Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses in computing and information technology are available at certificate level through to diplomas and advanced diplomas. Generally, the lower-level certificates I, II and III provide basic computing skills, while certificate IV, diplomas and advanced diplomas prepare students with the skills required to enter specific careers in computing and information technology. You might consider undertaking a certificate I or II before progressing into a more specialised diploma or advanced diploma.
The list of specialisations in this field is very long. General qualifications in information technology provide skills that graduates can use in many different information technology roles. There are also more specialised qualifications that prepare students for specific careers in areas such as computer systems engineering, computer systems technology, digital and interactive games, information technology support, information technology project management, networking, programming, software development, systems administration, systems analysis and design, and testing.
There are also some higher-level VET qualifications available at the vocational graduate certificate and vocational graduate diploma level, which are equivalent to the graduate certificates and graduate diplomas offered in the higher education sector but offer a more practical focus. Current courses include information technology sustainability, and information technology and strategic management.
Generally, VET qualifications are more practical than degrees in the higher education sector. If you are looking for a course with an academic focus or want to enter a more senior role, you may consider studying in the higher education sector. VET qualifications can provide a good pathway into undergraduate computing and information technology degrees.
Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Some courses may have additional prerequisites. For more information about VET courses and entry requirements, see Vocational Education.
Where to study
VET qualifications in computing and information technology are widely available at TAFE institutes, private colleges and universities with TAFE departments. Some private colleges may even specialise in this field. If you are considering progressing to an undergraduate computing and information technology degree after completing a VET qualification, enquire with institutions about their pathway schemes to see whether you will be awarded credit for your studies.
The course you choose will depend on whether you want to gain a general set of skills (through a diploma of information technology, for example) or skills that are related to a particular type of work (such as those taught in a diploma of digital and interactive games). You could also choose a certificate I or II to learn basic skills or a diploma or advanced diploma to expand your existing skills.
Practical experience is a very important part of many computing and information technology courses, so it is important to check that the courses and institutions you are considering have the latest computing facilities and equipment. You should also look out for work experience opportunities and industry placements.