The Student Room Group

This discussion is no longer active so you won't be able to reply.Check out other Related discussions

How to get in to Comp Sci Masters at Uni???

I'm currently 16 (17 in July) at a sixth form college studying maths, physics and chemistry at A level. I have been working as a web developer using Ruby on Rails and various frameworks such as React w/ ES6 since just after I turned 16, in an apprenticeship-like part time job with a friend I met through sports, and am trying to get semi-relevant work experience with a local robotics firm. I have a few questions, if you don't mind answering them:

1) How can I maximise my chances of getting in to study Computer Science at University when I leave college, especially if I'm not confident that I'll get the AAA grade required to get in at most universities (eg Sheffield, my current ideal choice as it's close and quite highly rated for computing)? AAB is as good as I can hope for at the minute...

2) How competitive is Computer Science as far as university entrance? Do I need to be 'the elite' with grades equal to or higher than the asking, or would any unis accept lower grades?

3) Obviously my job will help to some extent, but how much? Considering I have worked on multiple small scale projects - some big stuff coming up in the next year or so before my uni applications though - using cutting if not bleeding edge technologies.

4) Will an online course like cs50x (an edX MOOC run by Harvard) make a considerable difference to my chances, and if so will it be worth paying the £75 to get a certificate out of it?

5) What do you recommend I do in the next year to give me an extra edge over the competition?

Thanks so much if you can help!
James
Reply 1
1. Look into progression schemes, have good ECs, build a better PS, or just... get the right grades.

2. Aside from top 5-10 Unis, not very competitive, most STEM subjects aside from things like Medicine, are difficult to fill up.

3. Actual work experience as a Web Dev as a 16 year old will probably put you ahead of most CS graduates when you graduate - a great number of students are lazy and don't seek out experience etc.

4. MOOCs will help your understanding of what CS is about - it likely won't help you get in though.

5. You have the edge. Go build more software.
Reply 2
Original post by TrojanH
1. Look into progression schemes, have good ECs, build a better PS, or just... get the right grades.

2. Aside from top 5-10 Unis, not very competitive, most STEM subjects aside from things like Medicine, are difficult to fill up.

3. Actual work experience as a Web Dev as a 16 year old will probably put you ahead of most CS graduates when you graduate - a great number of students are lazy and don't seek out experience etc.

4. MOOCs will help your understanding of what CS is about - it likely won't help you get in though.

5. You have the edge. Go build more software.


Thanks, that's helpful and reassuring. I'm guessing you mean extracurricular by ECs? What would you class as good? All I do at the moment is sport related, and my job.
Reply 3
Original post by jimb0b360
Thanks, that's helpful and reassuring. I'm guessing you mean extracurricular by ECs? What would you class as good? All I do at the moment is sport related, and my job.


The bar to entry at most places is relatively low. As long as it's not top 5 then you're pretty much guaranteed an offer.
Reply 4
3 years on, for anyone worrying about not hitting their target grades for uni:

All of my offers ended up being higher than my predicted grades, and I only achieved 2 of my predicted grades anyway. Really should've picked more relevant, easier A levels like IT and business, rather than taking maths and chemistry which I was never good at during GCSEs but wanted to do because they'd "look better". Nope, A's look better to uni's who don't care what course they're in, not B's and C's in harder subjects.

Also, beware of letting your A Level teachers inflate your predicted grades to make themselves look better. How a whole class that never achieved higher than B's in A level maths mock tests, and were more regularly achieving low C's, were forced to tell universities via UCAS that they would achieve A's is beyond me. At least a few met their targets, but I wasn't the sort of person to study 5/6 hours per day after school for subjects I wasn't enjoying.

However, I got a job at a local software company as a full time junior software engineer within a couple of months of finishing my A Levels, turned down my place at Sheffield Hallam uni and took on a part time course at The Open University studying a BSc in Computing & IT and Mathematics. Now I'm probably in a better place than I would be if I'd been to uni, as I was promoted to a mid-level engineer within a year, the company was acquired, I bought a house, and I'm halfway through my degree with tonnes of experience in the industry that I wouldn't have had for years to come had I gone to Sheffield Hallam (my 3rd choice) or even been accepted by Uni of Sheffield (my 1st choice).

