Aaron Hughes
Year of graduation: 2012
Employer: Hitachi Solutions Europe
Job title: Technical Solution Architect (Data and Analytics) 
Location: UK

Choosing Plymouth

Plymouth was a good choice because of the reputation of the University and the specific nature of the course combined with the ability of doing a placement year. My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is how it started to kindle my knowledge and interest in databases and how information is handled and flows through a business.”

Life after graduation

I worked in administration for a year or so, and then I applied for a graduate scheme in Devonport Dockyard with Babcock International Group. I was successful in securing a position and started the graduate programme which lasted for two years. I completed this programme and took a job in the Information Management Team based in Devonport.
After around a year and a half as a BI Developer at Devonport, the opportunity arose to develop my skills further, take on more responsibility and move countries.
I applied and was successful in securing a role in Babcock Canada as a Business Intelligence and Reporting Specialist. Work consisted of BI Report building (Crystal Reports, Qlikview and SSRS), SQL Server DBA, SQL Scripting for Dimension/Fact tables using the Kimball Methodology, CDC, SSIS, SSAS, Crystal Reports, Qlikview and SSRS Administration, along with a host of other activities.
After two years working in Canada, I made the decision to return to the UK. 
When returning to the UK I started working as a Business Intelligence Developer and Data Integrator for Flybe, expanding my skills.
After a short time, I made the move to a more local company to start working in a consulting role as a Solution Specialist (Data and Analytics) at Delt Shared Services. 

Working in consulting was interesting and diverse so I decided to take the next step and move to a larger specialist practice, Hitachi Solutions Europe, where I am a Technical Solution Architect (Data and Analytics). 

I started as a Lead Technical Consultant (Data and Analytics) and I have spent the last two years working with many varied clients from many industries, designing, developing and implementing Modern Data Platform in Microsoft Azure.
I am the organisation's product owner for the Modern Data Platform solution and work on improving it with the assistance of the rest of the team. I have had the chance in this role to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer and continuously learn, achieving a large number of Microsoft Role Certifications. 

The support I needed

Studying at Plymouth gave me the base knowledge to develop upon in the working world – the course I undertook had the experience aspect built into it with a third year placement.

In my first year I came in for a proper learning difficulties assessment and was assigned someone to help. We met once a month and I was helped to apply to get software that would assist me such as Dragon/ClaroRead, a dictaphone etc. which was a massive help in studying. 

In my previous schooling I was deemed to have too high grades to be put into an assessment so it was awesome after years of struggling to actually get the support I needed.”

Challenges along the way

For me I think getting the courage up to apply and obtain a graduate job was probably the most difficult thing, closely followed by moving to a foreign country. 

Because of my learning difficulties I have always had problems with change and adjusting to new environments and people.

Taking a chance

Whilst working at Devonport I was able to work with another team member to prepare and install a data warehouse into the Canadian office. Through this opportunity I was able to visit Canada for the first time and display my skills. 

This trip later gave me the courage to take a chance on moving to Canada when a great job opportunity came up at the site.

My advice – complete a placement

Work hard and put all the effort you can into becoming knowledgeable about the area – it is really important to complete a placement as part of your degree plan to get the relevant business experience.

The placement I undertook was a mix of office, finance, IT and admin ... it reaffirmed that I wanted to work in that area.

It actually gave me a lot of great experience with business and people that I would later need whilst talking to users of our systems etc.

In the short term the placement opened a few opportunities for work straight after university and throughout the final year. I was offered a couple of extensions to the placement, which I accepted, and eventually it ran into a part time data analyst role for the facilities manager at the time.

Business Students