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.

Dream big and aim high

Umair Khalil, Third Year (BSc) Hons Computer Science gives us an insight into life as a computing student at Brighton.

The reason why I chose to study at Brighton is because the curriculum reflects what is being used and practiced in industry. The city of Brighton was another big factor as the community here is diverse and brings together the many different cultures within a vibrant city.

The guest lectures have been crucial in understanding how content taught at the University can be instrumental to tasks undertaken by large sized companies. As an example, the Pension’s Regulator gave a lecture for one of my modules, showing how some of their technical and business processes consist of some of the material we learn here. This was a prime example in showing how the course is up-to-date and useful for students to see how the newest technologies can be used in almost any industry.

The course remains up-to-date with the current technologies and theoretical. In the final year, there are a wide array of options to choose from. Some of the modules help to gain the required knowledge on a particular field you want to advance in. I also found the final year project a good resource in helping me to gather a thorough understanding on a topic that is not taught at the University.

The staff have been extremely supportive since the minute I arrived. They have all helped to push me out of my comfort zone. They have always provided me with the advice and the tools to stand out in a very demanding industry, and how I can maximise opportunities in and out of university.

Although I didn’t do a placement year, I did do a spring internship at IBM which taught me massively about the responsibility of client requirements and how the latest pieces of technology within the field of computer science can simplify many everyday tasks and aid businesses to achieve their long-term goals.

The knowledge I have gained from the course has been an invaluable resource in equipping me for life after I graduate. I feel as if the three years I have spent at here have really prepared me for any small or big task I encounter in my everyday life.
I would definitely recommend the course to those who have a technical background, not afraid of challenging themselves and have an aspiration to be involved within a hugely prosperous industry. As there are constant revolutions within Computer Science, there are endless possibilities about what might occur within the field. There are new topics and tools which would be of interest to people based on their skillset and curiosity.

What I would say to a lot of people is to dream big and aim high. By setting a high standard for yourself, you can achieve many great things and life is too short for not taking any ambitious risks. Try to get as much experience as you can by either undertaking some side projects and publishing this online or getting some work experience. A lot of small and large firms hold internships so be sure to apply as this would put you in a great position when applying for jobs. As we’re living in a digital age, maximise your online profile by utilising websites such as GitHub and LinkedIn, since a lot of recruiters in the field of computer science tend to examine students on these profiles. Lastly, don’t be intimated by the job market when it comes to graduating, employers tend to recruit hard working students who are not afraid to have a bit of fun and there’s no better place to learn about the two other than the University of Brighton.

Waking up to sunshine

For his final year Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons) project, Adam Worley invented an alarm called ‘Chrono-lux’ that banishes the wake-up blues and makes mornings more enjoyable by simulating a sunrise using a smart-bulb.

Adam Worley, Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons)

Adam says: “My project is to develop a connected Android alarm application with integration with smart devices. For many, the mornings can be a struggle as they find it difficult to wake to their alarms. By developing Chrono-lux people will be able to configure smart-alarms, these alarms will be able to trigger smart-devices and other Internet of things (IoT) devices.

“Currently there is a boom of connected devices coming to market from smart-bulbs to connected kettles and fridges; these devices allow for a level of automation and intelligent features that can be useful in day to day use. Chrono-lux intends to bring these devices together to allow for a more enjoyable morning, by simulating a sunrise using a smart-bulb. It has been shown that mimicking aspects of the day/night cycle can help to improve alertness and bring your body gradually to more natural sleep cycles.

“There are multiple uses of lighting in use today such as morning alarm clocks that have built in lighting to simulate the sunrise or the use of mood lighting on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, intended to tune the passengers to their destination time-zone to reduce jet-lag and fatigue. However currently there are very few Android apps that utilise these smart-devices. Initially my application will work with Philips Hue bulbs, with the ability to be extended for use with other smart-bulbs and devices such as kettles, coffee machines and even toasters.”

