26, nearly 27, and still not got anywhere Watch

BenTheBlue
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Well, where do I start...

I'm 26, 27 in December, kinda wasted a year. I've been unemployed for over a year, after starting out studying GCSE's from home, I got involved with someone, didn't work out and have been suffering from anxiety/ocd, but it's not an excuse. Quite frankly, i'm disgusted with myself for feeling like a lazy slob this past year and a bit.

I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those.

Now, onto the positives:

I have an interview for a part time role this Friday. It's only store work for B&Q, but money is money. It could be a key going forward.

I'm still young at 26.

I feel confident in my ability to study.

Questions:

What would you guys do? I've narrowed it down to three options really: 1) find a full time, dead end job. 2) start an Access course next year and work part time. 3) Start a business whilst working part time.

I've given it thought, and figured that I only need to put down the past 5 years of history on my CV going forward, so the gap over the past year should be fixable.

What are some realistic career options from access courses? I've considered becoming a paramedic and gaining voluntary experience with St Johns, but I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy working shift work with fluctuating shift patterns. The same applies for becoming a police officer.

The dream would be to become an academic and get into neuroscience or psychology, but being realistic, I think that ship sailed a long time ago. I'm still open to opinions contrary to that assertion.

Two of my passions are religion and philosophy actually, but again, not sure how realistic that would be for landing a role.

I've considered becoming a software engineer, but I would imagine most universities would put me through a foundation year for Computer Science even if I did the Access course. Not that I wouldn't do that, but it's more tuition to shell out.
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jamiejay
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(Original post by BenTheBlue)
Well, where do I start...

I'm 26, 27 in December, kinda wasted a year. I've been unemployed for over a year, after starting out studying GCSE's from home, I got involved with someone, didn't work out and have been suffering from anxiety/ocd, but it's not an excuse. Quite frankly, i'm disgusted with myself for feeling like a lazy slob this past year and a bit.

I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those.

Now, onto the positives:

I have an interview for a part time role this Friday. It's only store work for B&Q, but money is money. It could be a key going forward.

I'm still young at 26.

I feel confident in my ability to study.

Questions:

What would you guys do? I've narrowed it down to three options really: 1) find a full time, dead end job. 2) start an Access course next year and work part time. 3) Start a business whilst working part time.

I've given it thought, and figured that I only need to put down the past 5 years of history on my CV going forward, so the gap over the past year should be fixable.

What are some realistic career options from access courses? I've considered becoming a paramedic and gaining voluntary experience with St Johns, but I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy working shift work with fluctuating shift patterns. The same applies for becoming a police officer.

The dream would be to become an academic and get into neuroscience or psychology, but being realistic, I think that ship sailed a long time ago. I'm still open to opinions contrary to that assertion.

Two of my passions are religion and philosophy actually, but again, not sure how realistic that would be for landing a role.

I've considered becoming a software engineer, but I would imagine most universities would put me through a foundation year for Computer Science even if I did the Access course. Not that I wouldn't do that, but it's more tuition to shell out.
27 is nothing in the grand scheme of things! It hasn't been a wasted year, it's been a learning experience. You won't do it again.
Don't start a degree with the intention of getting employed, unless it's something you really want to do. I feel you'd much prefer doing a degree in neuroscience/psychology/philosophy, than becoming a paramedic.
I think we can cross number 1 off the list, calling it a "dead end" job doesn't exactly sound fun 😂
Number 2 is possible. You can do a vague access course and hopefully decide what you intend to study at uni by the UCAS deadline, whilst working part-time.
Number 3, depending on what kind of business it is, is also possible. If it's an online endeavour, why not start it now anyway and see how it works out over the year, with the intention to start studying in september '19 anyway?
These situations are mostly hypothetical, as you cannot guarantee you'll get the part-time job.

