Distance learning: Best CS degrees out there

techedemic

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
80
Hi all,

I've got roughly 10 years experience in the IT industry but my only official qualifications are things like CCNA, RHCSA, one or two Microsoft Certs, ITIL Foundations, MikroTIK, and more along those lines...

My job role includes everything from doing small amounts of code (mostly in C#, HTML/JavaScript/Jquery, PHP and some scripting languages like Perl/Bash), monitoring and reporting on IT infrastructure (think Nagios/WhatsUpGold/SolarWinds but in this case using our own software) and being the Product Specialist (another title for Product Manager).

My biggest mistake in life was never doing a University Degree, e.g BSc Computer Science, and I am considering doing this part-time over the next few years. My main goals are:
  1. To prove, firstly, to myself and, secondly, to some naysayers that I can do this
  2. To make myself more marketable and relevant to the IT market in general.
  3. Making sure I've got the necessary qualifications to migrate to another country - should the SA situation deteriorate to a Zim like state (I'm still positive though so hopefully never the case). Some countries have very high expectations of potential immigrants.
  4. To improve my earning potential

So UNISA is the first and obvious choice for most South Africans, but their applications have closed for 2016 and they are not accepting new undergraduates before August 2016 (registration for 2017).

I've seen some people mention The Open University as an option as well.

What other options are their out there. I need the institution to be recognized, accessible and not overly expensive (although I think I would be able to get my current company to fund the studies but then it shouldn't be excessive) and it should be a UNIVERSITY degree, not a college (e.g. Varsity College, CTI heaven forbid or New Horizons as some examples). Also, I'm ready to do it NOW, so I don't want to have to wait until 2017.

With a fair level of commitment I should be able to spare 6-8 hours a week without too much hassle.

There will be obvious challenges, most notably being that I haven't done maths since matric in 2003 but with the wealth of information available for free on the internet (Youtube being my favourite) I think I will manage the learning curve.

What am I not thinking about?

Hoping for some meaningful insight. Thanks everyone.
 

Ancalagon

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
16,566
University of London will cost a fortune.

Unisa is a good bet.

Your other option, depending on how experienced you are, is to go for a Masters in Software Engineering from Wits. Wits will allow you entry into the masters program as long as you have enough experience. I'm not sure exactly what the requirements are. It will be a tough course and it does require you to attend lectures (usually held in the evening). But after that, you will have an MEng (Software Engineering), which is a lot better than a BSc.

I don't know what the work experience requirements are. A colleague of mine got in, but he was already a very experienced and talented software engineer. He had no undergraduate degree.
 

cguy

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
5,568
I also suggest UNISA. Even if you can only start in a year and a bit, you can still do a ton of reading and preparation for those courses, all of which will greatly improve your chances of finishing, and doing better, with lower workload/stress.

I don't recommend the MEng option mentioned above. The syllabus looks a bit soft to me.
 

mr_norris

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
2,543
I also recommend UNISA, but it's only because it's all I know. This semester I've finished up my last module. It's been a long ride.

With OP's sort of knowledge and experience, I'm sure the first two years modules will be a breeze (especially first year). It really felt like I didn't need to put much effort in those to do well. The struggle for me was most of the third year modules.
 

techedemic

Active Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
80
I also recommend UNISA, but it's only because it's all I know. This semester I've finished up my last module. It's been a long ride.

With OP's sort of knowledge and experience, I'm sure the first two years modules will be a breeze (especially first year). It really felt like I didn't need to put much effort in those to do well. The struggle for me was most of the third year modules.
I've been told this before as well yes, although I will most certainly not take it lightly. What degree did you do?
I'm 30 years old...so this would put me at 34 when I finish the degree. I suppose it's not that bad. Just wish I could've started in 2016, even if it was in the middle of the year.
 

mr_norris

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Messages
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I've been told this before as well yes, although I will most certainly not take it lightly. What degree did you do?
I'm 30 years old...so this would put me at 34 when I finish the degree. I suppose it's not that bad. Just wish I could've started in 2016, even if it was in the middle of the year.
Bachelor of Science Information Technology and Computer Science: Software Engineering Stream (02089 – ISE)

That has been phased out, and replaced with Bachelor of Science in Computing. Bachelor of Science in Informatics is less maths and more programming (so I've heard). Unfortunately I can't seem to find a module list to compare :/
 

eg2505

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17,277

cbrunsdonza

Honorary Master
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Messages
13,383
I'm about to graduate from UNISA and its cost me bucket loads of money and lots of frustration. You anyway missed the registration for 2016.

They are the only South African one I would consider.

Anyway for first 2 years you only need 6 hours the day before your exam. Its only final modules you need to really spend time.
 

cbrunsdonza

Honorary Master
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Messages
13,383
@techdemic go to Coursera and Edx and do some courses there next year. It will help you get a good understanding of what its like to study at university. Its free and the courses are well recognised in the industry.
 

cbrunsdonza

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do any of these courses require a matric to get into?
or is work experience enough usually?
http://www.unisa.ac.za/contents/faculties/service_dept/bsccd/docs/faqB.pdf

"You are older than 23 years, by the first day
of the relevant registration cycle, and you are
younger than 45 years and do not have a
Senior Certificate. You may apply for provisional
registration if you have passed one of the
official languages on a lower grade, or if you
have a Standard 8 or 9 / Grade 10 or 11
certificate (non-practical), a Standard10/ Grade
12 (practical) or a certificate with more than
two subjects on the lower grade

a) Apply for provisional registration (regarding
a qualification offered by the former TSA). Your
application must include the following:
o minimum initial payment
o a completed registration form for the
academic year
o certified proof of the highest standard
passed
o a letter from you employer stating
the nature of your work and your work
experience (at least three years of
relevant work experience)
o a certified copy of the first page of your
identity document as proof that you were
at least 23 years old on the first day of the
relevant registration cycle
"

"You are older than 23 years, but younger than
45 years and do not have a Senior Certificate

Complete the one-year ABET or Local
Government Certificate plus the Higher
Diploma in ABET. Then apply for a certificate of
conditional exemption"
 

Chevron

Serial breaker of phones
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
25,903
Hi all,

I've got roughly 10 years experience in the IT industry but my only official qualifications are things like CCNA, RHCSA, one or two Microsoft Certs, ITIL Foundations, MikroTIK, and more along those lines...

