“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” - Albert Einstein
Only 8% of software developers around the world are women. This might be an untapped market to look into, especially if you’re starting as a programming tutor.
In any case, you don’t need any qualifications to become a programming tutor. If you can show off your coding skills and have a tutoring profile that's filled with glowing reviews by former students, it'll probably be quite easy finding new students.
However, finding students is much easier if you have qualifications and experience to back it up. Furthermore, a university degree in a relevant field will also help you find a career as a programmer, software developer, or web developer if you decide tutoring isn't for you or you'd like a job alongside your tutoring.
So what qualifications are worth having to tutor programming?
In this article, we'll look at the main degree programmes for those looking to get into software engineering, web development, or learning to code.
Degrees for Programmers
There are several different university degrees where you’ll learn about programming and almost every university has some sort of IT, computer science, or game development course for you to look at.
There's a lot of overlap with these courses so you'll probably want to look for what sets them apart from one another rather than what they offer overall.
On your typical computer science degree, you’ll study a lot of programming, software engineering, mathematics, and mobile computing. You’ll see the theory and practical side of how computers work and how you can get them to work.
There are several universities around the country offering degrees in computer science with the best ranked being Cambridge, Oxford, St. Andrews, Imperial College London, Durham, Manchester, Bath, Glasgow, Leeds, and Edinburgh.
Some universities teach computing science rather than computer science. Generally, they both mean the same thing so don't be worried if you have seen one or the other.
Either way, you’ll learn about programming, software systems, interfaces, algorithms, network systems, AI, and big data systems.
Computer Networks and Security
Students interested in cyber security may want to look at a degree in computer networks and security. You’ll learn about the tools and equipment used in cybersecurity and how technology is used to solve problems. With this degree, you could work in cybersecurity, consult tech companies on cybersecurity, or even tutor cybersecurity.
This degree course is offered at Birmingham City University, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Bolton, the University of Westminster, and a few others. Generally, you can find the computer networks and security degree through the computer science and engineering departments.
Web Programming and Cyber Security
Given the importance cybersecurity has in the modern world, it’s hardly surprising that it features regularly in most computing and IT courses. Students will learn about data security, biometrics, and the methods used to test vulnerabilities.
Software development courses tend to look at the programming languages and programming necessary to make software. The courses tend to cover computing, computer systems, cyber security, and software engineering. In some cases, software development is also called software engineering and the terms are almost used interchangeably on university prospectuses.
Applied computing degrees tend to focus on IT and computing in the broader sense and how they’re used in businesses. You’ll learn practical and theoretical computing skills, but the focus is definitely on the former.
Computer Games Design and Programming
A course on computer games design and programming involves more of the conceptual side of creating games as well as the processes involved in making them run. Students will learn programming languages relevant to game design such as C# and C++. Students also study game design itself and the processes a game goes through.
IT or Information Technology is usually more focused on how to use computer systems than to how to make them work. However, at degree level, IT students will still cover quite a bit of programming. They’ll also learn about computing systems architecture and operating systems, data management, databases, and artificial intelligence. Many of these degrees also feature placement years for gaining work experience. Of course, most of these degrees have programming modules throughout the course.
Don’t Forget About Learning How to Teach
Even if you’re passionate about coding, you need more than just subject knowledge to effectively teach it.
An industry expert doesn’t automatically make for a good teacher. You need to be able to engage the student, explain information in ways they understand and make sure that they find the content so fascinating that they want to learn more. There are courses on how to teach and teaching qualifications you can get as well as plenty of free resources on making lessons more interesting.
If you don't have any other students yet, you can encourage them to take a chance on your lessons by offering the first one for free. This is an opportunity to show them how you can help them learn to code and how you'll adapt the lessons to their level, needs, and preferred learning style.
You can offer face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials. There are pros and cons to each both for the student and the tutor so you'll need to think about how you prefer to teach and which would work best for your career.
With group tutorials, you need to find more students, but you can offer lower rates to each student as you can end up earning more per hour. In this case, it's harder to keep every student happy as you can't fully tailor the lessons to each one; something a lot of students are looking for with private tutoring.
Face-to-face tutorials require more work behind the scenes as you'll need to plan every single lesson for each student and you'll often have to travel to the students' homes. Generally, you can charge more for the tutorials as the students are getting a bespoke service and are happy to pay a premium for it. You can also agree on an extra charge if you have to travel a long distance to your students or offer a discount if they'd be willing to come to you.
You can also offer tutorials to students all over the world via the internet as long as you have a decent connection and a webcam. Since you don't have to travel anywhere, you can save both time and money on transportation, schedule more tutorials each week, and charge more competitive rates as you'll have fewer outgoings. Furthermore, programming is the type of subject that lends itself really well to being taught remotely as students have to be on their computer anyway.
Of course, you can also offer a combination of these different approaches depending on what the students are after. Just make sure that what you're earning covers your losses and that you're offering good tutorials at a fair rate and your students will recommend you to others and leave lovely glowing reviews on your profile!