FreshPrince102
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Starting A level cs what do i need to do to make sure im on the same level as those who took it at gcse or do i not need to do anything as the requirements was to get a 6 in math?
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winterscoming
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It doesn't matter whether you studied at GCSE. Don't forget that CompSci is quite a new subject at GCSE but has been around for decades at A-Level, so until recently it would have been highly unusual for anybody starting the A-Level to have ever touched the subject before or done any programming.

The people who studied it at GCSE will have a headstart on some of the programming and theory, but you'll have plenty of time to catch up. If you're interested in spending a couple of weeks before you start getting ahead with it you could try some free programming lessons on Codecademy https://www.codecademy.com/ but it's not really necessary.

There's some really excellent video lectures here as well, which you might find interesting to watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...5Wa4lmlC7sxNDH
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(Original post by winterscoming)
It doesn't matter whether you studied at GCSE. Don't forget that CompSci is quite a new subject at GCSE but has been around for decades at A-Level, so until recently it would have been highly unusual for anybody starting the A-Level to have ever touched the subject before or done any programming.

The people who studied it at GCSE will have a headstart on some of the programming and theory, but you'll have plenty of time to catch up. If you're interested in spending a couple of weeks before you start getting ahead with it you could try some free programming lessons on Codecademy https://www.codecademy.com/ but it's not really necessary.

There's some really excellent video lectures here as well, which you might find interesting to watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...5Wa4lmlC7sxNDH
Ok thanks. Also if you know about the digital and technology solutions degree apprenticeships I would be fine by doing conp sci maths and economics? Can u give me some information about getting onto that as the requirements are not clearly specific
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Ok thanks. Also if you know about the digital and technology solutions degree apprenticeships I would be fine by doing conp sci maths and economics? Can u give me some information about getting onto that as the requirements are not clearly specific
That sounds like a good mix of subjects, but actually this sort of thing isn't really so important for the apprenticeship. You'll never find any fixed/set requirements covering the apprenticeship scheme as a whole, you'll only find requirements set by specific employers, and it will vary a lot between different employers, but they're looking for completely different things compared with universities, which means that they'll usually be far less interested in your A-Level subjects but a lot more selective about your skills, your motivation for wanting the job, your interest in technology, any past experience you might have from hobby/home projects, etc.

Here's a fairly typical profile for the apprenticeship scheme at one fairly big employer - https://uk.linkedin.com/jobs/view/so...tal-1106345459

In this case they're asking for 3 A-Levels 'including STEM' (But doesn't specify that you need all 3 subjects to be STEM, and fairly flexible with grades), but more importantly they're also looking for other things which are completely unrelated to A-Levels, including a portfolio of work related to programming and software development, with some evidence that you've used multiple programming languages. If you'd studied A-Level computer science, then your A-Level project and work from your assignments would count heavily towards that; you could create a GitHub profile and upload your code there for employers to see.

Again, every employer is different, but realistically you can expect this sort of thing to be common -- i.e. they'll be relatively less-interested in what you've studied at A-level or even what your grades are, and a lot more interested in whether you have an interest in IT and an existing set of self-taught skills in areas like programming and related technologies.


It's also worth mentioning that the employer/interviewer will usually make the final decision based on your interview performance and all the other information they find out about you (e.g. what your programming skills are like), rather than necessarily looking at your A-Level subjects. The people interviewing you will usually be experienced IT people working at the company and they'll want to hire someone who they can be confident is going to cope with a job which is all about technology, programming, problem solving, etc. They'll ask you technical questions and talk to you about your skills and experience to find out where you're at with your programming skills. For example, you might be asked to complete a technical skills test, or talk through how you'd solve a logic problem using a whiteboard+pen, or talk about projects you've done, etc.

