Chris White – BSc (Hons) Web Applications Development graduate

Current employer: xDesign

Current job title: Software Developer

Current location: Edinburgh

“Networking is important. There’s always some kind of technology networking event going on near you; turn up, talk to people, because a lot are developers just like you, in exactly the same boat. Get their details and keep in touch.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

It hasn’t been long since I graduated, but I’ve been employed as a software developer for about seven months now. I mainly build web applications and APIs that power native mobile applications built by my colleagues for a wide range of clients, including the NHS and Money Dashboard. I’m happy where I am for now, but I will be looking into tackling more interesting and challenging technologies in the future.

Did you decide to change your career path during your studies, and if so, why?

Not during my studies, no. I did change my course before I started attending university twice, from computer systems and networks to computing and then to web applications development. I had trouble deciding which one would give me the best career, whilst also taking into account what I enjoyed most rather than what was most lucrative.

What was the most difficult thing you faced finding a job?

There is definitely no shortage of jobs in the software development industry if you’re willing to move around, so the most difficult thing I faced was actually deciding which roles to apply for, especially when I might have to travel hundreds of miles to attend an interview. There are many factors to consider when applying for software development roles beyond salary.

What, if anything, would you have done differently at university?

I would have put more effort in during the second year. I think I relied on the fact that there was always another year if I let some assignments slip. I never took into account how much of a mad rush and huge workload the final year would be. I also would have spent more of the first year socialising and meeting other computing students.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Networking is important. There’s always some kind of technology networking event going on near you; turn up, talk to people, because a lot are developers just like you, in exactly the same boat. Get their details and keep in touch. Not only is it social, your CV will go right to the top of their pile if their company is hiring for a role you’re interested in and they can recommend you.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The group assignments in some modules definitely helped me work as part of a team. It was a gentle introduction to having to collaborate with people you don’t know, which is something you have to be able to do as part of your job after you graduate. Being able to speak up (sometimes against others with more experience than you) isn’t always easy.

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