aaarrrooonnn
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So I'm doing pretty terribly in my AS Levels, this isn't for me. I want to go on to university to do computer science and pursue a career in software development. I recently found an apprenticeship program as a software developer so I'm really intrigued as most of my passion goes toward computers and since A Levels arent for me and taking BTEC (as mentioned in a previous thread of mine) can be an issue. The thought of this opportunity is exciting, however im not sure if i meet the requirements. My GCSE's weren't great either. Here are my current and projected results:

GCSE:
English Lit - 4
English Lang - 4
Maths - 5
Core Science - C
Additional Science - C
ECDL - A*

AS Level (exams begin next week):
Chemistry - E
Psychology - D/C
Computing was internal

Might it also be worth mentioning that I'm born in August so I have more time to utilise?

Here is the link to IBM's website, there is a PDF after clicking on "Software Developer" under "Technical Apprenticeships" where some of the requirements are listed.

https://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk...ol_leaver.html

Not sure how to interpret this as they want 5 A* - C GCSE's and a 4 is a C..
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alleycat393
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(Original post by aaarrrooonnn)
So I'm doing pretty terribly in my AS Levels, this isn't for me. I want to go on to university to do computer science and pursue a career in software development. I recently found an apprenticeship program as a software developer so I'm really intrigued as most of my passion goes toward computers and since A Levels arent for me and taking BTEC (as mentioned in a previous thread of mine) can be an issue. The thought of this opportunity is exciting, however im not sure if i meet the requirements. My GCSE's weren't great either. Here are my current and projected results:

GCSE:
English Lit - 4
English Lang - 4
Maths - 5
Core Science - C
Additional Science - C
ECDL - A*

AS Level (exams begin next week):
Chemistry - E
Psychology - D/C
Computing was internal

Might it also be worth mentioning that I'm born in August so I have more time to utilise?

Here is the link to IBM's website, there is a PDF after clicking on "Software Developer" under "Technical Apprenticeships" where some of the requirements are listed.

https://www-05.ibm.com/employment/uk...ol_leaver.html

Not sure how to interpret this as they want 5 A* - C GCSE's and a 4 is a C..
There isn't any interpretation there. If you don't meet the entry requirements unfortunately there is no point in applying. Why can't you do a BTEC?
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winterscoming
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According to their entry requirements at the bottom of that page, they're looking for grades 5-9 at GCSE, which includes Maths and English language.

This might be a problem, or perhaps not - in reality the people you're dealing with are human beings and not robots, but you need to talk to them and find out whether there's any other way you could meet the entry requirements given your current grades. However, you also need to keep in mind that companies like IBM are likely to receive thousands of applications for this scheme, and they'll only be hiring the top candidates who show the most enthusiasm, ability and potential.

Also, in reality, a lot of people hired into software engineering apprenticeship schemes are self-taught in programming. Even though this isn't true for everyone, and it's certainly not a stated requirement, someone who has spent a couple of years in their own time tinkering with their own projects look quite impressive to the people who run the apprenticeship. Unless you're in this position, you'd already be at a disadvantage compared to those people regardless of your GCSE grades.

As far as education is concerned, a BTEC isn't a bad option. I don't know which thread you're referring to about your reasons for dismissing this, but if such a course is available to you, then it's a valid path to where you want to be. A Software Engineering degree is naturally quite vocational anyway. Alternatively, you could consider applying for an HND in Software Engineering (which will allow you to progress to a degree later) after you're done with your A-Levels, assuming you finish those. The entry requirements for an HND are often lower than a degree.

Whatever you decide to study, finding a course you enjoy is really important - the more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to succeed! It's really not a problem if you don't enjoy heavily exam-based courses like A-Levels - many people disliked or struggled with A-levels and went on to have successful careers in Software Engineering (myself included, although I completed A-Level maths, and was entirely self-taught in programming - but A-levels weren't something I particularly enjoyed).

If you're interested in apprenticeships, then do some research around other companies - IBM certainly isn't the only company opening up recruitment for apprenticeships; you'll find many large companies offering these, as well as companies who you've never heard of - I'd recommend doing some research into other schemes and learning more about your options:
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=so...renticeship+uk
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CharlesJonesIBM
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Hi I am a software developer for IBM - my A-levels were:
Music- A
RE- A
Computer Science- L1

