Should I Go to UNI or Make My Own Company?

Hi Everyone, need some guidance on what I should pursue in life.
Finished year 12 last year and was planning on going to UNI but everything went wrong.

Initially, I was contacted by my UNI about 1 week before the exam and was allowed to enter via special entry since I had many skills in computing and had worked with a few clients like making websites, apps and graphic design.

Everything seemed smoothed and they sent me the enrollment papers. I also had a VTAC account which would become very problematic and was assured that it would be fixed. Because of the special entry, I asked them that I wouldn’t need an ATAR right? To which they confirmed yes.

This allowed me to fill out underscored papers and not have to attend the Exam. This was great as at the time as I had to take care of a few private stuff and it also allowed me to work on my project.

After one month of getting ghosted they say I have to go the VTAC way and said that they never got the enrollment form which makes me think that the person who was contacting me went on holiday or quit their job. Because I don’t have an ATAR I have to do a diploma to get to the bachelor course. Something I didn’t want to do.

Now I don’t know what to do. I can do a bachelor of software engineering at a different UNI like Swinburne through work experience or I can invest all my time into creating my Company. I’m in the process of developing enterprise software and have created a business plan and currently hold an ABN.

I also have a $600K investment for 25% of the company which I don’t know if I should accept. The investor is a close friend and I don’t want to lose all that money based on stupid decisions. The money will primarily be used for paying for 2 employees, software license keys and a bunch of insurance stuff like liability and worker compensation, etc.

So the question is should I to go to UNI or continue to work on my company. I’m 80% sure the company will make a profit, but I also want to meet new people and UNI opens up that opportunity.

Poll Options expired

  • 23
    Yes, Go To UNI
  • 26
    Continue Creating The Company
  • 3
    Take a Gap Year


  • I would make an appointment with someone at the uni and show them all the correspondence you had about enrolling, including copies of the paperwork you kept, and then ask them to clarify why the process you were informed of has not occurred.

    What University was this, by the way?

    Also, please not, getting into a Bachelor degree with no ATAR is not very common, and the majority of the time, completing a diploma or similar is required as a stepping stone into the Bachelor.

    • I'll keep the name private for now as we are still dealing with it, but I will probably go with a different UNI as the course will cost $100K while Swinburne is doing the course for around $40K. I know it will be hard to enter without an ATAR but I have a lot of skills in C#, like working with API and integration with SAP, I can also compleat most CTF (Pentesting Challenge) and can create web applications and websites as well as website conversion to WordPress.

    • +1

      Victoria Uni used to give individual offers which is code word for we will take people with so low ATAR that we can't publish.

      It wouldn't be Melbourne Uni or Monash.

      • Yeah, but even VU would have waited until first round offers went out in mid January and filled remaining spots with these offers, not sorted it out last year.

        • +1

          Full fee goes first. Lock in that juicy funding. Could also be Southern Cross Uni. Or UCQ in Melbourne.

  • +8

    Finished year 12 last year

    I’m in the process of developing enterprise software

    I also have a $600K investment for 25% of the company

    I’m 80% sure the company will make a profit

    Doubt. Go to Uni.

  • +9

    Here's my 2 cents: It sounds like you have your stuff together in terms of your niche/expertise. Education is important BUT it will always be there at any point in time. However, opportunities like creating your own company and doing the things you are truly passionate about are rare, so strike while the iron is hot. You might make it, you might not but at least you won't die wondering of what could have been or I should have done this or that when I had the chance. You have the advantage of youth and time to make money so if the company thing doesn't work, there's no shame in going back to uni or getting a job or whatever and re-strategise your next move. You say you want to meet new people, think about all the people you'll meet when creating your business: other business people, other fellow entrepreneurs, like minded peers… Partying is fun but if you want to live like nobody else then you're going to have to do the things that nobody else wants to do. Choose wisely, I wish you all the best!

    Hope this helps.

    • This is very meaningful so thank you for the comment. I will remember this.

      • No worries mate! Hope you update us on what you decide and your progress if you remember me.

