My journey with Swansea university started three years ago when I was fortunate enough to be offered a place on the Computer Science Foundation degree programme. I had recently started an IT business liaison role, and a co-worker who was already enrolled on the programme encouraged me to apply for a place. With a degree in Tourism, Management & French - and no IT related qualifications - I wasn't sure if I would be out of my depth on a Computer Science course. Each module of the course was challenging in its own way, and during the first few weeks I started to question whether I'd made the right decision to start the course. Working full time and attending university one afternoon and evening a week was at times challenging, but thanks to the stimulating content and the high quality of the lecturers, I began thriving on the programme so much so that I gained a distinction grade and was delighted to even be awarded the prize for the top student in my class.
I was so inspired by the course that I decided that I wanted to pass on my knowledge of Computer Science to the next generation of computer scientists. Less than a month after earning my FdSc in Computer Science, I began my secondary Computing & ICT PGCE course! I'm really excited to work with these young students and inspire them to become the digital creators of the future.
During the Foundation Degree, I became aware of the Technocamps programme and the great work that it does with schools across Wales. I was fortunate enough to attend some of their events that really show-cased the great work they do. As a result, I have decided to spend the enhancement week of my PGCE course with the team at Technocamps. This is something that I am really looking forward to and I am sure that I'll have another great experience with them.
I have had some fantastic experiences and opportunities to enhance my professional development over the last three years thanks to the Foundation Degree programme and Technocamps.
I’m not afraid to say that being abroad for almost a year and a half in an exchange programme at Swansea University was the best experience of my life so far.
It all started with my endless desire to live and study abroad in an english speaking country. With this in mind, I could not think about any other place but the UK. The next step was to decide: where to live in UK? I decided to go to Swansea due to its marvellous location, the excellent Computer Science department at Swansea University and the opportunity to experience the welsh culture and people. After coming back from my exchange programme, I’m pretty sure that I made the right choice.
I really enjoyed my time in Swansea. The welsh people are really friendly, even more than I expected, and that caught my attention. Not just inside the university environment, but all over Wales people were always trying to help. Hence, I made some good welsh friends.
Swansea city is an incredible place to live. I found it very safe and calm, not to mention very beautiful. There are many indoors and outdoors activities to do, all year long. In Swansea I found beautiful beaches, parks, nice pubs and nightclubs, good public transportation and a great university.
My time studying Computer Science at Swansea Uni was really great as well. I had the opportunity to study two semesters, take part in competitions, join the Future Interaction Technologies Lab, travel with them in hack events and even publish a scientific paper together with some big names in the Human-computer interaction field. It was just amazing.
Some months before leaving Swansea I received an internship offer from the Tata Steel company to work as a process control engineer trainee. That moment was wordless. I just couldn’t believe that I had got that offer. It meant a lot to me and I feel that an employability event held by Swansea University really helped. After that, I accepted the offer and started my short time placement. It was only two months long but it was amazing. I worked as a trainee engineer with really experienced engineers and met a whole new world. Working in a heavy industry as a steel-maker was one of the greatest experiences of my exchange. I did my very best on that placement and due to this I received a job offer to come back the following year.
My whole experience abroad has been extremely positive and I’m already missing every single bit of it. I studied really hard, I worked really hard as well, I made some great friends, I lived some good moments, I visited nice places and I don’t regret anything. Now I’m just waiting for the day when I’m going back to this marvellous experience and having fun with the pictures from this last year.
Thank you so much Swansea University! It was a once in a lifetime experience.
After completing my undergraduate degree in computer science at Swansea University I moved to the industry briefly and then went on to read a masters at the University of Oxford. Currently I work for the London Stock Exchange Group within their technology sector.
I found my time as an undergraduate at Swansea extremely rewarding and enriching. Wales was also very new to me and this added to the varied and interesting experiences I had whilst at University. Highlights include the excellent quality of teaching at the Computer Science faculty, the high calibre of research, lecturers and students and to add to the academic experience the social, sport and cultural aspects of being in Swansea and in Wales is worth mentioning.
I completed a very challenging but exciting undergraduate dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Monika Seisenberger where I implemented my own chess computer. The lessons I learned from this project still help me in what I do. I feel that the best part about the Computer Science course at Swansea are the solid foundations and way of thinking that you acquire, and it has helped me very much in every possible way.
Nicolas Roard, Senior Software Engineer, Google
After earning my PhD in Computer Science at Swansea University in 2008, working under the direction of Dr. Mark Jones, I joined Google UK. I worked on various mobile projects (such as Google Gears, later ported on Android). I became more involved with Android and the Android browser, and transfered to Google headquarters in California in 2010, where I am now a Senior Software Engineer in charge of the browser's hardware accelerated architecture. The experience gained during my PhD proved particularly useful at Google (working with mobile platforms, OpenGL, statistics, and performance analysis), as well as soft skills (working independently, investigating, proposing and implementing new ideas and architecture, and prioritizing tasks and deadlines). The picture shows me with the android statues outside Google HQ.