I think if you truly know what your passions are, and you want to study asap, there's nothing stopping you even going this year (providing the course is available in clearing, and has a foundation year).
In my opinion, taking out the extra year of student finance to do a foundation degree would make more sense than trying to balance working part time, and funding yourself over the access course.
My advice is to find which course you'd truly enjoy, and work towards getting into studying that.
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BenTheBlue
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(Original post by jamiejay)
27 is nothing in the grand scheme of things! It hasn't been a wasted year, it's been a learning experience. You won't do it again.
Don't start a degree with the intention of getting employed, unless it's something you really want to do. I feel you'd much prefer doing a degree in neuroscience/psychology/philosophy, than becoming a paramedic.
I think we can cross number 1 off the list, calling it a "dead end" job doesn't exactly sound fun 😂
Number 2 is possible. You can do a vague access course and hopefully decide what you intend to study at uni by the UCAS deadline, whilst working part-time.
Number 3, depending on what kind of business it is, is also possible. If it's an online endeavour, why not start it now anyway and see how it works out over the year, with the intention to start studying in september '19 anyway?
These situations are mostly hypothetical, as you cannot guarantee you'll get the part-time job.

I think if you truly know what your passions are, and you want to study asap, there's nothing stopping you even going this year (providing the course is available in clearing, and has a foundation year).
In my opinion, taking out the extra year of student finance to do a foundation degree would make more sense than trying to balance working part time, and funding yourself over the access course.
My advice is to find which course you'd truly enjoy, and work towards getting into studying that.
I've made the decision to work at something fulfilling, which matches my mindset (I'm an overthinker), which allows for something different and for which there is a need. So with all of that said, I'm going to teach myself programming which requires quite an analytical mindset, take a handful of GCSE's this year, A Levels over a 2 year period, and get into a Russell Group university to study Computer Science. I could get a personal tutor who could give me predicted grades, and get GCSE's in those subjects to pass over to the university. I may even add a GCSE or two alongside my A Levels.

This is also a hypothetical, and long-term plan as I may start a business in programming alongside study and a part-time job, and it may end up being very successful, in which case I won't even need to study. A degree would only be wanted to pass over to a prospective employer, but if I'm running my own business, then this wouldn't be necessary.
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BenTheBlue
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I would say that as we live in a technological age, that learning programming languages with a view to starting a business or finding work as a software engineer would be a good idea. Quite a few adverts out there require a degree in something like computer science, so if I pick up prior experience *before* a degree, then getting a degree at that time would probably be the best time to do it, then I have an education, experience and a portfolio going into future employment by the age of say 32.
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R3negade
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Hello mate,

Firstly, take the option of a dead-end job off the table immediately - it will eat away at your soul.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you need to have a proper good think about what you actually want to do. Not what an easy option is, but what you really want to do. For example, years ago I was working in my dead end job and I hated it. I saw a job advertisement for a train conductor and convinced myself that it would be a good career move, but the rationalisation was all wrong. The reality was I hated where I was and what I was doing so much that pretty much any other option looked good. If I would have applied and got the job, there is a very good chance I would have also disliked it and spent more time doing things that I really didn't want to do.

I kinda get where you are right now, but you need more clarity in your future decision. In your OP, you mentioned 6/7 very different careers that you would consider. Unfortunately, you need to narrow that down to one career and then focus all of your attention on it.

I am biased, but compsci is a really good idea for a mature student if that is what floats your boat.
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winterscoming
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(Original post by BenTheBlue)
I would say that as we live in a technological age, that learning programming languages with a view to starting a business or finding work as a software engineer would be a good idea. Quite a few adverts out there require a degree in something like computer science, so if I pick up prior experience *before* a degree, then getting a degree at that time would probably be the best time to do it, then I have an education, experience and a portfolio going into future employment by the age of say 32.
A lot of businesses hiring graduate software engineers are looking for a specific skillset rather than a specific qualification. The term 'graduate' implies a standard of competency in number of key areas around programming, problem-solving, logic, software development principles, databases, technology, some common tools, and some software/project management skills. -- people without that graduate/education background can reach the same standard in other ways.

