“Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.” - Steve Jobs
Training in IT or software development isn’t just useful for those working in IT. A lot of people today are getting the training to work in software development. In the UK, around 8% of the population zero basic digital skills and 12% have limited abilities. Now that digital tools are everywhere, the right training and qualifications are essential.
Why not work in IT or software development?
Here’s how to find software development training and courses in the UK.
How Much Do Software Development Courses in the UK Cost?
More and more people are choosing to learn programming languages or take software development courses. While some teach themselves and others choose to attend specialised schools, there are plenty of different schools for different budgets.
Regardless of the cost, don’t forget that you'll also need to consider the cost of food, accommodation, etc. Let’s be clear, there are ways to learn about software development without paying close to £10,000 a year!
There are also shorter courses and online courses you can take which will cost you much less overall. There are also free options to consider.
Some courses may just require some minor admin fees rather than tuition fees and cost far less than a full university degree. However, you mightn’t be able to get onto the cheaper or free courses as competition for places may be fierce.
Some students may consider getting A-Levels before going onto a university course. In this case, you can see if software development is for you before committing several years of your life to it since some courses can run into the thousands.
The most common option, especially for those looking for a career in software development, is a university course. Universities offer undergraduate degrees, which you’ll need if you want to move onto a master's degree and a doctorate. Of course, an undergraduate degree costs around £9,000 a year in the UK.
There are a few ways to go about paying for courses including student loans, grants, bursaries, and scholarships. In some cases, your employer may be willing to fund your training.
Which Are the Best Schools and Universities for Software Development Courses?
There are plenty of universities offering degrees in computer science, software engineering, and web development. A university that's right for one student mightn't be ideal for another so make sure you do your research.
To get you started, here are some of the universities that rank highly for computer science:
- University of Oxford
- University of Cambridge
- Imperial College London
- The University of Edinburgh
- King’s College London
- University of Manchester
These aren’t the only places you can study software development, but they’re certainly among the best. Each has its pros and cons and a school that ranks highly mightn’t be the only reason to attend. While league tables are a good indicator, you also have to think about the lifestyle and the cost of living where you’ll be studying. There’s more to life than just your course so you’ll want to consider that, too.
You’ll also need to consider the likelihood of you being accepted onto the course and you won’t want to just apply to universities with strict entry requirements. You mightn’t want to consider a degree, either, but still attend certain classes at university. In this case, you can pay less and only study the modules you need.
How to Get Onto a University Course
Getting onto the course is probably your first challenge. Depending on the university, the entry requirements may be strict, which is why you need to make sure that you do everything you can to be accepted onto the course.
This process starts long before you apply. A Level students will want to ensure they’re studying the right courses and are on track for good results and while not essential, their GCSE choices could be helpful.
Be sure to choose the A Levels required by the course you want to study on. Generally, this will include courses like maths, physics, and computing. There are options for vocational qualifications like the BTEC Level 2 Computer Science to be accepted.
In the UK, you apply for a university course through UCAS, the University and Colleges Admissions Service. Most applications will be due by the end of January but there are some courses with a deadline as early as October so make sure you check when applying.
Your application will need to show that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to merit your place on the course. This is normally judged by your A Level results. Before you can get started, you need to register with UCAS and fill in your details, which can be done online. Make sure that you answer all the mandatory questions, fill in the necessary personal details, and complete your education and work history.
You can choose up to five courses but you don't have to do that until the deadline. You'll also need to complete your personal statement, which UCAS recommends you do first in software with a spell checker as the UCAS website doesn't have one. Once you've done this and it's ready to go, you can simply copy and paste it into your UCAS profile.
What Courses for Software Developers Are There?
While we’ve mainly been looking at university courses, there are plenty of different ways to learn about programming.
Here are some of the things you could study:
- Software engineering
- System engineering
- Full-stack development
- Machine learning
- Business intelligence engineering
- Network management
- Web development
- Web and mobile development
- Multimedia development
- Video game programming
- Mobile connectivity solutions
- Video game development
- IT project management
- Program development
You’ll need to think about how long you have to study, too. You’ll need to commit to several years of study, especially if you want a master’s degree.
In some cases, there may even be options for a work placement or a period of study abroad. These are great ways for students to experience new ways of teaching and learn new language skills.
As for the topics covered, most courses will include a few of the following:
- System programming
- Application programming
- Web programming
- IT and ethics
- Computer architecture
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. Each school and course will cover certain topics and have different focuses.
It’s best to look at the course content first and see what you’d prefer.
Look to different courses to ensure they teach the skills that you need to learn.
If you want to learn more about programming, computer science, web development, or software engineering, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on the Superprof website. There are tutors all over the country and around the world offering different types of tutoring so think about which will be right for you, your budget, and how you like to learn.
Face-to-face tutors offer the most cost-effective type of tuition, but they also tend to charge the most per hour. This is because they can tailor every minute of every lesson to you, what you want to learn, and how you like to learn. Similarly, many of them may also travel to you and charge extra for the distance they have to cover.
As they don't have to travel and can schedule more lessons each week, online tutors tend to charge less than face-to-face tutors. While online tutoring isn't always ideal for hands-on subjects, computer science, web development, and software engineering can be taught just as effectively.
Group tutorials are an excellent choice for those on a budget. With every student paying for the tutor's time, it works out cheaper per student per hour. While you won't be able to guarantee that every aspect of the tuition is tailored to you, it can be useful to learn from your peers.
Don't forget that many of the tutors on the Superprof website offer the first lesson for free. Use these free sessions to try out various tutors before deciding on the one that's right for you, your preferred learning approach, and your budget.
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