Lee Walker – Doing a placement was one of the best decisions in my life!

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Lee Walker, BSc (Hons) Computer Science with a Year in Industry

Why Did You Choose Kent?

Originally, I had my heart set on going to The University of Nottingham until I had my interview for UKC. I arrived on a snowy day in February which gave the most spectacular view of the cathedral from campus. The staff at the school of computing were incredibly friendly and welcoming and gave a definite sense of knowing their stuff, something I strangely didn’t get from the staff at Nottingham.

What Attracted You to The Course?

I had decided around the time of my GCSEs that I wanted to do a degree in Computer Science. It was around that time that I was getting interested in building PCs and programming and after some research, I realised the salary ceiling wasn’t too bad either. During my research, it became apparent that even graduate roles were asking for industry experience, so choosing a course that had some sort of internship/work placement opportunity was super important.

Did You Do A Year in Industry? If So Where and How Useful Was It In Getting A Graduate Job?

This decision turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I loved my placement job at a company called View in Folkestone where I worked as a .NET web developer. The placement at View literally changed my whole degree outcome. Before the placement I was coasting along on course to graduate with 3rd class degree, the experience of the placement showed me what was on offer after graduation. It provided me with the environment to hone my skills both technical and interpersonal so that in my final year I managed to turn things around academically and pull my overall classification up. On a side note, during the placement application process I received advice from Katie and Sian (the placement officers) that I still use in job interviews to this day.

What Are Your Future Plans/Aspirations?

In my final year at Kent I took a module in graphics and animation where we learned how to use the 3D modelling software Blender. Currently I am revisiting Blender in a hobbyist capacity but maybe one day I will see if I can make a second career change and maybe go into 3D modelling or animation.

Could You Describe Your Career Path Since Leaving Kent?

When I first graduated, I went back into the role I had on placement as a .NET developer but this time for the parent company of View called Kit & Caboodle Media. Since then I have changed path slightly and am currently going down the route of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development starting out in a small company in Basingstoke called Active Informatics where I learned the ropes of the platform. Now I am honing those skills working in Malta for a company called Exigy where I am helping deliver solutions for a pretty impressive portfolio of clients, including some departments of the Maltese government. The great thing about the role I am currently in is that whilst Dynamics development isn’t always revolving around traditional development (i.e writing code) there is still a large .NET and JavaScript element to it that allows me to keep a foot in the door of traditional developer roles should I decide to change career paths in the future.

Do You Have Any Other Happy Memories of Kent That You Would Like to Share with Us?

I have to say, I had the best time while I was at university. The people on my course were awesome, we all got on really well, the staff at the school of computing were incredibly friendly and helpful and I had the best time working part-time in Essentials or more accurately, partying with the people I worked with at Essentials. I often wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Finally, What Advice Would You Give to Someone Thinking of Coming to Kent?

DO IT! But seriously do it. I had the absolute best time at Kent. The university is fantastic, and Canterbury is such a great place to live. I may sound like an old person saying this but, take the time to really appreciate where you are and really enjoy the time you have there. 4 years may seem like a long time right now, but I found myself sat in Canterbury cathedral with a degree certificate in my hand wondering where all the time went. Also, if you do end up going to Kent and find yourself in need of a part-time job, I definitely recommend working at the campus shop, Essentials. Run by the student union, they fully understand your university schedule and will work with you to fit shifts around your schedule like no one else. Plus the Essentials social events are not to be missed!