The Student Room Group

Applying for Cyber Sec

Hi all

I'm a BTEC Student currently applying for 2024/2025, and I'm looking at a variety of universities. Does anyone have any experience with applying for Warwick at BTEC level?

I'm aiming for Distinction x3 (might throw a star in there) in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Information & Technology, applying for Cyber Security with a 5 in Maths & Comp Sci and a 7 in English Language at GSCE.

If anyone has any reccs about good unis for Cyber Security please send them my way!
Original post by Moshimoo
Hi all

I'm a BTEC Student currently applying for 2024/2025, and I'm looking at a variety of universities. Does anyone have any experience with applying for Warwick at BTEC level?

I'm aiming for Distinction x3 (might throw a star in there) in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Information & Technology, applying for Cyber Security with a 5 in Maths & Comp Sci and a 7 in English Language at GSCE.

If anyone has any reccs about good unis for Cyber Security please send them my way!


I don't have experience applying to uni with BTEC nor did I studied cybersecurity. However, if you want to do cyber security at uni, then I would recommend getting a NCSC certified degree as opposed to any cybersecurity degree. See:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-certified-degrees#section_3
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
I don't have experience applying to uni with BTEC nor did I studied cybersecurity. However, if you want to do cyber security at uni, then I would recommend getting a NCSC certified degree as opposed to any cybersecurity degree. See:
https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/ncsc-certified-degrees#section_3


I didn't know about this! Thank you! Leeds Beckett just went up the list haha
Hey! Bit late, but I'm in the same boat. Predicted D*D*D in L3 ED IT.

On paper, I think Warwick & Royal Holloway are the best choices, at least based on accreditation and ACE ratings. Royal Holloway offered me DDD, still waiting on Warwick. That being said, they claim (via FOI request) that the average BTEC offer is D*D*D.

Aside from those 2, the next best options (IMO) would be Cardiff and Kent, both of which ask for DDM.

I assume you've sent your application a while ago, so good luck with that!
Reply 4
Hey thanks for the reply!

Ended up applying to Warwick, Lancaster, Coventry, Leeds Beckett & Gloucestershire as most of those unis listed have a heavy maths unit (not my mojo to be honest) or are computer science with cyber sec tacked on.

I haven't heard back from Warwick either, but have offers ranging from DDD to MMM. I hadn't heard of that FOI request but thank you so much for the reassurance. Hope to meet at Warwick in 2024!
Reply 5
Hi! I’m a current final year at Warwick on cyber sec so feel free to AMA :smile:
Reply 6
Original post by AnaaaElec
Hi! I’m a current final year at Warwick on cyber sec so feel free to AMA :smile:

Hi, couple burning questions

I've heard of second personal statements being common for this course, do you know if everybody is required to do one and if so, when are requests for them typically sent out?

Additionally, do you know the average BTEC grades from students in your cohort/s, I visited in October & spoke to 2nd years who had achieved D*D*D but nothing much lower. I know the FOI request says the same, but the website said x3 D*, it got updated November-December time as it wasn't displaying with this when I initially applied.

Finally, sorry for so many questions haha, how significant is maths within the course? And do you find it boring/tiresome?

Thank you so much for being willing to speak to us, and good luck with your final year
Reply 7
Original post by Moshimoo
Hi, couple burning questions

I've heard of second personal statements being common for this course, do you know if everybody is required to do one and if so, when are requests for them typically sent out?

Additionally, do you know the average BTEC grades from students in your cohort/s, I visited in October & spoke to 2nd years who had achieved D*D*D but nothing much lower. I know the FOI request says the same, but the website said x3 D*, it got updated November-December time as it wasn't displaying with this when I initially applied.

Finally, sorry for so many questions haha, how significant is maths within the course? And do you find it boring/tiresome?