Realistically you could self-teach up to a graduate standard in the space 12-18 months if you put your mind to it and work at it - but that requires a lot of motivation and enthusiasm, as well as being willing to "push" yourself uphill when it may feel like staring up to the summit of Mt Everest at times.

Aside from that, you could do almost all of it for free using a combination of online courses (MOOCs), tutorials, blogs, youtube videos, freely available tools, personal projects, and a lot of good-old-fashioned persistence. (you want to be looking to at least 1000 hours of solid, focused learning/studying as a bare minimum, and at least one large non-trivial personal project which might be equivalent in size to the kind of thing a 3rd year student would do for their Final year project)

From someone who self-taught as a programmer when I was 14, before MOOCs, before interactive online tutorials, and even before YouTube -- I mostly relied on books, blogs, text-based tutorials, forums, and my personal projects; self teaching is actually a lot more accessible now

Firstly, there's a whole plethora of sites with tonnes of superb free resources:
  • EdX and Coursera are superb because all of their content is free (you have to "audit" a course, and then you have unlimited access to course material and lectures from the worlds top universities and computer science teachers). That includes Harvard, MIT, UBC, Duke University, Georgia Tech and University of Michigan who all have some excellent free courses covering languages like Python, C, Java and Web development, as well as having some more in-depth material on Computer Science and Software Engineering design/principles. There's some good courses from Microsoft on EdX too for C# programming.
  • Udacity has some great free resources too. Google have released all of their Java and Android programming courses for free on there. Georgia Tech also have a really good free database course for learning SQL and database design (hugely important topic in IT).
  • Various YouTube channels like Derek Banas have some excellent programming videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/derekbanas/playlists
  • Anything else that you can find on Google and StackOverflow (StackOverflow is the No.1 most-important site on the internet for software engineers)


Some great non-free (but reasonably priced) websites with some very high quality material include TeamTreehouse and Pluralsight -- these are good for a lot of the tools and other non-programming technologies. TeamTreehouse has some very well-structured "tracks" for learning a lot of different languages and frameworks. Pluralsight is less-structured but has videos for some more advanced tools/technologies that are harder to learn just by google'ing.

Aside from that, it's about taking everything one step-at-a-time and having goals to give yourself the structure that you need to self-learn without ending up flip-flopping all over the place or treading water. Your goals would probably be:
  • Core programming skills in at least one popular language like Java, C# or Python (Computational thinking, problem solving, debugging, using an IDE)
  • Simple structured data and how different kinds of data are represented in-memory.
  • Working with lists of data in a program and how to do common operations such as merging, transformation, and selecting/filtering data
  • Some knowledge of common algorithms for sorting/searching data
  • Working with plain-text data (strings) and file I/O
  • Well-known data formats like CSV, JSON and XML
  • Source control (A tool called "git" ) and hosting your personal projects on a site like github or bitbucket.
  • Object-oriented Programming and Object-oriented design principles
  • Building "windows" GUIs with a well-known UI toolkit/framework, leading on towards good habits/best-practice for that framework (e.g. the Android app SDK)
  • Software design principles and 'best practice' for writing/structuring code for larger/growing projects
  • Common software design patterns and common standards/conventions/guidelines for whatever language you'd be using.
  • Database design principles, data modelling and querying a database with SQL
  • Learning a "web" framework for your language (Each of the popular languages have different ways of building back-end web services -- these are really important)
  • Front-end web development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and Bootstap, as well as web browser development tools
  • Automated testing and how this affects the way you approach software development
  • Principles behind HTTP and working with 3rd party APIs to send/receive data to/from someone else's web services (e.g. Twitter)
  • Software architecture and breaking large programs into separate layers/components systems
  • Multi-threading, asynchrony, concurrency and parallelism
  • Network programming
  • (Optional) - Cloud technologies like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services
  • (Optional) - Low-level systems programming in a language like C, possibly leading to hardware programming on a microcontroller like Arduino.

