School of Computing

Student profiles

What is it like to study computing? What are the best bits and the challenges? What is life on campus like?

We asked our students for their honest opinions. Their answers are below and there are videos on the School of Computing YouTube channel and on our student stories blog.

Edward East BSc Business Information Technology with a Year in Industry
Edward East
  • Course: BSc Business Information Technology with a Year in Industry
  • Years: 2015-2019

Edward East

Why did you choose to study at Kent?

My initial reason for selecting the University of Kent was due to Business Information Technology being a course that was not widely offered. From those available, I then attended their open days to experience university life. Out of all the days I attended, Kent was the one that stood out above all else, as they made an emphasis on ensuring our initial experience of the university was positive and insightful.

What has your course been like?

My course has been a particularly unique experience. Being part of two different schools within the university allows me to interact with students that have completely different interests and mindsets. This has allowed me to adopt different work practices and also improve my social skills to accommodate individuals. Also, I feel the blend of business and computing into one degree has perfectly set me up for the technology industry.

What is the most interesting topic you have studied?

On the course, I thoroughly enjoyed learning Agile Software Development in Stage two, and Human-Computer Interaction in Stage one. Firstly, the skills that I learnt from Agile have been applied during my placement year. Not only this, but SAP (the company I did my year in industry with) use the methodology for all their project planning & delivery, so to be learning a module that is current was exciting. With HCI, my passion is in UX/UI, so to learn about the science of how interfaces are created around the psychology of human behaviour reinforced my passion and interest for this area of study.

Where did you spend your year in industry?

My placement was at SAP in West London. The office housed 45 interns, divided into different areas of the business. My department was called Digital Business Services, who are responsible for the delivery and implementation of SAP software. The specific software my team was responsible for is S/4HANA Public Cloud, which is SAP’s cloud based ERP software. My role more specifically focused on data analytics and the production of dashboards to visualise the information for the management teams. I then also created all digital content for my team such as videos for training and business updates, info graphics, apps and websites for proof of concepts and artwork for internal and external events.

What have you learnt while on placement?

Through my placement, I have become fond of a particular mind-set, which is to seek forgiveness rather than permission. If you have an idea and are able to build it into something tangible, people are far more willing to listen. In the context of myself, I focused a lot on my artwork and design and so it was easy to put an idea together and then to receive feedback. As a result, I created a lot more opportunities for myself due to my team understanding what my strengths were and pushed me to apply them to the wider business.

What was the best part of your placement?

The best thing about SAP is the opportunity they can provide to an intern. Firstly the program is split into 70/30, whereby 30% of your time can be working in other areas of the business, which SAP actively encourage. This is important because networking is crucial for success in the company. During presentations in my onboarding, I realised my skills could be utilised for presales, who are the creative and technical team that support a sales deals. As a result, I began working on projects with the presales team, and am now aiming towards a graduate role within their team.

Has it changed your approach to learning?

The internship hasn’t necessarily changed my approach to learning, but more my attitude. I have always been very self-driven, but the internship has made me much more focused on my work and my interests as a whole. Coming back to university, I want to focus a lot more on creating a community feel, where people actively want to work together and share ideas, particularly with the students who have been on placement.

What are your plans after you graduate?

My plan is to apply to the presales academy at SAP. The academy is a 6-month training programme held in California. A few candidates are chosen from each region for the programme, which involves networking, technical, creative and customer training. After the programme, I would then return to the presales team in the UK, hopefully working under SAP Leonardo, which is our portfolio of emerging technologies like IoT, AI, Machine Learning, where I would drive the importance of design for customers.

Kieren Kershaw BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
Kieran Kershaw
  • Course: BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
  • Years: 2015-2019

Keiran Kershaw

Why did you choose Kent?

Kent offered a course with a great reputation, a beautiful campus with lots of activities and a Computing placement department with an extremely high percentage of students on placements at top companies.

What has your course been like?

My course has definitely be a mixed bag across the three years (two of study and one of placement). Coming in with a background in Computing and Mathematics made the first year very manageable allowing me to take up lots of fun volunteering and sport activities in my spare time. The step up in workload for my second year was a wake-up call but just required more focus and commitment to achieve good results.

What have you enjoyed most?

Most of all I have enjoyed learning some of the less technical topics such as Human Computer Interaction which focuses on how we as people use software and how we can develop our applications to be more intuitive.

What is the most interesting topic you have studied?

