Current and former students share their experiences of studying in the School of Computing and beyond
Former Sound Design student Janette, discusses her time at Edinburgh Napier
I studied an online Masters degree in Sound Design at Edinburgh Napier University and graduated in 2019.
I wanted to keep learning about sound design techniques
My background before taking my online degree course was mainly studying for my bachelors in Digital Music Production Engineering in Mexico City, where I graduated with distinction.
After university, I worked in a variety of audio production roles and then made the decision to do a postgraduate degree because I wanted to keep learning about sound and explore different sound design techniques.
I liked the course structure at Edinburgh Napier and the opportunity you get to hear from experienced lecturers
I chose to study at Edinburgh Napier because I really liked the course structure for Sound Design, and the opportunity to hear from guest lecturers who have wide-ranging experience in different fields of sound design.
Highlights of my studies
During the interactive media module, I created an Interactive Zen Garden, which allows people to interact with different plants and depending on where they placed their hands on a particular plant, different sounds could be heard and some parameters were modified.
I also enjoyed working on my dissertation, which involved me learning a lot about Virtual reality and sound for Virtual Reality.
Through my dissertation, I had the opportunity to talk to many sound professionals with past experience in that field and that helped me a lot and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone in order to meet and interview them.
While writing, and creating the sounds that I needed for the dissertation, I learned a lot and I enjoyed the whole process. Dr Iain McGregor gave me invaluable insights and recommendations about my dissertation.
Having the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh and receive my diploma, and being part of the graduation ceremony was the best part of it all!
Get out of your comfort zone and succeed
The biggest challenge for me when studying my masters was to get out of my comfort zone. During some modules, I collaborated with new people and worked with them on projects.
Other things were also different between my Undergraduate and my Postgraduate courses. For example, my Undergraduate course was a face-to-face program in Mexico City, while my Postgraduate course was an online degree.
An online course requires a lot of discipline in order to attend the lessons and keeping in touch frequently with my lecturers. This taught me how to study on my own with some guidance, tools and material given to me by the lecturers.
The most valuable knowledge I got from the course was the feedback from lecturers
For me, the course gave me the skills and experience that I needed in order to take the next step in my career. The most valuable knowledge I got from the course was through feedback and suggestions from the lecturers, which gave me the confidence to keep on learning and improving even after the degree ended.
The guest lectures were eye-opening and very valuable
My advice to anyone considering doing the course would be to do it! The course will help you in your professional career.
Receiving guidance and feedback from supervisors and tutors was really helpful. The guest lectures were also really eye-opening and of course, talking to people with a lot of experience in the field is very valuable.
I’m going to keep working in the field of sound design for advertisement and continue to learn more about sound for Virtual Reality and games in general, so that I can one day get a job in a videogame company.
What is it like studying Computing Science at Edinburgh Napier?
My name is Maria Luque Anguita, I’m from Spain, currently in my third year studying Computing Science and I’m 20 years old.
I came to Edinburgh for my first year and I love it here, everyone is super nice, Edinburgh as a city itself is beautiful also I love the university.
I love Edinburgh
I love Edinburgh, I love the accent. I love the people, everyone is really sociable and really nice. Everyone wants to help with any problems you have and everyone tries to make you feel at home here. I really feel at home here and that’s largely down to the staff. My lecturers really care about the students and that’s really important for me. They’re always engaging with us offering internships, assisting with job search and they always give us advice with regards to making the most of our life. It’s honestly like a big family here at Edinburgh Napier.
By second year I had learned everything I needed to work in a professional environment
In Computing Science what we mainly do is programming, Java, C+, C++ and other programming software. We also do Artificial Intelligence and work with hardware but it’s mainly software programming. Next trimester we have to create an actual programme with a client, which I’m excited about.
Before I came here I had some knowledge in how to do programming and other aspects of the course but I wasn’t ready for a working environment. By second year I had learned everything I needed to work in a professional environment and through this I gained my internship. I am very involved in university projects and this has given me the skills and confidence I need for a successful future.
There’s not enough girls and we are capable of doing things like computing science and more
I think women in technology are underrepresented, there’s not enough girls and we are capable of doing things like computing science and more. I have better grades than 80% of my class and any time the guys are looking for help they come to the girls because we don’t stress as much as the guys do.