So you should try contacting us! give me a message for further information!
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aaarrrooonnn
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Also, in reality, a lot of people hired into software engineering apprenticeship schemes are self-taught in programming. Even though this isn't true for everyone, and it's certainly not a stated requirement, someone who has spent a couple of years in their own time tinkering with their own projects look quite impressive to the people who run the apprenticeship. Unless you're in this position, you'd already be at a disadvantage compared to those people regardless of your GCSE grades.
Well A Levels wont be much of an issue, that's what these AS's are. I'm taking both Psychology and Computing at A2 so as long as i'm able to continue the course I'll be just fine, especially in terms of UCAS. I'm also taking my NEA project for Comp very seriously and I have big(ish) plans for it. I'm also considering learning python alongside the c# that I learn in college to further develop my skills. I'll also have more time to do this as I'll only have 2 subjects to study; I should have EPQ done by summer.. I hope. I've made an edit for this but maybe EPQ would also give me that advantage? Considering I have over a year to develop skills in 2 languages, with a number of projects and an EPQ..
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aaarrrooonnn
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(Original post by alleycat393)
There isn't any interpretation there. If you don't meet the entry requirements unfortunately there is no point in applying. Why can't you do a BTEC?
Well doing the BTEC would mean going to a different college, 3x the distance from home, as well as it being in a dodgy area in terms of the community. Also considering I do fail my AS's, there would also be the issue of whether or not they would accept me. After looking into apprenticeships, IBM especially I've veered more toward staying where I am and completing my 2 A Levels
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alleycat393
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(Original post by aaarrrooonnn)
Well doing the BTEC would mean going to a different college, 3x the distance from home, as well as it being in a dodgy area in terms of the community. Also considering I do fail my AS's, there would also be the issue of whether or not they would accept me. After looking into apprenticeships, IBM especially I've veered more toward staying where I am and completing my 2 A Levels
Ok so there is a difference between not being able to do a BTEC and not wanting the hassle/inconvenience. Anyway, the bottom line is that you need to meet the entry requirements irrespective of what combination of qualifications you use to do so. Good luck!
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aaarrrooonnn
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Ok so there is a difference between not being able to do a BTEC and not wanting the hassle/inconvenience. Anyway, the bottom line is that you need to meet the entry requirements irrespective of what combination of qualifications you use to do so. Good luck!
Cheers
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winterscoming
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(Original post by aaarrrooonnn)
Well A Levels wont be much of an issue, that's what these AS's are. I'm taking both Psychology and Computing at A2 so as long as i'm able to continue the course I'll be just fine, especially in terms of UCAS. I'm also taking my NEA project for Comp very seriously and I have big(ish) plans for it. I'm also considering learning python alongside the c# that I learn in college to further develop my skills. I'll also have more time to do this as I'll only have 2 subjects to study; I should have EPQ done by summer.. I hope. I've made an edit for this but maybe EPQ would also give me that advantage? Considering I have over a year to develop skills in 2 languages, with a number of projects and an EPQ..
It sounds like you're on track in that case. If you're using your EPQ as a means to learning and practising your software engineering skills then that's a good way to start building up a portfolio which you can rely upon in future.

As for learning Python and C# or any language, I'd recommend approaching one language at a time and focusing on becoming proficient in that language before moving to another - there's a lot more to programming in a language than just the syntax/grammar - it takes a lot of time to learn the common idioms and patterns, as well as the libraries and other tools used for that language.

Python is probably the easiest language to start with - it's fairly quick and easy to jump in and start writing code / solving problems with it. Here's a few places you could start from:


For learning C# there are some good free online courses from Microsoft which will cover a lot of important topics for C# and the .NET Framework (You need to understand the .NET framework to be able to create useful, working projects with C#). I'd suggest looking at these (all fairly short courses - a few weeks each) - in roughly this order

  1. https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-c-sharp

  2. https://www.edx.org/course/object-or...ogramming-in-c

  3. https://www.edx.org/course/algorithm...tructures-in-c

  4. https://www.edx.org/course/data-acce...c-and-net-core

  5. https://www.edx.org/course/asynchron...c-and-net-core

  6. https://www.edx.org/course/data-quer...ing-linq-and-c

  7. https://www.edx.org/course/mvc-appli...ng-net-core-20

  8. https://www.edx.org/course/build-web-apis-using-aspnet


Lastly, if you're looking at Software Engineering as a career, then it's really important to learn about Databases and SQL too. Nearly every business in the world relies heavily on SQL databases - so as a software engineer, you need to know how to work with them because there's a very high chance that any apps you write will need to use a SQL database somewhere:
https://www.edx.org/xseries/microsof...se-development


It might seem like a lot, but a year is plenty of time to get through all of this.
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aaarrrooonnn
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(Original post by winterscoming)
It sounds like you're on track in that case. If you're using your EPQ as a means to learning and practising your software engineering skills then that's a good way to start building up a portfolio which you can rely upon in future.

As for learning Python and C# or any language, I'd recommend approaching one language at a time and focusing on becoming proficient in that language before moving to another - there's a lot more to programming in a language than just the syntax/grammar - it takes a lot of time to learn the common idioms and patterns, as well as the libraries and other tools used for that language.

Python is probably the easiest language to start with - it's fairly quick and easy to jump in and start writing code / solving problems with it. Here's a few places you could start from:


For learning C# there are some good free online courses from Microsoft which will cover a lot of important topics for C# and the .NET Framework (You need to understand the .NET framework to be able to create useful, working projects with C#). I'd suggest looking at these (all fairly short courses - a few weeks each) - in roughly this order
  1. https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-c-sharp
  2. https://www.edx.org/course/object-or...ogramming-in-c
  3. https://www.edx.org/course/algorithm...tructures-in-c
  4. https://www.edx.org/course/data-acce...c-and-net-core
  5. https://www.edx.org/course/asynchron...c-and-net-core
  6. https://www.edx.org/course/data-quer...ing-linq-and-c
  7. https://www.edx.org/course/mvc-appli...ng-net-core-20
  8. https://www.edx.org/course/build-web-apis-using-aspnet


Lastly, if you're looking at Software Engineering as a career, then it's really important to learn about Databases and SQL too. Nearly every business in the world relies heavily on SQL databases - so as a software engineer, you need to know how to work with them because there's a very high chance that any apps you write will need to use a SQL database somewhere:
https://www.edx.org/xseries/microsof...se-development


It might seem like a lot, but a year is plenty of time to get through all of this.
Your help has made me ecstatic, thank you so much! I'll be sure to look at everything you've suggested.
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