Reflecting on a placement year

Final year student, Becky Rush, had a busy and exciting year on placement at BBC News last year. Now back for her final year, Becky reflects on her time at the BBC.

“Throughout my placement at BBC News I had the opportunity to work with talented developers and significantly improve my skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript – to name just a few. I worked on projects which are published in over 20 languages on the BBC News website and seen by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. I was even given the opportunity to be the lead developer on my own project, which has been a fantastic learning experience!”

You can find out more about Becky’s placement as she kept us posted during her time at the BBC from an exciting project she developed to the anticipation and initial thoughts on starting her placement.

Trends, technology and university life

In a recent article in University Life, Dr John Kingston, senior lecturer in Information Systems and Business Computing here at Brighton, joins the discussion about trends in technology at university and student and employer expectations.

One of the points the article makes is that 92% of CIOs think current IT recruitment needs are not being met by education, resulting in a £63bn cost to the UK economy (from a study by Robert Half UK).

At Brighton we have been using Mendix to help our students understand the requirements needed to design mobile applications, without the knowledge of coding, to address this.

“We use Mendix to teach students how to use software applications and the principles of applications without teaching them programming,” explains Dr. John Kingston, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems and Business Computing at the University of Brighton. “Mendix requires students to learn how to structure data, create workflow diagrams and specialised user interfaces.

“However, when they’re finished, they just press a button and it creates the application. We are using it with first-year Business Computing students, which has resulted in one student getting a summer job with Brighton City Council.”

You can ready the full article here.

University’s privacy protection success

The University of Brighton has helped develop a new software system that empowers citizens to take control of how their private information is used.

Hospitals in Spain and Italy, and government departments in France, Italy and Greece, have successfully applied the new platform in pilot projects, and the European Union has asked for presentations highlighting key aspects and successes.

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, the two-year ‘VisiOn: Visual Privacy Management in User-Centric Open Environments’ project has concluded with the successful development of a visual privacy management platform that enables citizens and public administrations to understand and visualise their privacy needs. It identifies conflicts with regard to different privacy needs and privacy laws and it provides warnings to citizens and organisations informing them of potential privacy breaches.

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What makes Hove, actually?

Members of the public are being invited to come up with ideas as to what makes Hove Hove.

Workshops are planned for people to suggest stories and objects for the Hove Plinth, a new cultural attraction on the historic Hove seafront designed to showcase the best in modern day sculpture.

The University of Brighton is working with sculptor Jonathan Wright who is creating the plinth’s ‘Constellation’, a mechanical model of the solar system and iconic images associated with Hove.

University experts are supporting Jonathan in the Constellation’s final design using 3D technologies for the digitisation of the icons and production of the sculpture.

Dr Karina Rodriguez Echavarria, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: “We are supporting Jonathan with our expertise in 3D technologies for digitising cultural heritage and enabling the production of the icons for the sculpture.”

“We are holding a series of workshops in the Brighton and the Hove museums in the next two weeks and we would like members of the public, our students and staff, to come along and tell us their views on the most exciting, relevant or significant places and landmarks in Hove that make it special and interesting, and to tell us what objects communicate why it is a place to be proud of.”

The Hove Museum workshops are on 24 October, 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm. Brighton Museum workshops are on 31 October, 10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm.

Bring a photograph, digital or printed, displaying suggested objects. To attend, email Jonathan at jhhwright@me.com stating preferred session.

The plinth has been crowdfunded and is supported by the Hove Civic Society. For more information go to: http://www.hovecivic.org.uk/shaping-future/public-sculpture/hove-plinth-our-vision and http://www.hovecivic.org.uk/sites/hovecivic.org.uk/files/Hove%20Plinth%20infopack%202017-03-08%20Constellation.pdf

 

A winning placement year

Arun receiving his award

Arun Sharma is currently on placement as a junior software engineer at West Control Solutions, and is one of two recipients of the Lancia Consult Award for Excellence in a Computing Placement Year at our school awards ceremony.

We caught up with Arun, a student on our Computer Science (Games) course, to find out more about his placement and life at Brighton.

“I’ve always wanted to explore a degree with an emphasis on games, and Brighton offered me the chance to do so, with the opportunity to transfer from a partner college to the second year of the Computer Science (Games) course here.

