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What to Study

There are a huge range of study options leading into great roles in software and IT, with every University, Institute of Technology and Polytechnic, and many other private training institutions, offering great options.



There are heaps of study options for IT. Most people doing initial tertiary education choose to study towards either a Degree or a Diploma.

Diplomas are generally 1-year or 2-year study options. Diplomas are great for those wanting to get into the industry faster and become computer technicians, network administrators, or work in IT service helpdesk type roles. There are also Diplomas leading onto more entry-level software development roles, as well as great options for Business Analysts and others.

Diplomas are offered by Institutes of Technology, Polytechnics, and Private Training providers throughout New Zealand.

The great news is that all of the Diploma options have been standardised across New Zealand, to provide clear pathways into the IT industry. You can find out more about the diplomas on NZQA's website:

Degrees on the other hand are generally 3-year or 4-year study options and lead onto the higher end "professional" roles in IT. IT Professionals New Zealand, the peak industry body for those working in IT, recommends a degree for those wanting to become software developers or work up to more senior roles in IT.

Degrees are a little confusing, as IT is often a specific major (or focus area) of a more general degree - for example, a Bachelor of Science with a major in Computer Science. Other institutions have Bachelor of IT degrees (under various names) with either no majors, or majors in specific areas of IT.

Confused yet? Don't worry - most fall into the categories listed below.

Computer Science and Software Engineering


Computer Science is the technical science of computing and technology, and Software Engineering is similar, but with more of a practical software focus.

Most people who study Computer Science or Software Engineering do a 3-year (or sometimes 4-year) Bachelors Degree at a University, and one or both of these degrees are offered at most universities throughout New Zealand.

Computer Science is a more technical pathway with a heavy (but by no means exclusive) focus on algorithms and programming. It's great for those who are quite technically-minded and especially for those who want to get into Software Development.

See which New Zealand IT-related degrees are endorsed by the IT industry here.


Most Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) offer Applied Information Technology degrees (commonly called "Bachelor of IT", or "Bachelor of Applied IT"). These degrees are generally heavily industry-aligned and taught in a more "hands-on" style.

Applied IT degrees are great for those who want a broader IT education (focusing on both software and infrastructure), and for those who learn best with a stronger mix of practical and theory components.

Being well rounded and industry-aligned, Applied IT degrees are highly respected in the industry with excellent employment and salary outlooks.

See which New Zealand IT-related degrees are endorsed by the IT industry here

Information Systems

Information Systems, also called Information Management or Information Science in some institutions, is offered by most University business schools in New Zealand and is the study of the systems and processes that manage information and data.

IS degrees have a far stronger business focus and are a great blend of business and IT. While there are technical components, the level of theory or technical content is usually a little less than Computer Science, and IS degrees often lead on to less technical IT roles such as Business Analysts and IT Project Managers.

See which New Zealand IT-related degrees are endorsed by the IT industry here.

Other options

While Degrees and Diplomas are the paths most travelled into the IT industry, there are other options available as well. For example, DevAcademy offers a full-emersion 18-week course in Auckland and Wellington, designed to give you the skills of an entry-level developer.

An albeit decreasing number of people are self-taught in the industry, without any formal tertiary education. However if you're looking at getting into IT, we recommend you consider tertiary education - the career and salary outlooks are significantly higher with than without.


If you're looking at studying at a University or Institute of Technology/Polytechnic, IT Professionals New Zealand accredits Computing and IT degrees that provide the best pathway to industry. We believe these industry-endorsed degrees give you the best preparation for our industry.

ITPNZ Accreditation looks at industry relevance, both in New Zealand and around the world, as well as practical components and soft-skills (like teamwork and complex problem solving) that employers are looking for.

Accredited degrees will shortly be recognised via the Seoul Accord - a big international agreement operating in the UK, Australia, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, meaning accredited degrees will gain greater recognition in these countries and elsewhere.

Check out which NZ degrees are accredited here

Full study options coming soon

This site will shortly have details of every major computing and IT qualification pathway into IT. Check back soon.