  • Depends on your goals. If you want to work in corporate, then a qualification is useful in my opinion. I had the idea to start a business and my coursework was only slightly relevant to that. Would have been better to start a small business in hindsight. You can download your course guideline and start seeing if those subjects are relevant to you or not.

    • Thanks, will do.

    • Depends on your goals. If you want to work in corporate, then a qualification is useful in my opinion.

      It’s useful if you want to gain entry level roles in a corporate. IT is quite opportunistic. If you can shown a recruiter/HR you have done this and an expertise in that then this could override spending 4 years getting a degree

      • I would have thought degrees were helpful for a long term corporate role. Eg, in twenty years time to get a management position. The way my high school maths teacher explained this was we would basically be priced out of uni degrees and then owning housing at certain point.

        • I would have thought degrees were helpful for a long term corporate role.

          A common misconception. People who listen to their high school teachers are set up for failure. Easy enough to go to LinkedIn and check out people’s career paths.

          • @Icecold5000: Some people will do better in a structured course. The OP is nineteen, so getting a degree or any qualification will be a new experience. This can also be completed part time. As to everything else, those are just generalisations.

            • @hyaspty: I’ve spent my working life in large corporations. After your first job most don’t care if you have a degree or not. The purpose of a degree for most people undertaking one is to obtain a job and experience. If the OP already has experience the area he wants to work in why would he waste 3/4 years trying to get the same outcome. If he wants to waste 10k in fees plus living costs and the opportunity cost in gaining valuable experience then he should know the true cost of this ‘new experience’. Technology moves at such a rapid speed nowadays it’s pointless going to learn it at Uni when you can apply it in the workplace and get paid. I know its a harsh wake up call to realise your math teacher doesn’t know everything but this is coming from a multiple degree holder.

              If you really want to make your way up in a large corporation then practice on your interpersonal skills, building rapport, knowing how others think and office politics. Doing uni assignments won’t get you anywhere.

              • @Icecold5000: yeah this was in 2002, and my teacher did not mention I.T at all. I did also say certs or short courses were an option and they seem like hard requirements for many of the IT jobs I look at. Eg, Microsoft level one for sys admin.

                • @hyaspty: Things have changed since 2002. Degrees don’t guarantee jobs nor are necessary because so many people have them. There no hard requirement for working in IT. That’s why the OP is lucky that he has some skills, a business idea and some capital. Why throw that opportunity away for a piece of paper and compete with thousands of other grads to get a job.

                  • @Icecold5000: There's things like GPA, so if you are suited to an academic setting it can work out better. That was the main point of what my maths teacher said, after high school there would be no one to actually push the students. If you get an average GPA, then you don't stand out. Going independent would mean everything is on you. So if your self motivation and discipline is high, then it could work out.

                    • @hyaspty: I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of a degree. It’s to get a job and to act as a proxy for employers in the absence of any work experience. Literally no one has asked me about my GPA even for my first corporate job. GPA only matters in highly structured recruitment processes like investment banking, law and Big 4. It’s simply part of a screening process and how well you interview, extracurriculars and other factors play a huge part. If the OP already has some degree of valid commercial experience then the opportunity cost is too high for little return.

                      Being suited to an academic setting is somewhat irrelevant in IT. It’s just spending more time and money on something which doesn’t necesssrily count in their particular industry.

                      • @Icecold5000: No, I meant other people may need coaching and literally cannot learn I.T or heavy subject matter on their own. And just because no one asked for your GPA doesn't mean it's not relevant for everyone else.

                        • @hyaspty: If you’re simply relying on a GPA to get a job you’re going to be sadly disabused in life. If you can’t learn on your own and rely on other people to teach you then you’ll have a hard time working in business.

  • Uni courses aren't really going to teach to how to run a business. They aren't really going to teach you how to code really well. They will help with understanding higher level concepts, but these can be learnt elsewhere.

    I would be concerned about anyone starting a business without previous experience in business or having done some short focused course on running a business. You need to have a basic understanding of many aspects of business like book keeping, accounting and legal aspects. Having mentor can help with many of these aspect.

