Next Move: Will university help me find a job?

I am studying for an HND in software engineering and I am not sure whether it is worth doing the top-up BSc or if the skills I am...

I am studying for an HND in software engineering and I am not sure whether it is worth doing the top-up BSc or if the skills I am gaining will help me to get into work.

My research shows J2EE is in high demand but the university does not offer this subject. Where can I find courses about J2EE? Does a degree in computing open doors into work?

The solution

Experience will help as well as study

I am afraid there is no neat and tidy answer here. Preferences vary significantly between employers and even individual managers.

HNDs alone are well recognised and some employers prefer this qualification, believing they provide more practical skills. Degrees are obviously well recognised, but the real market value is often gained after a "sandwich" placement. Alternatively, you may feel ready to get into the workplace and complete your degree on a part-time basis.

It depends on the university and course as to whether they cover J2EE. Contact your university to work out which course you feel is most viable. Various external companies offer courses in J2EE, although these may prove expensive. A useful starting point would be to talk to someone at Sun Microsystems.

There is no doubt that a degree can open doors into work, but as competition for graduate roles is high, there is no guarantee that you will walk straight into a job after graduating.

Work experience will give you a competitive advantage so it may be worth your while to contact various companies to see if they will allow you to work on a placement or even a voluntary basis.

Solution by Richard Herring, operations director, Reed Technology

The panel: MSB International, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

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