A couple other similar job specifications:
https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?cmp...olutions&vjs=3
https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?jk=...rom=serp&vjs=3
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FreshPrince102
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Ok thanks. So basically doing comp sci would be really important due to there being a lot of programming, 20 % of the final grade would be to complete a project so that would help right?
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(Original post by winterscoming)
That sounds like a good mix of subjects, but actually this sort of thing isn't really so important for the apprenticeship. You'll never find any fixed/set requirements covering the apprenticeship scheme as a whole, you'll only find requirements set by specific employers, and it will vary a lot between different employers, but they're looking for completely different things compared with universities, which means that they'll usually be far less interested in your A-Level subjects but a lot more selective about your skills, your motivation for wanting the job, your interest in technology, any past experience you might have from hobby/home projects, etc.

Here's a fairly typical profile for the apprenticeship scheme at one fairly big employer - https://uk.linkedin.com/jobs/view/so...tal-1106345459

In this case they're asking for 3 A-Levels 'including STEM' (But doesn't specify that you need all 3 subjects to be STEM, and fairly flexible with grades), but more importantly they're also looking for other things which are completely unrelated to A-Levels, including a portfolio of work related to programming and software development, with some evidence that you've used multiple programming languages. If you'd studied A-Level computer science, then your A-Level project and work from your assignments would count heavily towards that; you could create a GitHub profile and upload your code there for employers to see.

Again, every employer is different, but realistically you can expect this sort of thing to be common -- i.e. they'll be relatively less-interested in what you've studied at A-level or even what your grades are, and a lot more interested in whether you have an interest in IT and an existing set of self-taught skills in areas like programming and related technologies.


It's also worth mentioning that the employer/interviewer will usually make the final decision based on your interview performance and all the other information they find out about you (e.g. what your programming skills are like), rather than necessarily looking at your A-Level subjects. The people interviewing you will usually be experienced IT people working at the company and they'll want to hire someone who they can be confident is going to cope with a job which is all about technology, programming, problem solving, etc. They'll ask you technical questions and talk to you about your skills and experience to find out where you're at with your programming skills. For example, you might be asked to complete a technical skills test, or talk through how you'd solve a logic problem using a whiteboard+pen, or talk ab

A couple other similar job specifications:
https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?cmp...olutions&vjs=3
https://www.indeed.co.uk/viewjob?jk=...rom=serp&vjs=3
Also could you check this one and give me insight towards what particular jobs they want you to be employed inhttps://www.dmu.ac.uk/business-services/degree-apprenticeships/apprenticeships-available/digital-and-technology-solutions-professional-degree-apprenticeship.aspx
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(Original post by FreshPrince102)
Also could you check this one and give me insight towards what particular jobs they want you to be employed inhttps://www.dmu.ac.uk/business-services/degree-apprenticeships/apprenticeships-available/digital-and-technology-solutions-professional-degree-apprenticeship.aspx
That's quite a generic advert from the university really, and you could probably fit pretty most technical IT careers into one of those categories because they're quite broad. There's some really useful job profiles which describe each of those here, which also link to some example job adverts:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...curity-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/data-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...tware-engineer
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...twork-engineer
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...siness-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/it-consultant

A bit more useful general info about IT apprenticeships here is worth reading:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and...pprenticeships
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FreshPrince102
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(Original post by winterscoming)
That's quite a generic advert from the university really, and you could probably fit pretty most technical IT careers into one of those categories because they're quite broad. There's some really useful job profiles which describe each of those here, which also link to some example job adverts:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...curity-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/data-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...tware-engineer
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...twork-engineer
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...siness-analyst
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/it-consultant

A bit more useful general info about IT apprenticeships here is worth reading:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and...pprenticeships
So wait sorry im a bit confused. I have to be employed in one of these jobs before starting the apprenticeship??
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winterscoming
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(Original post by FreshPrince102)
So wait sorry im a bit confused. I have to be employed in one of these jobs before starting the apprenticeship??
Well, yes the job and the apprenticeship are the same thing. You'd be hired into the apprenticeship as a trainee by the employer, who would be hiring specifically for that apprenticeship scheme, so the employer will be working with the university to make sure you're getting the right training. (Employers are funded/subsidised by the Government to pay for the cost of your training on the job). The scheme usually lasts for 3-4 years, some people split their apprenticeship across multiple employers - e.g. 2 years at one employer then another 1-2 years somewhere else.

