Alumni Ian Holden on studying at Kent and working as a Software Engineer

Ian Holden image

Name: Ian Holden
Degree Course: Computer Science (with a year in Industry)

Why did you choose Kent?

Alongside its impressive facilities, stunning campus and location, I chose Kent for its exciting Computer Science syllabus. Kent’s main campus is situated in the beautiful city of Canterbury and the Templeman library overlooks the City, capturing its many highlights – including Canterbury Cathedral. More than this, however, it was the scope of the Computer Science syllabus and the opportunity to spend a year working in industry that really appealed to me.

Did you do a year in industry? If so where and how useful was it getting a graduate job?

I was hired as an intern for a company called GForces. GForces are a software company based in Maidstone, Kent. I applied for this position because I wanted to explore some of the varied roles that were available at this company. I started my internship learning new skills in digital marketing and then later moved into a more technical role. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and found the experience invaluable.

I was hired as a part time employee during my final year at University and was later offered a full-time graduate position. I regard my placement year as the most valuable part of my course at Kent. Without this industry year, I do not believe I would have transitioned from graduation to full-time employment so effortlessly.

How did your degree lay the foundation for your chosen career path?

The Computer Science course at Kent gave me the strong foundational knowledge that I needed to pursue my chosen career path. I found that the course was designed to teach you the core principles within the field of Computer Science. Having this foundational knowledge is great in helping you grasp new concepts quickly. Then with this foundational knowledge, you will begin to dive deeper into the topics that interest you most.

Could you describe your career path since leaving Kent?

Since leaving Kent, I continued working for GForces (described above) for a few years. I worked in multiple teams here which exposed me to different practices within web design and development. In 2018, I joined Holiday Extras as a software engineer in order to continue my learning in a new environment. Between graduation and present day, I maintain personal projects in my spare time.

What are your future plans/aspirations?

I am always excited to bring ideas to life and I love learning and improving my skills. My main plan for the future is to continue growing as a software engineer. I am happy to continue gaining this experience and knowledge as part of a larger team and build my way up to a more senior engineering position. Given the right idea however, I would also not be opposed to building a system/application that generates a comfortable income and maintain this with a small team of my own. As long as I continue learning and improving as a software engineer, I will be happy.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone thinking of coming to Kent?

I would advise them to enjoy their time at Kent and take the opportunities that present themselves. My time at University flew by very quickly and so it is important to make the most of your time there. I would also strongly advise that they apply for a course that comes with a year in industry placement. As I have mentioned, I believe this was the most valuable part of my degree.