Cardiff University’s MSc Computing has helped Mark advance his ICT skills and improve his employability. He enjoys studying with students from a variety of backgrounds and is grateful to be able to study full-time thanks to his Postgraduate Taught Scholarship.
Can you tell us a little bit about the programme in your own words?
“The MSc Computing programme is a vocational course for graduates from other disciplines who want to move into computing. Students have a variety of degree backgrounds, from History to Sound Engineering. Most have come either directly from their undergraduate degree, or with just a year or two of work experience. The course is also offered as a part-time degree, attracting students with a few years’ experience in a relevant field who are looking to progress.
“The modules are mainly classroom based, with some of our contact time in the computer labs which are well appointed with up-to-date equipment. The modules are varied, with some being mainly bookwork, and others more discussion based. The classes are led by professors and lecturers from within the school, with the occasional guest lecturer from within the industry.”
What did the Postgraduate Taught Scholarship mean to you?
“The Postgraduate Taught Scholarship has substantially reduced the financial burden of postgraduate study. It has helped me to afford to study full-time, completing the course in one year rather than studying part-time while working and completing it in three years.”
Have you been able to secure funding from other places, how else are you supporting your studies?
“I have not been able to secure other funding, so I am supporting myself through savings I had built up while working prior to starting this course. (For comparison, most of the students on my course are funding it with a combination of part-time work and career development loans.)”
What were your motivations for undertaking a postgraduate degree?
“Prior to starting this degree, I was a performance information officer for a local authority. I wanted to advance in my career, but all of the opportunities that looked interesting to me wanted someone with more computing knowledge than I felt I could offer. I hope that completing this degree will increase the opportunities available to me.”
Why did you decide to do your postgraduate degree at Cardiff?
“This particular course, being a conversion course accredited by the BCS (the Chartered Institute for IT), is not widely offered. I was keen to study at Cardiff – as well as being a highly regarded university, a number of my friends had studied here in the past and all spoke highly of the university and their time here.”
How do you think your postgraduate course will contribute to your future career plans?
“My course is accredited by the BCS, so should help me to find work within the IT industry. Outside of that, I intend to make more use of the Skills Development Service to help me develop my soft skills.”
Has studying for a postgraduate degree at Cardiff University lived up to your expectations?
“The course itself was much as I expected; what I hadn’t anticipated was the range of work-related extra-curricular activities available. As well as the Skills Development Service, activities operated by Cardiff University Enterprise such as iSolve and Spark seemed interesting.
“I think the postgraduate experience could be improved by making new postgraduates aware of these opportunities before arriving at Cardiff University. For someone in my position, starting a one-year full-time course after a period away from full-time education, the first weeks of term are important for getting back into the study habit and I felt overwhelmed by the information about these extra-curricular activities. As a result, I did not feel that I had time to look into these activities fully and have not participated in them; had I been aware of these activities earlier, I would have been in a better position to find the time to get involved.”
What are your biggest achievements as a postgraduate student at Cardiff University so far?
“Personally, my biggest achievement in my first term has simply been adjusting to being back in the classroom after so many years away!”
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