Department of Computer Science

My Surrey experience – Holly Boothroyd (BSc Computing and Information Technology)

“The University of Surrey offered me an education that I could not find in America, my home country.”

Now in the final year of my Computing and Information Technology degree, I chose to come to Surrey because it’s a highly ranked University with incredibly well qualified staff, and a fantastic employability rating. The University of Surrey offered me an education that I could not find in America, my home country.

The facilities in the Department of Computer Science improve every year. We have dedicated labs for computing students, and Surrey also has one of the only cyber security labs in England, making it a top choice if you’re interested in this topic. Our tutors are top researchers in their field, which means that we learn the latest knowledge in the computing industry.

I really enjoy the practical elements of my degree. For example, each year we have a programming module in which we learn to follow the full software development lifecycle by designing, prototyping and implementing a piece of software.

The Professional Training placement programme is also a great reason to come to Surrey as it allows you to bypass the common struggle of not having the experience to get a job, but not being able to get experience because you don’t have a job.

Since I was little, I always wanted to work at Microsoft, so when it came to applying for a Professional Training placement at the beginning of my second year, that was my goal. After a long selection process, I was invited to an assessment day for a software engineering role at one of Microsoft’s three cutting edge studios: Lionhead, Rare and Lift London. I was ecstatic when I saw the ‘congratulations’ email telling me I’d been selected for a placement: it was the start of an incredible journey.

I spent a year working as a software engineer in a team focused on reinventing the classic MS Paint into the transformative Paint 3D. I then went to Washington in the US, where I spent a summer working in the company’s Xbox team. Working for Microsoft gave me lots of responsibility and I got to work on some very exciting projects such as the global announcement of Paint 3D in the Creator’s Update announcement in New York.

My biggest achievement is knowing that I made an impact on people’s lives. Code I have written is currently on 400 million computers. I have worked on a project that will have a legacy, and is helping children, students and adults to express themselves creatively through a new medium.

During my placement I was offered jobs with Microsoft in both the UK and US, and I’m now looking forward to joining Microsoft’s UK-based Paint 3D team in a full-time role when I graduate.

Why not explore our programmes in Computer Science, including our BSc Computing and Information Technology?

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