Case study

Computer science Masters student — Nicholas Cumplido

Nicholas is studying for a Masters in advanced computer science at Swansea University. Discover how this will help his career

Why did you choose this course and institution?

The postgraduate degree is directly relevant to my career aspiration of becoming a researcher. The modules give me practical experience with hardware and software, as well as experience with research and writing. My research will involve finding out how people interact with devices.

I chose Swansea University as it has a brilliant reputation and it's also close to home. The university has had 100% student satisfaction for the past few years.

How does postgraduate study differ from undergraduate?

The postgraduate course has more advanced modules than the undergraduate one and the modules are more specialised in their topic area. The assessment criteria are also stricter.

We get to use advanced hardware and software that are unavailable on the undergraduate course.

What does your computer science course involve?

There are eight assessed modules, involving coursework and exams. There's also a project consisting of a report, presentation, implementation and dissertation. I'm learning about things such as maths, programming and report writing. It can be a broad subject but all of the modules and topics are interesting.

Parts of my course involve working with other students, in pairs or in a team. I also have regular meetings with my supervisor who is a researcher at the university. My supervisor supports me in completing my dissertation.

What do you enjoy about postgraduate study?

It's great that I get to work with amazing people, both students and staff. Especially since the university has a brilliant reputation, thanks to its staff.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to be working in a research position at Swansea University, working in human computer interaction.

What advice can you give to others?

It's important to manage your time effectively and communicate well with your fellow students and lecturers, to ensure you do well in your studies. Work hard but have fun too.

Gather relevant information to consider your options and set a plan with realistic goals.

How relevant is what you're studying to getting your chosen job?

It's essential. I need to complete this level of study to gain a position as a researcher. My current course gives me skills and experience that will be perfect for my chosen career. It also allows me to develop connections with researchers at this university.

Do you need work experience to become a researcher?

Work experience is not a requirement. However, Go Wales made it easy to secure a work experience placement and completing this gave me confidence in a work environment and in working with others.

I certainly benefited greatly from gaining some experience and because of it I am even more certain that this is the career path that I want to pursue.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters degree?

Choose a course that you like and are good at. Remember, you could be in that field for your entire career.

Also, choose an institution that has a good reputation overall and for your course and that's in a location that you're comfortable with.

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