Going to university somewhat late (23) but also possess good job prospects

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LionelRonaldo123
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#1
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#1
Hey guys, had a student room account from back in the day just to lurk around but now using it to post.

As mentioned in the title, I'm thinking of going to university and by the time I go I'll most likely be 23 years old however my dilemma is if I should go at all because of my current career situation.

Essentially, when I was leaving school I could not get access to student finance due to some bs residency rules for at least a couple of years so I decided to go down the apprenticeship route instead and thought to make the best of a crappy situation.

Time passed, I become eligible for student finance but then we were in peak lockdown so the social side of uni would have been non existent as well as the thought of paying 9 grand for virtual lectures was not appealing so I thought to myself I may as well finish what I have started.

Now as it stands my apprenticeship is ended (for those interested it was an ICAEW apprenticeship for Accounting) and now I'm at a crossroads. I have always wanted to go to university and I do feel like I have grown up quickly and missed out on a lot of experiences I should have got as a young adult. However, I'm also making 50 grand plus bonus and if I change jobs I can realistically make 60 plus bonus as I am somewhat underpaid for a qualified accountant in the area (helps that I live within the M25). I absolutely understand that this is a very good salary especially for someone my age and almost feel like I will be making a bad decision by going to university and that it's a classic case of greener grass.

In terms of the actual degrees I'm thinking about either an Economics and Management degree at Oxford or a Computer Science degree from any of the top unis as both of the fields do really interest me and my qualified accountant status would really assist with Econ and Management course however I also enjoy the programming aspect of computer science and love creating things. I must admit my skills are still not exactly apple software engineer level but that's why I'm hoping to go to university so that I receive the education needed to become very good at it.

For what it's worth my A levels were A*AAA with an A* in Maths and A in further maths

Thanks
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dbhc2411
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#2
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#2
I was in a somewhat similar situation to you where I had a really good career and would take a big financial hit for going back to university. It all boils down to why you want to go to university I guess?

For me, I realised at 26 that even though I was a high earner I didn't get any satisfaction out of it (I work in "business"). It wasn't my passion. I wanted to go down the science route and came to accept that I'd be earning less money for a significant amount of time.

But. Both you and me have got a really good back-up. We still have the skills and expertise to return to our old careers should it not work out how we'd hoped. So if you've got the opportunity to go to university, I'd say go for it.
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ajj2000
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#3
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#3
I did write a response but it disappeared. Philip-flop and Moments and posters who had extended discussions with some similarities to your circumstances and may be worth reaching out to/ checking the post history.

I guess if you've just qualified you've spent 4-5 years in audit? If you apply for Sept 24 admission that seems a long time to stick in the same job?

Fehzan Mehdi - do you know anyone who has gone to university after qualifying?
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Philip-flop
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#4
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#4
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hey guys, had a student room account from back in the day just to lurk around but now using it to post.

As mentioned in the title, I'm thinking of going to university and by the time I go I'll most likely be 23 years old however my dilemma is if I should go at all because of my current career situation.

Essentially, when I was leaving school I could not get access to student finance due to some bs residency rules for at least a couple of years so I decided to go down the apprenticeship route instead and thought to make the best of a crappy situation.

Time passed, I become eligible for student finance but then we were in peak lockdown so the social side of uni would have been non existent as well as the thought of paying 9 grand for virtual lectures was not appealing so I thought to myself I may as well finish what I have started.

Now as it stands my apprenticeship is ended (for those interested it was an ICAEW apprenticeship for Accounting) and now I'm at a crossroads. I have always wanted to go to university and I do feel like I have grown up quickly and missed out on a lot of experiences I should have got as a young adult. However, I'm also making 50 grand plus bonus and if I change jobs I can realistically make 60 plus bonus as I am somewhat underpaid for a qualified accountant in the area (helps that I live within the M25). I absolutely understand that this is a very good salary especially for someone my age and almost feel like I will be making a bad decision by going to university and that it's a classic case of greener grass.

