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Case Study: David Jones

Personal details
Degree:BSc Internet Computer Science Profile picture
School(s): School of Computer Science
Year of Graduation:Jun-2012
LinkedIn:
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: FreeAgent, Edinburgh
Job title: Junior Support Engineer
Occupational Sector: IT/Computer Programming
What has been your route to getting your current position?
  • GCSE ICT
  • A-Level Computing (Grade A)
  • Internet Computer Science Degree (First Class),
  • 3 Months Work Experience, Jordan Media Ltd (Edinburgh), Summer 2011
What does your job involve ?

My job involves co-ordination with clients and client-facing staff to identify and resolve software bugs in FreeAgent systems. Bug resolution may involve the writing of a patch, modification of the code-base or communication with the end-user to resolve the issue. 

A support engineer may be regarded as an interface between non-technical users and professional software engineers.

What are the best bits of your job ?

The workload of a support engineer varies drastically allowing me to gain experience in a range of technologies in a short space of time. I am able to gain a strong overview of the entire product without having to focus too much on a single area. Also, I value the opportunity to interact with end-users, taking pride in the level of support and customer-service that I am able to provide.

Working alongside staff who are experts in their field offers great opportunity to learn and augments the foundational knowledge taken from my degree.

It is hugely rewarding to contribute to a product that is used and enjoyed by thousands of people, rather than working on a piece of coursework that will never be seen by the outside world.

Why were you successful?

I believe my academic achievements ticked the boxes that allowed me to reach the interview stage of application. My three months work experience gave me plenty of real-world material that could be drawn upon throughout the interview process. Finally, I believe my involvement in extra-curricular activities such as singing in the Gospel Choir and volunteering within Student Services helped to demonstrate I have skills out-with the technical domain; I am a people-person, also.

What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

Since FreeAgent offer a web-based product, my modules in Internet Programming (CS1004, CS2003) and databases (CS3101) have proven invaluable. Whilst somewhat mundane at the time, modules that teach the fundamental skills of Software Engineering (CS3051) and modules that allow you to put these skills in to practice such as the JH and SH projects (CS3099,CS4099) are essential in the transition from academia to industry.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

My advice would be to play to your strengths. Computer Science is such a diverse field and nobody can be good at it all. Take the modules that interest you and those that you feel you can perform well in. Also, use your free time to experiment with the technologies you enjoy – setup servers, design websites, build computers – It all shows willing above and beyond compulsory coursework and it’s amazing what one can learn without realising it.

Computer Science is a demanding and time-consuming discipline though; it’s important to take some time to do something completely different. Again, anything that makes you stand out from the crowd will almost certainly strengthen your case for employment.