A warm welcome at our open day

Sunshine, blue skies, our brilliant ambassadors and friendly staff welcomed visitors to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June.

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and campus where you will be studying. You’ll also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking about beginning your studies in 2018 and missed this one, find out more about upcoming events on our website.

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Moulsecoomb Campus Open Day

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and the campus where you will be studying. You will also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking of beginning your studies in 2018 come along to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June. Find out more about open days on our website.

A Project in the Life of a Visual Journalism Trainee

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A few months ago, I completed my first big project for the Visual Journalism team at BBC News. I worked alongside another developer to create the ‘Which World Leader are You?’ piece.

I was brought into the project as it looked like one which I could learn a lot from it, buddy up with an experienced developer and, given the scale of the project, it would probably benefit from an extra set of hands.

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First week on BBC Placement

A week or so ago, I started my placement year. I got a great position as a Trainee Web Developer on the BBC News Website, based in Broadcasting House, London.

I’m shattered to be honest. But already I’m having a great time, learning loads and actually feeling like part of the team.

I’ve ended up in the Visual Journalism Team (Yay!) which mostly creates bespoke interactive content for news articles. Things such as the Olympic Face Wall and Will a robot take your job?. This is probably the team I was hoping to get the most (well, tied with Politics) and I genuinely think it’ll teach me the most too, in regards to front-end web development.

I’m not sure how much detail I can give about what I’ve been working on but I’ve already got the basics of my first project done (and that was only my second day!). It’s a little something for the US election, I’ll share it and describe it properly when it’s published.

Since then, I’ve been mostly finding and solving problems with another project which is due to be released into the big wide world next week. Again, I’ll try and share it and give a little more details when it’s ready.

I’ve spent a lot of the time getting used to using the Mac Terminal and Git, as well as the way the team approaches and builds content. It’s very different to anything I’ve worked with before, mostly due to it being such a big organisation who put an emphasis on automating as much of the development process as possible – so we can spend more time creating and developing awesome content.

The team are lovely and haven’t hesitated to include me and make me feel welcome. They’re happy to answer any of my questions (no matter how silly) and we all go to lunch together everyday. This in itself has been why I’ve settled so quickly and enjoyed my first week so much.

Weirdly, although this has been a major week for me, there doesn’t seem to be much for me to say… I’ll try and blog regularly with any exciting updates!

ElectroMagnetic Fields (EMF) our third and final day

After a suprisingly good sleep I got up and again left the others to get themselves together whilst I started the day

VR workshop – I was super excited to get involved in this workshop. Armed with my laptop, Google Cardboard and smartphone I managed to create a very basic world in virtual reality just using HTML and Aframe.JS. This was so satisfying and defintely something I want to continue playing with! Massive thanks to Michael Straeubig for the workshop!
Realtime Web – I’m going to be honest, this workshop went a little over my head (and from the chatter I wasn’t the only one). It didn’t seem to lend itself to a workshop so well as only a few people could code at once but they did create some pretty cool stuff which affected each of our computer screens at once – such as changing the colour of a browser when a button was pressed to a colour we’d individually selected earlier.
A talk on how data is used in and from schools – This one was kind of scary in some ways. Schools are now being told to provide the government with country of birth details from students – this can’t be good. In light of the uncertainty from Brexit it might scare parents off sending their children to school in case it leads to deportation or something. Also the government have a database of details of every under 35 year old in the UK – acadmeic things from when we were at school and such like. All this can be passed on to compaines too…. Concerning eh? Find out more
Meditation for Hackers – I ended the festival with 2 hours of being taught meditation techniques. Nice. My favourite was to focus on all the sounds around you, try to focus on one particular one, then try to focus on two, then three. It’s hard and it doesn’t matter if you stop at 1 or 2 sounds, but it definitely shuts my brain up!

Unfortunately EMF Camp is only bi-annual. The next one isn’t until 2018 – booo! But for now we can satisfy that itch by watching the talks from this year here. And you can also find what I got up to on days one and two of this years event.