Further studying

aktor

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
825
#1
This basically falls under both the software dev and technical/network categories, but I had to choose one of the two to post it :)

Pretty much just want to know what you guys think the best route would be for further studying at this point (age 35), It's between:

- BSc Computer Science
- BSc Informatics
- MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, N+, Server+, Security+, ITIL, MCSD

The goal is to have a development qualification background, although the main focus of the "job" is IT management. In terms of experience, about 15 years of both development and IT management (of which the last 7 years was senior IT management) can be considered. Assume no prior tertiary qualifications related to IT (mostly business management).

The only thing about the BSc's is that, at this point, they'd take 5+ years - especially since they'll have to be through UNISA. The CompTIA & other certifications can be obtained quicker and more tailored to specific focus areas.

The reason? The usual one. Without the relevant qualifications you start hitting a paywall at this age.
 
Last edited:

The Voice

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
7,631
#2
This basically falls under both the software dev and technical/network categories, but I had to choose one of the two to post it :)

Pretty much just want to know what you guys think the best route would be for further studying at this point (age 35), It's between:

- BSc Computer Science
- BSc Informatics
- MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, N+, Server+, Security+, ITIL, MCSD

The goal is to have a development qualification background, although the main focus of the "job" is IT management. In terms of experience, about 15 years of both development and IT management (of which the last 7 years was senior IT management) can be considered. Assume no prior tertiary qualifications related to IT (mostly business management).

The only thing about the BSc's is that, at this point, they'd take 5+ years - especially since they'll have to be through UNISA. The CompTIA & other certifications can be obtained quicker and more tailored to specific focus areas.

The reason? The usual one. Without the relevant qualifications you start hitting a paywall at this age.
Honestly, the certs are the way to go. Like you said, they're much quicker to get, and more niche when compared to a BSc. Also, you already have the most valuable commodity in IT: experience - so could walk into a new pay bracket quite easily.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
2,015
#3
A BSc in either one you mentioned is well worth the effort. Yes, those MS certs will be quicker to obtain, but a BSc will help with the paywall issue, and also help if you want to leave the country. I also got a bit of a discount on my life insurance after qualifying, but if I'm honest, it'll be couple of lifetimes until it'll pay for itself in that respect.

You also mention that your main focus is IT management, unless I misunderstand. Those Certs are heavily technical (I think). I wouldn't even consider doing them if I were aiming for management. Feels like a waste of time if you ask me. BSc will let you go the dev or management route.

Of course the other side of the argument is you don't need all that to be a dev / manager / get paid better, which is true if you have the right connections and skills. In the end it's up to you.
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,512
#4
I would also second the BSc approach (CS if I had to choose one). It’s effectively the fundamentals for advanced software development - it can open up some new doors, and be more orthogonal to your existing experience.

@cbrunsdonza also did his BSc later in life and thought it was well worth it. Adding for visibility.
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
825
#5
Thanks for the replies so far! I've also been leaning towards the BSc, the two cons I have concerns about, however, are:

- No qualifications for 4-5 years, whereas with the certs there's a constant stream of qualifications coming in
- Higher cost & longer time compared to the certs

If I could do both I would, but time won't allow ALL of that to happen at once while working full-time, obviously.
 

Nopt!c

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
438
#6
I would rather attempt going the BSc route, although it would take longer it would be more beneficial. I also need to get into a more managerial role and considering my options in getting into leadership. Currently have my BSc(Hons) and an assortment of Microsoft geeky qualifications. But now focusing more on the IT business side of things now and leaving the geeky stuff.

These are all courses which can be done over a few days if you have the time:
- Try maybe do something like Change management, I found that worthwhile
- ITIL foundation is also a good start if you looking at service management
- Perhaps look into Lean IT as well, it looks at the elimination of IT waste
- When you looking at studying governance perhaps COBIT is a start

These are just a few recommendations. I kept my training aimed at the technical aspects, but now come to realise there is a bigger picture and aiming my sights at IT manager or CIO even.

I was told that "IT is a hard job getting harder". You need to embrace change and challenges that come with it.

Oh yes, work on your soft skills :)
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,512
#7
Thanks for the replies so far! I've also been leaning towards the BSc, the two cons I have concerns about, however, are:

- No qualifications for 4-5 years, whereas with the certs there's a constant stream of qualifications coming in
- Higher cost & longer time compared to the certs

If I could do both I would, but time won't allow ALL of that to happen at once while working full-time, obviously.
A BSc has much higher potential... if you actually use it. This is a thing - many people will get a degree and just continue doing what they did before in their job. I don’t know what you do day to day, but if you can leverage the degree, you’re good.
 

aktor

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
825
#8
In terms of BSc, it seems there are 3 choices again:

- Computing
- Informatics
- Mathematics & Computer Science

Knowing for a fact that the last one is just going to piss me off, it looks like I'd have to choose one of the first 2 on that list. Not sure how they translate to the workplace, I suppose Informatics is more IT Management & business whereas Computing is more development?