That probably sounds like a lot, and it is - but it's achievable to learn alot of that in 12-18 months, and to reach a point where you'll have a lot to talk about on your CV in terms of tools, technologies, concepts and principles that you'll have learned, with projects you'd have worked on in that time, and to be able to sit down with interviewers hiring junior engineers who would be asking technical questions and looking to see how you'd approach problem solving.

Also, I'd point out that there's no age limit on an apprenticeship for IT jobs like software engineering; if you spend time learning some of these things, you could consider jumping straight into an entry-level role on something like the Digital & Technology Solutions degree-apprenticeship scheme, which lasts for 4-years but mostly consists of on-the-job learning, with one day per-week in lessons to work towards a degree qualification. (And no loans/tuition fees)
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BenTheBlue
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(Original post by winterscoming)
A lot of businesses hiring graduate software engineers are looking for a specific skillset rather than a specific qualification. The term 'graduate' implies a standard of competency in number of key areas around programming, problem-solving, logic, software development principles, databases, technology, some common tools, and some software/project management skills. -- people without that graduate/education background can reach the same standard in other ways.

Realistically you could self-teach up to a graduate standard in the space 12-18 months if you put your mind to it and work at it - but that requires a lot of motivation and enthusiasm, as well as being willing to "push" yourself uphill when it may feel like staring up to the summit of Mt Everest at times.

Aside from that, you could do almost all of it for free using a combination of online courses (MOOCs), tutorials, blogs, youtube videos, freely available tools, personal projects, and a lot of good-old-fashioned persistence. (you want to be looking to at least 1000 hours of solid, focused learning/studying as a bare minimum, and at least one large non-trivial personal project which might be equivalent in size to the kind of thing a 3rd year student would do for their Final year project)

From someone who self-taught as a programmer when I was 14, before MOOCs, before interactive online tutorials, and even before YouTube -- I mostly relied on books, blogs, text-based tutorials, forums, and my personal projects; self teaching is actually a lot more accessible now

Firstly, there's a whole plethora of sites with tonnes of superb free resources:
  • EdX and Coursera are superb because all of their content is free (you have to "audit" a course, and then you have unlimited access to course material and lectures from the worlds top universities and computer science teachers). That includes Harvard, MIT, UBC, Duke University, Georgia Tech and University of Michigan who all have some excellent free courses covering languages like Python, C, Java and Web development, as well as having some more in-depth material on Computer Science and Software Engineering design/principles. There's some good courses from Microsoft on EdX too for C# programming.
  • Udacity has some great free resources too. Google have released all of their Java and Android programming courses for free on there. Georgia Tech also have a really good free database course for learning SQL and database design (hugely important topic in IT).
  • Various YouTube channels like Derek Banas have some excellent programming videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/derekbanas/playlists
  • Anything else that you can find on Google and StackOverflow (StackOverflow is the No.1 most-important site on the internet for software engineers)


Some great non-free (but reasonably priced) websites with some very high quality material include TeamTreehouse and Pluralsight -- these are good for a lot of the tools and other non-programming technologies. TeamTreehouse has some very well-structured "tracks" for learning a lot of different languages and frameworks. Pluralsight is less-structured but has videos for some more advanced tools/technologies that are harder to learn just by google'ing.

