Oliver Neville-Payne – BSc (Hons) Computer Systems and Network graduate

Current Employer: Softcat plc

Current Job Title: Systems Analyst

Current Location: Marlow, Buckinghamshire

“The University of Plymouth provided a launch pad from which I took my life in a completely different direction – not just academically, but from a lifestyle and motivational perspective.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Continuing from my placement year at Softcat plc, I’ve transferred over from Hewlett Packard Enterprise presales to improving internal and customer facing processes and solutions – looking to continually improve staff efficiency in IT systems – as a systems analyst. Avenues for a management position and a support team have also been discussed moving forward.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Yes, going from a more technical focused and support position to a high-level research and development route was something that I was not expecting. There are so many new avenues to explore now and a great feeling of optimism in where my career path is heading.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Leaving a career behind in order to come to the University of Plymouth, returning to education after seven years, was a difficult decision as it meant putting the brakes on what I had achieved. It was a tough move that carried risk, but four years on there has been a very high reward.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

I managed within my placement year at Softcat plc to reorganise and enhance the way the HPE presales team manages enquiries from other departments, with the introduction of a bespoke ticketing system – while there wasn’t enough time to see this through to completion before my final year, it is now in the testing and development stage and will see the department move from a restrictive shared mailbox to a dynamic and widely accessible web-based solution, saving a great deal of time.

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

Never be afraid to show initiative. Accepting the norm and just fitting in, avoiding change, will eventually have you bored of the same mundane tasks. Automate and refine whatever you can; it not only helps you in your career progression, but it also improves efficiency for anyone who works with you or shares your role within the company.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The University of Plymouth provided a launch pad from which I took my life in a completely different direction – not just academically, but from a lifestyle and motivational perspective. Computer Systems and Networking opened my eyes to many avenues of computing I previously thought were too difficult, too theoretical for my liking and secured me a career path by which I’m utterly floored. The four years I’ve spent within the University have allowed me to focus on my personal health, my well-being, and gave me the opportunity to meet some of the most supportive and closest friends I’ve ever had.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

The general feeling of dedication within my course study group: every time there were deadlines closing in, and the work level was high, the group came together and got it right every time. This group was with me ever since my first year; we all did placements for our third year, and we all looked out for each other.

Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?

On occasion. LinkedIn provides most of this communication line, and I have seen a few postgraduates from time to time. I would certainly wish to continue contact with my course group… who knows where we’ll end up.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?

Yes, I would recommend the University of Plymouth for the opportunities and prospects which completing a degree there gives you. There’s a lot to be had, especially in Computing: you only need to be determined and remain steadfast.

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