Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Choosing a college in London as a Programmer


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
12 replies to this topic

#1 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 176

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 30 September 2011 - 05:31 PM

Hello,

I'm in year 11 and I'm looking forward for some college to advance as a video game programmer. I'm doing my GCSEs this year so I need to know what marks should I get to be able to get to the college I want to. Also my aim is to graduate from university so I need a college after which I could join a decent university. I live in London, but I came here only two months ago, so I don't really know what's happening here. Can people with experience just point me out which courses I should take and which colleges I should get into to get a job in the industry, because I'm really green at the moment. I'll keep googling it, but I want to hear other people feedback and experiences, that would be way more helpful than googling some ads... Maybe somebody could drop me some hints, that would be also helpful :) Thank you guys for any help you can give!

Sponsor:

#2 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 30 September 2011 - 05:57 PM

You mean sixth form college? That should be largely irrelevant so long as it doesn't impede your getting a decent clutch of A levels which in turn get you into a decent university. For computer science degrees, universities usually rank maths, further maths and physics highly.
[TheUnbeliever]

#3 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 176

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 01 October 2011 - 03:22 AM

You mean sixth form college? That should be largely irrelevant so long as it doesn't impede your getting a decent clutch of A levels which in turn get you into a decent university. For computer science degrees, universities usually rank maths, further maths and physics highly.


Do I need to have a bachelor's degree to be able to get master's degree? Or just finish my GCSEs then do my A levels in college and go to the university to get a master's degree? Sorry guys if I sound stupid, but I'm really new to this system. Do universities care about my GCSEs marks?

#4 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 01 October 2011 - 11:17 AM

Do I need to have a bachelor's degree to be able to get master's degree?


Some universities do 'integrated' Masters' for undergraduates. For example, I can choose to stay on for a fourth year here and graduate with both a BA and MEng, or leave after this year with just the BA. Edinburgh run a 5-year (Scottish courses are typically a year longer) course which leads to an MInf. For 'standalone' postgrad Master's (usually one year in length) you will need a previous degree of some sort.

Or just finish my GCSEs then do my A levels in college and go to the university to get a master's degree? Sorry guys if I sound stupid, but I'm really new to this system.


You don't need a Master's degree. Although, obviously, it might help with job applications and/or salaries.

Do universities care about my GCSEs marks?


Not really. Some have incidental requirements (e.g. at least a C in a foreign language) but the focus is on other aspects of your application: AS performance, predicted A level grades, reference, personal statement...
[TheUnbeliever]

#5 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1244

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 01 October 2011 - 02:18 PM

If you want to go to university to do computer science or a related course, you'll need to be doing A levels of suitable types. Maths is a MUST. The double maths (maths and "further maths") is good. More science subjects are good. I personally did maths, computing, physics and electronics. Those sorts of subjects are good for compsci entry.

Don't bother doing general studies, it's just wasting time. Steer clear of what are regarded as "soft" subjects. "Media studies" for example being one. Likewise English Lit is useful if you're about to embark on a degree in English Lit, but CS depts will bin your application.

Good news time; compsci courses aren't very oversubscribed!! In other words; good A level grades and you're sorted. No need to be captain of the rugby team and play the lute and also walk on water to differentiate yourself like if you were applying for a "afternoon lectures only" subject like (say) English Lit.

Here is an example of ICL's entry policy; http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/computing/teaching/undergraduate/computing/admissions/advice/

Notice they do not require A-level computing, however TBH, it's probably a useful building block.

Similarly, here's Cambridge's equivalent -- http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/compsci/requirements.html


Lots of science, lots of maths. Sorry.


Right, now you know that you need to be doing lots of maths, lots of science, you can go look for a suitable college to go to. Generally this will be a "sixth form" college, not a "further education" college. Colleges in the UK tend to be split into two types; sixth forms are more academic the others are "vocational"; they do courses in (for example), hairdressing, beauty therapy, office administration and so on. If the website does a lot of talking about vocational studies, mentions things like RSAs or diplomas or NVQs, they've maybe not got the focus you'll need.

Your school should really have routes into suitable colleges -- So if you pick a set of four or five A-levels that you'd be interested in studying that fit those sorts of entry requirements, they'll be able to point you in the right direction. I know you're in London, but you can't be the FIRST person at the school to aspire to university :-)


You do not really need a masters degree to do well in the IT industry. I know people who have done the BSc/MSc/PhD routes and while they generally have a useful toolbox of exotic maths and reading papers about FTL neutrinos doesn't make them frown as much as it does me, they aren't intrinsically better software engineers. If you're going to do a masters, do an MBA later on in your career -- being both technical AND business savvy is pretty valuable. But you shouldn't be doing that until you've got some time served at the coalface. Also, if you're sneaky about it, you can locate a company to work which will pick up the bill for doing the MBA (which is NOT CHEAP by the way!)