Aside from that, it's about taking everything one step-at-a-time and having goals to give yourself the structure that you need to self-learn without ending up flip-flopping all over the place or treading water. Your goals would probably be:
  • Core programming skills in at least one popular language like Java, C# or Python (Computational thinking, problem solving, debugging, using an IDE)
  • Simple structured data and how different kinds of data are represented in-memory.
  • Working with lists of data in a program and how to do common operations such as merging, transformation, and selecting/filtering data
  • Some knowledge of common algorithms for sorting/searching data
  • Working with plain-text data (strings) and file I/O
  • Well-known data formats like CSV, JSON and XML
  • Source control (A tool called "git" ) and hosting your personal projects on a site like github or bitbucket.
  • Object-oriented Programming and Object-oriented design principles
  • Building "windows" GUIs with a well-known UI toolkit/framework, leading on towards good habits/best-practice for that framework (e.g. the Android app SDK)
  • Software design principles and 'best practice' for writing/structuring code for larger/growing projects
  • Common software design patterns and common standards/conventions/guidelines for whatever language you'd be using.
  • Database design principles, data modelling and querying a database with SQL
  • Learning a "web" framework for your language (Each of the popular languages have different ways of building back-end web services -- these are really important)
  • Front-end web development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and Bootstap, as well as web browser development tools
  • Automated testing and how this affects the way you approach software development
  • Principles behind HTTP and working with 3rd party APIs to send/receive data to/from someone else's web services (e.g. Twitter)
  • Software architecture and breaking large programs into separate layers/components systems
  • Multi-threading, asynchrony, concurrency and parallelism
  • Network programming
  • (Optional) - Cloud technologies like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services
  • (Optional) - Low-level systems programming in a language like C, possibly leading to hardware programming on a microcontroller like Arduino.

That probably sounds like a lot, and it is - but it's achievable to learn alot of that in 12-18 months, and to reach a point where you'll have a lot to talk about on your CV in terms of tools, technologies, concepts and principles that you'll have learned, with projects you'd have worked on in that time, and to be able to sit down with interviewers hiring junior engineers who would be asking technical questions and looking to see how you'd approach problem solving.

Also, I'd point out that there's no age limit on an apprenticeship for IT jobs like software engineering; if you spend time learning some of these things, you could consider jumping straight into an entry-level role on something like the Digital & Technology Solutions degree-apprenticeship scheme, which lasts for 4-years but mostly consists of on-the-job learning, with one day per-week in lessons to work towards a degree qualification. (And no loans/tuition fees)
That's a great amount of information. I appreciate it.

Whilst I value education and a degree quite a lot, I don't believe I should be defined by a lack of qualifications, and as you say, sheer persistence counts for a lot in today's world. There's nothing stopping me working hard now, even getting hired as a developer and doing a part-time foundation degree as I work, which I could top up later on. I could then be sitting here with a ton of experience, a well-paid job and a solid education by the time I'm in my early 30s.

Alternatively, I could value programming as a vocation and not go to university at all, yet still have a successful career, so who knows?
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BenTheBlue
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I just want to thank everyone for the support and advice you've given me thus far. I quickly ruled out becoming a paramedic - it was just a thought as it would be an emotional thing to do seeing as my dad was a former st john member, but it wouldn't match my personality or skillset, to be honest. I think development is more like me, and there are courses out there you can do part-time, so I think that would be both realistic and fulfilling, but i'm just looking for part-time work as I work towards something in any event.
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TonicCrane
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(Original post by BenTheBlue)
I just want to thank everyone for the support and advice you've given me thus far. I quickly ruled out becoming a paramedic - it was just a thought as it would be an emotional thing to do seeing as my dad was a former st john member, but it wouldn't match my personality or skillset, to be honest. I think development is more like me, and there are courses out there you can do part-time, so I think that would be both realistic and fulfilling, but i'm just looking for part-time work as I work towards something in any event.
I would definitely do software development/software engineering or if u want cybersecurity
This industry is rapidly growing, and you don't require any sort of degree to get into (some companies may require a CS degree, but some don't)
You will get a competitive and decent salary and live in a great life.
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Adacic
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(Original post by BenTheBlue)
Well, where do I start...

I'm 26, 27 in December, kinda wasted a year. I've been unemployed for over a year, after starting out studying GCSE's from home, I got involved with someone, didn't work out and have been suffering from anxiety/ocd, but it's not an excuse. Quite frankly, i'm disgusted with myself for feeling like a lazy slob this past year and a bit.

I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those.

Now, onto the positives:

I have an interview for a part time role this Friday. It's only store work for B&Q, but money is money. It could be a key going forward.

I'm still young at 26.

I feel confident in my ability to study.

