The University of Southampton

Ashley Robinson MEng Electronic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence, 2014

Electronics Engineer (Near Field Communications), Cambridge Design Partnership

Ashley graduated from Southampton with an MEng in Electronic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence. He chose Southampton because he felt it had the best facilities and best culture for electronic engineers.

At Southampton they have Electronics and Computer Science combined whereas usually they are separate elsewhere. This means they can draw on features from both areas. It puts a different spin on the whole thing which I was really impressed by.

During his studies, Ashley brought great distinction to ECS by being named UK Electronic Skills Foundation Scholar of the Year. He had held a UKESF Scholarship since 2012 and undertook two work placements with Cambridge Silicon Radio, where he was actively involved in developing NFC chips and LCD controllers. Ashley also engaged A-level students at his former school in Hampshire in order to encourage them to experiment with electronics at home. As part of this Ashley organised lectures for sixth form students, participated in their studies and provided electronics hardware that had been developed at the University of Southampton for them to use. On winning the award Ashley said: “The scholarship has been a great addition to my academic life, and my experience with CSR and the UKESF professional development workshop will prove invaluable as I start my career when I graduate next year. Through the scholarship I've been able to connect with industry and with other like-minded engineers, so I appreciate the level of competition I was up against to get this award, it's a great honour.”

Work placement experience

While at Southampton, Ashley also undertook a work placement with a multinational Application Specific Integrated Circuit design house. He was heavily involved in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, developing new chips for smart phones and mobile devices - technology used for contactless payments, either using a dedicated card or increasingly, a mobile device. He said "It’s really interesting being part of the processes that roll out new technologies like this in high volume consumer applications.  My general electronics skills have been employed in designing and building both digital and analogue circuits and for a number of projects I’ve worked on the embedded software."

Graduate role

Ashley is now an electronics engineer with Cambridge Design Partnership, specialising in New Field Communications. In this blog post for CDP, Ashley explains that "CDP were recommended to me as a smart career choice.  I was very impressed when I arrived, even during the interview CDP appeared to be a really fun place to work and their showcase of projects exhibited a very broad skillset. The thought of working on such diverse projects is what attracted me". He also writes about his current projects and about some of the hot topics in the area, particularly the Internet of Things. He comments: "The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently the big buzz word in electronics but currently lacks the infrastructure to fulfill its potential. This field needs a lot of investment to create a robust platform from which we can create scalable implementations with mainstream appeal."

Ashley Robinson, MEng Electronic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence

When Ashley graduated in 2014 he talked to us about his experience at the University of Southampton and his career plans and ambitions.