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Old 22-01-2015, 08:39 PM   #1
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Switching from Film to IT

Hey guys, here to share my story and maybe get some advice from ya'll over here.

I am a 22 year old dude, about to ORD this September and want to pursue a degree in IT. However, 3 years ago, I enrolled in SP's Diploma in Visual Effects and Motion Graphics(just think, film production or anination) and have since graduated with a Diploma.

Now, tbh, when I first selected the course, I was basically a freshly graduated O levels kid who "didn't wanna study anymore". I didn't wanna see another textbook, write another essay, or go through another exam again. And so that's what I looked for flipping through the polytechnic/jc coursebook thingy(y'know the one they give u after O's). Saw this Diploma which say no need exam, and since I liked watching action movies, etc why not right? Maybe one day can make Transformer or what lol. I thought I was in for a joy ride, no need do anything also can graduate one ma right. Lo and behold I was so wrong.

So I spent the next 2-3 years breezing through and just follow motion for most,( along the way feeling like this could be a potential career!) if not all of the modules..and ended up with a crappy gpa of 2.791 only. In fact, I think I learnt more from my 6 mths internship with a production company than in my whole 3 years of poly education.

Which brings me to my next point. After going through real work experience in the production field(my internship was luckily, a real job. I was hired with a role and purpose, an editor/animator, as it was a small, growing company and it felt more like a full time job than any graded "internship"), I realized this was an industry i wouldn't mind being in, but was not thoroughly interested in either.

Film production in Singapore is a field where to survive you either have to be very good, very passionate or very talented at your job.

Because freelancers are plenty and most companies who want videos made for them don't give much of a budget to a certain project, a production company woud more likely hire a freelance photograpger(you can replace this with any role eg.editor/videographrr/soundman) for the duration of that project since it's much cheaper(or efficient) than paying that full time staff photograpger of yours whose skills ain't good enough for the client company.

What I'm trying to say is, no one in a production crew is irreplaceable in the blink of an eye. Job stability ain't there because freelancers are more skilled and cheaper alternatives to a permanent team. Also, I've "lost interest"(if it was ever there in the first place) in this field.

So I've basically boiled it down to IT after weighing or balancing some career opportunity vs. interests,(music is my true passion btw, but alas, i'm not talented and letS be honest, it's a very big shithole to be in, in Singapore - where are local artists?) because I like IT related stuff, pretty much a geek freak about technology, settle most of my home's IT issues and take pride in doing so and would love learning more about IT-related stuff.

A big jump in fields, I know. For starters, I do not have any formal IT education. But I have been involved in Media since Sec school(infocomm club). I have just started self studying Computer Science Fundamentals, Programming Concepts and Network Concepts as a means to gain the most basic blocks of IT knowledge.

Right now, I am exploring my options forward - go straight to a uni(applying for SIT or SIM GE's Infocomm Security courses) or in case I am rejected, apply for a private diploma in IT for a year first until next year's uni's admissions come again whereby I try applyiny once more, so I can build a base upon which to catch up with those who took IT already in Poly.

So I guess the advice I'm looking for is:
- Am I on the right path? Are my options viable?
- Is it recommended to pursue a private diploma especially since it's only a 1 year course, or should I just try for uni straight and work harder in year 1(though I still feel insecure and am scared that I will struggle)
- Any experience with SIM's University of Wollogong Digital system's security degree?
- Job opportunities of a SIM GE degree vs local degree
-Whether private diplomas are even worth the time/effort

I know I talk alot in circles and sometimes go nowhere also so if need elaboration please let me know haha, just booking out and writing this on the train so abit shag cannot think lol.

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Old 22-01-2015, 10:24 PM   #2
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So I guess the advice I'm looking for is:
- Am I on the right path? Are my options viable?
- Is it recommended to pursue a private diploma especially since it's only a 1 year course, or should I just try for uni straight and work harder in year 1(though I still feel insecure and am scared that I will struggle)
- Any experience with SIM's University of Wollogong Digital system's security degree?
- Job opportunities of a SIM GE degree vs local degree
-Whether private diplomas are even worth the time/effort
Do not go for private diploma! Your polytechnic diploma is more than enough for a foreign IT degree in private institutions.
- Wollongong is okie. The brand should be fine in getting you at the door. It is a ranked university on global charts, THE & QS.
- After that you will need to boost your credentials by taking up many IT industry certifications, most importantly IT security-related, if you are going that direction.
- Take Note: it is not a honours degree, if honours is important to you, you may need to continue with honours year in wollongong Australia campus.