Questions:

What would you guys do? I've narrowed it down to three options really: 1) find a full time, dead end job. 2) start an Access course next year and work part time. 3) Start a business whilst working part time.

I've given it thought, and figured that I only need to put down the past 5 years of history on my CV going forward, so the gap over the past year should be fixable.

What are some realistic career options from access courses? I've considered becoming a paramedic and gaining voluntary experience with St Johns, but I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy working shift work with fluctuating shift patterns. The same applies for becoming a police officer.

The dream would be to become an academic and get into neuroscience or psychology, but being realistic, I think that ship sailed a long time ago. I'm still open to opinions contrary to that assertion.

Two of my passions are religion and philosophy actually, but again, not sure how realistic that would be for landing a role.

I've considered becoming a software engineer, but I would imagine most universities would put me through a foundation year for Computer Science even if I did the Access course. Not that I wouldn't do that, but it's more tuition to shell out.
Join the police. Imagine chasing down criminals at 100mph in ur police car with sirens
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Gordon_D
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What I'm reading here mirrors my own experience somewhat!

"I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those."

In fairness, 5 GCSEs at grade C is a good achievement and something that most employers and courses require (especially in maths and English) - this is far from failing!!

Have you thought about taking an Access to HE Course at college? This gives you the academic qualifications to start a degree (and may make entry to the Police easier if you do an Access courses in Public Services). I did this, and found it a great experience as you'll be on a courses with people in a very similar situation. It gave me a tonne of confidence and I ended up going to university at 28. It might not be for everybody but it worked out well for me. The other benefit of Access is that in less than a year, you learn a lot about the chosen subject and get a feel for whether that route is for you.

You're only 26, and there is loads to play for - don't feel you have to rush (I know that doesn't seem very helpful sometimes).

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BenTheBlue
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(Original post by Gordon_D)
What I'm reading here mirrors my own experience somewhat!

"I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those."

In fairness, 5 GCSEs at grade C is a good achievement and something that most employers and courses require (especially in maths and English) - this is far from failing!!

Have you thought about taking an Access to HE Course at college? This gives you the academic qualifications to start a degree (and may make entry to the Police easier if you do an Access courses in Public Services). I did this, and found it a great experience as you'll be on a courses with people in a very similar situation. It gave me a tonne of confidence and I ended up going to university at 28. It might not be for everybody but it worked out well for me. The other benefit of Access is that in less than a year, you learn a lot about the chosen subject and get a feel for whether that route is for you.

You're only 26, and there is loads to play for - don't feel you have to rush (I know that doesn't seem very helpful sometimes).

That's very useful, thank you. Yeah, I heard of an Access course, but the subjects I'd want to do (Computer Science, Philosophy, Neuroscience) tend to be very focused on exams rather than coursework, and from my understanding, Access courses tend to be primarily based on coursework. Plus, i'd want to get into a Russell Group university and not every Russell Group university would accept an Access course. I'd want to do something that prepares me well that is focused on exams and mirrors the assessment on the degree. Having said that, I guess a lot of universities would look at putting me in for a foundation year on a STEM subject if I did do an Access course.

Alternatively, I could work full time and better my education on a part-time basis. I know a local university offers Applied Computer Science as a part time course.
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Gordon_D
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(Original post by BenTheBlue)
That's very useful, thank you. Yeah, I heard of an Access course, but the subjects I'd want to do (Computer Science, Philosophy, Neuroscience) tend to be very focused on exams rather than coursework, and from my understanding, Access courses tend to be primarily based on coursework. Plus, i'd want to get into a Russell Group university and not every Russell Group university would accept an Access course. I'd want to do something that prepares me well that is focused on exams and mirrors the assessment on the degree. Having said that, I guess a lot of universities would look at putting me in for a foundation year on a STEM subject if I did do an Access course.

Alternatively, I could work full time and better my education on a part-time basis. I know a local university offers Applied Computer Science as a part time course.
The balance between exams and coursework tends to differ from course to course, and between institutions from what I can gather.