In terms of the actual degrees I'm thinking about either an Economics and Management degree at Oxford or a Computer Science degree from any of the top unis as both of the fields do really interest me and my qualified accountant status would really assist with Econ and Management course however I also enjoy the programming aspect of computer science and love creating things. I must admit my skills are still not exactly apple software engineer level but that's why I'm hoping to go to university so that I receive the education needed to become very good at it.

For what it's worth my A levels were A*AAA with an A* in Maths and A in further maths

Thanks
ajj2000 Thanks for the tag.

OP - let me tell you this. That feeling of wanting to study for a degree in a field that you feel passionate about never goes away and it becomes more and more difficult to do the longer you leave it.

I am the 7 year older version of you. I never knew what I wanted to be when I "grew up". I didn't want to follow the crowd and incur lots of debt from a student loan so I just did something I could do without a degree. Yeah you guessed it... ACCOUNTING!

Anyway, the money paralysis you from making any changes. And if you're in a long-term relationship any changes that you are considering you have to make sure your partner is ok with it otherwise you're staying right where you are.

What I'm saying is, explore your opportunities whilst you're still young with minimal responsibilities! When you get to my age people think you're crazy for considering a career change!

In terms of your degree choices. Computer Science I feel like will open more doors if you want to come away from the work you're currently in.

What was the reason you went into Accounting in the first place can I ask?
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Philip-flop
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#5
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#5
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hey guys, had a student room account from back in the day just to lurk around but now using it to post.

As mentioned in the title, I'm thinking of going to university and by the time I go I'll most likely be 23 years old however my dilemma is if I should go at all because of my current career situation.

Essentially, when I was leaving school I could not get access to student finance due to some bs residency rules for at least a couple of years so I decided to go down the apprenticeship route instead and thought to make the best of a crappy situation.

Time passed, I become eligible for student finance but then we were in peak lockdown so the social side of uni would have been non existent as well as the thought of paying 9 grand for virtual lectures was not appealing so I thought to myself I may as well finish what I have started.

Now as it stands my apprenticeship is ended (for those interested it was an ICAEW apprenticeship for Accounting) and now I'm at a crossroads. I have always wanted to go to university and I do feel like I have grown up quickly and missed out on a lot of experiences I should have got as a young adult. However, I'm also making 50 grand plus bonus and if I change jobs I can realistically make 60 plus bonus as I am somewhat underpaid for a qualified accountant in the area (helps that I live within the M25). I absolutely understand that this is a very good salary especially for someone my age and almost feel like I will be making a bad decision by going to university and that it's a classic case of greener grass.

In terms of the actual degrees I'm thinking about either an Economics and Management degree at Oxford or a Computer Science degree from any of the top unis as both of the fields do really interest me and my qualified accountant status would really assist with Econ and Management course however I also enjoy the programming aspect of computer science and love creating things. I must admit my skills are still not exactly apple software engineer level but that's why I'm hoping to go to university so that I receive the education needed to become very good at it.

For what it's worth my A levels were A*AAA with an A* in Maths and A in further maths

Thanks
Have you decided what you're going to do?
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LionelRonaldo123
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#6
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#6
(Original post by dbhc2411)
I was in a somewhat similar situation to you where I had a really good career and would take a big financial hit for going back to university. It all boils down to why you want to go to university I guess?

For me, I realised at 26 that even though I was a high earner I didn't get any satisfaction out of it (I work in "business"). It wasn't my passion. I wanted to go down the science route and came to accept that I'd be earning less money for a significant amount of time.

But. Both you and me have got a really good back-up. We still have the skills and expertise to return to our old careers should it not work out how we'd hoped. So if you've got the opportunity to go to university, I'd say go for it.
Hey man, thanks for replying, how was the switching experience for you? Are you still at uni or are you at your dream job now? Appreciate the help
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LionelRonaldo123
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#7
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#7
(Original post by ajj2000)
I did write a response but it disappeared. Philip-flop and Moments and posters who had extended discussions with some similarities to your circumstances and may be worth reaching out to/ checking the post history.