So I guess offers / UCAS isn't as important as I thought it was when I posted this 3 years ago, and there are other options that might be better suited to the individual, despite sixth forms and colleges pressuring all students to go straight into full time higher education and making it sound like anything else is sub-par.
Hey, can you give another update to how you're doing now?
Original post by alanb21
Hey, can you give another update to how you're doing now?

I'm interested too since I am at the same stage now as the first post in this thread.
Reply 7
Original post by alanb21
Hey, can you give another update to how you're doing now?

Well, I'm now on year 5 out of 6 of my part time degree, which I'll finish in June 2024 if I don't fail any modules. I definitely self study better than I would've done at a physical uni with actual lectures, but I'm not sure if my degree will actually help me in the future considering the experience I've gained, technical ability, and soft skills, are all that potential employers have ever considered.

Work wise, I'm still at the same company and being considered for a promotion to Senior Engineer in the next few months, after transitioning from Ruby to Go as my main language due to organisational changes. This year was the first time we hired Junior developers that weren't older than me, so it definitely feels like I got a head start, but working full time and doing uni part time is pretty hard - not sure I can recommend it in this field unless you want to go on to do a masters to allow you to work in a specialized field.

I still think generally, while it's a good idea to have a fallback uni choice like Sheff Hallam that will accept you with poor grades, uni isn't the only option. There are more apprenticeships than ever these days, and you can definitely stumble onto small startups that are happy to have cheap help from anyone who is nice to work with and eager to learn, provided they're not coming in with absolutely no experience. That opens up the door to mid level roles at other companies regardless of the outcome of the company itself within a year, just because you have real industry experience to put on your CV.

If there's anything specific you want to know, feel free to ask, I'm not really sure what else to say 😅
Original post by jimb0b360
If there's anything specific you want to know, feel free to ask, I'm not really sure what else to say 😅


Thanks for the reply! I'm a few months younger than you and only about to apply to university and hopefully start this September after obviously quite a few years having a crap experience with education but I've finally got a hold of it and managed to get 3 A Levels done in a year. I've personally decided to commit hard to university since I feel like it'll give me peace of mind and comfort for a few years while figuring out what field in Computer Science I want to do but right now it's software developing. It's personally just nice and relieving to know that there's people like you who aren't some big youtubers or anything who are examples of being able to succeed in the work field without getting a degree first (of course not forgetting the experience you had before you applied to uni 5 years ago).

As someone who struggles to really know what I should be doing at times to succeed, what would you suggest are the strongest skills you would want to see in junior developers who want to go into work with or without a degree?
Reply 9
Original post by jimb0b360
I'm currently 16 (17 in July) at a sixth form college studying maths, physics and chemistry at A level. I have been working as a web developer using Ruby on Rails and various frameworks such as React w/ ES6 since just after I turned 16, in an apprenticeship-like part time job with a friend I met through sports, and am trying to get semi-relevant work experience with a local robotics firm. I have a few questions, if you don't mind answering them:

1) How can I maximise my chances of getting in to study Computer Science at University when I leave college, especially if I'm not confident that I'll get the AAA grade required to get in at most universities (eg Sheffield, my current ideal choice as it's close and quite highly rated for computing)? AAB is as good as I can hope for at the minute...

2) How competitive is Computer Science as far as university entrance? Do I need to be 'the elite' with grades equal to or higher than the asking, or would any unis accept lower grades?

3) Obviously my job will help to some extent, but how much? Considering I have worked on multiple small scale projects - some big stuff coming up in the next year or so before my uni applications though - using cutting if not bleeding edge technologies.

4) Will an online course like cs50x (an edX MOOC run by Harvard) make a considerable difference to my chances, and if so will it be worth paying the £75 to get a certificate out of it?

5) What do you recommend I do in the next year to give me an extra edge over the competition?

Thanks so much if you can help!
James

James, it's great to see your enthusiasm for pursuing Computer Science at university and gaining a competitive edge in the field. As I also have a Ruby on Rails certification, I got it when I was at your age and that time a had noting to do anything so I decided to go with it. Right now it's helping me a lot in my academic.

To maximize your chances of getting into a Computer Science program at university, You should consider the following:

Work hard to achieve the best A-level results you can. Even if you're aiming for AAB, strive for the highest grades in your control.

Craft a strong personal statement highlighting your passion for web development, coding projects, and your apprenticeship-like experience.

Seek universities with lower grade requirements, as some universities may accept AAB.

Consider foundation courses, which can provide an alternative pathway into Computer Science programs.
(edited 4 months ago)

Latest