If you wish to expand your job search into the public sector, a singapore-branded degree or internal-student foreign degree is crucial. Else, you will be confine in the private sector with your DL foreign degree until you have a great amount of experience.

It is going to be tough to get into any singapore university with your 2.791 GPA. It is not even near 3.
- If you still wish to gamble for a place in a singapore university e.g. SIT, I suggest you make some tough preparations.
- Look up on SP, TP, NP's University Preparatory Programme, most important is to attain engineering maths-equivalent certification, other subjects like english, physics is a bonus.
- Get recommendation letters from your internship employer, work employer, poly lecturers if possible.
- If you are not working, find a job, freelance, contract, temporary work that is relevant to IT now! Best if you can start immediately, so you can write it in your uni application form.
- Write a good personal statement (look up online on how to write).
- Study and apply for SAT test in the earliest possible. (This is going to be tough in such short notice.)

Try to accomplish as much of the above a possible and hope for the best.
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:06 AM   #3
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Instead of going circles, ask yourself what do you want to be in next 5 years. If you head aimlessly now, after you have completed your next course, should it be degree or diploma, you will end up having the same story.

Make up your mind before making a decision. IT may seem easier for a male than female. But IT has much wider domains than you can imagine, I listed a few such as IT support, developer, security, networking, forensic, audit, infrastructure, presale, big data etc.

Bouncing around may make you a jack of all trades but you will be master of none. I am a living example and now I am concentrating on one pillar and making sure my pillar has a strong foundation.

Seriously, think.

In case you are blinded by IT, there are males in finance, human resource, sales etc. it is your passion where you can make your job more interesting.
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Old 23-01-2015, 02:05 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for the helpful replies!

I think seesiang is right in that IT is such a wide field I might not even know what I really want yet... To be honest, I singled out IT security because I have a cousin who works in IDA as a security analyst/pentester so I feel like I would have a mentor of sorts if I entered that field. I also have a bunkmate who studied Infocomm Security with SP, so with him around I can ask questions now while self-studying and that couldn't possibly hurt.

I have rethought my situation for abit and am thinking of taking this approach:
I will take a private diploma in IT with MDIS for 8mths, just to give myself some basic education in IT as well as get a chance to see if IT is really my preferred choice of study. If after I complete my stint with MDIS, I realize that I do not like IT as much either, I will fall back on my production background and continue working for my internship company who has so far welcomed me with open arms. If after I complete the diploma and feel like IT could really be my thing, then at least I now have some foundational knowledge in ICT and an additional testimony(that piece of paper that says Diploma in IT) to help bolster my chances of applying for a local uni/SIM GE's courses next year.

What do you guys think? I feel like this approach gives me the best of both worlds - a taste of IT, while at the same time not putting all my eggs in one basket when I am still not a 100% sure of my true calling. At the very most, I would waste 8 months and some cash, but be equipped with some IT skills that might help me as a video-editor/animator.

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Old 23-01-2015, 05:23 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for the helpful replies!

I think seesiang is right in that IT is such a wide field I might not even know what I really want yet... To be honest, I singled out IT security because I have a cousin who works in IDA as a security analyst/pentester so I feel like I would have a mentor of sorts if I entered that field. I also have a bunkmate who studied Infocomm Security with SP, so with him around I can ask questions now while self-studying and that couldn't possibly hurt.

I have rethought my situation for abit and am thinking of taking this approach:
I will take a private diploma in IT with MDIS for 8mths, just to give myself some basic education in IT as well as get a chance to see if IT is really my preferred choice of study. If after I complete my stint with MDIS, I realize that I do not like IT as much either, I will fall back on my production background and continue working for my internship company who has so far welcomed me with open arms. If after I complete the diploma and feel like IT could really be my thing, then at least I now have some foundational knowledge in ICT and an additional testimony(that piece of paper that says Diploma in IT) to help bolster my chances of applying for a local uni/SIM GE's courses next year.

What do you guys think? I feel like this approach gives me the best of both worlds - a taste of IT, while at the same time not putting all my eggs in one basket when I am still not a 100% sure of my true calling. At the very most, I would waste 8 months and some cash, but be equipped with some IT skills that might help me as a video-editor/animator.

