Twenty-two year old Computer Science graduate Ed Parry has just started his first job in IT. Originally from Staffordshire, Ed now lives in Cardiff where he works as an IT Consultant for Method4.
I was about ten when I first started using computers. My Dad bought one home from work and I pestered my parents to let me use it. I learned a lot just by messing around, pressing a few buttons and seeing what happened.
Around the same time my school also got a couple of computers, but I didn’t have access to them until my last year in primary school. Most classrooms had computers at secondary school. I did the OCR national qualification in ICT and learned how to use computers as word processors, but nothing about real computing.
It was only when I did the GCSE programme that I learned how to use things like Flash and Dreamweaver and as a result, became a lot more interested in computing. My local college offered computing A level and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. It was a move away from all the ICT type stuff I’d been taught at school and focused more on how and why things happened.
After my A levels, I went to Aberystwyth University where I studied Computer Science. Computer technology seemed like a cool new subject to me. It wasn’t tried and tested - it could take you anywhere. My parents were supportive as they wanted me to do something I enjoyed and excelled at. I think my Dad could see that with computer science - you might not know exactly where it would take you, but it was definitely going to take somewhere exciting. People think computing is all about writing code, but it’s about logic and understanding, and once you have learned these skills - you can apply them to many other areas. It’s the type of degree that can open up a plethora of different career options to you.
I took a year out after my second year at university and spent 12 months working at Method4 - an IT consultancy based in Cardiff. Now I’ve graduated, the company has taken me on as a permanent employee which is great. It’s quite a small company and I really like the fact that there is very little hierarchy here. Other than the four directors, everyone has similar responsibilities and gets to work on a range of projects for different clients, but we each have specialist areas. My role is quite varied and can involve anything from developing new software to solving a range of problems for clients. I get involved with projects right from the start which is a real advantage. I intend to go on and study more industry specific certifications and qualifications as my career progresses.
The introduction of the new computing curriculum is definitely a step in the right direction in my opinion. I remember going to my university open day before I started there and someone making the point that a watch is a computer, a debit card is a computer - they are everywhere. Teaching computing from an early age is vital as it’s impossible to do anything without it. It is as important as maths and science. Logical and computational thinking are useful skills to have and can help in all sorts of areas. If you understand boundaries, you can think of other ways of approaching a problem.
Computing is integral to everything everywhere so can potentially open up numerous opportunities. It’s important that children are aware of the different roles that computing can offer - you could write about technology, you could be a website designer - there are so many career paths. It touches many different sectors, so if you work in computing then you get to be a part of those different sectors too.