I guess if you've just qualified you've spent 4-5 years in audit? If you apply for Sept 24 admission that seems a long time to stick in the same job?

Fehzan Mehdi - do you know anyone who has gone to university after qualifying?
Hey thanks for the reply, will check it out yes I've just qualified and obviously can't apply for universities now so earliest will have to be 2023.
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LionelRonaldo123
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Philip-flop)
ajj2000 Thanks for the tag.

OP - let me tell you this. That feeling of wanting to study for a degree in a field that you feel passionate about never goes away and it becomes more and more difficult to do the longer you leave it.

I am the 7 year older version of you. I never knew what I wanted to be when I "grew up". I didn't want to follow the crowd and incur lots of debt from a student loan so I just did something I could do without a degree. Yeah you guessed it... ACCOUNTING!

Anyway, the money paralysis you from making any changes. And if you're in a long-term relationship any changes that you are considering you have to make sure your partner is ok with it otherwise you're staying right where you are.

What I'm saying is, explore your opportunities whilst you're still young with minimal responsibilities! When you get to my age people think you're crazy for considering a career change!

In terms of your degree choices. Computer Science I feel like will open more doors if you want to come away from the work you're currently in.

What was the reason you went into Accounting in the first place can I ask?
Hi man, thanks for getting back to me. What did you end up doing in the end? Are you still in accounting or did you make the move to what you always wanted?

Computer science is definitely more appealing. Did some more research and also discovered that there are some masters conversion courses which are tailored towards students with no previous CS degree so that is now also an option and also a more middle ground approach I suppose.

Regarding why I chose accounting. Tbh I was just an 18 year old kid who was pretty distraught about the fact that I couldn't go to uni due to bs residency requirements for the student loan. I got offers from Imperial UCL and Durham all of which I would've been happy to study at but I am nowhere near rich enough to afford the tuition fees without a loan lol and can't lie still low-key bitter about what happened.

As such, I only had two options either work for a couple of years, qualify for student loan and then go uni or just don't work at all, do nothing for 2 years and then go uni.

I thought I may as well make some money for a couple of years, make the best of an unfortunate situation and get some extra quals and experience so I simply googled highest paying school leaver apprenticeships and applied for the highest paying school leaver jobs. That's all there was to the thought process lol as I never really intended to stay the minute I qualified for a student loan but then of course covid happened.

As it stands I am only certain of one thing I hate audit and potentially accounting. I do also find computer science particularly the programming element quite interesting so if I do go to uni it'll be something in this field. Econ or anything similar would probably lead to another boring/uncreative/unstimulating job like accounting

Soz for the month late reply just forgot to check TSR
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dbhc2411
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#9
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#9
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hey man, thanks for replying, how was the switching experience for you? Are you still at uni or are you at your dream job now? Appreciate the help
I've actually not started yet - starting in September!
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skylark2
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#10
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#10
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
As it stands I am only certain of one thing I hate audit and potentially accounting. I do also find computer science particularly the programming element quite interesting so if I do go to uni it'll be something in this field. Econ or anything similar would probably lead to another boring/uncreative/unstimulating job like accounting
A word of advice - if what you enjoy is programming, take a long and careful look at the contents of any computer science degree. Just because it's got the word "computer" in doesn't mean it's going to involve a great deal of programming. Computer science is a much more theoretical and mathematical subject than, say, software engineering, and programming is only a small part of it.

If you actively want to do the theoretical stuff, that's fine too. Computer science isn't bad. But you will not graduate as an experienced, trained, ready-to-be-professional programmer because that's not what a computer science degree is.
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Philip-flop
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#11
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#11
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hi man, thanks for getting back to me. What did you end up doing in the end? Are you still in accounting or did you make the move to what you always wanted?

Computer science is definitely more appealing. Did some more research and also discovered that there are some masters conversion courses which are tailored towards students with no previous CS degree so that is now also an option and also a more middle ground approach I suppose.