Thank you so much for being willing to speak to us, and good luck with your final year

Hi! Don't worry about the question amount, I'm happy to answer any and all queries about the course since I was in the same boat a few years ago. Here goes:

Personal Statements: I had to do one, as did subsequent years. I've heard the department has scrapped them so I would take previous years' experience with quite a big pinch of salt. The department has upped a few criteria needed for admission recently and so I believe they won't be necessarily sending these out. To my understanding, we will be having various offer holder days across the next few months (mid-March to May) and so I doubt they'll send out a request for additional personal statements if you haven't received one already.

BTEC Grades: I also believe the department has upped entry criteria for this year, but I would still apply regardless - they are often lenient with giving out offers, but a lot more harsh on achievement. Most people do A Levels so I am unsure of BTECs, but what tends to happen is that the department give out offers but do not tend to accept regardless if you fail the condition. My friend was predicted lower than the threshold and got an offer, but did not achieve the required grades and was not given a place in the end. I would email admissions about this query though as this is not something we are given the most information on as current students.

Maths: Maths really only plays a larger role in first year and final year, and not second year at all. Our maths education is really solid and the tutor behind it is incredibly talented. It's really well taught, and a lot of people come to cyber with their last bout of maths experience having been GCSEs - as long as you put a bit of effort in to understand the weekly content, you'll do fine. Algorithms and complexity in third year is a bit harder, but there are lots of supplementary sessions on offer to help with maths.

I have never found the maths boring or tiresome, but some aspects of the course especially risk management have been reworked each year to try and accommodate for feedback about being more tedious than other modules. I won't comment on the pros and cons of everything since every student will always have some complaint about their course (such is the uni experience, my friends across every uni always have something to say about their course). But if you put in the work and try your hardest, cyber is definitely a rewarding place to be. I've got some really good opportunities and prospects out of the course, so stick with things 🙂 happy to answer anymore questions you have!
Reply 8
Original post by AnaaaElec
Hi! Don't worry about the question amount, I'm happy to answer any and all queries about the course since I was in the same boat a few years ago. Here goes:

Personal Statements: I had to do one, as did subsequent years. I've heard the department has scrapped them so I would take previous years' experience with quite a big pinch of salt. The department has upped a few criteria needed for admission recently and so I believe they won't be necessarily sending these out. To my understanding, we will be having various offer holder days across the next few months (mid-March to May) and so I doubt they'll send out a request for additional personal statements if you haven't received one already.

BTEC Grades: I also believe the department has upped entry criteria for this year, but I would still apply regardless - they are often lenient with giving out offers, but a lot more harsh on achievement. Most people do A Levels so I am unsure of BTECs, but what tends to happen is that the department give out offers but do not tend to accept regardless if you fail the condition. My friend was predicted lower than the threshold and got an offer, but did not achieve the required grades and was not given a place in the end. I would email admissions about this query though as this is not something we are given the most information on as current students.

Maths: Maths really only plays a larger role in first year and final year, and not second year at all. Our maths education is really solid and the tutor behind it is incredibly talented. It's really well taught, and a lot of people come to cyber with their last bout of maths experience having been GCSEs - as long as you put a bit of effort in to understand the weekly content, you'll do fine. Algorithms and complexity in third year is a bit harder, but there are lots of supplementary sessions on offer to help with maths.

I have never found the maths boring or tiresome, but some aspects of the course especially risk management have been reworked each year to try and accommodate for feedback about being more tedious than other modules. I won't comment on the pros and cons of everything since every student will always have some complaint about their course (such is the uni experience, my friends across every uni always have something to say about their course). But if you put in the work and try your hardest, cyber is definitely a rewarding place to be. I've got some really good opportunities and prospects out of the course, so stick with things 🙂 happy to answer anymore questions you have!

Damn that's a lot of good information, been reading through tons of old applicant pools talking about second personal statements, and haven't personally received one so was getting nervous. And regarding the standards going up, I have seen that but hoping they accept me anyway, decided I would anyway months ago though haha

Finally though, how long did it take you to get a response on your application? They sent me an email predicting some feedback by March, but is this likely? Or do they typically get back to applicants much sooner?

