For Victorians looking at studying information technology at a tertiary level, Swinburne is surely an attractive option. It has campuses located throughout the inner and eastern suburbs of Melbourne, in Croydon, Lilydale, Hawthorn, Healesville, Prahran and Wantirna. There's also a campus in Sarawak, Malaysia. Swinburne, which is both a university and a TAFE, offers a large range of information technology certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, bachelor degrees, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and master degrees. It is its range of Certificate IV-level-and-up courses we've decided to focus on in this month's atomic.edu.
Certificate IV in Information Technology
Run at the Hawthorn, Lilydale and Wantirna campuses, the Certificate IV in Information Technology is a year-long course that, in the first semester, covers the basics of working with computers such as project management, rudimentary troubleshooting and writing documentation. In the second semester, students are offered the opportunity to specialise in one of four areas - Multimedia, Networking, Programming or Websites, each with a decent selection of elective units on offer. If you choose to specialise in Multimedia, you'll look at, amongst other topics, Cascading Style Sheets, 2D animation, image manipulation and mark-up languages. Networking students, on the other hand, look at network security, network configuration and server maintenance. Programmers look at open source software and building interfaces. They also work on the necessary skill of being able to take one's knowledge of programming and move painlessly between languages. Students of the Certificate IV of Information Technology (Websites) have a lot of units in common with their Multimedia and Programming counterparts, but also learn about the ins-and-outs of commercial software packages and designing and developing websites to meet specific client or technical restrictions. This is a Certificate IV level course - there's nothing too intense on offer here. Successful completion of the Certificate IV, however, is a requirement if one wants to move on to the Diploma of Information Technology.
Diploma of Information Technology
If you decide to stick around for a second year after completing your Certificate IV, you'll end up with a Diploma of Information Technology focusing, again, on one of four areas - Networking, Software Development, Systems Administration or Website Development. Too, for those of you who aimed to get into a bachelors degree in year twelve but failed to make the cut, the Diploma can form a sort of backdoor into Swinburne's university-level information technology offerings.
The units offered as part of the four specialisations build upon what students learn in their first year electives. Moving beyond the basics of network security and server maintenance, students of the Networking major, for instance, look at ensuring privacy for users, building intranets, writing scripts and some basic information systems theory.
As with the Certificate IV that precedes it, the Diploma of Information Technology is offered at the Hawthorn, Lilydale and Wantirna campuses. Which campus you end up at, though, depends on which field you elect to specialise in.
Advanced Diploma of Computer Science
This is a two-year course offered only at the Hawthorn campus, a kind of a step up from the Diploma. It allows students to specialise in software development, network analysis, scientific instrumentation or multimedia technology. Put simply, it's computer science as you know it, only cut down to the form of an Advanced Diploma.
The first year will see you cover much the same material as students of the Certificate and the Diploma, but with more coding, more networking and more theory. The second year sees you delve deeper into these three areas, as well as some basic business studies.
Like the Diploma, the Advanced Diploma can act as a pathway into university.