Alumni Profile – Tom Vance

Tom Vance

How did your degree/experience at university help lead you into your current career?

My Computer Science degree has definitely benefited my career as a software engineer. During the degree, I developed a solid understanding of programming principles, how computers, systems and networks work as well as the security implications behind them. Each of these helped me to progress in my roles and the course gave me a strong fundamental skill set.

I was also fortunate enough to complete a placement year during my studies. I spent a year with Holiday Extras, a travel tech company based in Kent. I learned a lot during this part of my degree and highly encourage everyone to complete a placement year if they can. When my year with Holiday Extras was over, they offered me a part-time role while I completed my studies. This had a huge impact on my career path after I finished uni.

What drew you to Kent?

I visited several universities during my final year of college – Kent was one of them. After looking more at the curriculum, I was sold.

I decided to take a gap year to focus on work and prepare myself for moving away. I was lucky enough to have some friends attending UKC during this year, which allowed me to experience the University’s social events and campus activities before joining.

Can you tell us about your life after Kent?

Leaving Kent, I continued working at Holiday Extras for another year. This helped me continue my career growth at a company that I was already comfortable in. This saved me a lot of the stress that comes with job hunting towards the end of the final year. While I worked, I attended technology events all over the world and even managed to speak at a few.

As time went on, I became ready for a change. Friends started moving away from Kent, towards London and I wanted the same. After searching for the right fit, I was introduced to LoyaltyLion. However, as with most things, UKC is never far away – LoyaltyLion’s CTO and Co-founder, Dave, is also a UKC alumnus.

Tell us a bit about what you do now

Currently, I work as a Software Engineer at LoyaltyLion, a startup based in London. They provide loyalty software for ecommerce businesses, working with platforms like Shopify and Magento. They’ve been experiencing a lot of growth recently and are becoming really established in the ecommerce technology ecosystem. We provide loyalty software for some well-known companies too such as Vitabiotics, Skinnydip and REN Skincare.

Since starting, I’ve learned a lot – new programming languages, new processes and new responsibilities. I work with the development team to build new features, plan future development and more recently I’ve become responsible for our technical spend management.

What is your favourite thing about the work you do for Loyaltylion?

At LoyaltyLion, we’re in a unique position that we get to see the real-world impact of our work. Building products that have a significant impact on small and medium businesses is satisfying in a world dominated by large ecommerce businesses like Amazon. These results help remind me how important our development work is.

I also have to mention the people. LoyatlyLion has an amazing team. Everyone works together to build the best product we can and no one’s ideas are discounted. It’s a great environment to work in.

What is your favourite memory from the University?

My favourite memory… there are far too many to choose from but I think it has to be the amazing “Party in the Car Park” events. A full 1-day music festival on campus was super impressive and I remember everyone having the best time.