Can I ask why you're only going to focus on Russell Group universities? There are surprisingly few employers who are only interested in where you obtain your degree. I did my Access course in Business and Enterprise. While I went on to study Business with Marketing at degree level and number of my cohort went on to study other courses like Law, and Social Science related courses.

Mine was mostly course work, but one thing the Access course is designed to do is prepare you for university, so half of it is learning how to find a learning style that works best for you while teaching you how to write academically so you hit the ground running. My degree, over three years had about 9 exams in all and was mostly assignment based.

My advice would be, if you're looking to work in a particular field, speak to employers to find out what they want, look at their job specs and see what they are expecting from applicants - you'll find it's mostly "educated to university level" (if that's important to them) and won't mentioned Russell Group.

Also, speak to admissions at a number of universities about whether they will accept applicants with Access Diplomas (most will!). To give you an idea of what kind of courses are available, take a look here:https://www.gbmc.ac.uk/brighton/stud...te=&per-page=5

This is from my local colleges (where I got my diploma). Both the Computing and Biomedical Sciences stand out as relevant, and other colleges offer very similar subjects. Again, ask to speak to the teaching staff on local Access Courses - it's their job to get students into university as a result so they'll be able to give you some great insight.

Ultimately, don't put pressure on yourself to make specific choices and assumptions about what will be accepted... ask around and you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find out
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Analyst89
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#14
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#14
(Original post by BenTheBlue)
Well, where do I start...

I'm 26, 27 in December, kinda wasted a year. I've been unemployed for over a year, after starting out studying GCSE's from home, I got involved with someone, didn't work out and have been suffering from anxiety/ocd, but it's not an excuse. Quite frankly, i'm disgusted with myself for feeling like a lazy slob this past year and a bit.

I still have no clue what I want to do, given that I've not got A-Levels and messed up my GCSE's too. I failed all my GCSE's, except for English, Maths, English Lit, Science and Short Course IT. I achieved C's in all of those.

Now, onto the positives:

I have an interview for a part time role this Friday. It's only store work for B&Q, but money is money. It could be a key going forward.

I'm still young at 26.

I feel confident in my ability to study.

Questions:

What would you guys do? I've narrowed it down to three options really: 1) find a full time, dead end job. 2) start an Access course next year and work part time. 3) Start a business whilst working part time.

I've given it thought, and figured that I only need to put down the past 5 years of history on my CV going forward, so the gap over the past year should be fixable.

What are some realistic career options from access courses? I've considered becoming a paramedic and gaining voluntary experience with St Johns, but I'm not sure how well I'd enjoy working shift work with fluctuating shift patterns. The same applies for becoming a police officer.

The dream would be to become an academic and get into neuroscience or psychology, but being realistic, I think that ship sailed a long time ago. I'm still open to opinions contrary to that assertion.

Two of my passions are religion and philosophy actually, but again, not sure how realistic that would be for landing a role.

I've considered becoming a software engineer, but I would imagine most universities would put me through a foundation year for Computer Science even if I did the Access course. Not that I wouldn't do that, but it's more tuition to shell out.
You could study an access to he course leading you to uni or even an open university degree online, they have degree's in computer science, law, psychology, maths, physics, environmental science, humanties (history) etc.
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BenTheBlue
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Analyst89)
You could study an access to he course leading you to uni or even an open university degree online, they have degree's in computer science, law, psychology, maths, physics, environmental science, humanties (history) etc.
If I get top grades in an Access course, I could theoretically get into a good university and maybe a top 10 uni via a foundation year
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Davidswift9
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#16
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#16
I use to be deflated like this. Done open uni physics, started at 27. Done 120 credits a year alongside full time work for 2 years and part time in third year. I use to look at job adverts and think, geez im a loser i can never do the stuff they ask. Im doing well now, work in space industry at a major enginerring company on a good wage.

