Computing Course Enhances Robert’s Skills Towards Future Career

0 min read

24 May 2024

Picture of SERC student Robert Donnan

Open University BSc (Hons) in Cloud Computing student Robert Donnan, (22) from Newtownards, is focusing on a pathway to a future career while studying at South Eastern Regional College (SERC). 

Robert completed GCSEs at St Columbanus College before attending SERC. On why xe attended SERC, Robert comments, “In the summer of 2018, my parents and I decided to visit the SERC Newtownards campus to explore the courses on offer. Even after obtaining the necessary grades to pursue my A-Levels, I chose to attend SERC instead because it was more convenient to travel to, focused on the subject I was most interested in, and provided a fresh start to my education. After my last year of school, due to personal and general reasons associated with wanting to leave the school environment, I concluded that SERC would be a better fit for my needs.” 

Commenting on the current course xe is doing, Robert said, “The course will challenge you in a similar way to the Ulster University Foundation Degree in Computing, which I completed at SERC before moving onto my current course, but the format of most of the coursework remains familiar with two or three assignments that involve research and practical work. This has made the transition to a Level 6 course like the one I’m studying now easier. 

“I cannot praise my tutors at SERC highly enough. Even those who have left or no longer teach me have made a lasting impact on my academic and professional development. The computing lecturers are always willing to help whenever and wherever they can, and I am extremely grateful for their support. The learning support staff have been a great help too, always friendly, co-operative and sharing any necessary accommodations needed with the lecturers – for example, I got extra time for assignments which has helped me complete those assignments to the best of my ability. I would like to express my gratitude to both my current and past classmates. Since our classes are small, the students can all get to know each other well and help each other out; I have made friends from different parts of Northern Ireland and other countries. The international department has also been particularly helpful, especially in highlighting the Study USA course and assisting with the Turing Scheme.” 

On the opportunities available to SERC students, Robert says, “SERC students get lots of opportunities to enhance their skills and SERC exhibits a continued dedication to enriching the lives and learning environment of its students. In 2023, I applied to the Turing Scheme and was fortunate to spend two weeks abroad in Braga, Portugal, working as a web developer for Gabimendes, a company who provide accounting and management support services to Portuguese businesses. I worked with an external client who required a website for their hairdressing business. Throughout the two years of my SERC Level 3 course and again in 2022/23, I served as a class representative in the SERC Students Union, attending meetings, raising concerns, and advocating for the interests of my classmates. Additionally, I worked in the student company FixIT in 2020/21, providing technical support to students and staff members. I was responsible for fixing hardware or software issues, setting up PCs, deploying tablets for Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and shadowing computing staff members and assisting them with any internal operations. All this helped boost my computing skills and made me more confident in general.” 

On what xe wants to do after the course, Robert comments, “There’s a lot of doors that open for you on completion of the course; you can go into industry, carry out a master’s or PhD, or complete a graduate programme. I plan on going into work after I complete this course, potentially as a Junior Project Manager, Web Developer, or perhaps a job that uses my obtained skills but is outside of the IT industry.” 

Robert concludes, “If you're considering SERC, you should visit your local campus and enquire about courses that suit your needs. In my opinion, studying at SERC was the best decision I ever made, and it could be for you too. Studying at SERC helped me gain perspective on my skills and interests, as well as demonstrated the qualities I need for my chosen industry. It also gave me opportunities to meet influential lecturers and classmates, travel abroad, gain valuable skills both in class and during my time volunteering. Overall, SERC helped me grow both as an individual and as a computer scientist. So, if you're considering SERC, I highly recommend it.” 

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