Sajad Torkamani, BSc Computer Science, Graduated 2015

Studied: BSc Computer Science (Single Honours)

Graduated: 2015

Who is your current employer?

I’m currently in the last week of my work at Upside Technology - an fintech startup but am due to start a new job at Nationwide Building Society - hopefully, the following week.

What does your role involve?

My job title is Front End Developer so I focus mostly on building the user interface of web applications although the role also involves occasional work on the server-side (the behind-the-scenes stuff like fetching data, persisting data, processing form submissions, handling payments, etc).

A typical day would involve receiving a design mock-up created by a designer and building the actual web page that a real user can interact with. Most of my time is spent sitting in front of the computer and reading & writing code!

What influenced your decision to study the course?

To be completely honest, I was a little unsure what I wanted to do in the future but I thought working with computers would be quite cool! I guess I was attracted to the idea of learning to build my own programs and there being almost no limit to how skilled I could get so long as I worked really hard!

As to why I chose Keele, I applied for a number of universities but what really won me over to Keele was
its beautiful campus and the fact that I could have a full campus-based student experience!

What skills and/or experience did you gain?

It’s difficult to overstate the difference Keele made on my growth as a person. Moving away from home, becoming independent and meeting so many new people was definitely character-forming!

I guess some of the specific skills I gained were:

  • Empathy - meeting so many people from different backgrounds made me appreciate how we all share the same humanity - regardless of our background, race, culture, etc. I realised that such differences are just surface level and that our most important needs / desires are very similar.

  • Confidence / social skills - I was very shy before going to Keele but gradually I learnt through increased interaction that people (students more specifically!) are quite nice in general.

  • Discipline & time-management - I had a lot of freedom at Keele in that I wasn’t constantly harangued by my lecturers but was left to my own devices. This meant I had to stay very disciplined and make sure I had a proper study schedule, etc!

  • Independence - living away from home meant doing a whole lot of new things - laundry, ironing, cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc!

  • Research skills - many of my modules required independent study and research, especially my dissertation, a skill which is probably the most important in my role as a software developer.

What was the highlight of the course?

I think the final year project/dissertation was definitely the most challenging and also rewarding part of the course. It required a lot of independent work which really helped me mature not just as an academic but much more importantly, as a learner! We also had a day where we had to present our final year projects to other students and staff via a reasonably large custom poster. It was quite nice to see what other students did and what they thought of your work!

What did you do after graduating from Keele?

I actually started a job as a Junior Web Developer for a digital agency a week after graduating! Probably should have waited a little bit longer...

How did the course prepare you for your next job?

In many ways:

  • Core programming skills - the course helped me learn the fundamentals of computing (operating systems, networking, databases, artificial intelligence, etc) and exposed me to various programming languages. Although working in industry is different in many respects and is focused more on programming rather than theory, I feel that my degree helped provide a good foundation and eased the transition into day-to-day software development.

  • Teamwork - working as part of a team is very important in my job and the group work that we had to do at university definitely helped improve my ability to collaborate better with co-workers by being more attentive to their opinions and learning to communicate my own better.

  • Independent work - a lot of my course involved independent study and this is perhaps the most fundament skill that a programmer can have. You have to be able to get your head down and be disciplined and methodical enough to learn new things and get stuff done without any hand-holding.

Were you involved in any club and societies at Keele?

I was part of the Men’s football society!