    In terms of meeting people, there are many options other than university. Meetup groups for industry, social clubs, volunteering in various areas, sporting clubs and many more.

    In terms of problems with administration within the university it is nothing new. I had multiple problems with the uni administration throughout my course to they point that they had problems working out if I could graduate. This is after incorrect course advice on three occasions over four years.

    • I've had a bit of experience with seeing how a business operates. I worked as an IT System Administrator and an Office Administrator at a child care company for quite a few years. Things I've done are in the IT filed include setting up their Servers for AD, Group Policy, Web Hosting, etc. Office Administrative task I've done are payroll, rostering and creating document templates. From working there I have also witnessed the different business scenario that could occur, such as dealing with a false accusation from customers, bring robbed, issues with payslips. So from that knowledge, I can apply it to my business.

      I also have a small IT company to help friends and family start-up their business. A recent example being contacted to help build a bubble tea shop from the ground up. In this job, it included making a website and app, SEO optimization, setting an online presence and graphic design for Menus, Promo, etc.

      I've undertaken some market research, like seeing if there is a demand for this application and have done physical talks with business owners to see if they would be interested, which I have had some saying they would give it a try.

      Things that prompted me to make this application are, current applications deployed look ugly and were probably made in 2006 since the UI looks awful, hard to use and are pretty expensive.

  • +3

    Finished year 12 last year and was planning on going to UNI but everything went wrong.

    I can do a bachelor of software engineering at a different UNI like Swinburne through work experience

    Mature student? Not sure how a 17/18-year-old could get into uni through work experience.

    I myself have just applied through work experience (of 15ish years) and still had enough questions asked.

    If you hav a sure-fire $600k investment for 'enterprise software development' you would not be asking this question, this to me sounds like 'my parents will give me 600k and I will continue to work on my personal project until this money runs out'.

    I have plenty of friends who have tried to make it in the startup world and they have very little to show for it after chasing the 'next big thing'.

    • I've had 5 years of experience working for different start-ups and have an extensive detailed portfolio showing my work.
      I don't really need the $600K investment as I sort of want to own 100% of the company. But without the money, I will be working on the application my self which could take a while. But so far I would say that I am 20% done and have spent over 2000 hours on the project. I could also use some of my savings to outsource the creation of different features for my application.

  • Before committing to either; I would recommend reading some books and read as soon as you can;

    First book is - Minimalism by Joshua Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus

    Second book is - Ikigai, Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

    If you read and truly believe those two books; then The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

    • I'll give them a try. But to be completely honest I hate reading.

      • +1

        That's cool, glad you can say that.

        I disliked reading alot too then one day I started with a few pages and now I can't stop - I have created a habit where I read pretty much when I can.

        You can learn so much from reading (but many people and I admit I used to be that person, waste so much time watching mindless TV or browsing the internet).

        All the successful people out there have a routine where they read and consume information daily, and I just want to follow in their footsteps.

        It is a truism that "The more you learn, the more you earn - the more you know, the more you grow".

      • +1

        Hate reading?

        Should put that in your post. Don’t go to uni if you don’t want to read, no one will do it for you.

  • My opinion from a Master degree in computing holder, if you really have the skills you say and do know SAP then go for your business. If you start a limited company and your investment does not tie to you personally and only to your company then do it. The worst that can happen is you gain experience and fail. You can still goto uni, but if you have these skills and gain experience then you don't need uni degree in IT. IT most important is you have experience and skill, not all these paper qualification people I meet that know nothing.

    B2B ecommerce and logistics fields have a big market for someone that actually know what they are doing.

    • -1

      The only skills I've had with SAP is with my year 12 final project. The project was an Invoicing Solution for mechanics so they could easily manage their inventory and print invoices with ease without having to go to excel and type out everything. Using APIs I was able to parse data from the car rego to the application to improve productivity.

      I was thinking of starting as a Sole Trader then once the application is finished I will change to a private limited company as I don't want to do all the annual declaration of documents.

      The only issues I'm having currently are the security risk of people reverse engineering my application. Obfuscating software also cost a lot of money for commercial use. But the application does have DRM so getting a copy is harder.

