Whats the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?

Whats the difference between diploma and degree

Whats the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?

The following article explains one of the fundamental questions many students have asked before enrolling at Techtorium NZIIT (or many other institutes): What’s the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?

Since 2004 the philosophy behind starting Techtorium has remained the same – The IT industry needs graduates that have practical, hands-on knowledge. The core skills have not changed, and graduates still need an understanding of networks, servers, and customers. Techtorium has been the leading IT institute in New Zealand for many years. Not necessarily because of their reputation as an NZQA Category 1 provider, but because of their strong links to industry partners such as Datacom, New Era IT and Fujitsu. When compared to most other tertiary institutions, Techtorium NZIIT has relatively a high number of graduates gaining employment after completing their diploma courses. With a focus on providing vocational training, the diploma courses provided focus on ‘doing the task’. So, if ‘doing the task’ (rather than ‘writing about it’) can directly lead a student from studying at tertiary level, right through to gaining their first job as an IT technician, why do we study for bachelors degrees? Is it necessary to dedicate 3 years to study? and are the skills gained different in any way? What’s the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?

Here, we hope to un-jumble the jargon and explain some of the key differences. We’ll also discuss what makes a Techtorium Diploma different (or in some ways, similar) to a University / Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. Here are some keynotes:

  • Diplomas: For people who like ‘doing’ (Vocational) | Degrees: For people who like writing & are good in exam situations (more academic)
  • Diplomas: Usually take about 1 – 2 years | Degrees: Usually take 3 – 4 years
  • Diplomas: Start at Level 5 | Degrees: Also start at Level 5
  • Diplomas: Have an exit point, so you can graduate with a qualification sooner | Degrees: You’ll dedicate to 3 years to become qualified with a bachelors degree
  • Diplomas: More practical, hands-on, experience-based learning | Degrees: More academic.


Below is an example of a what’s the difference between a diploma and a degree at Techtorium. Here you can see that diplomas are NZQA accredited and lead directly into thew appropriate career path.

Level 5 Computer Engineering Diploma: New Zealand Diploma in Information Technology Technical Support – 1 Year, 120 Credits


Level 6 Computer Engineering Diploma: New Zealand Diploma in Systems Administration – 1 Year, 120 Credits

***To become a NETWORK ARCHITECT****

Level 7 Computer Engineering Diploma: Diploma in Cloud Management – 1 Year, 120 Credits

***To become a CLOUD ENGINEER***


Whats the difference between diploma and degree


“We know that not every student is interested in IT; but if they are, we’re able to recognise this talent early, and nurture their career”

Now, when we look a Diplomas vs Degrees, there are also different entry criteria. According to the NZQA, the purpose of these qualifications are to provide Aotearoa New Zealand with graduates who have attained a broad understanding of the core concepts and practical skills in Information Technology (IT), with a technical support focus. It will equip people for employment in roles such as computer technician, service desk or technical support, or prepare them for further study.” According to www.futureintech.org.nz  they indicate the following: 

“NZQA Level 4-5: Certificate

Certificates generally take between six months to a year to complete if studying full-time. At present, Techtorium does not offer any Certificates in computing; however, we do offer courses at Level 4. Certificates can provide a broad introduction to a particular subject area, for example in IT, Horticulture or Agriculture.
Specific certificates may be required for entry into an occupation, for example: a Certificate in Electrical Trades for work as an electrician or a Certificate in Surveying for work as a surveying assistant.
Some certificates are designed as preparation for diploma- or degree-level study.

NZQA Level 5-6: Diploma

Diplomas are more advanced than certificates. They are a great way to get quickly into a job in technology and engineering as they generally take two years of full-time study. Diploma graduates are in demand in industry, especially in engineering, as they have the strong technical expertise and hands-on skills. According to the NZ Tech Industry Association, “there are more than 28,000 companies employing more than 100,000 people in IT. That’s over 5% of New Zealand’s workforce. Further to this, the job market has increased by an average of 5,300 jobs a year since that time. For a full list of all the Diploma courses available at Techtorium, please go to the NZQA website.A diploma in Science or Technology can be a flexible way to study at tertiary level. After completing a diploma, you can generally convert it into a degree by completing an extra year of study. Diplomas are often the required qualification for advanced trade and technical occupations such as information technology, for example, The New Zealand Diploma in Information Technology Technical Support or the New Zealand Diploma in Systems Administration or the Diploma in Cloud Management

What’s the difference between a Diploma and a Degree?