Arielle Bonnici

Arielle BonniciLocation: Malta
Programme of study: BSc (Hons) Computer Science (online)

How well do you think the distance learning course worked?

This was the first time I followed a distance learning course and I'm really happy that I chose the BSc programme with the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The course was very well organized and you always know what to expect, which allows you to set your own schedule when to study and work on assignments (super important!). I found that the live sessions with tutors were really helpful and these were always recorded and made available so if you can't attend the session you don't miss out.

Overall it worked out perfectly for me since I was doing the course while having a full time job, and although it required a lot of effort to juggle between both it was a very rewarding experience.

Did you enjoy the course?

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and I'm very happy with how it turned out. For me there are two things which made the course stand out.

First was the support from the teaching and technical staff who made themselves available and were always so helpful. This is really important in distance learning and one of my concerns before starting the course was that I might feel lost having to figure out everything on my own, but thanks to their support I can happily say that I never felt disconnected.

The other was the resources available to you as an online student, especially having access to the online library which pretty much has you covered in terms of e-books, journals etc.. for your assignments and final project. It really did feel like the School of Computer Science thought about everything that an online student will need.

How do employers react when they hear you've graduated from a distance learning degree?

I personally have always received positive feedback about the University of Hertfordshire's online programme. From my experience I didn't feel that employers made a distinction between distance learning or a campus based course and certainly never got the impression that they thought anything less of an online course.

The company I work for even encourages online learning and provides everyone access to specialised online courses.

What was the one thing you loved about your course?

If I have to chose only one thing that I loved then it will have to be that I was able to communicate with other students worldwide, working together, supporting each other, and sharing information through the student forums. I feel that when you participate in these conversations it really enriches your learning experience.

You get the opportunity to learn from others and feel like you are part of the course, rather than a student trying to learn on your own.

Could you take us through a typical day at where you work now?

I'm currently a software developer working with .NET and in the test automation area.

Since we use Scrum as the development lifecycle the day typically starts with 'daily scrum', which is a short stand-up meeting where everyone updates the team on what they are currently working on, the status of their tasks, and any issues they're encountering. The rest of the day is then spent on working on tasks which are included in the current Sprint.

In my role I make part of two teams so my work alternates between these two. The first one is the 'automation team' where we work on developing the in-house automation framework, which is the platform we use to run automated tests, as well as the .NET libraries used by QA engineers to create the actual automated test cases.

Each of us from the automation team is also assigned to a 'product team', which is a team of developers, QA engineers, and product managers that work on delivering the products we sell. Here our role is to manage the test automation project for that product, help the QA engineers to create automated test cases, make sure that automation is running as expected and perform code coverage analysis. Having a dual role really does keep things interesting!

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