By far the most interesting thing I’ve learned is the advanced concepts of algorithms and efficiency mainly in my second year. Problem solving is at the heart of computer science and getting the opportunity to understand better how complex tasks can be approached is fascinating to me.

Where did you spend your year in industry?

I spent my year at Accenture, one of the world’s largest technology consulting firms, mostly at their offices in central London.

What have you learnt while on placement?

My placement taught me a huge range of skills that I never expected to learn. Technical-wise I’ve become confident with computer networks, their design and operation. On the business side I’ve learned about contracts & pricing, how Accenture sells new work and financial regulations from working with huge global banking clients. Above all of this I’ve learned how to managed my time, work with a global team (which comes with challenges due to distance) and deliver a high-standard of work, often within very tight deadlines.

What was the best part of your placement?

The best part about my placement was the massive range of opportunities Accenture provides to do interesting things outside of work. For those that want to get involved they have loads of clubs and sports and they also host events at locations across London. There’s also employee-only dedicated events at all sorts of fancy locations. The most memorable of these was “Accenture Re:Think” at BAFTA where we got to hear inspiring talks from CEOs in technology startups, inspiring lecturers from UCL and also Channel 4 newscaster, Jon Snow. These are the sort of experiences you don’t get access to outside of a big company like Accenture and are a great perk of working there.

What was the hardest thing about being on placement?

The hardest part has been adjusting to working life. As a student you can mould you schedule somewhat around your other commitments and there’s a lot of socialising and downtime. Moving into the world of work brings a lot of changes like a fairly regimented 9-5 (ish) schedule and the pressure of working to deadlines where it’s not just your own coursework at stake. Living in a big city like London has also been tough at times as it can be a lot harder to meet people at first.

Has it changed your approach to learning?

I think being on placement has really shown me how I work best and proved that I can perform really well, even under pressure. Going into final year this will allow me to be more focused and driven now that I know I am able to operate at a much more intense level at times.

What are your plans after you graduate?

After graduation I’m looking to spend a couple of years in something linked to the charity sector as I’ve developed a real passion for this kind of work over my time at Kent. Following on from this I’d like to return to technology consulting which is the role I was in during my placement year.

Eleana Sklaveniti BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
Eleana Sklaveniti
  • Course: BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
  • Years: 2013-2017

Eleana Sklaveniti

Why did you choose Kent?

I am from Athens and first heard about Kent at a university fair; then I went to a presentation at the British Embassy. I didn’t want to be in London but loved the location of the campus with its safe surroundings, and loved the idea of the Year in Industry.

How was your course?

It was very good. We covered such a variety of things – it’s not all about programming – I studied marketing and economics too, for instance.

How did you enjoy your year in industry?

I worked at Motability Operations and very much enjoyed it. It was a change to work in the real world, and I think it helps you to see what you want in life. It was easy to adapt to the work and everyone was very supportive – help was always available but I ended up working on my own project.

What kind of career do you hope to follow when you graduate, and why?

I’m going back to Motability Operations. I got on very well with my manager there and asked if there was an opportunity to go back – and was offered a job. But I also like the idea of doing a Masters in a few years’ time.

What is the level of support like in your studies?

Very good. I needed more support in the first year and was always emailing lecturers, who replied quickly. Students in the second and third years helped too – and now I help first years.

What are the facilities like on campus?

When it comes to studying, you can always find somewhere quiet to work, that’s very good. And socially it’s excellent. The sports facilities are good too.

What is the accommodation on campus like?

I lived in Tyler Court for a year and found the facilities were very good. Living on campus, everything you need is on hand, and with Campus Watch, the onsite security department, you always feel safe.

Any advice for students coming to Kent?

Make the most if it! At first I missed my family, but there is so much going on here that soon it wasn’t a problem.

Jamie Howard BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
Jamie Howard
  • Course: BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
  • Years: 2013-2017

Jamie Howard

Why did you choose Kent?

I actually applied to study Maths and completed the first year but realised it wasn’t for me. It was very heavy on theory with no obvious real-world application. But Computer Science seemed like a good compromise: it had a lot of technical content, which I enjoyed, and with the year in industry you get to experience the real world and see theories being applied – that clinched it for me.

What was the level of support like in your studies?