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I strongly advice against wasting money on a private diploma that will add little to no value to your polytechnic diploma.
- You already have the means to apply for most SIMGE courses with your 2.791 poly diploma.

If you want to experience some foundation IT courses, why not look up Coursera, EdX and FutureLearn for some free taster courses?

Since you are still considering what your future holds, why not seek assistance,
- Job Profiler for Individuals
- Career Assessment Test
- Career Personality Test- What is Your Career Personality
Or seek professional assistance to identify your interest,
- Contact Career Centre

If you still wishes to take a step back by gaining some "foundation", why not consider some govt supported options,
- SP Diploma (Conversion) in Computer Networking
Course Details | PACE | Singapore Polytechnic
- RP Diploma in Infocomm and Digital Media (Information System)
http://www.rp.edu.sg/uploadedFiles/C...amme/PTDIS.pdf
- NYP Diploma in Infocomm & Digital Media (IT Network and System Administration)
Nanyang Polytechnic | Part-time Diploma in Infocomm & Digital Media (IT Network and System Administration)
- You earn a modular certificate every semester, so you can quit and start any time, as long as you complete the whole programme within 5 years, you will gain the diploma.
- Lithanhall Academy WSQ Express IT
https://www.lithanhall.com/exp-it

You can find further WSQ NICF qualification here,
- National Infocomm Competency WSQ
- https://www.nicf.sg/home.aspx (Comprehensive info on IT job roles)
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:11 PM   #6
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Hey! Maybe U wanna try applying for both the SIT's own degree in ICT? I am previously from mechanical engineering in sp and i have applied for sit own degree as I too, have a passion for programming and they said that u do not need to have a dip of similar background to be considered
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Old 24-01-2015, 03:45 PM   #7
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intime, totally appreciate your extremely informative reply!

I can't believe I never stumbled upon the part time Diploma's offered by NYP and RP - you just opened 2 new doors for me to consider! How do these work btw, after I complete the courses, do I graduate with the equivalent of a full time diploma in these courses or will the paper specifically say Part Time in its title? Will there be exams or GPA scorings, etc?

Most importantly, will these part time Diplomas be eligible for local universities like SIT?

It seems like I could possibly enroll for either course while working for my previous company, ensuring that I won't close doors on either fields - I get to build up my film portfolio while getting a taste of IT education... sounds a little too good to be true but I'm all for it.

By the way, I spent the last few days researching on how to get a career in IT and seems like alot of sources suggest that you be proficient at Math and problem solving if you are considering an IT career... How do I determine my proficiency at this moment? Tbh, I struggled alot with A Math and only managed a B3 in E-Math for my O's and haven't touched the subject since...Math and Science were stuff I wanted nothing to do with, hence my Diploma choice 3 years ago...do I sound like an unsuitable candidate for an IT career? How about problem solving? I never fancied IQ/problem solving puzzles and more or less gave 0 f!#@*s when doing the IQ test thing and saw the analytical thinking portion, before NS enlistment. Hopefully this isn't the kind of problem solving the IT industry offers?

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Last edited by merickalston; 24-01-2015 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 24-01-2015, 05:23 PM   #8
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intime, totally appreciate your extremely informative reply!

I can't believe I never stumbled upon the part time Diploma's offered by NYP and RP - you just opened 2 new doors for me to consider! How do these work btw, after I complete the courses, do I graduate with the equivalent of a full time diploma in these courses or will the paper specifically say Part Time in its title? Will there be exams or GPA scorings, etc?

Most importantly, will these part time Diplomas be eligible for local universities like SIT?

It seems like I could possibly enroll for either course while working for my previous company, ensuring that I won't close doors on either fields - I get to build up my film portfolio while getting a taste of IT education... sounds a little too good to be true but I'm all for it.

By the way, I spent the last few days researching on how to get a career in IT and seems like alot of sources suggest that you be proficient at Math and problem solving if you are considering an IT career... How do I determine my proficiency at this moment? Tbh, I struggled alot with A Math and only managed a B3 in E-Math for my O's and haven't touched the subject since...Math and Science were stuff I wanted nothing to do with, hence my Diploma choice 3 years ago...do I sound like an unsuitable candidate for an IT career? How about problem solving? I never fancied IQ/problem solving puzzles and more or less gave 0 f!#@*s when doing the IQ test thing and saw the analytical thinking portion, before NS enlistment. Hopefully this isn't the kind of problem solving the IT industry offers?

