Ralph Eastwood

MEng Computer Systems and Software Engineering with a year in industry

Why did you choose to study Computer Science?

I have had a keen interest in computers since I was 10. I found programming exciting and it led me to teach myself a number of programming languages before I began the course at York.

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

York has one of the best Computer Science departments in the country. There was a broad range of different areas covered in both what the course offered as well as the research being done in the department.

How was your experience of a year in industry?

I took my year in industry at Thales Transport and Security in Cheadle Heath, Stockport.

York provided all the necessary knowledge to get started for my year in industry. From a technical perspective, the technical skills provided by the programming-related courses allowed great flexibility in learning the programming languages used by the project I was working on. In particular, York emphasises programming concepts rather than a particular programming language. This gives the building blocks to pick up any programming language with ease.  From the engineering point of view, York provides modules that teach various parts of the engineering process. The year in industry gave me the opportunity to put such processes into practice.

The placement is a great experience.  It not only provides the much needed experience that is required by most jobs currently, but it also gives insight into engineering in industry which cannot be learnt from a book. I have learnt a great deal from the placement such as team-skills, real-world engineering and working on a real project.

What do you particularly like about being a Computer Science student at York?

The course opens the door into so many interesting areas of Computer Science. In each module taught in the course, there is almost always a perfect balance between introducing the basics of the area as well as sufficient depth to understand the current research being done in the area and, in many cases, done in the Department. The course content is wide ranging and in the final years of the course gives an exceptional amount of choice into the area that one can specialise in. 

The quality of teaching is excellent.  The lecturers are all professional and very knowledgeable in their areas.  Practicals give on-hand experience where it is necessary to get a ‘feel’ for the area or if it is skill-based (as in some of the first and second year modules). Lecturers are open to questions and are always willing to help.

The new campus looks exceptionally modern and the new facilities are convenient and comfortable to work in.  It is also only a short distance away from the other campus.

I live in York and travel from Acomb every day. It is a four to five mile cycle ride which is excellent (when the weather is) as there are cycle tracks throughout York.  York enables you to cycle from one side to the other side with cycle tracks almost all the way.