study IT in South Africa

Where to study IT in South Africa: online courses versus computer science degrees

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South Africa’s IT spend is on the up. In addition, the demand for IT skills continues to outstrip supply, claims the ICT Skills Survey. High demand occupations include the following: software developer, applications programmer, web developer, ICT security specialist and database designer among others. With this in mind, we look at where you can study IT in South Africa, and how online courses compare with Computer Science degrees.

Study IT in South Africa: online courses vs. degrees

Let’s say you’ve decided you want to go into tech. Now what? You need to make an important decision: do you want to pursue a Computer Science degree or study tech skills online? An online course, or bootcamp, states Business Insider, aimsto take in students with minimal coding knowledge and shoot them back out a few months later as employable software engineers”.

This is a key difference between an online course and a CS degree – namely, time taken to complete the course. A bootcamp is likely to be much shorter than a degree, which will generally take three to four years. Remember, there is loss of income, or opportunity cost, during a longer study period.

Either way, once you’ve completed a tech degree, you can expect to see a hike in your salary. A Stack Overflow survey compared salaries in the US between Computer Science graduates and those who had picked up their expertise via bootcamps. Those with a PhD or Masters in Computer Science earned the most ($122,219 and $118,803 respectively), but bootcamp graduates (who had completed an ‘Intensive Program’) came in at 3rd place with an average annual salary of $112,493, which was above that of undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. The average salary for IT professionals in South Africa is R42,673 per month, according to MyBroadband’s 2018 IT Salary Survey.

Other key differences between online courses and degrees include duration and the course content itself. Degrees have a longer duration, approximately three to four years, compared with a bootcamp, which can be a couple of weeks up to six months. As far as course content goes, bootcamps tend to teach industry-specific coding skills, whereas a university Computer Science degree is likely to be more abstract, focussing on things like  how computers are able to solve problems for programmers”. It’s a more theoretical than a practical approach – consequently, you might not learn how to actually code in real-life scenarios.

Now that we’ve covered the main differences between online courses and degrees, where can you study IT in South Africa?

Top Online Coding Courses in South Africa

  1. School of IT

This school offers online as well as face-to-face tuition, in the Western Cape. They include a wide variety of courses, including PC Engineering, Web Design, SQL, Programming courses, AutoCad, Social media and MS Office. Programming courses cover C#, Java, Python, Android and C++. School of IT focuses on the practical side of programming and IT.

  1. HyperionDev

HyperionDev offers three online coding bootcamps:  Full Stack Web Development, Data Science or Software Engineering. You’ll be paired 1:1 with an expert mentor as you work your way through industry-aligned course content. With next-day code reviews, on-demand feedback and direct referrals to their handpicked hiring partners, you’ll be well on your way to landing your tech dream job.

  1. GetSmarter

GetSmarter offers a variety of online short courses in tech, including IT management, Internet of Things, Blockchain Strategy, Digital Marketing Analytics, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence.

Top Computer Science Degrees in South Africa

  1. University of the Witwatersrand (WITS)

This BSc in Computer Science teaches the fundamental mathematical and scientific principles behind computer science. Students will learn about computer networks, database systems, operating systems, artificial intelligence, formal languages, software design and data structures.

  1. University of Pretoria

The Computer Science Department offers two three-year degrees, the BSc (CS) and BSc IT. The BSc (CS) degree covers computer science fundamentals by offering a wide variety of computer science and mathematical courses. The BSc IT degree covers different application environments – including Data Science, Genetics, Geographical Information Science, IT and Enterprises, IT and Law, IT and Music and Software Development – from which a student chooses one. There are also fundamental and core modules.

  1. University of Cape Town

The School of IT at University of Cape Town incorporates both Computer Science and Information Systems. You can choose to major in Computer Science in a Science degree, Information Systems in Commerce, Informatics in Humanities or Business Computing in Science.

  1. Rhodes University

Rhodes University offers an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a BSc in Information Systems, and a four-year BSc in Software Development.

In conclusion, a tech career offers multiple opportunities and high rewards. If you choose to study IT in South Africa, decide whether a CS degree or online course suits your needs better. At HyperionDev you can enrol on the following online coding bootcamps: Full Stack Web Development, Data Science or Software Engineering. You can also trial one of these courses for free.