Be smart and pick a core science, engineering or maths degree - they get you jobs and access to a better life.
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BenTheBlue
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#17
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#17
(Original post by Davidswift9)
I use to be deflated like this. Done open uni physics, started at 27. Done 120 credits a year alongside full time work for 2 years and part time in third year. I use to look at job adverts and think, geez im a loser i can never do the stuff they ask. Im doing well now, work in space industry at a major enginerring company on a good wage.

Be smart and pick a core science, engineering or maths degree - they get you jobs and access to a better life.
That's such a timely response, thank you.

I'm thinking of self-teaching front-end web development to get a full-time job as a developer. I am now considering doing an Open Uni degree alongside it, depending on the modules. I think I want to mix and match though and may consider doing the Open Degree with some programming and more Maths, as it's the theory I'm after. I'm currently comparing Open Uni modules with modules from top universities and seeing how close they get.

I know what degree I want to do and I have a fair idea of where I want to get to career-wise, but just keeping my options open for how I do it. In the meantime, I'm going to go freelance and study towards my Maths and English GCSE's.
Last edited by BenTheBlue; 1 year ago
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Davidswift9
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#18
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#18
(Original post by BenTheBlue)
That's such a timely response, thank you.

I'm thinking of self-teaching front-end web development to get a full-time job as a developer. I am now considering doing an Open Uni degree alongside it, depending on the modules. I think I want to mix and match though and may consider doing the Open Degree with some programming and more Maths, as it's the theory I'm after. I'm currently comparing Open Uni modules with modules from top universities and seeing how close they get.

I know what degree I want to do and I have a fair idea of where I want to get to career-wise, but just keeping my options open for how I do it. In the meantime, I'm going to go freelance and study towards my Maths and English GCSE's.
I would recommend against open Degree because I think its difficult to explain to an employer and may put them off because you can literally pick all sorts of random modules that may not complement eachother.

The OU modules for physics stacked well against brick universities - but you must take into consideration that OU level 3 modules are a massive step up from OU level 2, whereas the difference between year 2 and year 3 modules in brick universties is not so much. If you pick a degree with accreditation, such as OU physics - its accredited by the Insitute of Physics and not all brick universties have that accreditation as it requires a certain module standard. It covers all the fantasically interesting topics like quantum mechanics, astrophyics, relativity, electromagntism and particle physics.

I code a large portion of my working week in my job in a software package called MATLAB, basically allows me to do mathematical analysis and I do analysis for spacecraft. I could not code before i started OU and I learnt it from OU maths modules as their have coding content. I think i read OU are transitioning their coding content to a language called Python - which is basically the most valuable coding language out there at the moment in my opinion, Its free and it does MATLAB stuff and more since its open source there is a **** ton of content online.

GCSE's are a giant waste of time and your money. I didnt have a good start in life and came out of school early and I hit OU level 1 modules (first year) without any knowledge nearly 10 years after leaving school. OU level 1 content starts at GCSE standard, ramps to Alevel and finishes at first year brick uni standard. You should know that first year of most brick universities is a doss around to ensure all students are at the same level for year 2, since all students do not have same Alevels their first year content is pretty much the same as A-level. First year of brick uni and open uni does not count torwards your final grade. Obviously this is a 'general' as some universities around UK start pretty hard into the first year but all degrees including OU finish at the same point, You wont be missing out on any theory.

I stress picking a core subject in science, maths or engineering because you will easily get a high paying job at the end of it and it really broadens your options. The beauty of OU is that you can start applying to entry level jobs pretty much anytime, so once you confident with a good theoretical background (after level 2 modules) you can apply to entry level jobs and finish studying in a job and be getting experience the same time.
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Davidswift9
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#19
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#19
I forgot to add if you want to go to brick uni, its a waste of time and huge debt in my opinion, then you can use open university modules once compeleted and apply to go straight into the second year of a brick uni. Open uni use to run this as a specific transfter option called open plus, dont know if its still goes on. Uni just gets you a piece of paper called the most expensive piece of paper you'll ever own, its what you learn during it and do after that counts. All degrees must cover the same standard content.
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