My job role includes everything from doing small amounts of code (mostly in C#, HTML/JavaScript/Jquery, PHP and some scripting languages like Perl/Bash), monitoring and reporting on IT infrastructure (think Nagios/WhatsUpGold/SolarWinds but in this case using our own software) and being the Product Specialist (another title for Product Manager).

My biggest mistake in life was never doing a University Degree, e.g BSc Computer Science, and I am considering doing this part-time over the next few years. My main goals are:
  1. To prove, firstly, to myself and, secondly, to some naysayers that I can do this
  2. To make myself more marketable and relevant to the IT market in general.
  3. Making sure I've got the necessary qualifications to migrate to another country - should the SA situation deteriorate to a Zim like state (I'm still positive though so hopefully never the case). Some countries have very high expectations of potential immigrants.
  4. To improve my earning potential

So UNISA is the first and obvious choice for most South Africans, but their applications have closed for 2016 and they are not accepting new undergraduates before August 2016 (registration for 2017).

I've seen some people mention The Open University as an option as well.

What other options are their out there. I need the institution to be recognized, accessible and not overly expensive (although I think I would be able to get my current company to fund the studies but then it shouldn't be excessive) and it should be a UNIVERSITY degree, not a college (e.g. Varsity College, CTI heaven forbid or New Horizons as some examples). Also, I'm ready to do it NOW, so I don't want to have to wait until 2017.

With a fair level of commitment I should be able to spare 6-8 hours a week without too much hassle.

There will be obvious challenges, most notably being that I haven't done maths since matric in 2003 but with the wealth of information available for free on the internet (Youtube being my favourite) I think I will manage the learning curve.

What am I not thinking about?

Hoping for some meaningful insight. Thanks everyone.
Well so far looks like I'll be doing this next year:
https://digitalskillsacademy.com/international-bsc-degree

You can choose different streams, Coding and Technology Stream, Digital Business Stream, Digital Design Stream.

Tonnes of practical experience, working on actual projects and big companies. You'll be able to build a portfolio. Internationally recognized by by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

They have Webinars every 2 weeks or so, so you can ask questions to the people giving the course.
 

mr_norris

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
2,543
Well so far looks like I'll be doing this next year:
https://digitalskillsacademy.com/international-bsc-degree

You can choose different streams, Coding and Technology Stream, Digital Business Stream, Digital Design Stream.

Tonnes of practical experience, working on actual projects and big companies. You'll be able to build a portfolio. Internationally recognized by by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

They have Webinars every 2 weeks or so, so you can ask questions to the people giving the course.
That seems really interesting, but I find it really odd that you just need 1 year to get a BSc. If I had known that, I wouldn't have spent so much time with UNISA :p Seriously though, I wonder how much weight a degree from them would carry.

Edit: Their fees are rather insane. I have spent less with UNISA :/
 
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Chevron

Serial breaker of phones
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
25,903
That seems really interesting, but I find it really odd that you just need 1 year to get a BSc. If I had known that, I wouldn't have spent so much time with UNISA :p Seriously though, I wonder how much weight a degree from them would carry.

Edit: Their fees are rather insane. I have spent less with UNISA :/
I attended one of their webinars last night.

Sounds like crap load of work.

You have 2hours a week where you get together as a group. They group people by discipline so you get to know how to speak to designers, project managers, web devs etc. Then you still have 6hours a week of project work, excluding recommended reading.

So it is hectic, but worth it from what I'm seen so far. The projects they give you are real work projects from big companies.
 

Chevron

Serial breaker of phones
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
25,903
wow, and this is a full blown degree,
no issues afterwards with it being part time and so on?
Well like I said lots of people use this opportunity to create a great portfolio, or even to learn how to start a business. Entrepreneurship and innovation is a big focus of the course.

Webinar is free.

They said about 1500 people do the course at every intake.
 

Chevron

Serial breaker of phones
Joined
Oct 2, 2007
Messages
25,903
That sounds amazing - although I'm a system admin - is there anything in that area, perhaps with a bit of management thrown in?

Any idea on cost?
Then do the Digital Business Stream. Check out the pdf:

https://digitalskillsacademy.com/content/bsc-ordinary-digital-technology-design.pdf

Fees:

https://digitalskillsacademy.com/fees

Forgot to mention they have offices in South AFrica and actually have agreements in place with companies like MTN and Standard Bank.

https://digitalskillsacademy.com/blog/digital-skills-academy-expands-internationally
 

Knyro

PhD in Everything
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Messages
29,489
That seems really interesting, but I find it really odd that you just need 1 year to get a BSc. If I had known that, I wouldn't have spent so much time with UNISA :p Seriously though, I wonder how much weight a degree from them would carry.
Must admit I'm wondering about this too. IIRC there is a law in SA that states that a bachelors degree must take a minimum of 3 years to complete.
 
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