Again, thank you so much for answering the questions you have already, they've done a lot to ease my worries about the application process and the unit/s as a whole haha
Reply 9
Original post by Moshimoo
Damn that's a lot of good information, been reading through tons of old applicant pools talking about second personal statements, and haven't personally received one so was getting nervous. And regarding the standards going up, I have seen that but hoping they accept me anyway, decided I would anyway months ago though haha

Finally though, how long did it take you to get a response on your application? They sent me an email predicting some feedback by March, but is this likely? Or do they typically get back to applicants much sooner?

Again, thank you so much for answering the questions you have already, they've done a lot to ease my worries about the application process and the unit/s as a whole haha

I would go off what the email has told you - the admissions timeline has changed each year. Back when I applied, I only got an offer in May! This was 3 years ago and the staff are now a bit firmer with timelines I assume, so March should be about right considering the timeline they're looking to hold offer holder days on too.
Hi ive got a couple of questions if you don't mind answering.
1) How is the course teaching, vie hear mixed review from people, some saying new teaching and management so it was falling apart others who had already graduate said it was good. Do you mind giving your honest onion.

2) How technical does the course get when related to technical industry roles.

3) Is it worth living on campus if you are 1hr away and need to work / how is working while doing the course

4) what are some things you dislike about the course

5) how are the exams -- when you look at suggest reading material a lot of the books our very in-depth, how much are you expected to memorise, if so how do you remember so much

6) what was your guys relation to the CS department as WMG govern the security program mainly ?,

7) as a student do you have any certs you have gone for whilst studying, and do you believe that helped or would have helped getting summer placements

8 ) given you overall view of uni / whilst working part time would you pick Warwick and do an hour commute or pick a uni that was closer take for example Astons Cyber course. - I know this is subjective but still any input would help.

sorry asking so many questions. Thank you.
Original post by kingrazzor0011
Hi ive got a couple of questions if you don't mind answering.
1) How is the course teaching, vie hear mixed review from people, some saying new teaching and management so it was falling apart others who had already graduate said it was good. Do you mind giving your honest onion.

2) How technical does the course get when related to technical industry roles.

3) Is it worth living on campus if you are 1hr away and need to work / how is working while doing the course

4) what are some things you dislike about the course

5) how are the exams -- when you look at suggest reading material a lot of the books our very in-depth, how much are you expected to memorise, if so how do you remember so much

6) what was your guys relation to the CS department as WMG govern the security program mainly ?,

7) as a student do you have any certs you have gone for whilst studying, and do you believe that helped or would have helped getting summer placements

8 ) given you overall view of uni / whilst working part time would you pick Warwick and do an hour commute or pick a uni that was closer take for example Astons Cyber course. - I know this is subjective but still any input would help.

sorry asking so many questions. Thank you.

Hi there, sorry for the late reply - been swamped in a bit of work lately.

1.

The teaching has changed quite a bit across the 3 years I've been here. It's been a hard graft and whilst some of my lecturers are so knowledgable and deeply in tune with cyber, others are newer or less suited to teaching than others. Management and some courseworks can be a bit of a mess at times, but nothing has ever gone unfixably badly - just reduced student morale greatly, including mine. I tend to put in a lot of effort to score high at courseworks, and some of this effort has been too much - unreasonably high for a uni course. I would hope these courseworks are changed for subsequent years though, as the staff are trying to tweak them. I agree with the mixed reviews, but I would take them to be just that - mixed. Some of the staff are absolutely incredible and clearly know so much about the field and also care so much about your wellbeing and how you're doing with material. One of our staff members has offered me so many out-of-class opportunities to hone interview and practical skills and partake in national opportunities, whilst another member of staff has helped me work on applications and given me reading lists and ideas to keep furthering my growth. The staff do care about you, and despite shortcomings in lecturing, courseworks and sometimes very disorganised management, I have to be appreciative of what the course HAS given me. Although, good things come to those who ask - if I hadn't talked to staff about struggles, ideas and requests I had, these opportunities would likely not have come my way.