It feels that because it’s such a male-dominated industry a lot of girls feel put off by studying this course. They don’t want to be on a course where they are the only girl on the course, it can be quite intimidating but the boys on our course are really nice. There’s such a feel-good environment, everyone’s incredibly sociable and helpful. Even the course isn’t that hard as long as you’re passionate about it and put in the required effort. Everyone is capable of doing it!
They genuinely really care about your future
the support for students, everything from the facilities to the support from other students but mainly from the lecturers. They offer internships, placements and any kind of projects they may have in the future they ask the students first and they genuinely really care about your future. I’ve even sent an email at 5pm on Sunday and they still replied within an hour.
Fourth year student Gabriele talks about his passion for Interactive Media and User Experience
I’m Gabriele Maffoni, I’m from Italy, I’m 25, and I’m in my fourth year studying Interactive Media Design here at Edinburgh Napier.
I came here two and a half years ago because I saw the Interactive Media design course and I knew I wanted to be more involved in the digital media aspect of my studies.
I’ve always been interested in people, how they behave and what they do in their daily lives. One of my former professors suggested I should consider a career involving user experience and I saw that they were teaching it here and so I applied.
The Interactive Media Design course is pretty broad, but its main focus is on how people interact with machines, like HCI (Human-Computer Interaction). What we mainly do is not only study how people interact physically but also how we can make digital tools more enjoyable, so we take into account the user experience and make them really interactive. Not just technically interactive but also psychologically interactive.
Last academic year, I was sent an email by my Programme Leader informing me about an opportunity in research. So, I eventually got the opportunity to be a research assistant and it was really interesting.
The whole process was really engaging because I really liked it and it gave me a lot of practical experience especially in the field of user experience, which is the one I aim to get into. The experience and skills I learned there are useful now that I’m working for an Italian company called Great Pixel as a UX Designer on an independent basis. The company focuses on usability, user experience and conversion rate. My role within the company is to focus on user flow, conversion rate.
I have grown a LOT
From a personal point of view I have grown a LOT. This has been the biggest jump in terms of living independently. This is the first time I would be living on my own for a longer time but more than one month and a half, this is for 3 years. I haven’t just learned practical stuff, like being able to clean, shopping productively and generally looking after myself, but my mind-set has also changed. I’ve always been kind of instinctive but now I am much more understanding and welcoming of new changes. I’ve always been really interested about other cultures but moving abroad also made me understand not just other cultures but also my own.
I was never expecting anyone to be interested in my story
There have been two main highlights for me, the first one was starting the research, especially after coming from a 1-year job as a waiter, I was leaving a job I didn’t really enjoy to working in a field that I want to be in. The other one was when my lecturer asked me to talk about my experiences to her Masters students. I was never expecting anyone to be interested in my stories as I’m still relatively at a junior level but I talked to the students and I really liked it and the students seemed engaged in what I had to say.
From a personal perspective finding out lecturers here aren’t only people who talk to you in a formal setting, they interact with you on a more personal level and make themselves approachable. I really like the relaxed working environment where it seems like the course is a collaboration between the students and the lecturer to ensure the best outcome for everyone.
My dream job will involve me travelling a lot being a freelance UX designer
The facilities have improved a lot in the last 2 years, the good thing about the university, is they always try to update their equipment to a high standard. Some of the software they use here are often used in the industry, for example Axure RP which is prototyping software, it is one of the most important software that I used during my internship. The facilities are also great, especially having the library and the computer centre open 24/7, it has saved my life a lot of times!
My dream job will involve me travelling a lot being a freelance UX designer for huge companies. If the stability of contracts can help freelance then it’s what I would love to do. Hopefully, once I reach a certain level I would love to also be a speaker at UX conferences and share my own thoughts and ideas on the subject. Having such credibility to be listened to would be great and hopefully I will be someone who matters in the field.
Just do it! It’s something you won’t regret
Applying for the course? Just do it! It’s something you won’t regret. Not just because they teach you what’s needed in the industry, the independence you get to manage your own time and projects allows you to be more creative. If you want to be do this course you need to be ready to be curious and passionate about the industry. The Interactive media and UX design industry is evolving so quickly and you need to be progressive with your thought process. We have UX designers, UX copywriters, UX consultants and so many subfields that merge together. The more involved you are, the further you will go in the industry and the more knowledge you will have about subjects which is essential to your own development.
The best thing about Edinburgh Napier is the freedom you're given
The best thing anyone can do is just be prepared to be curious, interested and passionate, but the good thing here is the fact the lecturers are approachable and as long as you’re keen then you will get all the support you need to do well.