Regarding why I chose accounting. Tbh I was just an 18 year old kid who was pretty distraught about the fact that I couldn't go to uni due to bs residency requirements for the student loan. I got offers from Imperial UCL and Durham all of which I would've been happy to study at but I am nowhere near rich enough to afford the tuition fees without a loan lol and can't lie still low-key bitter about what happened.

As such, I only had two options either work for a couple of years, qualify for student loan and then go uni or just don't work at all, do nothing for 2 years and then go uni.

I thought I may as well make some money for a couple of years, make the best of an unfortunate situation and get some extra quals and experience so I simply googled highest paying school leaver apprenticeships and applied for the highest paying school leaver jobs. That's all there was to the thought process lol as I never really intended to stay the minute I qualified for a student loan but then of course covid happened.

As it stands I am only certain of one thing I hate audit and potentially accounting. I do also find computer science particularly the programming element quite interesting so if I do go to uni it'll be something in this field. Econ or anything similar would probably lead to another boring/uncreative/unstimulating job like accounting

Soz for the month late reply just forgot to check TSR
No worries, it's great hearing back from you!

Yeah, unfortunately I'm still in Accounting (I work in tax though, not Auditing like yourself).

I say, if you have a spark to pursue something else then go for it. That feeling sticks around years down the line!
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Moments
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#12
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#12
Thanks ajj2000. Quite a late response, but I can share my thoughts.

LionelRonaldo123 I did it at 27 now I'm 34 and went from a risk management role in trading, to structural engineer.

As Skylark has mentioned, it's best research the career path properly first and whether it's even worth doing a CompSci degree for what you want to do. If you see some firms/roles you'd like to work for, reach out to them and ask whether a degree is essential or simply a nice-to-have. Generally, experienced hires get treated somewhat differently, unless that career requires formal training for future accreditation (like engineering).

If you're angling for an entry level role that involves programming then you'll probably just need to show aptitude and speed for it and a CompSci degree will of course be a bonus. If you pitch yourself as "I am a qualified accountant who is passionate about software development and can add value to your firm", then they might slot you a couple of grades higher into a more junior project management role, where you'd be learning the technical aspects on the job, at the same time as utilising your existing skillset.

It is important to note, BOTH entry paths "create things". If anything If you wanted to come up with the next big idea, it's probably easier to do as a manager (pitching to seniors for resource time) than it is as an individual contributor who might pitch ideas TO managers. There are far more Tim Cooks in the world compared to Jack Dorseys.

I did the engineering degree, but only because it's a formal requirement. I've found the skills I learned as a risk manager, have allowed me to progress far quicker than those of the same intake, because virtually ALL of the technical skills I need to know have been learned in the first year on the job. I can categorically state that the management experience cannot be replicated by a technical degree. The degree is certainly not useless, but for folks who have been in a professional industry having one should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. Virtually all professional knowledge industry careers lead to management positions, where technical ability takes second place.

Whatever you choose, the most important thing is picking something you enjoy doing, because we have that luxury in this country (to a large extent). There is NO substitute for never working a day in your life because you enjoy you do.
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LionelRonaldo123
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#13
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#13
(Original post by dbhc2411)
I've actually not started yet - starting in September!
Nice! Hope you like it!
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LionelRonaldo123
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#14
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#14
(Original post by skylark2)
A word of advice - if what you enjoy is programming, take a long and careful look at the contents of any computer science degree. Just because it's got the word "computer" in doesn't mean it's going to involve a great deal of programming. Computer science is a much more theoretical and mathematical subject than, say, software engineering, and programming is only a small part of it.

If you actively want to do the theoretical stuff, that's fine too. Computer science isn't bad. But you will not graduate as an experienced, trained, ready-to-be-professional programmer because that's not what a computer science degree is.
Hey, thanks for the advice yes you are correct the contents of the degree vary quite vastly by university. Personally, while I would not mind some theoretical stuff, I have a basic understanding of the theory right now anyway and found it quite interesting I would be interested in a more programming focused degree which is what I am seeking.
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LionelRonaldo123
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Philip-flop)
No worries, it's great hearing back from you!

