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Made In Brunel

img_0208Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to present my dissertation to industry experts at Brunel University’s Made In Brunel: Software Innovation event! It was a really great evening and I met some very impressive people. I really enjoyed being able to talk through my dissertation project and gain feedback on the concept that I have been working on with GSK.

Four years ago I met one of my great friends on my course at a Made In Brunel event, which we were invited to as prospective students, since then it has always been a goal to present too, so I’m really happy that I was able to come full circle and end my university career where it had started.

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Commence Revision

Today is the day I start full-time revision for my final year exams… in just over a month I will have completely finished university! The time has flown past.

Something I have learnt, is to give myself a break when I’ve reached a deadline or need to balance out what I am doing. Having a break and stepping away from what you need to do is often beneficial to what you are able to then achieve. It’s hard to not procrastinate for too long… especially with Netflix rolling onto the next episode in a series for you! But treating yourself to a break is only a good thing 🙂

So I took a week off last week, I saw a lot of family, went on a mini break to Copenhagen with my boyfriend, and watched many films!

And now… tea fuelled revision!

Status

Dissertation Submitted!

It feels weird to think that I am old enough and able enough to have just written and submitted my dissertation…

Personally, I love projects and coursework more than exams and I really enjoyed developing a project from researching, to designing, to developing a solution for a real-life IT business problem. That’s not to say it was a breeze, it’s hard when there’s time and knowledge constraints, and you’re the only resource.

That’s why ensuring you get the right help and support matters, and why my tutor group wanted to do something special for our tutor. So we printed off t-shirts and surprised him by all turning up late, and revealing them.

Whether you’re about to submit or will do in the future, good luck, don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure you pick a project you’ll enjoy developing 🙂

Thinking about the… UCU Strike

Thinking about the… UCU Strike

BBC News has just notified me that the university strikers have rejected the agreement proposed by the university leaders and employers to end the pensions dispute.

I can fully understand and support the reasoning behind turning down the temporary deal, but for all students in over 60 universities this is causing a huge amount of stress simply because we don’t know what will be run or rescheduled, knowing it will most likely have a negative effect on our exam results. For final year students like myself, it is even harder to find support for the strike when our results that we’ve worked 3+ years for may be delayed, which will also be delaying us informing our future employers of whether we’ve met their criteria to join graduate schemes. I hope an agreement can be made which will not only be sufficient for the many university lecturer’s, but also be what is right for the students that invest £9250 a year.

All teachers (not just university lecturers) have a raw deal when it comes to pensions and support from the government, it is not the respected career it once was which it should be, in STEM subjects particularly there is more benefits and money in industry than to teach future generations. But, we should applaud the academics and teachers of all levels because without them, we wouldn’t be able to advance in any subject, industry or personally. Like myself, there must be at least one teacher/academic who stands out as an inspiration for you, and they deserve what is right… whatever that may be. They have looked after individuals professionally and personally, whether the student has paid or not, in return they should be looked after by the state once they retire.

What are your thoughts?

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WCIT Student Award 2018

On Wednesday 21st February 2018, I was incredibly fortunate to win the Outstanding Information Technology Student Award at the 99th Business Luncheon at the Armourer’s Hall. For those unfamiliar to the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT), it is the 100th Livery Company of London, focusing on honouring tradition but also modern innovation and charitable contribution.

The luncheon was fantastic, I was able to network and meet professionals from a variety of IT backgrounds who are at the top of their fields and are either Freeman or Liveryman of the WCIT.

I received the award after being nominated by my tutor at Brunel, even being nominated was an amazing achievement for me, but to win it was astounding. I was nominated on the basis of 4 criteria: 1) Academic Excellence, 2) Overcoming Adversity, 3) Entrepreneurial Skills, 4) Contribution to Charity or Community.

I was asked to give a speech, which I would like to share to you below:

I feel very proud that everything I have done has led me to this point.

At the age of 17, I had several options available to choose from for further education, including English Literature and Art. I owe a lot to two key people, among others, who as IT professionals and educators intrigued my interest in pursuing IT at university and as a career. My IT teacher at high school pushed me from GCSEs to do ICT and as a result, I thought I would at least attend a computing taster day at Brunel University, before I made my choice. This is where I met Robert Macredie, who took the time to speak to me that day… and continually supports me to this day. That taster session made my decision for me, I wanted to explore IT. It is now my hope… as I go forward in my life, that I can be that person who supports and encourages future generations.

There are so many developments happening in all corners of our industry, such as autonomous vehicles and blockchain technologies that are on the cusp of being everyday norm, and something that could be very beneficial to our society.

Likewise, I think it is likely there will be further developments in how IT is viewed as we all become more dependent on it. My experiences on my placement year at GSK, helped to teach me how important it is to have a good relationship with the rest of a business, therefore by creating that transparency and having that communication is something I aim to do in my career. I hope there will also be progress in widening gender diversity within the IT industry. I knew going into my degree and placement year that I would be in a gender minority, spending the majority of group projects and meetings with men. I was never made to feel vulnerable or inferior, but I was still very aware of it. This isn’t the fault of the university or company, there just simply isn’t enough girls wanting to go into the technology sector and that stems from little engagement from an early age. IT isn’t a typical job that at an early age you are taught to aspire to, yet it is so important to everybody’s future, that it should be.

This is why, I particularly hope to ensure younger generations of women know they can bring a brilliant skillset, new ideas and opinions, and to be equal in all things IT. I’m excited for the future in this industry and I will do my very best to justify my receiving of this award.

I am very grateful for that opportunity and for the doors it has opened to me, such as being asked to speak at an event for International Women’s Day at the WCIT Livery Hall on 5th March.

It has encouraged me to speak further about topics I am passionate about and I hope it inspires others to trust that hard work is rewarded.

Where Am I Right Now?

Where Am I Right Now?

Graduating in 2018 brings mixed feelings but is exciting, I am a person who likes to know and plan where their next step is. So the thought of leaving with a university degree, no more mainstream education to complete, without knowing where I’ll be working and living is a scary thought for me.

I used the same strategy that I used to achieve my industrial placement, apply early. Before your time gets taken up with university work and Christmas etc, apply for placements and graduate schemes in September and October. This way you have the time to sit down and really impress a company with your application and then proceed to sit back and wait for the congratulations or unfortunate rejections.

Applying for graduate schemes is repetitious, all of the job specifications end up blurring into one until you start hearing back from companies. There isn’t anything better than receiving that email from the company you’re aiming for, informing you that you’ve been successful. I am fortunate to be in a position after receiving several rejections, that I’m starting to attend assessment centres. I am one of those strange people who enjoy face-to-face interviews because I love being able to understand and see how people are reacting to what I’m saying. That being said, I’m still nervous because of how much weight this holds for my future.

Without being cliché, the best advice is to be yourself throughout your applications, it may be easy to think that if you exaggerate your abilities it will get you further but then you’ll just end up putting yourself in a position that you don’t want to be in.

The right company is out there for me, and I just have to explore all my options until I find a perfect match.

In my personal life, everything is great at the moment, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive friend and family community around me, both in and outside of university. I like to surround myself with a wide range of ambitious, talented and driven people; and am proud of what my childhood and university friends are achieving in their lives. In particular, I am very proud of how much my boyfriend has achieved this year from graduating Brunel University with a degree in Aviation Engineering, to recently being accepted into flying school as an easyJet cadet. Having such positive people around me really encourages me to want to do my best also, I believe that is important to being successful.