In recession-wary Australia, price is everything – especially if you’re a poorly-paid IT worker looking for a career boost. While a Masters degree may be an obvious solution, university price tags that can extend to six figures often present a huge barrier.
So imagine if you could get a Master of Information Technology and Systems (MITS) with cutting-edge specialisations, world-class teaching, and lecturers who are always there for you, for a third of that price?
That’s the promise of the Victorian Institute of Technology, which as its name suggests, provides access to the very latest tech skills and knowledge with some of the best teachers in the land.
Carlos Rios Llanos, a Chilean software developer who’s in the final semester of his MITS degree, says no one should ever judge VIT’s Masters program by its cost alone.
“In Chile when you choose the cheap thing, you expect it be poor quality, but at VIT the opposite is true,” says Carlos. “The lecturers are all excellent, explaining highly specialised topics in a really clear way, and everything’s backed up with great online resources.”
Carlos calls out Dr Rahul Thakkar and Dr Sarwar Tapan, who have led him through the Big Data and Business Analytics units of the MITS program. Dr Thakkar also oversees his “super rewarding” capstone project, which has involved developing a cloud-based portal for an NGO providing mental health services for young African-Australians.
“The lecturers at VIT are quite amazing – they’re all brilliant computer scientists who care a lot about their students,” says Carlos. “I have friends who’ve studied IT at some of the biggest universities in Australia, and most of their lecturers were rarely available because they had so many students.
“Here, there’s no more than 10-12 students in each unit and there’s always a chance to ask questions after lectures or book a one-on-one chat with your lecturer. These teachers are always available.”
Carlos is currently running IT support for a large restaurant chain and expects a managerial role to open up when he completes his Masters in June. “Having a post-graduate visa will provide greater work opportunities,” he says, “but the real opportunity will be the extensive mix of IT, AI and business skills that I’ll now bring to my work.”
Teachers that respect you
The access to lecturers at VIT is regularly cited by students who say it makes their studies more engaging, more straightforward, and ultimately more rewarding.
Mohammed Sujon Biswas initially enrolled at a major Melbourne university from his native Bangladesh, but switched to the MITS program at VIT after his first semester. “At my first uni there were too many students so you couldn’t get access to the lecturers, you could only talk to a student counsellor,” says Sujon. “At VIT, you can speak directly to any of the lecturers – and they all talk to you properly, respectfully.
“All the MITS students seem to have great relationships with the lecturers. They all give us free and frank advice and take time to explain any topics or concepts you don’t understand fully.”
While VIT’s managers have put more lectures and study materials on their online learning platform since COVID, Sujon says the MITS lecturers always make an effort to keep in touch with their students – setting up study groups for each class on WhatsApp or other messaging apps.