A career with impact
Top ten for graduate employment
We consistently achieve high scores for graduate employment in the annual survey completed by Unistats (unistats.direct.gov.uk). In the most recent data 100% of our MEng and MComp graduates were in professional or managerial jobs within 6 months of graduation, with an average salary of £27,000.
Your prospects are excellent
When it comes to getting well-paid jobs, our graduates are highly successful. Many are hired as IT consultants and software engineers in medium to large companies. Some of our recent graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Google, Logica, IBM, Hewlett Packard, PWC, and HSBC. A recent study by economists at the University of Swansea showed that maths and computing degrees make the biggest difference to lifetime earnings.
A rapid rise to the top
Within six years of graduating from our MComp Computer Science, Nicola Cooper was managing IBM's multi-million pound business with Shell and won the prestigious Young IT Professional of the Year 2011. She is currently an Associate Director at Ernst and Young.
Case study: Stuart Scott (Google)
Stuart Scott completed our MComp Computer Science in 2012 with first class honours, and applied for a post with Google in California, where he now works as part of the Android development team. We asked him about the interview process and his first impressions of life as a Google employee.
What was your interview like? Once I submitted my application I got a response within a couple of weeks. After that things moved very quickly. Google set up a phone interview which was mostly technical and went really well, and the next week I was offered an onsite interview where I was flown to California, again this was mostly technical. A couple of weeks after this, Google made an offer which I accepted and they began the process of getting a work visa, which took a long time.
Where you are working, and what on? I work in Mountain View, California in a team within Android called Compatibility. We define the technical details of an Android device which OEMs follow to ensure that our users get a consistent experience, and our developers' apps can run on a variety of devices. As a result I get to use the latest prototypes and devices.
What the environment is like at Google. At the center of Google’s culture is “Don’t be Evil” - there is a very big push towards doing the right thing. Everything is environmentally responsible. Google will match any donations you make to charity and will also make a donation every time you commute to/from work using your own energy (I mostly cycle). Google give the whole of Mountain View free Wifi. The whole company loves dogs and its not uncommon to see a dog bolting down the corridor chasing a ball! As far as work goes there is a lot of trust and flexibility; as long as you’re hitting your targets, nobody minds where or when you work. Everyday life is really relaxed as Google provide a lot of services so you don't have to worry; food, laundry, haircuts, gym, bike maintenance, transportation, etc.
How you think your course at Sheffield helped you to get the job? I learnt most of the core requirements needed by Google at Sheffield. Everything from the basic building blocks, to experience in various languages, to communication. Most important were my dissertation, Darwin and Genesys.
Do you have any advice for people that are considering computer science as a career? You need a degree to get into Google, but if you also have experience you’ll stand out much more. I did a bunch of projects outside of university, one of which turned into my dissertation! But the most important piece of advice would be “do a summer internship!” I did an internship at ARM and it was the best thing I did. From another perspective, you’re gaining experience, money and contacts in exchange for your summer. And if you did an internship at Google you’d be spending your summer in California!
Case study: Radina Kalpakova (Amazon)
Between my 3rd and 4th year in the University of Sheffield, I got an internship with Amazon. I was part of their backend catalog team who is responsible for ingesting, maintaining and making available information about all the items in the Amazon catalog. My internship project involved improving an existing tool which was used by the management to track the progress and the flow of information through the system.
A few months after my internship ended and I was back to university, I was offered a permanent position at Amazon that was transferable anywhere. At that time, I was half way through an iOS course taught by Prof Guy Brown, and I already knew I would really love to continue in the mobile sector of the industry. So I chose to move to London and become part of the Amazon Instant Video department and more specifically their iOS team as a Software Development Engineer.
I have been on the iOS team for over a year now and I really love it. I have had the chance to work on amazing features which have immediate impact on thousands of customers including rewriting parts of the Apple Player stack so we can have custom player controls, First Episode Free (giving the customers the chance to watch the first episode of TV series for free while seeing ads), releasing to a new territory (Japan) and a lot more.
The job is very demanding and responsible but at the same time very satisfactory as we can see the immediate impact of our work on our customers. Amazon considers itself the most customer centric company and indeed as part of the work along with coding we have to investigate every single issue that our customers report to us. This activity has proven very useful as it not only gives us inside about what the customer wants but it is also used as an early indicator for discovering potential bugs which may be hard to reproduce in house.
Even though I have been working on a front facing software, I have not lost the opportunity to gain valuable backend in-depth knowledge. I have learned a lot about how important it is not only to release a piece of software but also implementing ways to monitor how well that software is performing and create a real-time alarm mechanisms to notify us when something goes wrong.
Along with implementing our busy roadmap, we have a lot of freedom and are actively encourage to suggest and implement improvements to the existing development process and the customer experience. For example, I noticed that our app had various issues when run with Voice Over, a technology that gives a complete control over the iOS device without the need to see the screen. My manager gave me the chance to improve that experience for our customers and immediately after we released an update with the fixes, there were several articles that covered the change and I saw a lot of comments from happy users who have been struggling up till now. This made me very very happy.
In Amazon I was able to see and get a first hand experience in the full software engineering process in a corporate environment - from gathering requirements, through planning, software architectural meetings, implementing the features, testing cycles, releasing and customer support. There was a lot to take in but the courses and the curriculum structure at the University of Sheffield made me feel fully prepared to embrace the new challenges.
What we do to help
Throughout the year we organise a series of departmental careers events where companies and recruitment agencies meet with our students. Many of the companies who attend these events have input in the design of our courses via our Industrial Liaison Board. Many of them target our students for recruitment.
The University Careers Service has a Computer Science adviser who arranges specialist workshops for final year students including employer presentations, skills development sessions, CV workshops, and mock application tests. The Careers Service also keeps a database of graduate vacancies. They can also support you throughout the process of applying for a job. Our Student Jobshop, based in the Union, displays all current vacancies from part-time work to structured work experience placements.
We want you to develop as a person too. That could mean getting involved in a student club or society, volunteering in the local community or undertaking paid or charitable work. This kind of experience can give you the edge when it comes to impressing an employer. We'll make sure you're aware of all the options open to you.