Many institutions offer glamorous certifications or degrees which you pay a ton of money for, only to find out that in practice the knowledge you’ve gained is not as valuable as you might’ve thought.
Thankfully, at Van Zyl and Pritchard (VZAP) the opposite is true. VZAP offers a high-standard programming course in Java where students get 800 hours of specialised, in-depth training in programming, free of charge – provided the student completes the compulsory two years of in-service training once they’ve completed the course.
To qualify for the free training course, students also have to pass the VZAP Competency Test with a sub-minimum of 65%. The competency test costs a small fee to take and evaluates prospective students’ thinking skills and levels of logic, concentration, and comprehension.
According to Stuart Fripp, Senior Developer and Trainer at VZAP, by taking the test, students also get a clear idea of whether the programming course is for them. For example, some students might be more interested in web design, rather than hardcore system coding, and will realise after taking the test that this course is not for them.
What the training course entails
The VZAP Java programming course is designed to teach anyone with the interest and logic to do so, how to programme.
Students who are selected for the programme are taught the core concepts and principles of programming in Java using object-oriented analysis and design methodologies.
“We take students from a point where they don’t know how to programme all the way through to being able to develop a system,” said Fripp.
The course consists of 6 modules, full-time, presented over a 25-week period.
“Our students work 7 and a half hours in class and then get about 3 hours of homework, and they write weekly tests. So, it’s really hard work, and you really need the passion and the drive to be able to pull through,” said Fripp.
In Modules 1-4, students learn all the different programming techniques, and in Module 5 they have a system project, where they put the theory into practice.
In Module 5, which is stretched out over a 6-7-week period, students also must work in a team, just as they would in a real-world scenario. Then, at the end of this module, companies are invited to watch students present their work.
The Differentiating factors
What sets VZAP-certified graduates apart from their peers is that they are trained in hardcore programming – unlike many other institutions.
“Too many guys are coming out of the universities with multiple programming languages, and they might’ve done some really cool programming, but when it comes down to the real nitty gritty, hard-core, enterprise side, the guys are battling,” said Fripp.
“When that rubber hits the road, you need to know how to resolve the problem and how to go about doing that.”
VZAP also teaches life skills and equip students for interviews as many of their students have never been for an interview before.
Getting into the industry is the hardest part for prospective programmers, which is why VZAP have incorporated the compulsory 2 years of in-service training.
Students benefit by being placed with a company for 2 years as they receive a monthly salary and valuable experience. There is also the possibility of being employed permanently after that period, should the involved company choose to make the student an offer.
VZAP’s success rate for placing employees with companies is also very high, with their most recent course seeing a placing rate of 100%.
Cross-skilling with Java
According to many studies, Java is currently one of the most popular programming languages and is a great way of getting into object-oriented programming.
Using Java, VZAP trains students to create databases, develop applications and build systems.
“We don’t just focus on Java. We teach them how to write software in Java for those core concepts, but cross-skill them, so it’s easy for them to adapt. This means they can go out in Python, Cobol, C++, C-sharp, or DotNet, as long as they understand the core concepts,” said Fripp.
VZAP also continues to modify the course as necessary, keeping up with the current trends and technologies.
What students have to say
“Enrolling for the VZAP Java programming course was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve learned how to create a programme from the ground-level up. I could go to university, but I don’t believe I would be able to assemble the information together as they teach us here at VZAP.”
“In the future, I’d like to go into the field of Robotics. Of course, I won’t be able to do that right away, but at least I have a foundation of how to programme,” said Gumede.
Methenjwa Maurice Machi
“I enrolled in the course because I wanted to do something new. I was previously a musician and sound engineer. Thus far, we’ve learnt how to create programmes and games from scratch, record information, and get information from files.”
“It’s a challenge, but I love it. VZAP will chisel you and make you into something you’ve never even thought about, and they do a very good job in molding students into people who are experts in their field, and when they go out, they can handle anything and everything.”
Maurice is excited to fuse his musical expertise with what he is learning in programming, and possibly develop his own recording or sound app.
“Our lecturers are amazing, they’re patient with us, which is not what you’d expect. But they even sit with us in the mornings and work through things even we don’t understand it. They’re very helpful.”
“With the knowledge I obtain through this course, I hope to create a programme for my brother to help him with math,” said Gama.
VZAP Java training is for anyone with a passion for IT
Senior Trainer at VZAP Gregory Guy said this course provides an opportunity for those who wouldn’t normally have one.
“That’s also what’s driven us through this particular programme,” said Guy. “Even if you’re a student that’s unsure whether you want to do programming – we test anybody. You only need a matric certificate, be a legal South African citizen, and have a passion to create and build software.”
“Over the past 30 years we’ve placed nearly 20,000 people into our industry, and the success rate of VZAP students that have become senior developers or architects in the industry is very high,” said Guy.
“We’ve also gained international recognition for the excellent caliber of IT professionals we’ve produced, which proves beyond doubt that this course works.”
Applicants can now apply for the mid-year 2019 intake. Mid-year intake classes commence 12 August 2019, and certification is presented full-time only.
To find out more or to apply for the competency you can email VZAP at: [email protected].
VZAP students – First class of 2019
This article was published in partnership with Van Zyl and Pritchard.