BSc (Hons) Computer Science
Dilek Selin - My typical day
My typical day
A typical day would start off with getting up, catching the University UNO bus and heading towards the forum canteen (they stop serving breakfast around 11:00 but this often changes) to grab a full English breakfast and a coffee at Starbucks (yes, we have a Starbucks on campus!!). During this time, I would regularly check my emails or look at my timetable for the day ahead to find the rooms and prepare my notes for the relevant lectures and tutorials. Generally, after finishing my breakfast I would either grab a meal deal for lunch at the Student union shop since it gets busy towards lunchtime or even because I wouldn’t have time to grab food if I had back to back classes, so having prepped lunch with me or just snacks if I wasn’t feeling too hungry – bringing along food with me was always a must.
Later, if I ever had breaks during my day, I would go to the Learning Resource Centre (LRC) aka the university library. If I didn’t have any upcoming assessments, I would check the active students timetable to see if there were any sports events going on and take part in those sessions where I could participate in sports for free with other students at the uni. After that, I would go to my next classes and then finally when It was home time, I would go back to the bus stop and head home. Since I was a commuting student, by the time I got back home I had enough time to prepare myself for the next day or just wind down from the events of the day. Every student would get at least one day off in the week. For me, in my first year, this was Wednesdays. Including the weekends, I had plenty of time to run errands, book appointments for health checks and even catch up on studies thanks to the extra day off. For the students who lived on campus, they would often take their day’s off as an opportunity to set it as a laundry day!
Dilek Selin - Things you should know
Things you need to know before studying Computer Science at Herts
It’s okay to not know what you want to do, you don't have to have everything figured out now and as long as you have a direction or a path, stick to it and take new opportunities that present themselves to you, you won't regret taking up on new things and going out of your comfort zone. For me, the best thing I did was take part in a hackathon. The fintech company that was hosting it later offered me my placement, it’s one of those things that you don't expect to happen to you but you sometimes have to make your own luck in these things and research and throw yourself out into the deep end because the challenges we face now are only going to make us stronger for the challenges we are to face ahead.
In my first year everyone was fed in through the same stream, we studied four modules (modules are like subjects), so we took, programming- you get to learn about coding and different programming languages. I learnt about Java but I believe they have introduced Python as well, the second module was Platforms for computing -essentially this module covered the hardware side of computing and we learnt about logic gates which tie in with the content that the electronic engineering students also study, so even though there's a slight overlap it gives us more depth in our subject area and also a chance to explore computing aspects. The third module you'll study at level four (level four being the first year) is models and methods of computing, this was the maths-based module and you'll be exposed to theorems and truth tables and binary, it really will shape your understanding in computing logic.
And finally, Human dimensions of computing, in this module you'll get the chance to work in a group and put your presentation skills to practice, learning about the ethical side of computer science. All four of these modules are further explored in your second-year studies, where the knowledge you gained will be expanded in the sense where one of each of those four modules will link to your second-year modules. Later in your final year, you get to choose a specialised area such as Software Engineering, AI, Networks and Cyber Security. You might be thinking how I know which one to pick, luckily throughout your academic journey, you'll be given tasters to each of the streams. For example, in my second year I took up AI and robotics modules which I really enjoyed- up until then I was convinced, I'd stick with the software engineering stream, but If I had never tried, I would have never known!
Jack - A day in the life as a computer science student
As a commuting Computer Science student, I normally leave around an hour before my day’s lectures and practicals start and arrive at the Park and Ride car park before taking the bus to the College Lane campus 🚌
For my second-year timetable, practicals are allocated to Monday and Tuesday, whereas lectures are allocated to Thursday and Friday, with Wednesday being a study day for reading up on the lecture material. During my lectures, I will normally take notes on my laptop so I can read over them later on and in my practicals, I will either use my laptop or the desktops in the computer labs depending on what software we need for the practical.
After finishing the lecture/practical, I normally have lunch either in the Elehouse or the Forum Restaurant with my friends and discuss the day’s work. Finally, once I finish for the day, I return to the Park and Ride and go home where I can review my notes and reinforce what I learned during the day.
In the computer labs, the desktops have a range of useful software already installed including IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) such as BlueJ (for Java development), IDLE (for Python development) and other tools such as Logisim (for creating circuits using logic gates and visually how they work) and SQL Developer (for interacting with databases and executing SQL commands). Using these computers, I can complete all the practical work which is set by the lecturers so I can apply the theory from the lectures.
Currently, in my spare time, I am working on a dungeon crawler game made in Python using the Arcade library (which can be found at https://github.com/Aspect1103/Hades). This has needed various features to get it to work including map generation, player control, enemy AI, collectables and so on.
Recently, I just finished implementing some C++ extensions using the Python C-API to speed up the map generation granting me a five times speed increase and the breadth-first search vector field (which is used for navigating the enemies towards the player) granting me a seventeen times speed increase. My next steps are to further optimise the map generation and vector field and to rewrite the enemy AI making it faster and more intelligent. Creating this project has greatly improved both my project management and problem-solving skills which I can use in my modules this year to complete the tutorial exercises, coursework, and exams.
Meet Hafsa Rahman who has excelled in her career since graduating. She currently works in IT Application and System Support at Optoma Technology.Read more stories BSc (Hons) Computer Science
|Current job role||IT Application and System Support at Optoma Technology|
|Year of graduation||2018|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Computer Science|
Hafsa's time as a student at the University helped ready her for employment in many ways. Her Computer Science degree facilitated a broad spectrum of transferable skills, from teamwork and multitasking to time management and communication skills, which Hafsa believes were invaluable when job searching.
She says, 'The University organised job fairs where I had the opportunity to meet many top employers and had the chance to ask them many questions face to face.'
These practicable and social aspects of her studies exposed Hafsa to employers, presenting tangible links and networking opportunities that would be beneficial after graduating. She credits her time at Herts with helping her gain confidence as well as boosting her interview skills.
Hafsa advises current students looking to pursue a similar career path to ensure they thoroughly investigate what jobs are out there before graduating and identify what jobs they would excel in. She recommends looking out for graduate schemes and getting involved in as much professional experience as possible during university. Preparation is key and university study provides the skills, resources and opportunities to best prepare students for entering employment.
Setting her sights on further development, Hafsa is planning to return to the University of Hertfordshire to do a part time MA in Computer Science, allowing her the flexibility to continue working full time.