It was excellent. I found lecturers to be very approachable and I often emailed for help and received prompt replies – even though I didn’t always send them in office hours. In the final year, you work on a group project rather than a dissertation, and have weekly meetings with your supervisor; but they are always available at other times too. I think none of the supervisors have more than a couple of projects each to look after, so they’re never swamped and are always able to help.

What was your project?

We built an Android app that tracks the buses on campus; you can upload your own timetable of activities and work out your journeys. I think it has potential for Kent students and it would be great to see it go live.

How was your year in industry?

It was good – and different to what I had expected. I was working with Accenture and had anticipated being given purely technical tasks, but in fact had a great diversity of roles – some involving things I’d never done before, including project management, which was very interesting and involved more ‘soft’ skills, such as dealing with people. It was quite a challenging year but I was always working alongside another team member so had good training. Projects I worked on with Accenture included six months with EDF Energy, which was hectic and intense, and two months with Discovery.

What kind of career do you hope to follow when you graduate, and why?

I haven't thought too much about specific industries I would like to go into. Most of my work at Accenture was with web development, which I really enjoyed. The app development I’m doing now is new to me so quite challenging, but enjoyable. I'm hoping that if I go back to Accenture I will be able to give both things a try in the real world.

What’s the accommodation on campus like?

It’s very good. I lived in Park Wood for my first year and shared a five-bedroom house with students of roughly the same age and interests. We became good friends and I went on to rent with them off campus.

What were the facilities like on campus?

For work, because the library was being renovated, I tended to stay within the School of Computing. But there’s lots of space there, everything is well-equipped and you can always find somewhere quiet when you need to concentrate. Socially there’s so much going on – more than enough, in fact! I wish I had more time to make use of it all.

What did you do in your spare time?

I worked at a computer shop in Canterbury that specialises in Apple products, and I played drums in several bands, including the University’s Big Band.

Any advice for students coming to Kent?

People always say make the most of it – and this is so true. It can seem daunting meeting so many new people and finding like-minded students, so I’d say definitely get involved in any societies that pique your interest.

Channing Gardner BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
Channing Gardner
  • Course: BSc Computer Science with a Year in Industry
  • Years: 2012-2016

Channing Gardner

What attracted you to Kent?

I visited Kent and liked the campus feel. I have always loved technology and I was interested to see what I could do with that, which led me to computer science. I went to a talk about the year in industry and all the opportunities Kent offers, so put Kent down as my first choice.

How were your studies and what did you find interesting?

I enjoyed lots of modules but my top ones were in web and databases. I liked the level of creativity they allowed and that you gained very marketable skills. Website design is a skill that i loved learning and is now proving very useful. Also, you can choice wild modules, so I took computer graphics and animation which was amazing. We learnt about the hardware and software aspects of computing, which allows you to put things into a context and helps you make sence of them. I got practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge. Also the facilities are really good. The Makerspace allows us to do literally anything - I've seen people building all sorts of things. We also have our own computer lab; the facilities are great - one of the bugeest selling points actually.

Were you able to persue your own interests?

Yes, absolutely. My main passion is the creative design side of things. I am interested in animation media and virtual reality and I was able to select modules in those areas.

What about your fellow students?

Everyone was cool. There is a lot of teamwork, which created a camaraderie among us and we helped each other.

Did your degree change you?

It gave me a new perspective on the way technology impacts the world around me. My degree gave me confidence and put me in a good place when looking at future careers - every business needs IT professionals. We were told there was no limit to what we could do and that has given me faith in my employability.

Did you enjoy your time at Kent?

They were some of the best years I've had. I loved the independence. I could work, learn and play in my own time. You are with people of your own age, but a really diverse set of people, and that is one of the best things about university.

What careers advice did you recieve?

Lots, including how to react on an assessment day, how to work with colleagues in a team and how to deal with different personalities such as introverts and extroverts. And we had mock scenarios which were really helpful.

In what way has your degree helped you find work?

I think my placement at Cisco has been a springboard for me. When I am asked in interviews about my experience I can talk about that. My time at Kent has helped me to that first step and i have now secured a graduate role at Microsoft.

What are your plans for the future?

Obviously, I want to see where I can go with Microsoft. Eventually, I would love to work in virtual reality and perhaps get involved with app development. Ultimately, my dream would be to start my own business

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Jump into everything, all the societies. Pick modules that you are passionate about. Hang out in the School of Computing and chat with people from other years because you can get some really great mentors who will help you with your studies.

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824180 or contact us.

Last Updated: 11/10/2019