Tag Archives: Interconnect Scotland

I’m not dead!

So yeah, it’s been a while.  Did you miss me?

This is the end, beautiful friend…

I did intend to blog about my placement at Microsoft, however I lead too busy a life and with the extra work I had to put in for university in addition to working full time five days a week and trying to find time for my family, I made the decision to take a break.  I really need to learn how to say no!

After an intense but very fun year working for Microsoft, I handed in my security pass at the end of July and tried not to get too emotional at my leaving do.  I ended being more emotional when given my leaving presents but shhh, don’t tell anyone…

…they know me so well!

I already miss everyone as I can genuinely say that Microsoft is the best company I’ve worked for (so far).  The work culture is fantastic, the opportunities are plentiful and the office is a five minute walk from the bus stop and train station – handy for lazy gits like me!  However, I knew it would end at some point as my return to university loomed so I made the most of my time there.  I even managed to get some certification under my belt and am the proud owner of a bit of paper saying I’ve passed the Security Fundamentals exam, hurray!

Going on placement was worth it on so many levels.  In addition to the tremendous amount of experience and kudos I gathered while working there, it was actually a good feeling just to be back into the world of work.  I probably should expand on my experiences a little more, but having just written a massive end of year report for university my brain still hurts too much.  I’m sure you can imagine though, dear reader, how ecstatic I was when I got the call last May asking if I’d like to go work for one of the biggest and oldest tech companies on the planet and how fortunate I feel after 13 months of industry insight and the opportunity to make some wonderful friends and professional contacts.  I intend to put everything I’ve learned to good use when I’m back in the world of academia and ultimately post graduation, which fortunately is an awful lot.

Although my placement was an absolute blast, I was more than ready for my holiday to France.  Sitting in a gite in the middle of rural Brittany drinking the local cidre really helped me to put my thoughts in order, plus I had ample opportunity to put my shiny new Band through its paces as we holidayed.  Being so busy and then suddenly not having anything to worry about always gives me a strange anti-climactic feeling as I don’t always enjoy having nothing to do, but the holiday was a welcome tonic and I returned to dear old Ecosse refreshed and ready for the next set of challenges with a full set of batteries.

Back to the world of academia

Since returning from France I’ve been working on trying to get back into the swing of being a good-for-nothing student again.  Admittedly I am looking forward to going back to uni, despite the last minute pressures of getting the big report done and feeling I have no brain cells left.  The end of my degree is starting to creep up over the horizon and I’m ready for the final stretch.

I’m pleased to be returning to the role of Interconnect Student Champion for the 2015/16 academic year at Napier and thoroughly enjoyed meeting my fellow champions from across Scotland today at the Equate Scotland office.  I was also recently successful in my application to be a Microsoft Student Partner.  Not sure exactly what the role will entail in the coming year but I’m looking forward to it all the same.  I’m definitely going to have to put my time management skills to very good use this year – I told you have I have trouble saying no, didn’t I?

To be continued…

Interconnect Student Champion

 

Interconnect

 

Recently I applied for the position of 2013-14 Interconnect Student Champion for Edinburgh Napier University.  I got the job; huzzah!

The job involves promoting and developing Interconnect activities and events working with staff and liaising with my fellow students.  On a more local level I’ll also be working on promoting Connect within the university with the lovely Maria, who will be representing the engineers.  As there are a few champions dotted around the country, we will be meeting several times throughout the year to discuss our collective experiences and our thoughts on how the network is developing both local and nationally.

I’m slightly nervous as the role is brand new and I want to set a good precedent for the future, however I’m also very excited as if my ideas work they might be used for years to come!  I really am looking forward to getting stuck in though and coercing encouraging more female students to get involved with the network.  My involvement with Interconnect last year was a huge confidence booster (being a female student in the School of Computing can get lonely at times) and it’s great to have such a wonderful support network to turn to, so if I can get the word out there to new and existing students Interconnect will hopefully be as beneficial to them as it is to those of us who are currently involved.  We might even be able to convince more women in study computing or engineering, which would really be fantastic.

Here’s to a successful 2013-14!

 

Interconnect field trip

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending my first Interconnect outing, where we spent the day at the offices of Selex ES.

 

Selex

 

Around a dozen STEM students from various universities across Scotland spent a very enjoyable day hearing from several female engineers, who talked about their backgrounds and work with the company.  Selex is still very male dominated, but they are very focused on getting more women to work for the company and there are so many great opportunities for engineering and computing graduates.  It’s so heartening to hear the stories of women overcoming the prejudices and discrimination, even in university, and their subsequent success stories of sticking in, working hard and being recognised for their talents rather than their gender.

We also got a tour of the facilities, taking in areas such as the climate lab and manufacturing section.  My personal favourite was the section containing the near field and far field rooms, where they conduct various radar and antennae tests.  The staff who showed us round were clearly very enthusiastic about their work, showing us the equipment they work with and the various pieces of radar equipment they make.  A good amount of manufacturing is also done on site, although sadly we had to settle for looking through the windows when it came to the plant tour.  Everyone was very happy to answer our questions, of which we had plenty!

The only downside of the day came from one of the ladies looking after us.  After asking me what I’m studying (Computer Systems and Networks), she then assumed that I would be looking for an IT support job for a financial services firm after graduation.  Cue the Jackie Chan meme:

Jackie Chan

Alright, so maybe they want software engineers and mathematicians more, but to categorise me like that without even bothering to ask anything specific about my degree is downright insulting.  I mumbled something along the lines of “there’s more to my degree than that”, as I was so taken aback by her assumption, but by then she’d moved on.  Obviously the fact I study networking and found the antennae work really interesting means nothing to some people!

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Selex and loved the tour of the facilities in particular.  Their graduate scheme does look pretty good (the benefits are fantastic) and I would recommend you take a look.