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Student Blog: Building my Career in IT and Computing

‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.’ 
– Steve JOBS

After being stuck in a career that I didn’t enjoy, and wasn’t making a lot of money at, I decided to look back and see where I had “failed.” I was a very good student at university, and got a BA(Hons) in American literature and Cultural Studies, and then started studying for a Master’s in American Literature…2 months into the first semester I decided I was bored with basically studying the same things from a different perspective again. Fresh out of school, I didn’t have a lot of money. Rent was due, credit card payments were due, and worst of all I didn’t know what career path I wanted to pursue. So, I started doing odd jobs to pay the bills. Just like everybody else I wanted a stable income and decided to get an ESL teaching licence. Got that and started working as a corporate teacher, literally the following day I quit my Master’s program. Back then I was making good money, teaching General Managers, Department managers, and engineering teams on how to speak and write better at their jobs. But within 2 years I decided that this wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I got envious of my students; they were going on business trips overseas, using the latest technology at work, going to big global conventions, and earning quite a decent income.

I had been bitten by the bug! I wanted that career… I wanted a job like that. I was smart enough, I was hard-working enough and I spoke more languages than they did! I was a perfect match for a STEM career on a global scale, or so I thought. I lacked the technical skills and credentials. I started researching schools and my options to change careers, but it’s never that easy. I would have to quit my job if I wanted to go back to university full-time and tuition fees were so expensive. I had been making the same excuses for 7 years!!!

Then finally, while I was on lunchbreak at work, I went to Starbucks and grabbed myself a chair. On the next table, there were two software guys with their laptops. They were discussing code and things like how to proceed, what to change, options, possibilities, creativity, innovation. I was eavesdropping and I must confess I enjoyed every second of it. I had this overwhelming feeling that I really wanted to be like them. They were using keywords that I have always enjoyed such as: change, possibilities, creativity, innovation, improvement!  I wanted to be in that world and do what they were doing! I had made up my mind!

After my teaching job, I went home and started doing research on coding and computer science. I found a few HTML and CSS courses online and worked on them and I was amazed at how easy it was! A few late nights later, I had put together a basic website and had even inserted some JavaScript effects! I loved it! I needed more. I started writing ‘Hello World’ in Pascal (programming language). I loved every minute of it. I knew I had found my calling. Immediately, I started talking to friends, asking them what they knew about computer science, programming schools, people who worked in software development etc. anything that I could think of to gather information to make my next move. Eventually, I was led to a career college, that had a 12-month full-time Web and Android App Development programme. The college was extremely expensive but there was no turning back. I was determined to study full-time and work 30 hours a week to change my life. I knew that one year would fly by.

Within a month, there I was, sitting in front of a Mac, coding websites with an instructor, and 4 other students from around the world. It was fun! It was creative! I enjoyed every single day of it and went to my teaching job with a smile. Eventually, the course got harder, but I did my best, keeping a job, paying the bills, and studying full-time. 12 months later I was done. But did I feel ready to become a true software developer? No, I knew wasn’t ready. I needed to learn more and improve.

I couldn’t afford to go to school full-time anymore, as it had been just too expensive and draining, both physically and mentally. I started to consider distance learning, and found Online Business School. After emailing OBS and asking questions, and comparing their fees to other online schools, I decided to enrol on the Level 4 IT and Computing diploma programme which I have loved so far. I have been doing well, I have been studying hard and soon I am going to move on to Computing Level 5, and eventually hope to top up my diploma to a full BSc (Hons) in Computing – online as well!

In conclusion, I have realised that learning in computer science never stops. Technology and requirements change constantly and swiftly; a single learning resource is not enough to stay up to date in this industry. I am learning from various sources to improve my mobile development and general computing skills. My final words of wisdom: always keep in mind that it’s not the credential you own that will write great code – it is you! The credential is always good to have (if not a must-have). Keep studying and keep improving if you want to be a part of the IT and Computing world! Good luck everyone!

Five typical jobs for IT graduates

Whether you’re coding sites or developing software, the IT sector is dynamic. If you’re technically minded, then a career in IT can be financially – and personally – rewarding.

Here are five common roles you might find yourself in as a IT graduate.

  1. Software developer

A software developer plays a key role in the design, installation, testing and maintenance of software systems. You will develop a range of software solutions, from operating systems and databases to mobile applications and games. You will find employment across many industry sectors, from finance and retail to engineering, transport and public organisations, so the projects you work on can be highly varied.

  1. IT Consultant

An IT consultant works to improve the efficiency of IT systems in various organisations. You will provide technical expertise and strategic guidance to industrial and commercial clients. You may be responsible for designing and installing new systems, repairing computer problems and training new users. The main appeal of consulting for many people is that you work on new and different projects all the time.

  1. Web developer

A web developer builds a website fashioning everything from the home page to site layout and function. Responsibilities include coding and modifying the site, fixing bugs and running performance tests. This type of work is particularly rewarding for those who want to balance technical challenges with creative work.

  1. Network engineer

Network engineers are responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining communication systems for an organisation, both internally and externally. Tasks may involve installing new software, overseeing security of all the accounts and fixing network faults. This is one of the more demanding IT jobs as it is a highly technical role.

  1. Systems analyst

A systems analyst examines an organisation’s current computer systems and designs new information solutions to improve business efficiency and productivity. Typical duties include undertaking product development, overseeing the configuration of new systems and conducting testing. This role requires a mix of business and technical knowledge.

 

Check out our Undergraduate Level 4/5 IT and Computing Diploma. This course is designed to equip you with the skills you need to top up to a full Undergraduate Degree and go on to become an IT professional.