The University of Southampton

Marcus Lam MEng Electronic Engineering, third year

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

I was recommended Southampton by my maths teacher at sixth form. I came to an open day and the atmosphere just felt right both on campus and in the city. 

What is it like studying here?

Studying electronic engineering inspires you to apply your knowledge and ideas into the real world. The course shapes you as an individual, builds new knowledge and develops concepts that can be applied to the world today, as well as teaching you plenty of soft skills. There is a real buzz among the students wherever you are on campus.

UKESF enables you to develop your skills by experiencing first-hand what it is like to work in the electronics sector, meet like-minded people and network with industry colleagues.

What do you think about the facilities?

Home is where the Hartley is. Hartley Library is THE place to be for any student who wants to study or loan a range of books. There’s also a café if you end up needing a quick break to keep you going. 

The Centenary Building also has study spaces if you want a change of scenery. The Zepler labs have state-of-the-art technology and will support a range of projects throughout your ECS degree. 

How did you become part of the UK Electronic Skills Foundation (UKESF) scheme and what have you gained from it?

I first heard of UKESF in one of my lectures at the beginning of the first year. Following a talk with some of the scholars, I decided to give it a go and managed to become part of it a few months later. 

As an electronics student you are partnered with a sponsored company and you participate in summer internships, optional year placements and a week-long skills workshop. It is this industrial experience that can give you the edge over other students, making you unique from the perspective of an employer. UKESF enables you to develop your skills by learning and experiencing on the job. 

My summer internships were with Sky working with other interns and colleagues on new projects and concepts and I was able to meet a great number of people with various roles in both hardware and software. The key thing I learnt from these internships was understanding how a larger corporation functions and particularly the challenges it faced when it came to communication during the pandemic. I have been able to refine my presentation skills and learn about the rigorous process of considering manufacture, testing, and other design challenges. 

Through UKESF, I have experienced first-hand what it is like to work in the electronics sector, meet like-minded people and network with industry colleagues. It also teaches you to think about what you want to achieve in the future. The people you meet can help you to get your foot in the door to the opportunities you want. 

What have been your best times at Southampton?

Joining different societies have always been a highlight for me - from art to ultimate frisbee - you meet a whole load of people and feel like you belong. That being said, some of the social events (socials) have been great fun, especially the themed ones! My passion for vinyl and getting into a bit of vinyl DJing was also great.  

How have you grown as a person?

Being at Southampton has helped me to be more experience-oriented and forward thinking. I’m more aware of my strengths and also the weaknesses of my soft skills. Having the best (and worst) experiences have been invaluable for growing as a person. 

What are you enjoying most about your course?

I’m currently in my third year and I’m enjoying the opportunities I am getting through my individual project – an Internet of Things (IoT) project measuring outdoor air quality for a more fine-grained approach such as walking on a busy street. The project is quite topical in the context of improving public health and enables me to further my research and understanding of the challenges these devices face. 

I also like being able to tailor my module choices towards the IoT and Wireless Networks. It has been an interest of mine since starting university and is now an area I would like to pursue further in the future. Many sources talk about the ‘blanket of devices’ that is covering the world in their billions and is becoming an integral part of our lives. 

What is Southampton like?

There are always things to do in Southampton – you can shop in WestQuay, explore the history behind the Titanic, get involved with the extensive student nightlife or enjoy the local events. 

What do you plan to do once you graduate?

Eventually I would like to work for a company in the electronics sector with a drive for emerging IoT devices both within and beyond the consumer space. 

The things I have learnt in Southampton - whether a skill or a story to tell - make up who I am in the future.