Recommended Courses & Qualifications

Soldato
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As I posted elsewhere, I'm looking to get into the tech/IT field. I have a base understanding of a few different languages (Java/Android/PHP/HTML/SQL) but would clearly need to dive deeper into one to start applying for jobs in them.

I actually quite like working with databases, so figure SQL would be a good way to go. I have some funds and (will have) some time (like a year or two) so I assume my options for retraining are quite broad.

My question is, what is an actual useful qualification I can get that will put me in good stead in interviews against those with experience or those with degrees.

Thanks :)
 
Soldato
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Not sure about qualifications but you could learn a language and start to make web/mobile apps and then make a portfolio to show potential employers?
That is what I am doing although I do have a computing degree from ten years ago but i just grabbed the first job I could have university and only now since I have started to use SQL in my current job i have had a lightbulb moment and want to get back into programming.

Good luck
 
Soldato
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Thanks. I do have some apps and a website or two, but I don't know they would impress anyone! :cry:

Further discussion has pointed me more towards IT Management/Project Manager. I'm doing a Udemy course (or two) on Scrum and then will probably try and get the certificate (PSM 1).
 
Caporegime
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I actually quite like working with databases, so figure SQL would be a good way to go. I have some funds and (will have) some time (like a year or two) so I assume my options for retraining are quite broad.

You don't need a year or two to learn SQL so plenty more options here, you can pick up plenty of the basics in a day or two.

Re: your question in the other thread re: coursera - the short courses don't tend to carry any academic credit (IIRC some might or did in the past but it's rare) they do however also offer full degrees on the platform too.
Employers should generally be familiar with MOOCs now, it's not necessarily given the same weight as a formal qualification but it shows you've studied an area.

Do you have an undergrad degree? Perhaps look at doing a masters degree - there are plenty of full time, part time, online etc.. options out there ranging from super technical to more focused on soft skills/project management etc..

Further discussion has pointed me more towards IT Management/Project Manager. I'm doing a Udemy course (or two) on Scrum and then will probably try and get the certificate (PSM 1).

FYI scrum doesn't technically have project managers (then again lots of places tend to bastardise these sorts of methodologies), there is a scrum master role (which overlaps with some aspects) and a product owner role (which would tend to require some technical skills and plenty of familiarity with the domain, the business and the product).

You mention in the other thread 20 years of retail management but that is a bit vague, are we talking about managing a team within a store or managing a whole store/supermarket or even a group of stores/supermarkets etc.. in the latter case I guess there would be plenty of project management experience already. There are specific project management related MSc degrees out there, other MSc courses that include some project management stuff etc.. or indeed perhaps you could look at an MBA with a tech focus (more expensive option but maybe worth a look if you've got significant experience).
 
Soldato
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Thanks for the post. Let me pick at it, if I may?

Employers should generally be familiar with MOOCs now, it's not necessarily given the same weight as a formal qualification but it shows you've studied an area.

New to all this, I'd never heard of these. A quick Google leads me to mooc.org and then edx.org for a course I checked out. I like the look of these. Bite sized course, with a certificate if I pay, by the looks of it. As you say, in some ways it just shows I've studied, which is probably quite valuable to me if I've not got the experience in a certain area? I've always thought the Udemy courses I do have little value to a recruiter, but how different is it if I can show what Udemy courses I've completed? I guess Udemy has no set standard and the course could literally be given by some random guy/girl?

Do you have an undergrad degree?

Highest I went is A Levels (Maths & Computer Studies) and an HnD in Leisure Management.

FYI scrum doesn't technically have project managers (then again lots of places tend to bastardise these sorts of methodologies), there is a scrum master role (which overlaps with some aspects) and a product owner role

Yeah, definitely, from what I can see and what I'm told, it's the Scrum Master I would be looking at. As you say, the other roles definitely require the technical knowledge. I'm advised to do the certification for Scrum Master as that shows I understand the overall process of Scrum. Are the alternatives to Scrum I should also get a certification in?

You mention in the other thread 20 years of retail management but that is a bit vague, are we talking about managing a team within a store or managing a whole store/supermarket or even a group of stores/supermarkets etc..

I've done 11 years managing a team of staff in a section and 9 years as a Deputy Branch Manager, managing the managers and with general responsibility of the entire store.

There are specific project management related MSc degrees out there, other MSc courses that include some project management stuff etc.. or indeed perhaps you could look at an MBA with a tech focus (more expensive option but maybe worth a look if you've got significant experience).

