At Kent, there are lots of ways to enhance your degree

Alexi Bitsios cropped

Alexi Bitsios is a final year of his BSc (Hons) Computing student

Why did you choose Kent?

I have around 10 years’ experience in computing, and had achieved quite a lot but I realised that without a degree some companies won’t even consider you for a position.

Kent has a great reputation and I also thought that as the ‘European university’ it would be a welcoming and diverse community. I am glad I came to Kent, it is a very accommodating university and once you show that you want to be involved in extra activities, the staff support you to do that.

How is the course going?

I am in my final year now and I love it. I am focusing on the technical side and have deliberately chosen modules that I know will be difficult. Our modules focus on areas that our lecturers are researching so they are current, which is very important with computing because it evolves so quickly. Our lecturers are some of the best in the field and their passion for their subject motivates you to work hard and get involved.

At Kent, there are lots of ways to enhance your degree. I am doing a TEDx talk and have also presented a project to senior management at Cisco UK. I enjoy these events; of course it’s nerve-wracking but the more you do, the easier it gets. Taking part also helps to set you apart from other graduates and gives you a story to tell in interviews.

This year I have also got involved with the University’s hacking team and we have competed in several competitions. The competitions test your offensive and defensive hacking skills. On the offensive side, you have to break into a system and on the defensive side, you have to find a problem and fix it. You usually also have to do some decryption. Everything you do is tracked on an online dashboard, so if you do well personally, regardless of how your team does, they can see that.

These events have been great; we did one with Deloitte and afterwards were offered interviews for their graduate scheme.

How did that go?

Very well, I have been accepted on to Deloitte’s graduate scheme as a Cyber Risk Consultant and start work in London in September.

What about your fellow students?

There is a lot of group work, which means compromise and finding a balance so that everyone feels involved. It is useful because it replicates what happens in the workplace. I have met some great people and have wonderful memories. You meet people from all walks of life; it’s really the people that make the experience.

What do you think of the facilities on campus?

The Medway campus is built on an old naval site, so you have the sense of history and culture but also modern buildings. The library is huge; there is always somewhere to study even when it is busy and there is Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere. We have a new student hub, which has already hosted some great events and is a welcome addition to the campus.

If you want a change, it is very easy to travel to London.

Have you used Kent’s careers service?

The School of Computing have a Placement team who are very knowledgeable and very quick to respond to any queries you have. Although, in the end I decided not to go on a placement, they gave me some great advice on how to improve my CV and covering letters. They are also happy to go through your application with you. Taking on board their advice definitely led to me receiving more positive responses to my applications.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Take advantage of everything that is offered and talk to your lecturers, particularly those working in fields you are interested in. Don’t be scared to try things – even if they don’t work out, you will still learn something.

The way I sum up university is that you get all of the freedoms of adulthood with about half of the responsibility. I have no regrets about coming to Kent; it has been the most rewarding experience of my life.