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I have an economics master's degree from a german university and started working nearly three years ago. My first and current position is within the company's sales coordination department where I do most of the numbers stuff: calculating KPIs, talking to controlling etc. Additionally in order to make my team's life easier I wrote some VBA macros in excel which really helped us save time.

Recently I did some IT-like projects that caught my superior's attention using php/js/python. As a result I'll be working together with our data science team to scale up my project.

In my sparetime I'm doing some android app work and focus on two apps: one is just used within my family but the other is already released as an alpha version in the app store and there are also some outside testers which are more or less happy with the app. Dont get me wrong, those apps are far from perfect but they do what they were built for w/o any major bugs yet.

I guess that skillwise I could compare myself with some juniors after their bachelor's.

Since I'm not really happy with what I'm doing right now, I want to swith to IT (app development/software development/data science resp. analysis). This is something I can really see myself doing until retirment.

In order to have something to show to a potential employer I'm thinking about doing an IT bachelor (and maybe a master, too).

So here are my questions:

  • How well do employers (HR/IT managers) perceive IT degrees, that are done as part-time studies?
  • Are there schools that have a good reputation for what I'm planning to do?
  • If I start this year, I'll be slightly over 30 when finishing my bachelor's. Is this too old?

All the questions apply to the german job market.

closed as off-topic by gnat, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, mcknz, David K Jul 6 '18 at 18:04

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – gnat, scaaahu, IDrinkandIKnowThings, mcknz, David K
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    I'm not going to write this as an answer, as it's not fleshed out. Don't bother with another degree. In most of the German job market, they are useless. No-one but big graduate hire companies care. Instead, let your work speak. Do a few side projects. Put them on github. If you are in a city with a startup market, apply to them. Berlin, Hamburg, Munich... you'll start out having a bit longer hours, a hip office with beers every day, but you'll get real exposure fairly quickly. Or, if you think that's too hard, find a Fachinformatiker apprenticeship, talk them down to 2 years, do that. – simbabque Jul 6 '18 at 12:07
  • GitHub is not going to get you hired, and nobody puts any work that makes them money up on it. I'm not aware of anyone trolling thru github looking for hires, and even then... there is a lot of code there. If you're putting android apps up you're much better than most junior developers, incidentally. – bharal Jul 6 '18 at 14:01
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Speaking as a Belgian (which is not too far from Germany and has similar market situations):

Yes, you should. There are several non-bachelor programmes that you could follow but in my experience (as an IT manager) a candidate that holds a bachelor degree usually (not always) seems to be more aware of both the theoretical and practical implications of design solutions. In my experience formal training often makes the difference between a good and a great developer. If nothing else; HR managers often select people based on their degree.

The fact that these were done part time (or in the evening) won't reflect badly on you at all... if anything, it could serve to prove your passion and persistence.

As for the age part of your question: 30 years is not that old. But, if you could, why not check with your managers to see if they'll let you be more involved in the coding part of your collaboration projects? It could be a nice way to get your feet wet in an actual IT setting. And it could help you on your quest for a new job afterwards (it would allow you to gather some professional IT experience).

I can't provide you with any schools, but perhaps you could ask your IT colleagues at work where they studied and if they have any recommendations? If you're not keen on letting them know you want a career switch then you could always ask "for a friend"...

Edit (after reading other comments and answers): In my years in IT, I've learnt that the answer to this question does tend to vary depending on the age of the person giving the response. Back in the early 2000's, IT people got hired without nearly any credentials (or with unrelated degrees) and a lot of people hired back then still assume this is still the case today because they happened to get a job in the same manner (or know some people who did). Starting wages were also somewhat higher than they are now.

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My locale is France, so YMMV.

In my opinion, getting another master in IT with your background would be overkill. You already have experience working with feature teams, and had the occasion to write code (albeit limited) for your company.

More importantly, your pet projects will be very concrete proofs of your programming skills. Even when speaking to a non-technical HR, saying you developed an app that was downloaded XXX times is very tangible.

Lastly, if you want to further boost your profile, you could think about passing some certifications. It usually takes between 1 and 2 month for you to read the book (after your work day) + take the exam, and some of them are worth more than a degree for some HR. As you mentioned Android, OCA and OCP are the Oracle official certifications for Java. Google might have other certifications available.

Anecdotically, a colleague of mine has a Math degree, and got hired as a dev in my firm after showing personal projects on github (he passed a technical interview, of course). So yeah, that happens.

PS: The skills you learnt in your master and your former jobs are still relevant, be it for human relations, your knowledge of the business and the ability to work as a team

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How well do employers (HR/IT managers) perceive IT degrees, that are done as part-time studies?

This doesn't really matter to most. Actually, most employers might even prefer someone that has practical experience over a pure student.

Are there schools that have a good reputation for what I'm planning to do?

Can't really help you here, but I assume most "Fachhochschulen" are better for part time studies over universities.

Here's a link: https://www.hochschulkompass.de/studium/rund-ums-studieren/studienformen/teilzeitstudium.html

As said, I think working part time during studies is a plus for future first employers, some might even hire you knowing of and supporting your education, if you promise to stay with them for x years after finishing your degree while being employed. Just be open about your goals and plans, and I think you will find a company that will happily let you work part time during your studies.

If I start this year, I'll be slightly over 30 when finishing my bachelor's. Is this too old?

Doesn't really matter in IT. Just be aware that the first 1-5 years your salary will not be up to par with people aged the same that finished their studies years before you. Just don't expect your old degree and experience to make too much of an impact (on your salary). It's no disadvantage either way, that's for sure.

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