The best thing about Edinburgh Napier is the freedom you’re given. Outside of the assessments, you are taught independence and you have to adapt and having that freedom allows your passion to shine through and makes you want to be as involved as possible.
Interview with Tiffany Sommerville and her experience working full time whilst studying on the MSc Strategic ICT Leadership course
Why did you choose this course?
I chose the Strategic ICT Leadership course as it provided the opportunity to supplement my technical ICT skills with other key skills which would enable me to perform my current role more effectively, and help me to further advance my career.
In my current role as Senior IT Officer at Shettleston Housing Association, I lead the effective delivery, maintenance and development of ICT systems and services to meet changing business needs and expectations. Facing increasing demands on ICT resources, often with competing priorities, I wanted to broaden my knowledge in the areas which would help me to navigate these challenges whilst delivering my work to a high standard. As the course has an emphasis on aligning ICT strategy with organisational strategy to improve business performance, I felt it was ideally suited to providing me with a deeper understanding of these strategic issues whilst also enabling me to develop practical skills that would be of benefit to the business and to myself personally.
Has this course helped your career?
I feel that I started to benefit from the course from the very first session I attended. The taught modules were focused on current and relevant topics, and I was able to immediately apply my new knowledge in my work. It has strengthened my comprehension of key areas which underpin ICT activities such as ICT governance, leadership and project management, and given me practical skills needed to be able to positively influence delivery of ICT services.
Through completing the course and utilising my new gained skills and knowledge I feel that I am able to demonstrate my capabilities to operate effectively at a senior level. I aim to further progress my career in the future and consider this qualification to be a significant advantage to achieving this.
Would you recommend the course?
I would absolutely recommend the course to anyone who is keen to take their ICT skills to the next level. Whilst the course is demanding, the benefits to both the business and individual are immediate. The work-based element of the course provides you with an opportunity to utilise the skills and knowledge gained through the classroom learning to deliver on a work project. This also helps with managing the required time commitment as you use your existing work as part of your assessment.
I would also recommend drawing on the experiences of other executive master’s students you will meet along the way. I was very fortunate to meet a number of fellow students who helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical aspects of the course through the sharing of their own experiences. I was also able to pick up many practical tips for academic research methods which were invaluable, particularly at the outset.
What is it like studying Business Information technology at Edinburgh Napier?
“Edinburgh has so much to offer to young people who want to study here”
My name is Kristina Bremner and I study Business Information Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. I am originally from Russia and I’ve been living in Edinburgh for the past 7 years.
Being a student again is a great experience but being a student in Edinburgh is a special and no doubt unforgettable experience. Despite being a very old city, Edinburgh has a very young vibe which appeals to young people and attracts students from everywhere. The city has so much to offer to young people who want to study here, it's a very vibrant and colourful city with very rich and multi layered cultural tapestry. I'm very lucky to be able to live and study here.
Before I began my studies, I was working in a customer service role in a bank. I wanted to be doing something more for myself, something better, which I why I applied to the Business Information Technology course. When looking for a course I was considering various options and opted for Edinburgh Napier University as I liked the profile of the institution, the price offer and other students' reviews. I definitely made the right choice.
“The lecturers make the course interesting and exciting”
I am really enjoying my course so far. I love the way we are taught as the lecturers make the course interesting and exciting for us. It’s unlike any way I have been taught in the past. I think the modules we study are relevant in businesses today and they are kept up to date making them beneficial to us for taking forward into any future job roles that we have.
“Edinburgh Napier University helped me balance my studies with being a full-time mum”
Balancing university, working and being a mum is not easy. In the beginning I found managing it all very challenging, especially as the rest of my family are still in Russia meaning I didn’t have any of them to lean on for help or support. However, Edinburgh Napier University helped me balance my studies with being a full-time mum and the support from my programme leaders and lecturers made things a lot easier for me. Now I’m able to manage a lot better and my performance at university is not affected. This often means I have to bring my daughter along to the library with me whilst I study. By being on the university campus, it has left her feeling inspired and she even wants to go to university herself now - she wants to be a nurse.
“University helps people develop themselves”
I’ve had a great university experience at Edinburgh Napier University. I think people should push themselves to go to university as it not only will benefit their careers but university also helps people to develop themselves – both emotionally and academically. University will prepare you for the future and help you to go far in life.