Aman Agrawal

MSc in Computing, 2010

IT Developer, Kinetic Worldwide

Why did you choose to study the MSc in Computing at York?

I have an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, I worked for three years after graduation in professional software development, and, above all, I have a passion for computers, software and programming, all of which combined to motivate me to take my knowledge and experience further. With the Department of Computer Science at York being one of the top ten Computer Science departments in the country made for a more than sufficient reason to pursue that goal here.

What job do you do now?

I work as an IT Developer (another alias for Software Engineer!) building web applications - these products are used by companies worldwide to plan outdoor advertising campaigns for global brands by connecting their requirements with various media owners. My job involves maintaining and enhancing these applications, so building new features into the existing systems as well as creating new tools to make the campaign teams’ work more efficient. Recently I have been assigned to the development of a complex cutting edge new product that would in time replace these existing ones and I have already delivered my first module, so it is a really exciting time.

What aspects of your degree do you use in your job?

I think what I gained more than anything else from my degree is an ability to look at the larger picture when it comes to software system development.

Building software is not just about coding, but also how what is coded can actually solve a real world problem, and how best to build robust and reliable systems by testing and testing repeatedly and constantly keeping the overall vision of the system in sight.

Analysis of the problem, what it needs and the systems you can use, and then refining the initial design in conjunction with actual programming is of paramount importance, which I learnt as part of my degree, and use in my day to day work. Getting to study with number of international students from all walks of life has broadened and enriched my perspective and made me a better and confident communicator with colleagues from different countries and with different expertise.

What advice would you give to people thinking about studying in Computer Science?

You have got to love what you do and have a genuine passion for any field that you choose to work or study in. This is especially important in Computer Science as the discipline is challenging and it will be your passion and perseverance that will keep you going when it gets tough.

The Department of Computer Science at York is a goldmine of clever people, so network with them and talk to them. Don’t just rely on classes but boost them with out of hours reading and programming. Read about a wide variety of Computer Science topics, especially algorithms and maths. Participate in online programming challenges. Form a team with like minded people and work on some projects of your own, as you will learn a lot.

The facilities on campus are tremendous; libraries, shopping centres, labs, the sports centre and so on, are some of the best I have ever seen. There are always social events going on that anyone can be a part of and have fun.

To make the most of your time at the university, get involved in YUSU (student union) events, participate in social gatherings, take up extra-curricular activities, network with people, be a part of a cause, make the best use of all the facilities like the library and sports centre. Study hard and party hard, you are at one of the best universities of the country. All this will shape your life and career going forward and definitely make you a more confident and successful person.

In terms of trying to land a job in this field, you have to be able to articulate your strengths concisely and be able to communicate them effectively to convince your prospective employers that you are the best fit for the job.

Above all else, just be yourself through and through and let your passion be your guide. If you don’t know about something, don’t cook up answers, but politely say you don’t know or at least give it your best shot. Companies look for people who are fighters and are willing to be wrong about something but are also willing to learn, instead of “know-all” people who may not be a great fit.

What do you particularly remember about your time at York?

Studying at the University of York has probably been the best part of my life so far. The cultural vibrancy on the campus is just awesome and enriching in every way. The more I interacted with international students, the more it broadened my understanding of the world and equipped me even more for a professional career.