Tech Industry Gold students, Mary Obembe and Kukku George, impressed Telefónica UK and were offered the opportunity to work shadow the CIO for one day. We caught up with Mary and Kukku to find out more about their work shadowing day experience and why they chose to study a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree at Aston University.
Tell us more about the work shadowing opportunity.
Mary and Kukku: We won the prize at the Tech Industry Gold student/employer event in London this year. The events are run twice a year and offer students the opportunity to showcase their skills to employers. We were told we had impressed employers by asking questions and networking. We are also Tech Industry Gold student ambassadors and organise events for students to help create a student community, so we think that helped too. There were only two work shadowing prizes available and we were noticed out of approximately 200 students.
What did the day involve?
Mary and Kukku: We spent the day shadowing Debra Bailey, CIO of Telefónica UK. It was an amazing opportunity which we will always remember! We spent the day in the head office in Slough and attended some of Debra’s meetings which gave us a great insight into the ‘day in the life of a CIO’. Learning about Debra’s role and how she developed her career was great. It was very inspiring. The Telefónica UK team were very welcoming and introduced us to their strategy. We also spent the evening in the lab where they focus on sprint projects and innovative ideas.
Why did you choose a Tech Industry Gold accredited degree at Aston University?
Mary: I have been interested in technology and business since secondary school and when I was looking for degree courses which integrated both IT and business, the BSc (Hons) Computer Science for Business degree, accredited as Tech Industry Gold was the perfect choice. I also liked the employer involvement. It’s been the best decision choosing this course, as the modules have been so interesting, and I have been involved in so many great activities.
Kukku: The BSc (Hons) Computer Science for Business accredited as Tech Industry Gold, at Aston university, contains exactly what I was looking for from a course that balances computer science with business. It also has a high student satisfaction rate and graduates have a high employment rate. Birmingham is also a great place to live as a student due to the community and the general city lifestyle. My course at Aston gives me an all-round great experience for both my studies and social life.
What have been the highlights so far?
Mary: Being involved in the Tech Industry Gold events run by Tech Partnership Degrees has been fantastic. These events involve meeting and networking with employers and students, as well as taking part in competitions. I found this very useful when finding out about different companies, as well as improving my networking, presentation, and team working skills. It has also been great meeting other students from different universities who study Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees, as it creates a community of people. In addition, modules such as Human Computer Interaction, Project Management and Fundamental Strategy have also been very interesting.
Kukku: I have met many people as I’m involved in different societies and I’ve taken on different responsibilities. It also means that I have been able to make friends who are on different courses at Aston university.
What are the challenges?
Mary and Kukku: We both agree that learning to code has been a bit of a challenge as neither of us had any prior knowledge or experience of programming. However, with practice and attending support sessions, our programming skills have really improved. It is so important to ensure you speak to a lecturer or student support officer if you are struggling with any aspect of your course.
What are your plans for the summer?
Mary: I am currently planning to work and have a few weeks off to relax before I start my placement at Deloitte, which will be a great experience. I am really looking forward to it.
Kukku: During the summer, I am working as a team leader for the National Citizen Service.
You’re both Tech Industry Gold ambassadors – what does that involve?
Mary and Kukku: Our roles as Tech Industry Gold ambassadors involve organising and promoting events with Tech Industry Gold students. We promote and encourage more students to consider tech courses through sharing our experiences and activities on LinkedIn.
We have recently created a video, with the Aston university marketing team, which includes alumni and current students discussing the benefits of the course at Aston University. We have also made another video in which current students provide tips for each year group. (We will share them when they become available). The purpose of the videos is to encourage more students to consider Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees and will also help current students who may need tips and advice when they’re studying the degree.
Would you recommend new students to volunteer as a Tech Industry Gold student ambassador?
Mary and Kukku: We would definitely recommend volunteering as a Tech Industry Gold student ambassador as it is a very rewarding role. You get to improve your skills in communication, networking and what’s more it’s great meeting other ambassadors. It is also rewarding due to the fact that you are supporting other students encouraging them to take part in Tech Industry Gold events and sharing any tips where possible.
What are your plans for your ambassadorial role in 2019/20?
Mary: As I will be on my placement year, I plan to create a ‘life of a placement year student’ series where I will share my experiences. I hope this will encourage more students to undertake a placement year.
Kukku: The plan for the next academic year is to go into secondary schools and colleges and deliver tech-related activities to promote Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees, and run coding clubs.
Anything else to add?
Mary: Women in technology is something I am passionate about and I believe that anyone can do computing. There are so many career opportunities within technology and I really encourage any females to consider this.
Kukku: A great highlight, this year, was when I won the Individual Presentation Award at the Tech Partnership Degrees’ Student/Employer event. I was really pleased.
Mary and Kukku: Thank you to Debra Bailey and the team at Telefónica UK for making us feel so welcome. It has been a great year and we really appreciate the team at Tech Partnership Degrees for their continuous support.
Find out more about Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees