Dominic Youel – BSc (Hons) Computer Science

"I believe that the University has given me a solid toolset – we study many commonly used programming languages, but this is only a part of it. Professionalism is a focus, as are the processes used to dissect a problem before writing any code."

Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?

I wish I had made more of an effort to involve myself in some of the various societies at the student's union. Although I met lots of great people through my course, it would have been great to have more means to wind down while I studied.

What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?

I am a mature student and have lived in the area for many years. Relocating for a degree would have been very difficult financially so it made perfect sense to apply for the university in my city. I didn’t just do this blindly though! I attended open and applicant days and really liked what I saw.

How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the University how did they enable you to get to where you are today?

I had a lot of support from the placement team when my first placement company was liquidated. They were able to find me a new position within a week!

I highly valued PALS in my first year – I had trouble with a particular topic and found the support very helpful. I was to become heavily involved with PALS for the remainder of my degree. I became a leader in second year, which continued into my final year. It has helped me improve my communication skills, adopting a leadership role.

How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?

My career aspirations have changed fundamentally since studying at Plymouth. For the first time in my life, I feel like a valuable employee with options. I have a job secured for graduation at my placement company and I couldn’t be happier.

What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?

The Final Year Project Showcase – this is an event where final year computing students demonstrate their project to members of the public, other students and members of our industry. I had a great day letting people play my game and was amazed to find I had been awarded the first prize!

How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?

I believe that the University has given me a solid toolset – we study many commonly used programming languages, but this is only a part of it. Professionalism is a focus, as are the processes used to dissect a problem before writing any code. Of course, personal development must continue for the foreseeable future if I wish to remain employable but I don’t believe this subject can be fully appreciated without studying it at degree level.

Why would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University?

It is hugely rewarding! University is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in any subject. It is never too late to study something you are passionate about. For the experience alone, it is extremely worthwhile. The fact it will improve your job prospects only serves to further highlight how valuable a degree is.

What will your next move (job or further study) be after graduation?

I am starting my career at GOSS Interactive, a successful local web development company, where I undertook my placement. I am lucky in that I have been allowed to decide which department I would prefer to work in. At the time of writing, I will be working across two departments simultaneously, ensuring a good balance between client work and the more technically demanding aspects of internal systems development.

If you did a placement how did this impact on your short and long term career plans?

I was offered a job for graduation! Since I carried out two placements (of around six months each), I was lucky enough to gain experience in two very different areas of the industry. This not only directly influenced my final year project, but has helped me feel more confident in my abilities moving forward.

If you returned to study (Directly or after a Foundation degree) what supported you in your return to study?

I had many years out of education before coming to University. I would highly recommend the Foundation Year to anyone without the grades or feeling out of touch with education. I believe it prepares you perfectly for the full degree, putting you ahead of or at least on par with those who have done recent computer science A levels and maths.