Further studies make big impact on salary, society

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THE matric year is a difficult one for pupils. It’s the last of 12 years of schooling, and it’s a year filled with emotional ups and downs!

It’s a time you also need to decide on what next?

“As an institution we clearly recommend further and higher studies,” Boston City Campus & Business College’s Ian Becker said.

INTO THE FUTURE: Boston City Campus & Business College’s Ian Becker strongly suggests tertiary education to earn a better salary

“It’s easy for us to advise further studies – we have done this for 27 years and we have seen the huge impact further education makes on communities and societies. It’s a more difficult decision for pupils though. It involves a commitment of time, finances and personal discipline.”

So what will convince a pupil that all these commitments are worth it?

Becker discussed recent research carried out nationally by OfferZen.com.

“These were conducted with specific reference to developers, but we can see that many of the outcomes can be extrapolated to other industries,” he said.

IT developers in South Africa and internationally have varied qualifications, with some being self-taught and having no qualifications at all.

“This makes it very difficult to convince pupils to stick with the programme and gain post-school qualifications”, Becker said.

However, one needs to take some facts into consideration:

  • Due to complex labour laws, many companies now have instituted minimum education requirements, for all levels of employees. So a matric or equivalent is essential;
  • To be considered for employment, you need a CV and this CV has to be better than that of the other people applying for the same position;
  • While you may know coding, developing and other IT applications, it is your say-so only unless you have a certificate to prove your skills;
  • Companies will approach educational institutions for staff to recruit as institutions are a great hunting ground for them. They have students with a proven track record, they can get references from staff who know them, and they can get many applicants at one time.

Yes, there are many examples of developers and coders who are self-taught and successful. You can learn coding online – all you need is your computer.

“However, the research we have seen is that there is a marked impact on both receiving job offers and on salary when you have a formal qualification,” Becker said.

According to the OfferZen research, a lack of formal education relates to a significantly lower income for juniors.

The starting salary for developers without tertiary education is around R15000, a full 35% less than that of those with a formal qualification.

“Keep in mind that while self-taught developers will be able to code, they do not have knowledge or experience of other essential business practices such as team leadership, management, meetings, accounting practices, economics and company law. So while they may be able to solve a bug in a programme, they will find it very difficult to assess and fulfil client needs in terms of new products,” Becker said.

A lack of formal qualifications will leave gaps in knowledge and experience.

“We can thus conclude that formal tertiary education serves a very important role in getting you into the workplace, keeping you there, and providing opportunity for promotion,” Becker said.

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