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For a lot of students, university will be the most exciting time of their life so far. Independence, new friends and in cities offering an interesting night life; the social aspect of going to university is what most look forward to in the time leading up to their first year.

But in looking back at my time at university, what was more important was the opportunities Bournemouth University provided for me to learn real world skills (which have kept me ahead of other graduates), plus all the tools and networking I needed to drive my own development.

I came to BU after completing a BTEC in Software Engineering and found the first year of the degree was mainly software concepts and practices designed to bring those who had come from a non-software background up to speed.

This gave me a good chance to spend the first few terms taking full advantage of the university library and workshops to self-learn, and honestly they’re an invaluable resource that are often overlooked. On top of that, the labs and study rooms were equipped with powerful computers and all the software needed to hit the ground running. If you’re looking for a university which does a fantastic job of providing the building blocks for self-learning as well as one which nails a British Computing Society curriculum, then I can’t recommend Bournemouth University enough.

IBM-blog

Into the second year, I was beginning to think about where I would like to work in the placement year. The tutors and lecturers would email people on the course regularly with any prospective jobs and we would occasionally have those who were currently on placement (or alumni, like me) come in and give talks about placement opportunities and to give advice. It was after one email from a student who was on placement at IBM in Hursley, Winchester that I decided that IBM was where I wanted to work. I sent an email to the placement student and we spoke on the phone that week, where we talked through what I could expect if I applied to IBM, including how he found the assessment process – to this day I still think that prep talk had a huge impact on me getting the IBM placement and ultimately a job as a graduate.

IBM-blog-2

It has always been easy to network at BU, both with the students and lecturers; this has been important even after graduating as I have a lot of ex-classmates (the computing framework had a lot of students) who have secured jobs across different industries and who have learnt different specialities; and many of us keep in contact and exchange advice to this day.

After my year working for IBM I came back to do my final year and final year project. The project was the hardest piece of work I had ever done at that point in my life, but with regular support from project tutors and peers, I was able to achieve a first class degree.

By Daniel Houston

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