Rosie Watson is in the final year of her Computer Science degree, which included a year in industry.
Why did you chose to study your programme?
I have a mathematical background but didn’t feel that a pure mathematics degree was for me.
I enjoy the logical side of things, and with computing you can use logic to solve real-life problems.
What was it about the programme at Kent that appealed to you?
I enjoy the fact that everything is focused around learning from real life. There’s a lot of focus on placements, and on applying your skills.
What have been the highlights of your programme so far?
I’ve enjoyed the wide range of modules, especially in the final year because we got to pick our own. I’ve picked a wide range of modules, from creative ones about 3D modelling to more technical ones about the Internet of Things.
Can you describe a piece of work you’ve particularly enjoyed?
I took a law and ethics module this year where I was given the topic of self-driving cars and I had to write a Wikipedia entry on it. I really enjoyed doing all my own reading, formulating my own opinions and piecing it all together.
This year, I’m also doing Kent IT Consultancy (KITC), which is a final-year module. You work with two to four clients over the year and the projects vary from a start-up website to automated testing or even helping the client digitalise something that they’re already doing. It gives you useful experience of working with clients and being a project manager.
Where did you spend your year in industry?
I spent it at a small company called Holiday Extras. I was hired as a full-stack web developer. I worked on their websites; they have one main website and loads of other little ones. During my year, I got to go through various different teams and experience different sides of the website, from data to UI. It was a well-structured placement that allowed me to grow both my technical and soft skills. It was perfect.
Which of the projects that you did there do you feel particularly proud of?
We had a brand on a really old legacy system that the company wanted to quickly move to the new system. They put me together with another engineer and we completed the project way before the deadline. It looked really good.
How did you change during your year in industry?
My organisational skills improved. I’ve always considered myself quite organised. But actually, once you’ve done the year in industry and you get used to working your set times, you can take that through to your final year. I can get everything done during the day and then in the evening I’m free.
But the biggest thing for me was improving my technical skills. I now know how to apply them in real life and feel much more technically comfortable.
Would you recommend doing a year in industry?
Yes, it ties up everything you’ve learnt from the first and second year and shows you how to apply it. Using what you’ve learned at university in a work setting helps that knowledge stick in your mind and it makes third year a lot easier as well.
What are your plans for when you graduate?
I’d still like to go down the route of web development for now. If a few years down the line I change my mind, then thanks to my degree I can still switch to a different career path.
What advice would you give someone considering applying?
Don’t be too concerned if you’ve never programmed before, I hadn’t before I came here. This course starts from the ground up and tries to get everyone on a level playing field.