Mark Sutherland, SciSys, Graduate Software Engineer
Picking the right university to study, along with the correct course is a life changing decision, and I’m glad I made the best possible choice. Swansea University has given me the chance to stand out of the crowd, not only giving me the academic skills but also the soft skills such as presentation, communication and team working, which are just as important to employers. The computer science department at Swansea University prides itself in using leading experts to lecture modules in their area, meaning that their passion and knowledge are directly transferred throughout the course to students. The mini-conference at Gregynog, is an example of the department’s forward thinking, to teach students how to present to an audience, and work as part of a team to get a challenging task accomplished in a short time frame. I now work on an embedded distributed defence project, where my university skills are used daily, contributing to a larger team effort. I can’t recommend the course or the staff at Swansea University enough and would thoroughly endorse it to any prospective student.
Chris Swires, Kinspeed, Software Developer
I joined the computer science department at Swansea in 2011 to complete an MSc as a conversion from my previous War and Society course (also completed at Swansea), primarily for employment opportunities. In total I spent 5 years within the University and cannot imagine having gone anywhere else. Both the campus and city are great places to study and live and I never found myself wanting of anything, be it social or academic.
The course was by no means easy for me coming from an arts background, and the first few weeks I felt a little over my head, but thanks to truly stimulating content from the syllabus and the high quality of the teaching within the department I soon caught up and began to thrive on the course.
My Project revolved around a comparative study of the Haskell Web-Framework Yesod and ASP.NET, suggested and overseen by Jens Blanck. During the completion of this I picked up many of the skills that I now use on an everyday basis including; Server optimisation, programmatic efficiency, web development and design, vastly improved research skills and a strong work ethic. I found the staff to be extremely accommodating of my slightly odd working hours and style, and genuinely looked forward to heading into the lab of a morning.
I began work at Kinspeed Limited (A Sheffield based Software house) as a Software Developer immediately after finishing the course and am currently working on a bespoke mapping system (using ASP.NET and Google maps) for a large Property Consultancy firm.
Since starting work I have been able to apply many of the skills I obtained during my time at Swansea, and have no doubt that choosing to study an MSc within computer Science at Swansea was one of the better decisions of my life.
Tony McLoughlin, Marine Software Engineer, Garmin
After a BSc in Computer Science from Swansea, I continued on as a PhD student working on Flow Visualisation for Bob Laramee. After completing my PhD in the summer of 2011 I used recruitment agencies to find a job. The demand for Software Engineers is very high at the moment and I had many calls. In the end I applied for three jobs and got offered all three. I chose to work for the marine engineering team at Garmin. It's a brand new team supporting the existing team in the US. The job I have taken has been great so far. It has given me a couple of weeks in the US, and a couple of days on a yacht in Sweden testing the system I am working on. In addition to general programming skills and graphics experience at Swansea, my Software Engineering courses have been particularly helpful, and I'm now working with embedded systems.
Marc Dragon, now studying MSc in Computer Science, Oxford University
"Studying at Swansea University has been a fantastic experience. The course brings together the theoretical background necessary to grasp a sound knowledge of Computer Science, as well as practical topics that can be applied directly to the industry. This ideal balance has allowed me to consider all options without being restricted; from further education, to work in almost any career. The course is taught by lecturers from a wide variety of backgrounds that bring their own personal ‘flavour’ to every lecture; which has provided an engaging and exciting learning experience."
"The research project gave me an opportunity to develop my skills in independent learning, innovation and critical thought. It allowed me to focus my attention on a topic that fascinated me and put the skills learnt from the taught course into practise. Working specifically in a field that was concerned with safety-critical systems, namely railway systems, helped me realise the importance of my work and the gravity of the choices made with regard to efficient design and accurate implementation. Knowing that errors could lead to catastrophic results motivated me to carefully consider every step in the design and implementation process. The department’s strong links with industry and other academic institutions has also given my dissertation added exposure and opened up opportunities that would have otherwise been missed."
"Alongside the academic benefits of studying with the Computer Science department at Swansea University, the city of Swansea itself has contributed a lot to my student experience. Swansea boasts picturesque seaside views across the Gower Peninsula, well worth visiting and exploring in your spare time. There are also a wide range of high quality restaurants and cafes in the city and nearby Mumbles; from Japanese to Indian to Italian. Naturally, no student experience would be complete without the nightlife. Swansea provides an unparallelled clubbing experience - with Wind Street’s rows of bars and clubs and the massive Oceana nightclub, every student is guaranteed a good time."
"If you appreciate a strong balance between the theoretical and practical aspects of Computer Science and also crave a dynamic social scene alongside the solid academic experience; then studying at Swansea University is for you. For those who seek to work in the crucial field of safe and secure systems – challenging themselves to think critically and push their boundaries, I highly recommend considering this course.”
