Yi Yang

MSc Software Engineering

Senior Product Lead, IGT, London

What programme did you study? Did you come straight to postgraduate study from your first degree?

I studied the MSc in Software Engineering at the University of York.  Before I started my postgraduate programme, I worked for three years in the software industry in China.  This prior work experience was extremely valuable to me, as I knew what I wanted to learn, and what I wanted to do after my postgraduate study.   My work experience gave me a deeper understanding of what I  learned in the postgraduate programme and, in turn, my studies have helped me to find solutions in my work.

Why did you choose to study in the Department of Computer Science at York?

Before I decided to study in York, I came to the UK for a month and visited all the universities which had given me offers, including York.  During that trip, I found that York is an excellent place to study.  

The Department of Computer Science has a high reputation in both academia and industry, and its programmes are closely linked to the needs of industry.  The facilities in the new Computer Science department are very impressive, and York is a quiet and beautiful place which allowed me to focus on my study. 

I found that the module structure within the course was well organised, and that we were given the opportunity to apply our new knowledge both in group work and in individual study.

Did you enjoy your time with us? What was the highlight of your time here?

My life in York was really enjoyable.    In particular, the group project with members of different nationalities helped me to develop my leadership skills.

The content of the MSc programme is based on the most popular technologies currently used in current industry (for example, the Agile development process), and this excellent course design helped me find job before I had even graduated.

Putting studying to one side, there are lots of very cool pubs in York which I visited with friends and classmates for food and drink.  A glass of Hoegaarden and some sausage and mash after study was really pleasant for me!  If I wasn’t studying in the evening, going to some parties with my international classmates was another amazing experience.

What did you think of the Department?

The facilities in the department are world class.  The software and hardware laboratories are brand new and are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The staff are very helpful, not only with regard to my study, but also to my life and career.  Here are two examples:

Firstly, before I started with my final project, I was confused as to whether I should do a PhD programme after my study in York.  Professor Andy Wellings was a great help in assisting me to make a decision.  He didn't just give me advice, but also helped me figure out what I really wanted to do in my life.

Secondly, during one of my group modules, Dr Tommy Yuan gave me much advice on how to co-operate with different people from different cultural backgrounds.  In an international project, the most important thing is not the technologies, but the co-operation.  With Tommy's help at that time, I am now able to work very closely and efficiently with a group of 40 people from nine different countries.

What was your experience of student life at York? Did you feel part of a student community?

There are a large number of student communities at the University of York. I am a fan of snooker and basketball, and I joined these societies for training and competition.  I found this to be very relaxing, especially when I was under pressure with my studies.

How has the programme helped with your career?

I am sure that people in industry are particularly interested in graduates from York. My manager at FlexTrade told me that I was given a first-round interview because I had graduated from York, and he commented that ’having a degree from York is really a good thing on your CV and makes it look much better’.  

Sometimes, I wonder whether the high reputation of the University of York helped me to find a job in the city of London. In fact, I know that the answer is ‘yes’!

The Software Engineering programme gave me enough knowledge to develop new software from scratch.  It also gave me an excellent opportunity to learn project management skills, helping me to become more aware of ‘the bigger picture’ when dealing with clients and solving problems. 

Do you have any advice or tips for people thinking about postgraduate study in Computer Science at York?

Make sure that you do have some work experience (ideally two years) before undertaking further postgraduate study.

York is the right place to do postgraduate study.  Several years after you graduate, I am sure that you will appreciate the decision that you make today.

When you come here, study hard!

Yi Yang, MSc SWE

Find out more about Software Engineering at York