When you start, you'd usually be placed in a team of other IT professionals and assigned a mentor (who would be a senior professional/engineer with a lot of experience in the job to make sure you've got everything you need to do the job, help you with learning, be there to answer questions, go to for support, etc.). Being on a team usually means having other people around you as well to support you and help you learn the job; but most of the work you'd be doing would usually fit with whatever your team is doing.

There might be an initial few weeks of classroom training before you join the team, but otherwise most of the learning happens in the workplace. It's really up to the employer as to what projects you'd be doing, which technologies, etc -- it'll probably be whatever tech/projects are currently important to them; The hours you'd do are close to full-time employment (usually 4 days per week at 7.5hrs per day) and then one day per-week in lessons to work towards the qualification.

The salary you'd start out with in the first year should be enough to live on. (Maybe £15k-£18k), but you'd normally expect a reasonable increase after each year - generally speaking you'd get a lot of support and mentoring during the first 12 months compared with the later years when you're more likely to have the skills and confidence to do be able to work with less supervision.

At the end of the apprenticeship you'd be awarded the degree qualification (assuming you pass the exams and other assessments along the way) as well as having those 3-4 years work experience under your belt, with whatever skills you'd picked up from the job. With that length of time you'll probably have worked on at least a few different projects with different teams and technologies, so from a skills/experience point of view, most people are likely to be in a position to apply for 'mid-level' jobs on a reasonable mid-level salary.


From your point of view, the one big downside is that you need to choose the career path specialisation straight away, and it's difficult to 'switch' partway through. (Not impossible, but if you switch you'd probably need to apply for a new job unless you can arrange something with the employer). These apprenticeships are very much aimed at people who have already got a clear idea in their mind about what kind of career they'd like. Obviously employers are investing a lot of time and effort into training/mentoring, so they want to make sure that the placements go to the right people. That's why the interview and hiring process is usually so heavily focused around choosing people who are enthusiastic about the job and motivated to choose that for their career.
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Well, yes the job and the apprenticeship are the same thing. You'd be hired into the apprenticeship as a trainee by the employer, who would be hiring specifically for that apprenticeship scheme, so the employer will be working with the university to make sure you're getting the right training. (Employers are funded/subsidised by the Government to pay for the cost of your training on the job). The scheme usually lasts for 3-4 years, some people split their apprenticeship across multiple employers - e.g. 2 years at one employer then another 1-2 years somewhere else.

When you start, you'd usually be placed in a team of other IT professionals and assigned a mentor (who would be a senior professional/engineer with a lot of experience in the job to make sure you've got everything you need to do the job, help you with learning, be there to answer questions, go to for support, etc.). Being on a team usually means having other people around you as well to support you and help you learn the job; but most of the work you'd be doing would usually fit with whatever your team is doing.

There might be an initial few weeks of classroom training before you join the team, but otherwise most of the learning happens in the workplace. It's really up to the employer as to what projects you'd be doing, which technologies, etc -- it'll probably be whatever tech/projects are currently important to them; The hours you'd do are close to full-time employment (usually 4 days per week at 7.5hrs per day) and then one day per-week in lessons to work towards the qualification.

The salary you'd start out with in the first year should be enough to live on. (Maybe £15k-£18k), but you'd normally expect a reasonable increase after each year - generally speaking you'd get a lot of support and mentoring during the first 12 months compared with the later years when you're more likely to have the skills and confidence to do be able to work with less supervision.

At the end of the apprenticeship you'd be awarded the degree qualification (assuming you pass the exams and other assessments along the way) as well as having those 3-4 years work experience under your belt, with whatever skills you'd picked up from the job. With that length of time you'll probably have worked on at least a few different projects with different teams and technologies, so from a skills/experience point of view, most people are likely to be in a position to apply for 'mid-level' jobs on a reasonable mid-level salary.


From your point of view, the one big downside is that you need to choose the career path specialisation straight away, and it's difficult to 'switch' partway through. (Not impossible, but if you switch you'd probably need to apply for a new job unless you can arrange something with the employer). These apprenticeships are very much aimed at people who have already got a clear idea in their mind about what kind of career they'd like. Obviously employers are investing a lot of time and effort into training/mentoring, so they want to make sure that the placements go to the right people. That's why the interview and hiring process is usually so heavily focused around choosing people who are enthusiastic about the job and motivated to choose that for their career.
Thanks for going into so much detail, so basically when i apply it is not necessary for me to be in any employment prior to applying?
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Thanks for going into so much detail, so basically when i apply it is not necessary for me to be in any employment prior to applying?
You're welcome No not when you apply - just think of it as applying for a normal job. Most people applying to them will have probably just finished A-Levels and going into it as a first job, choosing that as an alternative to university.
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Also if you check the dmu one again it says students will be assessed on their eligibility qualifications and work experience. So does this mean a person that has been working throughout their a levels will be at a better position as they have experience or? Thanks
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Also if you check the dmu one again it says students will be assessed on their eligibility qualifications and work experience. So does this mean a person that has been working throughout their a levels will be at a better position as they have experience or? Thanks
Yes, any kind of work experience (whether paid or voluntary) is always really helpful when applying to any kind of job. For most people the 'jump' from learning at school/college up to spending 7.5hrs a day working in a professional environment is a really big change, and employers will need to know you're ready to cope with that. The apprenticeship also puts demands on your time to juggle your time between work and study, so having a part-time job during your A-levels would get you used to that as well.

Otherwise it would be about having exposure to the kinds of things which are relevant to every job - e.g. time management, responsibility, communication skills, maturity, being comfortable interacting with co-workers, strong work ethic, etc. Having some experience in any kind of job is also a good way to build up your personal character and confidence as well, which can make a difference to you and how you feel when you're in the interview.

But with all that said, it's not mandatory - a lot of people applying to apprenticeships won't have that kind of work experience behind them. The criteria for being offered the job is always going to depend on each individual. You may have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others; that's normal.
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(Original post by winterscoming)
Yes, any kind of work experience (whether paid or voluntary) is always really helpful when applying to any kind of job. For most people the 'jump' from learning at school/college up to spending 7.5hrs a day working in a professional environment is a really big change, and employers will need to know you're ready to cope with that. The apprenticeship also puts demands on your time to juggle your time between work and study, so having a part-time job during your A-levels would get you used to that as well.

Otherwise it would be about having exposure to the kinds of things which are relevant to every job - e.g. time management, responsibility, communication skills, maturity, being comfortable interacting with co-workers, strong work ethic, etc. Having some experience in any kind of job is also a good way to build up your personal character and confidence as well, which can make a difference to you and how you feel when you're in the interview.

But with all that said, it's not mandatory - a lot of people applying to apprenticeships won't have that kind of work experience behind them. The criteria for being offered the job is always going to depend on each individual. You may have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others; that's normal.
Sorry another question. I was thinking if i took maths cs and btec applied science(1 a level) would i be in the same position as if i took economics instead of the science. Does the Btec put me in a lower position. Thanks
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Sorry another question. I was thinking if i took maths cs and btec applied science(1 a level) would i be in the same position as if i took economics instead of the science. Does the Btec put me in a lower position. Thanks
Yes you'd be in the same position since Level 3 BTECs are equivalent to A-Level. The main difference between those and A-Level are that BTEC courses focus a lot more on real-world scenarios/case studies, with a lot more of the assessments being coursework-based.
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