I first started the Open University in September 2020, studying for a part-time degree in Computing and IT. You can read about my experience during the first module here, though this post is to explain my reasoning for not choosing to continue with the route of obtaining an IT degree part-time.
Cost can add up compared to other options
One of the reasons for choosing to quit the Open University was simply the cost of studying one module at a time. This worked out around £120 a month. If this monthly price was fixed (not sure though guess these prices are reviewed each year by the Open University and doubt they get cheaper), the best-case scenario I would end up paying £8,640 for my degree; and this is if I do not fail any modules and have to repeat any exams, etc.
This would be a lot of money to me and while researching other options such as certifications with Microsoft, CompTIA, or CCNA; the price just seemed a lot more compared to these options.
The time commitment
The other main reason was simply the time involved in completing a part-time degree. Already working a full-time job with two young kids to also look after, it was hard to sometimes find the time to sit down and read through the weekly work, complete exercises for practice in the topics you are reading on, complete online marked quizzes that count toward the overall module as well as the assignments talked about in my review of the module above.
I knew I had to try and find a good routine to continue working on the course part-time so decided I would get up early each morning (5 am) before everyone else got up and the daily routine began, so that I would have 2 hours to myself to work on the material that was due to be completed for that week.
While the routine was working well and I was getting the work that I needed to be done, I am not going to say that it was easy. The thought of doing it for 6 years to land with a degree to then start looking for a job in the field that I wanted was just too long for my liking. That could be 6 years in a junior-level position that I could slowly start to build experience and work my way up.
So with that, I am turning to the certification route. My plan is to first start with the below Microsoft Certifications as I think that Cloud computing will be the way firms will manage their systems going forward. So getting my certs in this area may make it easier to get my foot in the door. From there if I need experience in security or networking I can do the appropriate certifications in those areas as well, with CompTIA or the CCNA.
You can browse the Microsoft Certifications here. I plan on studying the below certifications, so once completed and passed I will share my thoughts on each on this blog along with any of my study notes and materials that I used for passing in the hopes that it helps someone also thinking of the same route:
- Exam 98-381 Programming using Python
- AZ 900 Azure Fundamentals
- DP 900 Azure Data Fundamentals
- DP 203 Azure Data Engineer Associate
- AZ 104 Azure Administrator Associate
With the above certifications completed, I think this should be a solid base in trying to get a Data Engineering position within a company looking to use the Azure Cloud.
I will be posting updates on my progress so watch out for those, and if you already have maybe passed these exams or looking to complete them in the future, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts and experiences.
As always, thanks for reading!