Highlights of the course for me include the variety of lecturers and their well-established backgrounds, and the 3D Graphics and Animation and the Intelligent Systems modules. Intelligent Systems not only provided a glimpse into game development but also other real-world applications.

I must also recommend the placement year; regardless of any computing course you apply for. It expands your knowledge, allows you to make new contacts as well as possibly having a job offer at the end of it!

The placement office was absolutely excellent, consistently reviewing and offering improvements to my CV and offering mock interviews and tips. I am currently on placement at West Control Solutions as a junior software engineer. The Computer Systems Architecture module has been invaluable for my placement, giving me a solid understanding hardware basics for computer systems. I have already formulated a final year project using the technologies and programming languages I have acquired on placement.

I plan to use my course to get into the games industry. In addition to this, there is a possibility I may pursue a masters in Software Engineering using this degree as a base.”

Congratulations to Arun on his achievements so far!

Celebrating success

We celebrated some fantastic successes today with our award-winning computing students.

Head of School, John Taylor, introduced the School of Computing Engineering and Mathematics awards ceremony by leading a round of applause and congratulating all our winners.

Congratulations to Beck Rush, Digital Media Development BSc(Hons) and Arun Sharma Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons)who both received the Lancia Consult Award for Excellence in Computing Placement Year and £500 each. The prize is awarded by a University of Brighton alumnus, the MD of Lancia.

Becky spent her placement year at the BBC, you can read about some of her experiences on this blog, including this post. And Arun worked for West Control Solutions, a local software company. We will be finding out more from Arun about how his placement went, soon.

Rupert Agnew Computer Science BSc(Hons) received the FDM Group Prize, and £250, for the best development project from a final year student completing either the Computer Science BSc(Hons), Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons) or Software Engineering BSc(Hons). You can find out more about Rupert’s project on the blog, here.

Digital Games Production student, Laura Marquick was the recipient of an award from one of our accrediting bodies, the BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT Project Prize for the best project by a final year undergraduate computing student. Laura’s project explored ways to use the structure, abstraction, and discipline of programming to interpret physiological data from the human body and product unique visual effects that reflect the natural beauty of the body’s biological processes.

Our computing division has strong links with Wired Sussex, and Digital Media student, Jaime Dare, and Digital Games Production student, Scott Jarvis were the recipients of awards from Wired Sussex for the best project for a Digital Media, Digital Media Development and Digital Games Production by a final year student.

The celebrations for our graduating students continued into the afternoon with our school graduation ceremony at the Brighton Centre.

Congratulations and well done everyone!

Putting learning into practice on placement

Ganiyu Ibraheem, BSc(Hons) Software Engineering tells us why his placement year was the highlight of his course.

I’ve always had an interest in software development; having participated in programming competitions since high school. I decided I wanted to study Software Engineering at Brighton University as it is one of the few universities offering the courses and with the capacity to support my academic needs.

One of the best parts for me has been the amount of support I received from my lecturers, it really proved helpful throughout the course. The staff are very helpful and have lots of ideas on how to progress academically and professionally. And the course is quite flexible as there are numerous modules available to choose from during the final year ranging over different areas of software development.

The highlight of my course has been my placement year. I was a Software Development intern in the Research and Development Information department at AstraZeneca in Cambridge. I worked clinical trials software for the scientists and utility software for use internally within the department.

The most challenging part of the placement the shift from academia into the industrial setting, as this requires you to draw heavily on the knowledge gained in university and apply it to practical projects. The most interesting part was the amount of exposure I gained at AstraZeneca, as the company provided a lot of support and resources for our professional development.

Another highlight of the placement year was receiving a World-wide Developer Conference (WWDC, 2016) Scholarship from Apple, as I attended a lot of seminars from Apple Engineers in the context of Mobile App Development.

I intend to further pursue a career in Research and Development. The course and placement year has enabled me to pursue a master’s degree whilst I spend the summer working at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

I definitely would recommend the course as the course content is very up to date with industry standards and very practical in nature. And I would encourage prospective students to take advantage of the wide array of opportunities and support provided by the academic staff. And also to take a placement year if they can.