The University of Southampton

Stella Sharma MEng Software Engineering, 2011

Technology Associate, Goldman Sachs

When I decided to move to the UK for university, I had offers from several well-regarded universities to choose from, but I swayed towards ECS at Southampton because of their great reputation.

The greatest strength of my department was the people. I had the opportunity to study with some of the smartest minds and most passionate computer scientists in their field, and I am so proud to be a Southampton alumna!

ECS is one of the best places to study computer science and I believe the support they give their students is unparalleled. I found the communication and engagement from the department before I joined was really excellent and this helped me decide to study at Southampton.

Once I had started University the ongoing support was still really good. There were special social events provided that helped me connect with students across different departments and these networks went a long way to help me settle into the university - which was going to be my home for the next four years! My tutors also provided mentoring and guidance throughout my degree to help me develop new skills.

Well-structured course

My course was very well structured. The initial two years covered all the core subjects in computer science, then in my third and fourth year I chose optional modules that allowed me to develop specialised expertise in my own field of interest. There were lots of areas to choose from such as Al, web development and cyber security. 

I also studied management modules that taught me about project management, risk management, cost-benefit analysis and prioritisation, which are very useful in my current role. My extra-curricular activities at Southampton also helped me develop the people, communication and organisational abilities that are essential for my career and make me more employable. In my job I’ve had to pick up new skills in a short time frame and my experience at Southampton has given me the confidence to do this. 

Excellent careers support

I met my current employer through the Southampton Career’s Fair and the support given to me by the University’s Careers Service and ECS staff (Joyce Lewis) was excellent. After I graduated my aim was to see the meaningful use of the skills and the direct impact of the knowledge I had acquired through my degree. I was very fortunate to start my career as a technology analyst at Goldman Sachs and believe my course at Southampton provided the right platform to achieve my aim. My next career goal is to focus on program management, and my vision is to create innovative products and build empowered teams to achieve this goal.

Making a difference

There were many opportunities to get involved in clubs and societies at Southampton; I was actively involved with ECS Women and was course representative in the Staff Student Liaison Committee. I was also one of the founder members and event organisers of DocSoc (Documentary Society) and I continue to keep in touch even after graduating!

Being part of ECS Women was very rewarding; we went in to local schools, encouraging and mentoring young girls to take up career in technology. I felt like I was making a difference and showing a positive example. I hope to continue to be a role model particularly for young girls in STEM and the world of finance.

Southampton highlights

I have some great highlights from studying at Southampton.  I loved the group projects, which were always challenging. They provided the opportunity to stretch your knowledge and develop deeper insights into the subjects while working with people who have different strengths. However the greatest strength of my department was the people. I had the opportunity to study with some of the smartest minds and most passionate computer scientists in their field, and I am so proud to be a Southampton alumna!

Southampton is a great place to study and has a real balance of city and suburban environment. It’s close to London, the Isle of Wight and Bournemouth and the beach is just a short bus ride away for when you need a break which is an added advantage! My advice to new students would be to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, find your passion for learning, and don’t forget to invest in lasting friendships!

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