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Your diploma will not say "part-time". It is not equivalent to full-time diploma, due to the lack of academic modules and internships.
- You will definitely have a wider degree progression (including private institutions) due to the polytechnic branding.
- There are plans for part-time graduates to take up academic bridging modules to satisfy entry into singapore universities.
https://btech.eng.nus.edu.sg/btechwp...sContents.aspx
- Progression to university (NUS, NTU, UniSIM) FAQ,
MOE - FAQs

There are accounts of part-time graduates gaining entry into UniSIM. Not sure about other singapore universities. You may need to find out more online on yourself. For now, you can see the progression chart for part-time diploma here,
- https://www.getcet.sg/About-CET/Overview.aspx

This system of progression is very new, and many things are still being iron out by ministries and the institutions involved. And more universities may join.
But I am sure that by the time you complete your potential 2.5 years part-time diploma, the progression plan should be ready.

And YES. Math is extremely important for an IT Career. Without a good math foundation, you will not make it big in IT industry. You may not see it now, but when you approach university-level IT courses, the need for mathematical thinking skills becomes more apparent.
Many real-life IT innovations and IT issues (including cyber crimes) involves mathematical skills.
- You may wish to apply for SP, NP or TP's University Preparatory Programmes,
- Short Courses | PACE | Singapore Polytechnic
- Short Courses
- University Preparatory Programme | Part-Time Courses | Temasek Polytechnic

Last edited by intime; 26-01-2015 at 01:31 AM..
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Old 24-01-2015, 09:33 PM   #9
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Your diploma will not say "part-time". It is not equivalent to full-time diploma, due to the lack of academic modules and internships.
- You will definitely have a wider degree progression (including private institutions) due to the polytechnic branding.
- There are plans for part-time graduates to take up academic bridging modules to satisfy entry into singapore universities.
https://btech.eng.nus.edu.sg/btechwp...sContents.aspx
- Progression to university (NUS, NTU, UniSIM) FAQ,
MOE - FAQs

There are accounts of part-time graduates gaining entry into UniSIM. Not sure about other singapore universities. You may need to find out more online on yourself. For now, you can see the progression chart for part-time diploma here,
- https://www.getcet.sg/About-CET/Overview.aspx

This system of progression is very new, and many things are still being iron out by ministries and the institutions involved. And more universities may join.
But I am sure that by the time you complete your potential 2.5 years part-time diploma, the progression plan should be ready.

And YES. Math is extremely important for an IT Career. Without a good math foundation, you will not make it big in IT industry. You may not see it now, but when you approach university-level IT courses, the need for mathematical thinking skills becomes more apparent.
Many real-life IT innovations and IT issues (including cyber crimes) involves mathematical skills.
- You may wish to apply for SP, NP or TP's University Preparatory Programmes,
- Short Courses | PACE | Singapore Polytechnic
- Short Courses
- University Preparatory Programme | Part-Time Courses | Temasek Polytechnic
Woah, you're really well-informed about the various education tracks in SG, I really thank you for the vast amount of information you have brought to me and this thread

Anyways, I have just opened myself to yet another option, that is, to go straight for a general degree in ICT, mostly looking at Kaplan's or SIM GE's so I don't have to go through 2.5 years of Diploma education and then continue on with another 3 years+ of Degrer education in the same field. Sounds ok? Of course, this option I will only take when I confirm with two feet in the pool, that I wanna pursue IT as a career - I hope to be able to reach this decision by June/July, after more consultation with my cousin who is an IT security analyst with IDA.

In reference to the above option, I am specifically looking at these degrees by SIM GE and Kaplan, what do you think? Will it be widely recognized:

SIM GE University of Wollogong's Degree in Information Technology(Computing):

http://www.simge.edu.sg/gePortalWeb/appmanager/web/default?_nfpb=true&_st=&_pageLabel=pgCourseDetails&contentID=SIM001964

SIM GE's University of Wollogong's Degree in Business Information Systems:

http://www.simge.edu.sg/gePortalWeb/appmanager/web/default?_nfpb=true&_st=&_pageLabel=pgCourseDetails&contentID=SIM004582

Kaplan's University of Murdoch's Bachelor of Computer Science:

http://www.kaplan.com.sg/course/full-time-courses/bachelor/information-technology/bachelor-of-science-in-computer-science-1372/

Or maybe even one of Kaplan's Double Majors with Computer Science and Business, etc.

