Next move: is university the best option?

Our team of experts offer advice on how to further your career in IT

Our team of experts offer advice on how to further your career in IT

Do I need a degree to get on?

I am 20-year-old technical support specialist working with Windows 95/98, and servers running Novell Netware 5 and Windows NT4. I left college with a BTEC national diploma in computer studies (distinction) and five GCSEs and joined work straight away. I am worried that I will not be able to pursue a rewarding IT career without a degree in computing. I have been offered a place on a BSc in computer games design but am unsure whether to accept because I really enjoy my job and would like to move into contracting eventually. What should I do?

Follow your heart, go to university

Michael Bennett

Director, Best People

You sound an ambitious, hard working and loyal person who enjoys your work. Frankly, this is the key to success in any career.

Broadly, with your attitude and qualifications you are in a position to have a successful career in IT. The shortages for IT staff are set to continue in the UK and the skills in which you are proficient will allow you to remain in well-paid employment, though you obviously need to keep your skills up to date.

There are certain organisations and sectors that do insist on a good degree (not always IT-related), such as the major consultancies and certain blue-chip companies. If you want to progress in this sort of environment then you will need to gain a good degree.

Have you spoken to your current employer about taking time to study for a degree, while working part time or in your holidays? This is becoming more common and will allow you to keep your technical skills up-to-date.

In summary, while university is an expensive business it sounds like your heart lies with taking the degree course in computer games design. If that is the case and your company will not be flexible, I advise you to take the degree!

The panel: Apex, MSB International, Best International Group, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, ITNTO, Monarch Recruitment, Reed Computing

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