2.

The course is technically-oriented in general. There are plenty of modules on ideas including risk management etc. which take a more soft skills focus, but most modules are practical with practical courseworks.

3.

Two of my friends live an hour away, and have done just fine on the course. They come in for lectures, then head home to do work or stay on campus, have their fun and go back later. They are coping fine with this routine and one of these friends is the most hardworking, clever person I know :smile:

4.

Coursework is sometimes very poorly managed in terms of deadlines in relation to when we are taught relevant content, and way too much work for module weightings. Group projects can also be incredibly stressful with classmates who don't put in equal effort. Some lectures can also be a bit dull in some modules, but this might be me preferring technical content.

5.

None of my exams have been closed book - all have allowed you to look at books and reading list material or anything that helps you whilst the exam is ongoing. They are designed to apply the knowledge of what you read, e.g. our maths exams allow you to read how to do a certain question but the question expects you to apply that knowledge in a relatively new format. Our Cyber Systems Architecture exam was the same - although this may have changed since I did it. All exams are designed to be possible and work on your skills, not just blindly follow material.

6.

We have no real relation to CS - but we are linked through student societies. You can meet a lot of CS students in Cyber Society, and a lot of Cyber students through Computer Science Society. We cannot get entry to the CS department and they can't enter the Cyber Security building, however - there is no departmental link and we have no shared teaching. This is probably a good thing as I've heard the security modules on the CS course are not always fun...

7.

Whilst studying, pretty much no one in our year has gone for a cert. I got internships in my first and second year by virtue of academic work and putting in the hours to get my technical skills up. The people who are successful at getting internships (which tends to be a pretty big majority, most people have had a summer placement by third year) tend to be those who are good at applying ideas and have worked on their interview skills, and there are a few careers counselling opportunities available to people who are struggling (although most people in my year have simply done internships on their own steam without any motivation from elsewhere, and got in). Some have got FAANG internships, high-profile security company placements, consulting internships and defence internships - I think the only place we haven't covered is finance, which few people tend to go for and don't tend to get into due to not being a strictly CS degree.

8.

I think it really depends on what kind of person you are. Warwick and Aston have had a few events where we've done collaborative work, and I've met quite a few Aston students who are absolutely lovely people. I think you'll be in good hands either way - I'm totally unsure about Aston's teaching and lecturing though, and I have no clue on their course content. Commuting an hour to Warwick is great, and I have two friends who have done it before and been fine and also had a lot of fun with friends in the evenings etc. However, you have to decide if you think an independent course is worth it - I have enjoyed my time on Cyber because I've put a LOT of work into it and grinded out a lot of coursework and academics to stay on top of my work, which is usually based around plenty of self-research. Some people in my class are a lot less pleased with the course because they either dislike learning independently (if you are like this, Warwick is not for you), or are generally burnt out with the amount of work we do. At the end of the day, the brand image and Warwick name are great pluses, but the course itself does have its problems, like any uni course does. I would recommend figuring out if you're willing to put in time to a uni course for a good grade and a good year - if you are, Warwick's independent and practical style might work for you.

In short, would I recommend the course? Yes - to an ambitious, independent and resilient person. If you're not prepared to aim high, learn beyond class on your own and suffer through a few setbacks and harsh criticisms, the course is not for you. I have learned a lot about myself and furthered my goals, but this has been through a lot of self-driven work and taking advantage of every possible opportunity I can get. If you're looking for a course that will tell you what to do a bit more, do not pick Warwick. But if you're prepared to stress yourself out a bit and grow in the long run, this degree will help you get internships, employment and plenty of opportunities along the way, even with some of its much less desirable aspects. Hope this helps!
Hi,
Thank you very much for the details response, it has really helped me make up my mind.

If the staff are willing to help improve the problems then Warwick sounds great to me.

Thank you very much for the help. :smile:

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