Posted by George Webster – 13.12.18
George explains how the _nology experience and university experience are very different and why he believes that in some cases smaller, cheaper and shorter can be better…
Let’s start at the beginning, I kind of fell into IT by accident, it was unplanned but I don’t regret it for a minute! I finished my A-levels with okish grades but knew they wouldn’t take me far. I found myself at a crossroads where I didn’t know what my next step was going to be. I had no guidance, no plan, no idea. It was at a college open evening my mum suggested I should talk to the IT guys. I really didn’t want to do that! From my experience at GCSE, IT was one of those subjects I just knew I didn’t want to get into. Having given it some thought I figured why not at least speak to them. They assured me that IT really can be for anyone and that computing could be so much more than “send an email, screenshot it, receive an email, screenshot it, reply to an….” You get the idea, really dull stuff!
That moment right there and then, that decision to just give it a go was one of those life defining YES moments - those moments where you throw yourself out of your comfort zone, risking everything to see where it takes you. I completed the two-year BTEC and loved every moment of it. The next step for me was a Computer Science degree at one of the UK’s top 10 ranked universities. With a good degree from a prestigious university why am I such an advocate for _nology?
I think there’s an assumption with IT courses that it is full of people with no social skills and little motivation in life. The truth is that there are always people like this and no doubt is this especially true in IT, but by far the majority of people you will meet in tech are brilliant people with incredible futures ahead of them. What sets _nology ahead of alternatives (such as a Computer Science degree) is that there’s a real focus on the people skills. Soft skills are absolutely essential for success in industry. _nology place such an importance on this that one of the weeks in the course is dedicated to your interpersonal skills that will help you excel in the industry and this is what will carry you over the finish line in interviews and get you your dream job. Since _nology assesses applicants before accepting, you know that you are going to be surrounded with like-minded and motivated individuals and that makes such a difference for the experience you get. At _nology you’re working together as a team the whole time and you genuinely feel that every success that someone has is a team success.
I’d say _nology teaches you not just to build websites, but to be a successful web developer. You learn the technical skills, of course – but you also learn how to pitch confidently, to network, how to sell yourself well and be a strong team player. These things really matter. If I was a hiring manager would I take the person who was incredible at X,Y and Z but is unable to work in a team, or would I take the person who is competent at X,Y and Z but is also a positive person to be around? I’d always go for person B and that’s what _nology understands and focuses on giving you. You can train someone in pretty much any skill (to an extent) but these fundamental soft skills are what are essential in the workplace and will help you stand out at the end of your _nology course.
It also gives you access to industry experts and the opportunity to hear about what they’re working on. We have met companies who are working with on incredible things, from advanced robotics with augmented reality to huge financial institutions. Again, if you’re good with people and know how to network, that can only be beneficial and if not? Well _nology is there to help you. My own professional network has expanded hugely in the last six weeks. _nology is definitely tailored to the working world.
The way the course is taught is also different. I won’t lie to you, it is very intense but it is manageable if you are willing to put the time in and everyone genuinely wants you to succeed. At Uni you go to a few lectures a week (or maybe you don’t!) and a couple of lab sessions that are mandatory and then produce a piece of coursework which lets be honest you will have forgotten about in a couple of weeks and have to relearn everything for exams. Over 2 weeks at _nology we easily covered more content than an entire 10 week module at university! Don’t let that scare you, it’s taught incredibly well and is very easy to digest. Truthfully, most university assignments felt like you were doing them because you had to and there was no passion behind it, which is a huge difference here at _nology. You genuinely want to do the best you can in what you do and there have been many times my peers and I have stayed late to continue what we are working on because we were that engaged.
A degree teaches you lots of areas in a shallow depth – so it’s great if you’re not sure what you want to go into. And Uni is also great if you do all the extra stuff that goes alongside your degree. But if you know you want to be a website developer then this course is for you. And you’ll be paying significantly less than three years Uni fees. A final point and important is that the size of the classes at _nology are significantly smaller, there are just twelve of us giving significantly more 1-1 time and much better support.
This is incredibly important to emphasise to you as a reader, if you know that you want to try tech without committing to a 3 year course, or if you know that you want to go into website development then this is an incredible choice. If you know that you want to explore IT in a very broad spectrum and have a passion for it already then a degree is the better option. Of course nobody says they have to be mutually exclusive. If I had done a _nology course before going to university I would have found my course so much easier!
_Nology is introducing people to tech who otherwise might not have thought it was for them. Before courses like this, IT was a closed community. The person who knew how the server works or how to set up the email system could command lots of money because no one knew what they really did. IT has also traditionally been a very male dominated field and _nology is part of a huge change that is taking place to make it accessible to everyone which is incredible.
I can’t stress enough that if you sign up to _nology and are willing to put the time in you will excel, you’ll go very far very quickly (from knowing nothing to building a website within a few weeks) and learn a greater depth within certain areas than with a degree. I won’t say you’ll be in a better place than a graduate, but you’ll certainly be in a very strong place. I’m lucky to have been on the very first course that _nology is running and genuinely think this is amazing!
Posted by George Webster – 13.12.18