I guess this is the bit I could really do with advice on as I just don't know how they 'work'. I could be quite interested in something 'bigger' and 'proper', something perhaps 6 months long? At the same time, if I don't need it based on my experience and the few smaller certificates I pick up, I don't want to waste my time unnecessarily?
 
Caporegime
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New to all this, I'd never heard of these. A quick Google leads me to mooc.org and then edx.org for a course I checked out. I like the look of these. Bite sized course, with a certificate if I pay, by the looks of it.

Ah, you mentioned coursera in your careers forum post so I assumed you had heard of these, basically, EDX is essentially another platform similar to coursera - the courses are run by universities and/or sometimes big companies/organisations. Slightly different to udemy in that it's not necessarily, as you point out any random person running them on there but same kind of principle in that you can show an employer you've studied a subject area/demonstrated some interest.

Yeah, definitely, from what I can see and what I'm told, it's the Scrum Master I would be looking at. As you say, the other roles definitely require the technical knowledge. I'm advised to do the certification for Scrum Master as that shows I understand the overall process of Scrum. Are the alternatives to Scrum I should also get a certification in?

Scum is a rather popular agile methodology, there are project management related certifications out there - for example PMP, Prince2 etc.. the latter is apparently popular in the public sector in the UK, the other, PMP, has some requirements re: experience managing projects so might not be suitable yet.

Some project managers won't have any certifications at all, when I was at a place that converted from non-agile, sort of waterfall methodology to scrum we had someone come in and run some seminars/coaching etc...

You could get a book or read some online resources and get the jist of how scrum works in a weekend, getting a certificate simply demonstrates that you have that knowledge. I mean it is basically a 2 day course, it's probably not necessarily going to land you a job by itself, especially with no prior experience managing projects.

I've done 11 years managing a team of staff in a section and 9 years as a Deputy Branch Manager, managing the managers and with general responsibility of the entire store.

This is the bit that might need to be fleshed out - basically why you, how does your previous experience show you'd be good here etc.. general soft skills are obvs useful and those roles demonstrate that but that won't necessarily be sufficient, especially if much of the first role was basically just being a supervisor and managing the shift rota or something. Your current role might well be the one to focus on though, especially if you're responsible for coordinating a whole bunch of stuff.

That might sell you as a potential PM - essentially laying out that you're someone who already manages a bunch of people across several teams and has to juggle multiple tasks through the day, liaise with people inside and outside the company and has a bunch of responsibility.

I guess this is the bit I could really do with advice on as I just don't know how they 'work'. I could be quite interested in something 'bigger' and 'proper', something perhaps 6 months long? At the same time, if I don't need it based on my experience and the few smaller certificates I pick up, I don't want to waste my time unnecessarily?

Well an MSc is generally 1 year full time or 2-3 years part time, though typically they tend to require an undergraduate degree which you don't have, so could be a non-starter.

Some MSc courses might let you in with relevant work experience, I don't think that is likely applicable here though. Similar case fo MBAs, I think some might let in non-grads but that could be a bit of a reach here too.

You could look at getting a part time undergrad qualification (see University of London external system, Open university etc..) or perhpas a certificate of some sort - for example this might be useful, it's not a project management course but rather a systems analysis course:

https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/about/advanced-diploma-in-data-and-systems-analysis

You could look at becoming a Business Analyst/Systems Analyst - that tends to require soft skills, planning etc..

Bottom line though is you need to be able to sell this to someone, that based on no direct experience and just demonstrating some interest that your previous employment has demonstrated that you'd be worth a shot in a PM role, at a hefty salary simply because you're a super organised, super efficient person with bags of soft skills who'll be able to liaise with everyone from difficult to deal with introverted/autistic developers through to full-of-BS sales people, demanding customers, consultants etc..

You're potentially competing with people with PM experience or internal hires with experience working on projects or even just keen, recent graduates.

It might be the case that you can't go directly into a PM role, it's possible to be a PM without a degree though the cases I've seen tended to start off in some junior admin role - two girls at a previous place worked in the project management office (PMO) first - they'd just go around checking up on where people were with stuff, update dashboards etc.. but didn't manage anything in that role - they did however get plenty of exposure to various different projects and then progressed to managing small projects and taking a junior PM role themselves after a couple of years.

Likewise I know of one case where a PM worked in retail, he went from uni to a big well known retail group to a well known consultancy then the place I worked at where he worked as a consultant again, then transitioned into a PM role.
 
Soldato
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Interesting stuff, thanks.

two girls at a previous place worked in the project management office (PMO) first - they'd just go around checking up on where people were with stuff, update dashboards etc.. but didn't manage anything in that role

Did this role have a title? I'm more than happy to pick up experience in the lower paid end of things first.
 
Caporegime
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Did this role have a title? I'm more than happy to pick up experience in the lower paid end of things first.

Basically PMO assistant or PMO administrator. It’s just an admin job that involves a bit of coordination, liaising with people etc… it gives exposure to various projects across an organisation and at least where I’ve worked there are people who have made that transition. Though alternatively plenty more PMs were previously consultants etc..
 
Soldato
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Hmm, looks interesting thanks, but it tells me it's £27 a month after the 7 days free intro. Not a huge amount, but maybe it's the kind of thing I do when I start my time off? When I can commit more time to it each day? While I'm still working Full Time, it would only be an hour here and there...
 
Associate
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Just FYI before you spend what could potentially be a lot of money and time... quite a lot of companies aren't that bothered by your list of qualifications, especially if you're thinking about being a developer of any sort.

A portfolio, experience (or if a more junior role - some passion/drive to learn in lieu of experience) and ability to communicate are far more important. I've had countless interviews with people who have 10+ courses to their name but can't answer a simple questions and also struggle to hold a decent conversation.

Don't forget your soft skills.

Look at some of the jobs you want and see what they are actually asking for in terms of qualifications and experience. Quite a lot of companies will offer to pay for courses for you if relevant to the job, but may in turn extend your contract (forcing you to pay for training if you leave within x months/years).
 
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Soldato
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A bit of a bump with a bit of an update (although, more detail in this thread) I have been advised to learn about some of the simple stuff around AWS, so I'm watching my way through this 13hr FreeCodeCamp video and thinking of getting the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certificate. Sound like a good idea?

quite a lot of companies aren't that bothered by your list of qualifications

Yeah, I get that, but I'm hoping in some ways it shows my passion/drive to learn in lieu you mention in your next comment :)
 
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A bit of a bump with a bit of an update (although, more detail in this thread) I have been advised to learn about some of the simple stuff around AWS, so I'm watching my way through this 13hr FreeCodeCamp video and thinking of getting the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certificate. Sound like a good idea?



Yeah, I get that, but I'm hoping in some ways it shows my passion/drive to learn in lieu you mention in your next comment :)
No harm in becoming familiar with AWS! Certainly is used industry wide. I see you listed Android in your skills at the top, if you change your focus into going down the mobile path I'd be happy to have a chat about that. I was working as a Java dev before but moved across into Android after I wanted a change so have a bit of experience of trying to move into those roles.
 
Soldato
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A bit of a bump with a bit of an update (although, more detail in this thread) I have been advised to learn about some of the simple stuff around AWS, so I'm watching my way through this 13hr FreeCodeCamp video and thinking of getting the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certificate. Sound like a good idea?

1) Does the prospect of being an AWS practitioner fill you with enthusiasm? y/n

2) Do you have the ability to spend full working days doing only technical AWS stuff? y/n

3) Do you have a reasonable chance of getting a job if you spend the time getting the knowledge? y/n

If y to all three, then maybe it's a good idea. However, when you say good idea, from what perspective do you mean?
 
Soldato
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No harm in becoming familiar with AWS! Certainly is used industry wide. I see you listed Android in your skills at the top, if you change your focus into going down the mobile path I'd be happy to have a chat about that. I was working as a Java dev before but moved across into Android after I wanted a change so have a bit of experience of trying to move into those roles.

Thanks, going an engineer route isn't off the table, but it's not the plan at the moment. Might throw you a message if I do, thanks.

Blockchain development is a skill that will be. needed more and more.

An interesting point, I hadn't really thought about. Like above I guess, it's not got any relavence to the role I'm training in at the moment, but if that doesn't work out, I might look into getting a better understanding of it, thanks.

However, when you say good idea, from what perspective do you mean?

In that, when I'm working with people that respond Y to all three, having an understanding of what they're doing, why they're doing it and what blockers they might face would be good. Even just understanding what they're talking about would be good. How do I show a company I understand what they do with AWS? I'm thinking having the most basic Cert for it goes a step that direction? I think I've been told it's not all that hard and is just covering basic principals and such. No?
 
Soldato
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What type of job are you trying to get, and with what company? Ideally your preparation needs to be highly targeted to what you are trying to achieve. As previously discussed, are you looking for a managerial role or a technical role? The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Certificate is a technical qualification, to be taken by people that already have six months experience with AWS Cloud.
 
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