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Old 24-01-2015, 10:34 PM   #10
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Woah, you're really well-informed about the various education tracks in SG, I really thank you for the vast amount of information you have brought to me and this thread

Anyways, I have just opened myself to yet another option, that is, to go straight for a general degree in ICT, mostly looking at Kaplan's or SIM GE's so I don't have to go through 2.5 years of Diploma education and then continue on with another 3 years+ of Degrer education in the same field. Sounds ok? Of course, this option I will only take when I confirm with two feet in the pool, that I wanna pursue IT as a career - I hope to be able to reach this decision by June/July, after more consultation with my cousin who is an IT security analyst with IDA.

In reference to the above option, I am specifically looking at these degrees by SIM GE and Kaplan, what do you think? Will it be widely recognized:

SIM GE University of Wollogong's Degree in Information Technology(Computing):

Bachelor of Information Technology (Computing) | Part-Time | Awarded by University of Wollongong

SIM GE's University of Wollogong's Degree in Business Information Systems:

Bachelor of Business Information Systems

Kaplan's University of Murdoch's Bachelor of Computer Science:

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Or maybe even one of Kaplan's Double Majors with Computer Science and Business, etc.

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Both Wollongong and Murdoch are ranked universities on global charts, THE and QS, so I assume that they are generally recognised degrees.
- World University Rankings 2014-2015 - Times Higher Education
- QS World University Rankings® 2014/15 | Top Universities
But take note that Australian universities like Wollongong and Murdoch do not offer honours year here.
- If honours classification is important to you, you may need to travel to Australia to finish your honours year.

You should have no problems finding a decent private sector job with those degrees, but if you are considering public sector, a Singapore-branded degree or ranked foreign degree (internal) will serve you better.
- You may want to ask your cousin if IDA accepts external foreign degrees (non-honours) from SIMGE / Kaplan.

In between your studies or after graduation, you may wish to apply for industry certifications to strengthen your credentials, refer here for WSQ accredited or CITREP endosed courses,
- Courses
- National Infocomm Competency WSQ

Last edited by intime; 24-01-2015 at 10:37 PM..
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:54 PM   #11
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I am sure IDA will state as long as the applicant quality we dont discriminate base on degree.
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Old 25-01-2015, 11:31 AM   #12
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Film production in Singapore is a field where to survive you either have to be very good, very passionate or very talented at your job.

Because freelancers are plenty and most companies who want videos made for them don't give much of a budget to a certain project, a production company woud more likely hire a freelance photograpger(you can replace this with any role eg.editor/videographrr/soundman) for the duration of that project since it's much cheaper(or efficient) than paying that full time staff photograpger of yours whose skills ain't good enough for the client company.

What I'm trying to say is, no one in a production crew is irreplaceable in the blink of an eye. Job stability ain't there because freelancers are more skilled and cheaper alternatives to a permanent team.
Eh. Personally, it's not any better in IT isn't it? When times are tough, IT jobs are the first to be outsourced to lower cost countries.

Tbh, I struggled alot with A Math and only managed a B3 in E-Math for my O's and haven't touched the subject since...Math and Science were stuff I wanted nothing to do with, hence my Diploma choice 3 years ago...do I sound like an unsuitable candidate for an IT career? How about problem solving? I never fancied IQ/problem solving puzzles and more or less gave 0 f!#@*s when doing the IQ test thing and saw the analytical thinking portion, before NS enlistment.
I really, really don't think you're suitable for IT. Have you tried the courses on udacity? I think it will give you a good taster of IT.

Why don't you combine your skills in multimedia with your interest in tech and go into areas like digital marketing/ digital content production? there's a healthy demand of talent in these areas.

Last edited by nady2015; 25-01-2015 at 11:39 AM..
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Old 28-01-2015, 09:28 PM   #13
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Wa damn sian this feels. Reading all about the long hours and continuous learning you have to do in IT careers, I am beginning to question myself too.

Digital marketing/content production would be under what kind of jobs? Or degrees in terms of study? Mass comm seem a likely area of study?

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