It's not that an MSc/PhD isn't something to do, but do bear in mind that a) slots for people doing them are restricted, b) you'll be a student for longer. Compsci masters and doctorates are not a key to instant success. On the other hand, it's not unknown for master/doctoral projects and groups to suddenly become startup companies and also I've found that people who have done them seem to have larger social networks within the IT industry. I'm unusual, for example, for being a mere grad still being in fairly close contact with a lot of my graduating year. Whereas masters and doctorates people seem to be more connected. That DOES help with employability, but if you know about this upfront, you can do it without spending five years longer eating pot noodle.

#6 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 176

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:25 AM

Or just finish my GCSEs then do my A levels in college and go to the university to get a master's degree? Sorry guys if I sound stupid, but I'm really new to this system.


You don't need a Master's degree. Although, obviously, it might help with job applications and/or salaries.


Thanks for replying! But the question was really targeted on how can I get a Master's degree? What are the ways?

#7 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:31 AM

But the question was really targeted on how can I get a Master's degree?


Why?

What are the ways?


As I said above: apply for an integrated Master's, or study for some other undergraduate degree and then apply for a postgrad degree.
[TheUnbeliever]

#8 Mafioso   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 176

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:24 AM

But the question was really targeted on how can I get a Master's degree?


Why?

What are the ways?


As I said above: apply for an integrated Master's, or study for some other undergraduate degree and then apply for a postgrad degree.


Why? You've already answered that question:

Although, obviously, it might help with job applications and/or salaries.


The university is fairly simple, 3 years for Bachelor's degree, another 1 for Master's degree and also depends on the university itself. But what about colleges? I'll do my GCSEs and say I got 5 subjects range from A* to C, what's next? I need to do my A levels for the subjects I'll chose in sixth form college for 2 years, however what does A levels mean? I'll have exams at the end of the year and I need to have all A grades to pass? Or is the course just called A levels and it have the same grading system from A* to F? Because I've read here on the right the requirements and all of them are A levels. Thank you for explaining, especially Katie for writing a great explanation!

#9 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:08 AM

Why? You've already answered that question:


A Master's degree will cost you £3k-9k in tuition fees, plus maybe another £7k-8k in living costs, in addition to the opportunity cost of a year's lost experience (which would count towards promotion, salary and benefits - e.g. stock options becoming vested after 12 mo.) and earnings - graduate developer posts in the UK seem to be pretty tightly centred around £24-25k, which comes out to about £18k after tax. Simply having a higher degree will not automatically recoup this. I'm not trying to dissuade you, just trying to make the point that it is not as cut and dry as you seem to think it is.

But what about colleges? I'll do my GCSEs and say I got 5 subjects range from A* to C, what's next? I need to do my A levels for the subjects I'll chose in sixth form college for 2 years, however what does A levels mean?


An A level in a subject comprises two components: AS in Y12/lower sixth, A2 in Y13/upper sixth. You will have a number of exams for each. The exams are modular; the exact form and timing depends on your college and exam board, the latter of which will be determined by the college. Your overall A level grade depends on your AS and A2 performance, e.g. an A is 80% UMS average across the two, and an A* is 80% average across the two with 90% in A2.

I need to have all A grades to pass?


No.

Or is the course just called A levels and it have the same grading system from A* to F?


Yes. :) Also, some schools instead operate the IB (International Baccalaureate). It's not practical to give full details of qualification systems on a forum like this, and seems silly when they're available in great depth online from sources like exam boards, The Student Room*, or even just Wikipedia for a high level overview.

* a large school, college and university student forum which is probably better suited for these questions
[TheUnbeliever]

#10 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 6726

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:08 AM

First hit for 'a level' in google; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCE_Advanced_Level

While getting advice on future studies is good, frankly you should have been able to figure out what A-Level meant on your own...

#11 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1244

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:11 AM

They're just called A-levels (A for advanced). Yes, they come with grades of A-F.

There used to be O-levels (O for ordinary), but they were replaced by GCSEs in 1988 {IIRC}.

There are also AS-levels (I didn't know why, but google says "advanced subsidiary"), which you used to do as separate subjects but which are now just the first half of an A-level.

There are also S-levels (S for specialist, I think) which are the next one up from an A-level. If you go to an academic college, it's quite often an option to take an S in some of your A subjects {I did an S in physics. Badly.}. S-levels are graded in numbers; there may only be something like 1,2 and U grades for them.

#12 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 11:17 AM

There are also S-levels (S for specialist, I think) which are the next one up from an A-level.


These no longer exist, having been replaced by AEA (Advanced Extension Awards). I don't know any universities requiring AEA, so they're only there to strengthen an application. There is also STEP maths, which is formidably difficult (my lowest mark in any SQA maths exam was 97% - I just barely passed one paper of STEP and failed the other) and more reflective of the old S-levels, as far as I know. A few universities ask for STEP in maths applications; a handful of Cambridge colleges ask for it for computer science applications, I don't know about elsewhere.

(A levels also had an A* grade introduced two years ago, but I don't know if that was just a typo.)
[TheUnbeliever]

#13 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1244

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 02 October 2011 - 02:31 PM

"A levels also had an A* grade introduced two years ago, but I don't know if that was just a typo"

No, I just can't keep track anymore...




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS