Am I ever able to get into a university with my current thoughts? (CyberSecurity)

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Sean0402
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Hello,

My name is Sean, I'm 21 years old currently and I have recently just thought of asking the question here to get opinions of others and to fully understand how to approach this situation more appropriately for my situation.

As a heads up, Sorry if this is in the wrong section. I am new to this site and am unsure of where to post this for the advice I'm looking for

I'd like to consider myself more of a "techy" person. I've always had an interest in Cyber-security & coding. I currently do code on the side as a hobby, helping people in communities with passing knowledge on and try to challenge myself. With me being interested in all of this, I'm not an academic person to say the least. (At least I don't think I am). I never could attend a full year of college and I've been going almost every year apart from one since 2016. I've switched up many times, 1st year I gained a level 1 diploma in Vehicle Maintenance & Repair.

I attempted Business, Mechanical Engineering & thought of going back to do Vehicle maintenance since this seems to be the only thing I passed. I said to myself in my head that if this is the only thing I passed, then I must've enjoyed it to some extent to stay? With the other courses, I've never managed to fully stay more than 5-6+ months of starting.

With this all said, I've stuck at doing coding as a hobby at home since 2013 onwards. I've always had an interest in it and I've always found myself jumping back onto something related to Cyber-security or coding related when I get home. I am still learning everyday in this.

I came out of school back in 2016 when GCSE grades were still a thing coming out with fairly low grades;
I came out with a Distinction in BTEC ICT, D in English. I am unsure of my Maths grade from school.
I currently hold a functional skills level 1 in Maths gaining this from college 2017-18 and still have the D in English.

Wanting to become part of the CyberSecurity life has always been something I've wanted to do from a young age but only recently found that I'm stuck without knowing how to proceed. This is my current idea;

I'm hoping if there is a way to get into a University with a BTEC level 3 Diploma (Perhaps extended?) in ICT. While studying ICT at College I'd also attempt to pass English & Maths high hopes of aiming for a level grade 5 or higher. (B or higher).

As a side note;
I have been looking at CyberSecurity jobs and a lot of them would like a degree in CyberSecurity and it seems the "higher" up jobs require you to have this. I completely understand experience plays a huge role in this and while studying at Uni, I would attempt to network as much as possible attending as many events as I can to try and gain this experience. I'm very passionate about my hobby's and can express this quite easily with a like-minded person.

With all of this, If anyone has any inputs on this or has any advice on which career route would be best for me to go down, that would be greatly appreciated.
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FV75
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I have a few suggestions!

You will be classed as a mature student and some universities have flexibility with their entry requirements for mature students. The best thing is to check the entry requirements at each uni you might be interested in attending and work towards whatever they need. You could also email them to check that your plan, when you have one, will meet their requirements. Some might accept a BTEC but some might require A-levels, and most will want a grade C or above for GCSE English and Maths - your school might have a record of your Maths grade if you cannot find it?

You could do an Access to HE course and/or improve your GCSE grades and then try to find a Cyber-Security degree with a Foundation Year? Again, the entry requirements for each course will vary.

Have you looked for Apprenticeships or other trainee roles in Cyber Security? (I'm not sure if they exist, but they may do in larger companies). With your coding experience you may not need a degree at all - you could always do one later if you decide you want to work in more senior roles and this might even be funded by your employer if you are lucky!

Good luck!
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Sean0402
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(Original post by FV75)
I have a few suggestions!

You will be classed as a mature student and some universities have flexibility with their entry requirements for mature students. The best thing is to check the entry requirements at each uni you might be interested in attending and work towards whatever they need. You could also email them to check that your plan, when you have one, will meet their requirements. Some might accept a BTEC but some might require A-levels, and most will want a grade C or above for GCSE English and Maths - your school might have a record of your Maths grade if you cannot find it?

You could do an Access to HE course and/or improve your GCSE grades and then try to find a Cyber-Security degree with a Foundation Year? Again, the entry requirements for each course will vary.

Have you looked for Apprenticeships or other trainee roles in Cyber Security? (I'm not sure if they exist, but they may do in larger companies). With your coding experience you may not need a degree at all - you could always do one later if you decide you want to work in more senior roles and this might even be funded by your employer if you are lucky!

Good luck!
Thanks for the kind words. I've definitely had a look around and considered many options but I did not know I would be classed as a mature student. That's very interesting news. I'm unable to find many Uni's within the South East that have a Foundation year to check the entry requirements. Is it possible to ask for some assistance in this? I'm currently living in Surrey.

I was thinking of going down this route;
Get onto a ICT level 2 Extended Certificate full time to regain my Maths & English while also gaining an ICT certificate.
Get onto a level 3 Computing Software Development level 3 extended Diploma, full time again.
These both take a year to complete.

In hopes of gaining those, do you think that's suitable enough to get onto a uni foundation year alone? (Of course understanding the entry requirements once I can find some).
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FV75
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You could try this site which allows you to search for unis by subject/course title and narrow it down by area:
https://www.whatuni.com/

Some unis have a generic foundation year which makes you eligible for entry to a range of relevant degrees, so its worth checking the websites of any unis that are local enough to you to find out if they offer this and if your planned additional studies will fit with the entry requirements.

I hope that helps a bit, unfortunately if you want to find a degree with 'non-traditional' qualifications it seems to require a lot of laborious searching of the hidden depths of individual uni websites!

Also, just as a curveball, have you considered the Open University? You don't usually need any qualifications and you can study from home - it might take up to 6 years to do all the relevant modules, but you would be doing that anyway if you do extra qualifications + degree.
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