Yeah, unfortunately I'm still in Accounting (I work in tax though, not Auditing like yourself).

I say, if you have a spark to pursue something else then go for it. That feeling sticks around years down the line!
I imagine tax is better than audit though not that much better lol

Yeah thats what Im thinking of doing. Audit and accounting in general is so soul draining man
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Coldhands0
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#16
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#16
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hey guys, had a student room account from back in the day just to lurk around but now using it to post.

As mentioned in the title, I'm thinking of going to university and by the time I go I'll most likely be 23 years old however my dilemma is if I should go at all because of my current career situation.

Essentially, when I was leaving school I could not get access to student finance due to some bs residency rules for at least a couple of years so I decided to go down the apprenticeship route instead and thought to make the best of a crappy situation.

Time passed, I become eligible for student finance but then we were in peak lockdown so the social side of uni would have been non existent as well as the thought of paying 9 grand for virtual lectures was not appealing so I thought to myself I may as well finish what I have started.

Now as it stands my apprenticeship is ended (for those interested it was an ICAEW apprenticeship for Accounting) and now I'm at a crossroads. I have always wanted to go to university and I do feel like I have grown up quickly and missed out on a lot of experiences I should have got as a young adult. However, I'm also making 50 grand plus bonus and if I change jobs I can realistically make 60 plus bonus as I am somewhat underpaid for a qualified accountant in the area (helps that I live within the M25). I absolutely understand that this is a very good salary especially for someone my age and almost feel like I will be making a bad decision by going to university and that it's a classic case of greener grass.

In terms of the actual degrees I'm thinking about either an Economics and Management degree at Oxford or a Computer Science degree from any of the top unis as both of the fields do really interest me and my qualified accountant status would really assist with Econ and Management course however I also enjoy the programming aspect of computer science and love creating things. I must admit my skills are still not exactly apple software engineer level but that's why I'm hoping to go to university so that I receive the education needed to become very good at it.

For what it's worth my A levels were A*AAA with an A* in Maths and A in further maths

Thanks
That is a really good salary but if u really do want to go then go for it,im 19 and gonna start college in september and finish by the time im 22 so ill probz start uni at 23 aswell.will i be the only one at that age u think or will there be a diverse of ages.with the amount of money and stuff u are earning it does sound like u could also go back and get a job.im curious tho y do u wanna go uni if ur already making good money
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LionelRonaldo123
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Moments)
Thanks ajj2000. Quite a late response, but I can share my thoughts.

LionelRonaldo123 I did it at 27 now I'm 34 and went from a risk management role in trading, to structural engineer.

As Skylark has mentioned, it's best research the career path properly first and whether it's even worth doing a CompSci degree for what you want to do. If you see some firms/roles you'd like to work for, reach out to them and ask whether a degree is essential or simply a nice-to-have. Generally, experienced hires get treated somewhat differently, unless that career requires formal training for future accreditation (like engineering).

If you're angling for an entry level role that involves programming then you'll probably just need to show aptitude and speed for it and a CompSci degree will of course be a bonus. If you pitch yourself as "I am a qualified accountant who is passionate about software development and can add value to your firm", then they might slot you a couple of grades higher into a more junior project management role, where you'd be learning the technical aspects on the job, at the same time as utilising your existing skillset.

It is important to note, BOTH entry paths "create things". If anything If you wanted to come up with the next big idea, it's probably easier to do as a manager (pitching to seniors for resource time) than it is as an individual contributor who might pitch ideas TO managers. There are far more Tim Cooks in the world compared to Jack Dorseys.

I did the engineering degree, but only because it's a formal requirement. I've found the skills I learned as a risk manager, have allowed me to progress far quicker than those of the same intake, because virtually ALL of the technical skills I need to know have been learned in the first year on the job. I can categorically state that the management experience cannot be replicated by a technical degree. The degree is certainly not useless, but for folks who have been in a professional industry having one should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. Virtually all professional knowledge industry careers lead to management positions, where technical ability takes second place.

