What our students say
Computer Science students have gone on to work for international companies such as BuzzFeed, Facebook and the BBC. Here they share their experiences of the University of Exeter:
Gordon Murray Dent
BSc Computer Science, 2005 and MSc Applied Artificial Intelligence, 2007
Front End Engineer at Facebook, Menlo Park, California
My time at Exeter provided me with a solid platform for starting a career in software engineering. I learned the basics of Computer Science and began to develop a strong passion for coding and web development. It also introduced me to the importance of working as part of a team when building software during group projects - invaluable for anyone going into software development.
My first job actually came about by being recommended by my tutor to a local software development business run by a former graduate. I didn't know at the time but this referral helped define the early stages of my career as I gained a reputation in my field that led to further opportunities and ultimately propelled me to where I am today.
I would advise future Computer Science students not to underestimate the importance of your surroundings when choosing a place to study! Being able to take time away from your work can be invaluable and make the experience all the more unforgettable. The short drive to beaches where I could go surfing was a particular highlight for me, and I fondly remember hitchhiking to Amsterdam as part of a charity fundraising event organised by the RAG society - it was quite character building!
BSc Computer Science, 2018
Throughout my time at Exeter I have enjoyed both the course and the social life. Exeter is such a student-friendly town, I can barely go anywhere without stopping for a chat!
The best thing about studying Computer Science is the family atmosphere. The lecturers are extremely friendly and are more than willing to give up their time to help with a problem. They are always keen to hear students' feedback on what they liked about a specific module.
We are lucky to have an extremely active Computer Science society which run regular socials as well as Hackathons sponsored by outside companies. I was elected as the president of the Computer Science society in my second year which allowed me to liaise with technology companies and the Students' Guild to arrange these events.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last three years and in all honesty, would love to go back and start again!
BSc Computer Science, 2004
Design Manager at BuzzFeed, NYC
I lead the design of BuzzFeed's consumer-facing digital products: BuzzFeed.com, Android & iOS apps and our content management tools.
Upon graduation I decided to stay in Exeter and my professional career started in web design shortly after. My Computer Science degree gave me confidence and skills in writing code for the web and collaboration with software engineers. Then I lucked out by landing a job at a local web design firm - founded by two graduates of my Computer Science programme years earlier - leapfrogging many graphic design friends who were struggling to break into the profession.
Looking back I have two takeaways from my time in Exeter:
- Community: I spent a ton of time at the Cavern venue and the music community associated with it. Understanding how I could contribute to and grow from it was incredibly valuable and informs how I've approached moving to new cities ever since.
- Think for yourself: There was a piece of graffiti that lived on a wall between the campus and city centre which read "think for yourself", I have no idea if it's still there. Walking past it every day made me internalize that message. It's so easy to follow the crowd, spending all your energy working to buy things you don't need - but taking time to stop and reflect and understand your own value system and what makes you happy couldn't be more important, especially today when the economy and political climate in the west is so volatile.
My favourite thing about studying at the University of Exeter was the beautiful campus grounds! While Exeter is a small town, it was large enough to offer all the things I needed in addition to being able to walk everywhere and get out into nature very easily.
IT Management for Business, 2016
MI Business Analyst
My work involves producing reports for senior manager to managing director level, supporting the operational teams with statistics and analysis, improving processes, creating dashboards, automating reports, predicting trends, building new tools used across multiple departments, predicting Corporate Bonus Scheme Measures and recommendations to ensure reaching of set targets.
My degree programme has given me the skills needed to dive straight into the world of work, producing reports and building my own tools. The university has taught me to be reactive and balance my workloads and priorities.
One of the biggest things I've noticed whilst I've been at work is how others don't respond as fast to new situations or preempt requests off the back of meetings. When you're writing an essay or completing a project you have to explore all areas of that piece of work, and it's exactly the same with my career: always dig further and push harder.
My advice to future students looking to study at the University of Exeter would be to dive straight in. To get the most out of a situation you have to throw yourself in, give it everything you've got and then you can truly see what the benefits are. Be curious about what you're studying, even if it's not a module you chose. And most importantly, even though you have to work hard at your subject, explore the societies that are offered and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
My favourite thing about the University of Exeter was the societies. I was nominated Vice President of DanceSport in my third year and met some amazing people who are still my best friends. It's great to be able to share ideas and experiences with your close friends and make new ones.
BSc Computer Science, 2002
National Manager - Business Transformation in the Construction division at Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company
My current role is very diverse, working across all aspects of the business, including Operations, Strategy, HR, Procurement, to improve performance. Reporting into the Chief Operating Officer it's basically a get things done role, very project and initiative driven.
The University of Exeter was a great place to start building the skills and experience that has led to a varied and enjoyable career so far, through the Students' Guild, management consulting, supply chain, and now business transformation, working in the UK, Europe, US and Australasia.
My degree helped build strong project management skills, easily transferable and increasingly important in business. Outside my degree I was heavily involved in student media and campus cinema, collaborating in teams and testing my multi-tasking skills!
The University of Exeter has it all: strong teaching and research, great facilities, a vibrant student community, and a beautiful campus in one of the nicest parts of the country. Make the most of the opportunities available, you'll get so much back from the experiences you have, setting yourself up well for the future.
IT Management for Business, 2015
Software Engineer, BBC iPlayer
I'm part of a small team delivering all metadata for iPlayer to work on the web, mobile devices, TVs, set-top boxes, Sky, etc. We deal with 100 million requests from our users every week and it’s very exciting technology to work with. We also build internal tools to make iPlayer even better: from using machine learning applications to workflow improvements personalising content.
My degree definitely left me very well prepared for this role. The computer science aspect of the course gave me hard skills and understanding of the underlying technology I work with day to day, and the management aspects help me give me a different point of view and attitude when it comes to decision-making and collaboration.
My dissertation was about modifying video streams, and that is pretty much what iPlayer does at its core - it streams video.
Careers events helped me figure out my options after university, but I think my engagement in societies like XTV played the biggest role in getting me to where I am now because of the opportunities that came with it: meeting Exeter alumni at the BBC (who I am still in touch with) and networking with other universities and students that were interested in student TV.
The degree is obviously important (I had to have a 2:1 to get onto the BBC graduate programme), but university is also a great time to figure out where your passions lie. There are societies and opportunities for any niche - and once you have found something you enjoy, don’t let others stop you going for it. If you have an idea that sounds a bit too ambitious, so what?
Exeter is a lovely place, I genuinely miss it. One of my favourite things that I haven’t experienced elsewhere is how easy it was to get to know people and meet your friends randomly on the streets or campus. Bored on a Thursday night and no assignments? Bound to find someone you know in the Ram… or on your way there.
Computer Science Society
The society is for students studying, or interested in, Computer Science. We organise:
- visits to big names in the computing industry, perfect for anyone looking to work within this area
- programming workshops and help sessions to help you get ahead of the game
- regular and exciting socials for everyone to get involved with.