Callum Hood – From Graduate to Software Developer

Callum Hood image

Name: Callum Hood
Degree course: Computer Science

Why did you choose Kent?

The view which looks out at Canterbury Cathedral from Templeman Library was incredible to behold every day and it sealed the deal for me when I came in for the initial interview.

The Uni wasn’t too far from home, student satisfaction was extremely good, and it had a good range of Societies to choose from – this ticked every box for me.

What attracted you to the course?

I became interested in programming during my 2nd year of College doing ICT. Naturally, I investigated Computer Science courses for University and Kent’s program seem promising for somebody who had no previous experience in coding (nor a great deal of Maths either). There was a particular module in 3rd year which really sealed the deal for me and was what pushed me to accept the University as my firm choice.

It is worth taking a look at the 2nd and 3rd year modules when applying to University – you might find something that really sticks out to you.

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

I did initially, I was working for a company based in Kent – unfortunate circumstances happened, and I left after 2 months, instead deciding to finish my final year of studies. My time there was invaluable and exposed me to technologies that helped me out immensely when getting my current graduate job; For example, they used Visual Studio and C# in their projects which are both industry standard and what I use every single day at work. Had I not had that experience in the industry placement, I would not have even considered applying for a C# job.

All I can say is that you should try a placement out and to not be afraid if it does not end up being right for you.

How did your degree course lay the foundations for your chosen career path?

I have wanted to be a Software Developer for years now. Studying at Kent equipped me the skills and tools to go from a complete beginner to a competent programmer. The Final Year Project was useful as it forced me to communicate with my academic supervisor to discuss my progress; if what I was doing was correct or if I should be taking my work in another direction. This was crucial because as a Software Developer, I must talk to my colleagues and superiors to make sure that what I have programmed is what is required by the specification. Generally, I would have tried to lone-wolf everything in University – this (normally) does not fly in an industry job.

Could you describe your career path since leaving Kent?

It has been short so far – I left University in June 2020 and accepted an offer in mid-August. I have been working for a month and a half now and I have learned so much already, and I am sure there’s much, much more to learn.

Could you describe a typical day in your current role?

There’s a 9am stand-up meeting every day where the dev team bring each other up to speed on what they did the previous day, and what they expect to be doing for the day ahead. Afterwards, I’ll look through my emails and make sure that there’s nothing important to tend to and then begin working on my assigned issues (tasks). My company is small so the development team also handle support tickets, which can be anything from resetting passwords, documenting a bug which a user has found, or upgrading a client to the latest version of our software. I have lunch at 12:30pm (although this is flexible between 12-2pm), sometimes message my colleagues if I am stuck on an issue, and then finish my day at 5pm having either completed my tasks for the day or noting what needs to be finished tomorrow.

That’s about it! When we’re due to release a new version of our software, we bring all of our code together to perform integration testing, ensuring that none of the changes have caused more bugs elsewhere.

What are your future plans/aspirations?

I plan to take each day as it comes. I’m making preparations to study a Master’s degree in Scandinavia but this won’t be for some time!

Do you have any other happy memories of Kent that you would like to share with us?

I met my amazing partner of 3 years at the University, as well as some lifelong friends. Treasure your time there! I already miss it.

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

Don’t be scared if you think you might not do well in the first year and get deterred because of it. If you’re not so good at Maths or programming, they provide an extremely gentle introduction into the concepts, as well as materials online to help you really nail the basics.

If you can (lockdown permitting), come and look at the Campus in-person. There’s really nothing like it in the Summertime.