To answer your question, I'm a Head of Department (Information Systems) at a medium-sized company (+- 200 employees). Might sound good, but the issue is that it's literally a case of having hit the ceiling. Experience totals are about 15 years IT, 12 years software development (first web-based then C#), 7 years management, and 3 years senior management.

But, as people have pointed out - employers want to see qualifications, not just experience. The saying "qualifications get you the interview, experience gets you the job" might be true, but you do need to get that interview first, right? :)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 12, 2007
Messages
2,015
#9
Computing is more maths, Informatics is less, the amount of development between the two is pretty much the same (I think). I could be wrong, I last checked a while ago. It's best to check out the list of modules for each and compare.
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,512
#10
Computing also has more computer science in it. The CS and Maths direction has the most potential, but it’s unlikely to benefit significantly from your edge (your ton of experience). To get the most out of it, you would have to make a radical career change that could result in an initial pay drop.
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,512
#11
In terms of BSc, it seems there are 3 choices again:

- Computing
- Informatics
- Mathematics & Computer Science

Knowing for a fact that the last one is just going to piss me off, it looks like I'd have to choose one of the first 2 on that list. Not sure how they translate to the workplace, I suppose Informatics is more IT Management & business whereas Computing is more development?

To answer your question, I'm a Head of Department (Information Systems) at a medium-sized company (+- 200 employees). Might sound good, but the issue is that it's literally a case of having hit the ceiling. Experience totals are about 15 years IT, 12 years software development (first web-based then C#), 7 years management, and 3 years senior management.

But, as people have pointed out - employers want to see qualifications, not just experience. The saying "qualifications get you the interview, experience gets you the job" might be true, but you do need to get that interview first, right? :)
When you say ceiling, do you mean R60k/m, R100k/m or R200k/m?

Because more of the same type of education can get you from R60k/m to R100k/m. You usually have to be so specialized that your qualifications aren’t likely to matter to get from R100k/m to R200k/m. If R200k/m is your ceiling, you probably have to go out of the country to get much more, which would be the degree path again.
 

Swa

Honorary Master
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
19,706
#12
Honestly, the certs are the way to go. Like you said, they're much quicker to get, and more niche when compared to a BSc. Also, you already have the most valuable commodity in IT: experience - so could walk into a new pay bracket quite easily.
I'll second the certs. Not only are they the norm internationally but it sounds like you already have most of the work under the belt.
 

aktor

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2009
Messages
825
#13
When you say ceiling, do you mean R60k/m, R100k/m or R200k/m?

Because more of the same type of education can get you from R60k/m to R100k/m. You usually have to be so specialized that your qualifications aren’t likely to matter to get from R100k/m to R200k/m. If R200k/m is your ceiling, you probably have to go out of the country to get much more, which would be the degree path again.
I mean less than that.
So you see where the problem comes in :p
 

cguy

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2013
Messages
4,512
#15
I mean less than that.
So you see where the problem comes in :p
I see. The certifications may then get you some extra oomph quickly, but as @mr_norris said, they are pretty technical, and likely will only help if you are doing mostly hands on work all day long.

A good software engineer with a BSc (pref Hons too), with that amount of experience would probably be in the R80-100k/m range. The person who manages such teams is probably in the R100-140k/m range, and as mentioned earlier the degree (especially honors) accounts for immigration points, meets minimum requirements for immigration visas, international job requirements, etc. if you want to consider working abroad.
 
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
1,266
#16
You can look at Unisa's B Comm in Informatics as well.

As you get older, you do less technical work yourself and start managing the tech people.
So some business subjects will be good to have.

And then follow that up with a MBA.

Or, have a look at your bosses qualifications, and your bosses boss.
 

The Voice

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
7,631
#17
I see. The certifications may then get you some extra oomph quickly, but as @mr_norris said, they are pretty technical, and likely will only help if you are doing mostly hands on work all day long.

A good software engineer with a BSc (pref Hons too), with that amount of experience would probably be in the R80-100k/m range. The person who manages such teams is probably in the R100-140k/m range, and as mentioned earlier the degree (especially honors) accounts for immigration points, meets minimum requirements for immigration visas, international job requirements, etc. if you want to consider working abroad.
A degree also comes in handy where English is a requirement for citizenship, as while SA is no longer considered an English-speaking country (thanks, 11 official languages), if your degree was completed in English it heavily counts in your favour.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Messages
721
#18
You can look at Unisa's B Comm in Informatics as well.

As you get older, you do less technical work yourself and start managing the tech people.
So some business subjects will be good to have.

And then follow that up with a MBA.

Or, have a look at your bosses qualifications, and your bosses boss.
The MBA may be worth it from the outset actually due to his experience. Depends on the OP's direction.
 

Fuma

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
5,043
#19
Can you believe its been 9 years since we had the world cup in South Africa? To me it feels like 2 years ago. You would be doing your second qualification by now. 5 years is not a long time.
 
Top