30 Nov 2021

Online computing course was a stepping stone to dream career for Kilkenny man

Online computing course was a stepping stone to dream career for Kilkenny man

Richard Whitney who recently completed a course

A Co Kilkenny man who has started out in his dream career thanks to an innovative online computing conversion course from Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recommends a return to education for any adults keen to change career.

To help adults interested in making a fresh start this January, WIT is running a virtual Springboard & Part-time Winter Open Evening on Tuesday, 23 November, 6.30-7.30pm to coincide with its part-time January courses opening for applications.

One of the courses currently taking applications is a fully online computing conversion course run by WIT which helps fill job vacancies in the tech industry.

The two-year part-time fully online Higher Diploma in Science in Computer Science is heavily subsidised through Springboard+, making it an attractive option for people seeking a career change. Participation is free for people returning to work and the course is 90% funded for those already in work.

Former St Kieran’s College student Richard Whitney, who hails from Stoneyford, and finished the two-year programme in 2020 had long held an interest in technology.

“After I finished school, I enrolled in an IT course at WIT. Unfortunately, due to life and family circumstances I was unable to complete the course. I had hoped to resume my education but as the years went by it became harder and harder to return to education and the likelihood of continuing my studies looked slim.

“I really wanted to change careers and felt that a role in IT would be a good fit for me. I already knew I liked computer science from the time spent on my previous course. I began looking at what options were available to me and discovered that the HDip in Computer Science offered at WIT suited my needs perfectly. The lectures and learning material are delivered completely online so this allowed me to continue working full time while doing the course. I was particularly drawn to the six-month work placement at the end of the course as I felt that this would be the best way to get my foot in the door of the IT industry.”

He did the six month work placement with CGM Inc, a software development company based in Waterford, and was fortunate to be offered a permanent position upon completion.

“CGM was a great company with which to start my career as a developer. They had previously hired other graduates of the HDip in Computer Science so they knew how best utilise my skills in software development. Recently I started a role with Pexlify, a rapidly expanding software development company based in Dublin. Each day brings exciting challenges as I work on projects for multinational companies such as Allianz and Volkswagen. The skills I learned from the HDip in Computer Science have allowed me to pursue my dream career.”

Course leader, Eamonn de Leastar, says the course is designed to allow people with degrees in non-computing disciplines to build sufficient skills, expertise and practical experience required to become employed as a software developer – while keeping their current ‘day-job’.

“Programming is a wonderfully creative field with a diverse range of opportunities. Our course is an intensive but rewarding experience that allows participants to re-skill as software developers in 24 months. There are several hundred thousand ICT vacancies in Europe currently – and demand continues to grow. The course was established with strong industry input in 2011 and moved fully online in 2018. No previous knowledge of computer science is assumed.”

The part-time and postgraduate options available in January at WIT include traditional part-time short courses for personal and professional development and specialist programmes for education, science and engineering professionals, drawing students from around the country as well as the region. In addition there are a selection of Springboard programmes. (Springboard+ is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF programme or Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.)

Interested applicants can find out more at

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