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My Professional Training year – Nicholas Elia, BSc (Hons) Computer Science

“I was delighted to work at Qualcomm because its advanced technologies have revolutionised the way people communicate and how mobile phones are being used. My experience on placement couldn’t have been better"

Having always been fascinated by mobile phones, Nicholas Elia was a natural fit with Qualcomm Inc, the US telecommunications corporation responsible for industry-leading Snapdragon chips, which power millions of smartphones around the world.

Spending his Professional Training year working in the Secure Services team of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT), Nicholas got a real insight into the many factors that influence the development of commercial products. The placement was specifically designed to involve him with products and applications that would be featured on millions of commercial devices.

“The work demanded a diverse range of skills. Mostly focusing on software development related to security and authentication on mobile devices, I worked with many different platforms,” says Nicholas. “In one project, I was responsible for the design, development and debugging of software under the mentorship of one of the team members. I also had to defend proposed solutions with other members of the team.”

Working mainly in the programming languages C++, C, Java and Python, and devising software for both Android and Windows 7, Nicholas enriched his skills by studying code from colleagues with over 15 years’ experience in software engineering.

“I learnt that in order for a project to be successful, it’s important to focus on not exceeding the budget and time limits. I also learned that there is always room for improvement and that there’s no perfect solution or perfect implementation of a system.

“Ever since I can remember I have been interested in technology. I think there’s something extremely satisfactory about creating something, making it come to life and helping the rest of the world to have a better, more convenient life,” says Nicholas. “I was therefore delighted to work at Qualcomm because its advanced technologies have revolutionised the way people communicate and how mobile phones are being used. My experience on placement couldn’t have been better.

“I now plan to enrich my knowledge of nature-inspired computing and engineering by applying for a PhD course at Surrey, but ultimately I’d love to work for a top company such as Qualcomm, Apple or Google. I want to be part of something remarkable and world changing.”

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