Class of 2021: looking to join a start-up

Name: Christopher Goldsbrough
Degree Title: BSc Software Engineering for Business
University: Queen Mary University of London 

How did you find out about Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees? 

When applying for university courses in 2016, I noticed a string of options entitled “IT with Business Management” and “Software Engineering for Business” across multiple universities, that were all attributed to Tech Industry Gold. I searched more about the group online and read about the competitions and events they hold for students, and how their accredited courses are carefully designed to present its candidates with a significant professional advantage during their time at university. 

What was the best moment of your degree experience?

I’d say the greatest moment of my degree was securing my placement year role at GSK. There were several steps that made up the recruitment process and being able to demonstrate my resolve at each hurdle successfully and all the way to an offer, whilst facing the peak of second-year assignments, was a really good feeling. Another wonderful moment from my degree that I won’t ever forget is how quickly I was able to develop my technical knowledge at university – this was limited before I started my course and previous disciplines had in fact discouraged me from progressing a career in this field. I am so glad to have not let these low points rule out an opportunity that transpired into the best decision I have made in my life to date. 

What was the most challenging experience? 

I think I speak for almost all students when I say that the biggest challenge of my degree was carrying out an academic year during the COVID-19 pandemic. The switch of lectures and labs from physical attendance to an online “blended learning” environment was a strenuous change, especially in the final year of my course. It is not uncommon to find many dispute the idea that a lack of personal presence, like asking a professor for help with an assignment, should have little effect on performance; however, this was most certainly a bottleneck that caused added stress in coursework and final year project delivery. There was also much uncertainty of deadlines and exam arrangements due to the ever-changing government guidelines, which meant a lot of our work had to be expedited to meet the formalities in place for education during the lockdown periods. 

What would you say now to yourself before you enrolled on your degree?

I would tell Christopher before enrolling in the degree to make the absolute most of his time at university, both professionally and socially. The uni student lifestyle is the bridge between being an inhibited school kid to a young, independent, and professional adult, where it is important to maintain social circles in balance with a career. There were a lot of opportunities in both categories that I missed during my time at university, so the one thing I would tell my past self more than anything is to always try and make time for the most valuable opportunities. 

What would you say to anyone considering a Tech Industry Gold degree? 

The Tech Industry Gold degrees give students an unprecedented professional advantage over other students at university and present them with various opportunities to secure employment before the end of their course. This shouldn’t be confused with the idea that you will have a job in the bag before you graduate, but rather you will have the chance to quickly develop both the technical and professional skills that are essential to a modern digital workforce, through a series of events, competitions, and networking groups. I would highly recommend the Tech Industry Golds degrees to students considering a tech career in emerging companies and industries. 

What are you planning to do this summer?

With my degree finished, I now look forward to playing tennis, finally, take some driving lessons, and hanging out with mates in a park or an outside bar. 

What are your career plans? 

I am currently applying for junior software developer roles and graduate tech positions at technology start-ups across the country. 

Who inspires you? 

My mum has inspired me to become an honest and tenacious adolescent. One of the most valuable life lessons she has taught me is how to identify when certain people try to take advantage of one’s good nature, and reading between the lines in seemingly simple situations. Her help in building my confidence in this once apprehensive skill has made it much easier for me to say no and not be easily swayed into making the wrong decisions. 

Anything else to add?

In troubling times like these, it is often difficult to remind yourself of your achievements and how they have helped you make it thus far. A particular struggle I had during the lockdown periods was noticing others flourishing or making use of their lockdown time to achieve positive things, while I was seemingly doing the same thing every day with no real thrill. I’ve come to learn in recent times that this generally is a phenomenon experienced by almost everybody, and while it may seem like you are not where you should be compared to others around you, you are in fact exactly where you need to be and there are no expectations to prove anything more. Be proud, be willing to learn, and be yourself! 

For more inspirational words and case studies visit the Class of 2021