Whatever you choose, the most important thing is picking something you enjoy doing, because we have that luxury in this country (to a large extent). There is NO substitute for never working a day in your life because you enjoy you do.
Hey man. Appreciate the reply, I have researched the career path and while it is one of those areas where a degree certainly is not required, it is starting to get quite competitive and a degree can give you an edge unless of course you are a really good programmer/software engineer. Online, I had read a lot of people who have made the switch from different careers but all of them had degrees from Universities or they were basically prodigies when they were young so didnt ever need a degree in the first place. Im in a bit of a unique position in the sense that I do not have a university degree nor am I some sort of prodigy (not yet anyway haha). Plus, many of those with a degree undertook those boot camps and to be honest I feel uncomfortable spending large sums of money on a bootcamp when it is nowhere near as recognised as a university.

I have not got in touch with potential employers yet though it is on my bucket list and see if I can work out some sort of arrangement. The way I currently see it, if I do do a software engineering job and after a couple of few years end up not liking it I always have something to fall back on. Plus, an STEM related degree is always a nice thing to have regardless
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LionelRonaldo123
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Coldhands0)
That is a really good salary but if u really do want to go then go for it,im 19 and gonna start college in september and finish by the time im 22 so ill probz start uni at 23 aswell.will i be the only one at that age u think or will there be a diverse of ages.with the amount of money and stuff u are earning it does sound like u could also go back and get a job.im curious tho y do u wanna go uni if ur already making good money
Hey man good luck with college!

To be honest, I am simply not happy with the job. It is so soul draining and so fkin boring. Every day I despise waking up to work so you can imagine how bad that is for your mental state. I know for a fact that this is job related as before taking on this job I never had this feeling in my life and whenever I take some time off and wake up I actually look forward to my day. I will admit the money is good but Im a single dude who has his sh*t together with no commitments or anything like that nor am I an extravagant spender so materialistically speaking as long as my bills are covered and Im earning enough to go out a couple times a month and eat out once a week Im pretty happy in that aspect.
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Coldhands0
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#19
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#19
(Original post by LionelRonaldo123)
Hey man good luck with college!

To be honest, I am simply not happy with the job. It is so soul draining and so fkin boring. Every day I despise waking up to work so you can imagine how bad that is for your mental state. I know for a fact that this is job related as before taking on this job I never had this feeling in my life and whenever I take some time off and wake up I actually look forward to my day. I will admit the money is good but Im a single dude who has his sh*t together with no commitments or anything like that nor am I an extravagant spender so materialistically speaking as long as my bills are covered and Im earning enough to go out a couple times a month and eat out once a week Im pretty happy in that aspect.
Yh damn i get that,no money is worth living like that.yh 100 percent for for college and good luck, and thanks i hope college is good.i guess we often think money is happiness but that isnt the case at all
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MumofAleveller
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#20
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#20
Hi, I’m a parent, but also moved from tax to HR. There are a lot of my friends who’ve qualified as chartered accountants and then moved into completely different roles. One is a head of reward in a FTSE100 - so an HR role and completely different. Another went into the city and made millions at JPM before retiring at 40, others have gone into sales. Rather than looking into going back to uni, try to think of the qualifications you’ve already attained as a stepping stone to an alternative career as opposed to starting again. Most CFOs and CEOs of large corporates started off their careers in the same way as you. What about an in-house finance role? Or a move into reward? There’s so many different options.
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Year 12s - where are you at with making decisions about university?

I’ve chosen my course and my university (25)
29.07%
I’ve chosen my course and shortlisted some universities (30)
34.88%
I’ve chosen my course, but not any universities (8)
9.3%
I’ve chosen my university, but not my course (3)
3.49%
I’ve shortlisted some universities, but not my course (5)
5.81%
I’m starting to consider my university options (12)
13.95%
I haven’t started thinking about university yet (2)
2.33%
I’m not planning on going to university (1)
1.16%

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