VIU ITAS students and their instructor

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


I don’t have any previous Information Technology experience, will I be able to start with and succeed in the ITAS programs?

Absolutely, the majority of our new students come in with either limited or no previous IT experience. The curriculum is designed to train and develop students into IT employable graduates.  

I see that ITAS offers two diploma programs (Systems Administration and Networking; Web and Mobile Development). Do I need to complete both diplomas?

No, we are excited to offer the two programs so that prospective students have a choice in the diploma program that best suits their interests and goals. Our ITAS website has the links for both programs for you to investigate and learn more about them.

I am not sure which ITAS diploma program to take (Systems Administration and Networking or Web and Mobile Development) - can I switch to the other program after starting?

There is a common first semester in year one between each ITAS program so there is a possibility to switch to the other program for the start of the second semester depending on seat availability. Part of the application process will include an interview with the ITAS department chairs to help ensure you have applied to the program that best suits your interests and goals. You can find the links to both programs on our ITAS website so we recommend that you explore both and apply to the program which you think best suits your interests.

When can I apply to the ITAS programs?

The first business day of October to March 31 though some late applications may be accepted depending on seat availability. You are encouraged to apply early as seats are usually filled by the end of March.

How many students are admitted into the program each intake?

There are 22 students admitted into year one, of each program, each September.

What are the pre-requisites to get into the ITAS programs?

Depending on which program you are interested in, please check Pre-requisites for Web and Mobile Development or Pre-requisites for Systems Administration and Networking under Admission Requirements.

If I don't get accepted into the program this year, may I apply again?

Yes. If you are qualified to enter but did not get in, you may re-apply for the following year.

What is the average age of students entering the programs?

There are students entering the program who range in age from 18 to 50 years. Many of our older students are retraining from other careers.

Does ITAS accept international students?


When will I hear if I have been accepted?

Applicants can be informed of their acceptance fairly soon after the interview with the department chair. Final admission decisions will be completed no later than April/May. Some seats may be offered conditionally based on successful completion of your pre-requisites. You will receive a letter from Admissions/Registration letting you know the decision. If you have been accepted/conditionally accepted, you will be instructed to pay a tuition deposit (commitment fee) by a certain date to hold your seat.

Am I required to bring my own computer?

No. we will supply you with a computer to work on. We also provide lab equipment such as servers, networking equipment and practice mobile devices.


Why study with ITAS at VIU?

  • Classes are small (typically 22 students) so there is an excellent instructor to student ratio.
  • Excellent instructors with many years of IT experience across a diverse range of subjects including system administration, networking, programming and web design. ITAS Instructors are actively involved and working in the local tech industry.
  • Classes are a combination of lecturing/theory and hands on experiential learning in a lab environment that prepares students with real world skills to ensure they are IT employment ready upon graduation.
  • A wide range of practice hardware and software is provided for the students which they can work with almost 24/7 in the secure lab environment.
  • The cost of living in Nanaimo is considerably lower than in Victoria or the lower BC mainland.
  • Our Nanaimo campus on Vancouver Island is spectacular. The University is set on a hill overlooking the Salish Sea and the mainland mountains. Beautiful scenery, Japanese gardens, student housing and the Nanaimo Art Gallery are noteworthy features.
  • Our mild winters and sunny summers make Vancouver Island a highly desirable place to live.
  • Beautiful waterfront and green parklands offer endless opportunities for kayaking, sailing, hiking, beachcombing, sightseeing, island exploration and recreation

What are the costs of tuition, books and supplies?

View the tuition schedules for domestic (Canadian) students or tuition schedules for international students. Book costs are kept relatively low as many courses do not require a textbook.

Does this program qualify for a student loan?

Yes. Each semester of full time study is 15 or more credits. For information on student loans, see: Financial Aid and Awards

Is it possible to ladder from an ITAS diploma into a degree program?

Yes, while most of our graduates enter their careers right away, students can ladder directly into the third year of a Bachelor of Technology degree at NAIT. Students would also receive some credit towards electives in VIU’s Computing Science degree. 

Program Format

What is the average class size?

Class size is generally 22 students. We follow a cohort model and have our own dedicated classroom/lab space so you will be assigned your own desk and secure key card access to the classroom/lab.

What is a typical weekly schedule?

There are 20 hours of direct instruction time per week. Classes run from Monday to Thursday,  9am to 2pm each day. There is a single ITAS course each of those days. Friday is a lab day where students have the option to come into the classroom/lab and work on assignments and projects. Attendance is not mandatory on Fridays.

How long does each ITAS program run for?

Both ITAS programs follow VIU’s academic calendar format so the fall semester runs from September to the Christmas break and the Spring semester runs from January to mid-April. There are no classes from May through August.

Would I be going to school in Nanaimo or in other locations?

All classes are run from the Nanaimo campus only.

How much homework should I expect as a full-time student?

Students tell us they study on average between 4-5 hours per day. This may increase slightly when assignments are due. Students should expect about 20-25 hours total per week of homework study for class preparation and project completion.

I have a learning disability. Will I be able to take an ITAS program?

Students with learning disabilities should contact Student Affairs. Students with disabilities have successfully completed ITAS programs.

Can I work while taking an ITAS program?

Many students do maintain employment while attending post-secondary institutions, however ITAS students tell us that the workload within the program can be significant and it is hard to keep up with a job, particularly around evaluation/end of term. As well, working limits the amount of time you can give to your studies; that in turn may affect your marks, and your ability to progress in the program. Obviously, individual needs determine your ability to work and go to school. Part time jobs may be ok if the student has a strong work ethic and solid time management skills.

Can I access this program on a part-time basis?

The programs are not available part-time.

Is co-op available in this program?

Co-op options are available, please contact the department chairs for more information at

I already have some IT industry experience and/or IT certifications, can I receive credit towards some of the courses?

This is possible. Students would discuss with the department chairs to determine if it meets the requirements for credit.

Employment Outcomes

What types of jobs will I be qualified for after I graduate?

Graduates of the ITAS program will be qualified to work for:

  • Internet service providers;
  • Network design, installation, and support companies;
  • Mobile application development organizations;
  • Web development and web-hosting companies;
  • Private and public educational institutes and training centres;
  • Computer retailers and systems integrators;
  • Federal and Provincial government entities;
  • Most companies that use computers, computer networks, and the Internet to carry out their business operations.

What are the job prospects for an ITAS graduate?

Job prospects are very strong for ITAS graduates. Close to 85% of our graduates obtain an IT related position. WorkBC’s 2019 industry survey predicts a continued high demand over the next ten years for the skills that our graduates obtain.

Is further education necessary in order for me to enter the job market?

No, an ITAS diploma is sufficient to gain entry into an IT career. It is not unusual to continue studies on your own time after acquiring a position to further your expertise. 

What are the starting wages a graduate can expect?

Approximately $26/hr. After five years of experience an IT related position can pay in the $30/hr - $40/hr range.

Will I have to travel in order to find employment in this field?

Many of our graduates will find IT employment within the mid-island. However, there are a number of high density IT opportunity cities within BC such as Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna. Graduates may also end up working remotely from home for various IT organizations.