Jayant Shivarajan studied Computer Systems Engineering at Queen Mary and now works for Amazon in London.
Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?
I chose Queen Mary as it was a good university and received a scholarship. My sister is an alumnus and I got an idea of what it would be like to study at Queen Mary from her and also liked the campus.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I liked the mini-project style courseworks a lot. It gave me a chance to apply what I had learnt and the freedom to explore beyond taught material. I really liked that I could push myself further than what was required and that it was recognised during submission as well.
The most inspiring part I felt about my course was that I got to see the complete picture about computer systems – ranging from low level assembly and actual physical circuits to high level software architecture and big data analysis. This helped me develop a good understanding about electronics and computer science and appreciate the complexity underneath all common electronic devices that we take for granted.
I felt that most module contents were useful and challenging at the right level. The coursework load was good overall, which left me some time for extracurricular activities and learning. The lecturers were knowledgeable and encouraged further exploration and experimentation beyond what was taught.
Tell us about your experience of life at Queen Mary
I went on an industrial placement where I worked as a server-side Java developer at Citibank. This was my first professional work experience where I learnt a lot about work life and how to communicate. I also learnt how industrial scale software development occurs – I had to be more rigorous with the software I wrote in terms of testing and design when compared to what I had done so far at university. It was a great experience overall and gave me a good idea about what it’s like entering the workforce and helped develop some of the skills I would need.
Did you use the Careers and Enterprise service or taken part in any of their schemes?
Yes, I used their interview practice service. It helped boost my confidence and made me feel prepared for the actual interview as part of an Assessment Centre for a placement role. The staff had also researched about the company I was preparing for and walked me through the interview process that they had and some additional background information that could be used as discussion points during an interview. The practice session helped me a lot and I did end up getting an offer from the Assessment Centre.
What would you tell a prospective student to expect about life at Queen Mary?
Try and experience what London has to offer. Make the most of your spare time and attend events such as guest lectures, tech conferences, etc. The staff are friendly and open for discussion and there are also student volunteers / teaching assistants to help with any difficulties. However, don’t focus entirely on academia – make sure to take some time to socialise with your peers and have fun!