Being surrounded by so many incredibly talented and motivated individuals made me be more motivated and want to get out of my comfort zone more.

UG student Andreea Niculea
Andreea Niculcea
Undergraduate student
BSc Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science with a Year in Industry
Andreea has been swept off her feet by Sheffield. She has found being surrounded by people who are motivated to do their best has helped her get out of her comfort zone which has led to new challenges and experiences.

Why did you choose to study for your degree at Sheffield?

I never really planned on studying abroad, I always had this idea but just never put much thought into it. When I happened to go to an international universities fair whilst being in my last year of high school and had the chance to talk with several spokesmen of different universities, my plans started to get some shape. By far, Sheffield has swept me off my feet. After I found out how studying Computer Science was like here, the diversity of the modules and the strong bonds the University has with people in the industry it was clear for me that this was my place, and here I am!

What aspects of the degree do you enjoy the most?

I think one of the best parts of my degree has been learning not only technical skills but also transferable ones to use once we’re out there in the real world. I only realised how important this was once I started working during my year in industry! They really do make the difference between someone who’s only technically skilled and someone who’s a team player, has got time&project management skills, etc! It makes all the difference once we’re out in the workplace because career progression in the real world depends on them significantly! I also very much enjoy the modules we get to do in the third year! They’re pretty cool and cover actual hot topics in the computer science industry. Adaptive Intelligence and Speech Processing are my favourite!

How do you think your degree will help your career prospects?

Being so close to the end of my degree puts the past few years into perspective. It was not always easy but it was always worth the work. I have already seen the impact of my degree on my future career. I have completed two summer internships and a long year placement and have seen first hand how the modules we did and projects like EYH and GEC gave me a head start not only at interviews but also during the internships. Truth be told, I really only saw that once I started to work. I took for granted for a while that I was used to working with people from different disciplines or that I knew what it means for the team to work in an Agile way or that I knew I need to present my progress to my clients through demos and ask for their feedback. They seem minor things but they are really not. If none of that was already familiar to me, I would have struggled to adjust to working life a lot more. Going forward, I have no doubt that what I have learned so far and all the skills acquired will be beneficial in the workplace!

Besides all the technical skills developed, my time in Sheffield has equipped me not only with a variety of transferable skills but also a bank of extracurricular experiences which shaped my professional persona and made me successful in the work experiences I have had so far!

What do you like best about studying at Sheffield?

I think the best thing that’s come out of the past few years in Sheffield really is the growth mindset that I developed and practised continuously. Being surrounded by so many incredibly talented and motivated individuals made me be more motivated and want to get out of my comfort zone more. That led to getting involved in things I am passionate about, new knowledge, new challenges, getting to know even more inspiring people and so on. Being part of an international campus, surrounded by like-minded individuals and in a city that values its student community has made Sheffield feel like home pretty quick.

University isn't just about academic study. What extracurricular activities do you enjoy?

One of the highlights of my university experience has been getting involved in lots of extracurriculars. In first and second year I started to volunteer with Sheffield Volunteering in different projects, most of them involved going into local schools to help at maths lessons or deliver STEM-related workshops to motivate the next generation. In my third year, I decided to join the student committee for Sheffield Volunteering as the events coordinator and worked alongside other students to organise volunteering opportunities for students in Sheffield. Examples of events I coordinated are a 2-week charity drive for homeless people where we had an amazing response from students and staff and a card writing event before Christmas. Around 100 people turned up and we had more than 100 cards to send to care homes in town to combat loneliness during the festive season! It was pretty awesome see that work out so well :) Another one of my extracurriculars, which goes hand in hand with my interest in Artificial Intelligence was joining the Sheffield Artificial Intelligence Society committee and helping organise and present at various workshops. All these experiences not only made me learn more about different causes, topics but also expanded my network, put my time management skills right into practice and more importantly, made my student experience one to remember.

What are your future plans?

My work experiences so far made me realise how much I actually enjoy working in technical teams and in high-paced environments so I am going to start my first graduate job in a few months in London. Whilst working on my dissertation I realised I also do like research, especially if it’s in a topic I’m passionate about so I’m keeping this option open for the future too...

Any tips for new students?

Try and get out of your comfort zone as early in your degree as possible. Fail quickly and often! Being a student who wants to do well academically is nowhere near easy, but hard work always pays off. Most of all, enjoy and make the best out of it :)


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