Year in employment: living the graduate dream

View over Cardiff Bay

October’s Feature asked students to tell Aber Student Media about any advice, work experience, years in employment and years abroad they may have had as part of their course.

Employability is of course one of the main reasons we are all at university. We’ve all read the leaflets, heard the talks from the Careers office and possibly looked up options on line, but we thought it best to let you hear from people who’ve been there and done it.   

I’M AN I.T. CONSULTANT living in Cardiff with my own two-floor apartment, car, and the UK’s average salary going into my account each month.  I’m also a third-year Computer Science student.

If you’re at all aware of Aberystwyth’s Computer Science Department, you’ll know that they really push you to take an Industrial Year before your final year, and I’m so glad that they do. In fact, they push it so much that there are several small companies that advertise positions exclusively for Aberystwyth students, which significantly increases your chances of finding a place.

My experience of the process was excellent. Help was always available, whether from my department or the Careers Office, whether I was lacking things to add to my CV, or wasn’t entirely sure which companies I should be looking towards, they had the answers.

In the end, I sent off just over 15 applications. I was successful in getting an online test or interview with six of those, was declined from three, and chose to remove my application from the remaining six after accepting a position just before the Easter break, due to start in July.

My tip for applying? Focus on your CV but don’t waste time on it. These days, more and more companies want to ask specific questions right from the start. They use their own application forms and you often don’t end up sending a CV to them at all. However, in most cases, you’re basically copying from your CV into their format, so you still need to have the document ready to go.

The job itself has so far been brilliant. I’ve learnt so much in the few short months that I’ve been working, and it’s only now that I realise that university is about teaching you how to learn and not about the little details of a topic. University can put you in a position where you can be presented with a problem in the “real world” and -although perhaps not straight away- be in a position to know how to solve it.

I didn’t think I’d be able to say what I opened this article with before I’d even graduated, but thanks to the support and advice from the Computer Science department, my CV and a company who apparently saw something in me – I’m exactly where I wanted to be.