Wai Leung Sze, now studying MSc in Computer Science, Oxford University
"It is an excellent experience to study Computer Science in Swansea. The department has a very good reputation in research quality and is ranked as world leading for research in the RAE 2008. As well from research, the department also has a very good quality of teaching. All the modules are well-structured and taught by professionals in the area. The content of each module is a combination of theories and their applications, allowing students to have a full picture of the relationship between the underlying concepts and the industrial applications. Swansea has equipped me with the essential knowledge for continuing my career in developing safe and secure systems."
"The department has established many links with industry. This enables students to start an industrial-related project. The project I had is about verification of railways. This project was carried out together with the company Invensys. Railways are a safety-critical system, failure of the railway may results in loss of life. In order to be prepared for the project, I had finished an internship in the summer where I learnt the knowledge needed for the project."
"Being involved in an industrial-related project has a lot of benefits. The major advantage is to experience how people work in industry. This helps me to adapt to the industrial environment when I graduate. Other advantages include learning the working process of a real world project and learning techniques for presentations."
"I highly recommend Swansea to all of you who are interested in safe and secure systems and want to pursuit a career in related areas."
Mark Summerfield, Best Selling Textbook Author and Consultant
I began a Computer Science degree at Swansea University in 1990 as a mature student, and graduated in 1993 with first class honours. Since graduating I have never been unemployed.
I spent much of the 1990s working as a software developer and was easily able to learn new languages and technologies thanks to the solid grounding in practical programming and in computer science theory that I'd received at Swansea. In 2000 I moved to Oslo to work for Trolltech, creators of the cross-platform C++/Qt GUI framework, as their documentation manager. In 2004 my first coauthored textbook was published; my first solo textbook followed in 2007. I then co-wrote the book "C++ GUI Programming with Qt 4 (second edition)" with a friend and colleague---this was published in 2008 and is the nº. 1 selling Qt book.
I now write a new book (or produce a new edition of an existing book) every couple of years. In 2006, back in the UK, I started my own business, Qtrac Ltd., offering consultancy and training services. Nowadays, I spend my time writing books, teleworking, and providing on-site training and consultancy, all of which are interesting and enjoyable.
The Computer Science degree I did at Swansea significantly improved my life, and continues to be of benefit to me to this day.
Patrick Oladimeji, PhD Computer Science
I chose to study Computer Science in Swansea University because of its international reputation of high quality Computer Science research. My MRes in Human Computer Interaction was particularly stimulating and exposed me to great opportunities to collaborate with some world leading researchers in the field of computer science, psychology and health care. I am now in the second year of my PhD, researching ways of designing user friendly and safe interactive medical devices. Apart from my research, I enjoy the vibrant and affordable student life as well as walking on the beach on my way into the university.
Matthew Gwynne, PhD Computer Science
Matthew has won the David Douglas Prize 2013 for his paper "Generalising and Unifying SLUR and Unit-Refutation Completeness". Matthew is supervised by Dr Oliver Kullman.
The prize is awarded by the South Wales Institute of Engineers to young engineers (normally up to 30 years of age) who are members of a recognised professional institution. Matthew is a member of the British Computer Society. Computing is quite unlike the classical engineering fields so it is testimony to Matthew's clear explanations in his interview that the key ideas of his paper could be appreciated by a general panel of engineers.
South Wales Institute of Engineers was founded in 1857 as a learned society for engineers and scientists in the area, arranging lectures and publishing the Proceedings of the South Wales Institute of Engineers. In 2007, the body was re-constituted as a charity called the South Wales Institute of Engineers Educational Trust (SWIEET2007).
Ben Spencer, Software Engineer, Disney
Ben joined Computer Science as an undergraduate student in 2002. He achieved a first class degree and then went on to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Dr Mark Jones. His research into high quality globally illuminated rendering had a wide impact, resulting in publications in top journals.
After completing his PhD, he became a full time researcher in the department, continuing his work in photon mapping with Dr Jones which won the Best Paper award at Eurographics 2013. He also presented his work at a tutorial at SIGGRAPH which is the largest Graphics and entertainment conference with attendees from all the top companies in the industry. It was there that he made an impression on researchers from Disney, eventually leading to a job offer in their Los Angeles studios.
Rana Salim Almasraf, MSc Computer Science
“On the course I am really enjoying learning different programming languages. The lecturers are very helpful, they always encourage us to ask questions and sometimes they do repeat the lecture especially if it was difficult to understand the first time.
My advice to someone considering this course would be to have a go, the course is excellent and helpful as well, if someone would like to find a good job in the future this course will be a good opportunity. I am so excited about my future. "
Aaron Pugh, Graduate Test Analyst, Virgin Holidays
“On the MSc Computer Science course I most enjoyed learning how to code. Dr Kullmann was an excellent lecturer, providing a clear, no nonsense approach to java. Also my supervisor, Stephen Lindsay provided excellent supervision and guidance. With his help I got a distinction.
I wouldn’t be working for Virgin Holidays if I didn't do this course. I have a good understanding of java, am in a good career path and don't regret the course at all.”