      Also since you have a masters degree is it safe to comment your code? For example, does it make it easier for the reverse engineer to locate what he or she wants in the code?


      • If it is compiled code then comments are not included. If it is noncompiled like php, for websites the code still has to go through the webserver and script engine. So yes to comment it for future maintenance.

        If someone can reverse engineer your code then they most likely can figure it out without comments.

  • Pay a financial advisor/business advisor to go through the whole company, business model, projections, etc. to check the viability before laying down that kind of money.

    • +1

      The one issued I had with this is that I'm worried that the firm will steal my idea and run off with it. I've thought about filing for an international patent but I'm still researching all the pricing and region my idea will be protected in.

      • International patents are expensive.
        But if you think the idea is worth it…
        I see what you mean, rock and a hard place.

  • Wait, so you don't have an ATAR? Get into Uni quick stat. It may "delay" things in your mind, but you can still work on projects and having that piece of paper will potentially set you up for life and make it easier to change career if you ever choose so.

    • Yeah went with no ATAR because of the assurance. But if I were to get an ATAR I reckon I could've easily gotten 70 as the lowest and using the ATAR calculator I could've got 86+ If I were to go to uni now I would have to wait till august or somehow cancel my VTAC account to apply directly without the conflict.

      • Sorry if I missed this earlier in the thread, but why didn't you do the VCE in the past? It would have given you options and enabled you to manage your risk.

  • How are your business skills? Running a company is a lot more than having the skills in the your area of expertise. For example Ive met a few good doctors who are terrible employers.

    I'd you don't go to uni this year maybe some study to improve the skills you will need to run a company.

    • My business skills are decent. I've got a lot of friends and family who have run their own business and have helped several achieve an increase in customers via SEO. I know a lot of the business decisions making tools like doing a force filed analysis, SWOT, etc.

      I've planned out what needs to be compleated in Git Kraken Glo (Trello Like Tool) and to the point where it lags to look at a group.

      Maybe doing a 7-month diploma in business is better?

  • My quick evaluation says that if you are having problems sorting out the university enrolment problems on your own, then the challenges of running a successful business on your own are not something you are ready for.

    Put the software development on the back burner and focus on getting into uni. Use your business idea as the motivator for your university studies to help you stay on track, but make sure that completing the degree is your primary focus. Don't forget that besides getting an education, you are also forming a network of people which will be an invaluable resource down the track.

  • It will be hard work, but do both. Uni part-time, evening classes. 1-2 subjects a semester.

  • The best entrepreneurs and leaders don't necessarily get value out of a uni degree. Vision and ambition is not something that a uni course can readily teach, let alone software engineering which will predominately involve the more technical side of things rather than the business side.

    You sound like you already have achieved a lot in the IT space and have a firm grasp of business concepts and how to succeed.

    This is a once in a life time opportunity. Not many early stage start ups would have this type of opportunity to get 600k to explore the concept and idea. Any investor would have done some level of due diligence and see something in you and/or your business plan to readily part with that sort of money.

    The challenge is that enterprise software is inherently a big complicated beast. But most products will launch at some ready state and build additional features once there is cash flowing back in to the business. You also need to know who your customers are and if your software is going to give you an advantage over what is already out there in that space.

    I'm sure you thought about all these.

    If it all doesn't pan out, you can always then go back to uni since time is on your side. You can also meet a lot of people outside of uni. In this day and age, it has never been easier to meet like minded individuals through meetup events, etc

    Good luck to you!

  • +1

    From reading your comments, it seems to me that you would not be prepared with the requisite level of business acumen if/when your business is ready to scale and you have employees relying on you.

    As an example, no one in their right mind would turn down $600k in order to hold 100% of a business. Similarly, a Porter's five forces or SWOT won't carry much weight of you can't understand why they are on your page and what tactics and strategies that could be deployed to win.

    Maybe consider part time business school to help keep you learning and focused? I wouldn't recommend venturing into enterprise tech without further education/experience.

  • Uni is your only decision.

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