I can’t offer advice on this but I’m sure there are people on the forum who can
- Have you considered a coding boot camp instead? If a certificate is very important to you, or if you are not a disciplined self-learner, Coder Factor Academy offers a diploma in IT (apparently they are the only accredited coding boot camp in Australia—that way you can also get HELP if you need to). They offer free introductory courses regularly so you can get a feel for it and see if you like it, too. (Disclaimer: I’m in no way associated with Coder Factory Academy in any way—I just happened to have spent a lot of time looking into this before I decided to go with FCC)
I should probably stop before I start ranting about our, uh, amazingly innovative government. Oops, I just kind of did.
EDIT-2: Changed wording slightly to reflect that it’s based on my own experience, it was originally a little too biased
I’m not an Aussie, but I also went back for my second bachelor’s in CS in my mid-twenties and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.
@ArielLeslie, would it be possible to elaborate a little more on whether or not it’s because of the type of work that you intended to/are doing? In addition, what would be your opinion on taking CS courses as supplements while learning to code?
Thank you very much in advance!
- I thrive in a traditional academic structure, relative to autodidacticism.
- I do not know if I would have been able to make the career change I did (or at least as effectively as I did) if left to my own devices.
- The material presented in my courses could have been found inexpensively, but the degree structure also told me what to study, why it mattered, and how it all tied together.
- I enjoyed much of the coursework that was not language-focused, and I have seen value in that material in my work as a developer. Even the courses that I did not enjoy (I’ll be happy if I never have to write in Assembly again) gave me a better understanding of what I’m doing.
- Additionally, as a software engineer, most prospective employers expected me to have this more rounded background.
- I benefited from the resources that my university offered:free tutoring, access to professors, networking events, job fairs, and the career center (to name a few).
- While not a career requirement, a traditional degree does open a lot more doors - especially at the junior level. I would not have received an interview at my current company - or many of the other that I interviewed with - without a STEM field bachelor’s.
- As a student, I was able to work as a (paid) intern during my degree progress. This not only allowed for me to pay for most of my tuition without loans, but also meant that when I was looking for my “first” job I had 3 years of relevant experience.
- I just liked it. It was interesting, challenging, and rewarding.
There are a number of reasons why someone might choose not to pursue a traditional 4-year degree, and many people are extremely successful pursuing other paths. I can only speak to my own circumstances and experience. I do not regret going back to school and have never questioned whether the costs (tangible and intangible) were a worthwhile investment.