Student profile
Aidan Lillystone

Aidan Lillystone

"I learned a lot on placement and, although it was obviously great to increase my technical knowledge, the most important things to me were the soft skills. My time management, concentration over long periods and teamwork definitely improved."

Course
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons)
Entry year
2015
Placement company
InSync Technology Ltd

"I always had an interest in physics, and was inspired to study the subject by my older brother who did a physics degree, and some inspirational teachers during my school years.

The opportunity to do a Professional Training placement wasn’t a major consideration when I first decided to come to Surrey, but it has proved to be a very valuable experience.

I spent my placement year with InSync Technology Ltd in Petersfield. I have always been interested in computer software design and would eventually like a career in virtual reality (VR). Since this placement included video processing, I realised it would be a great stepping stone towards my goal.

As a member of the software department at InSync Technology, my main role was to contribute to the development of software products, which included a solo project investigating new and efficient ways to detect moving objects in video. This led to my proudest achievement which was devising an innovative way to analyse the pixel movement using vector field mathematics. The company felt this work was good enough to be sent to a broadcasting conference as a potential presentation, and my paper went through to the final selection stage.

"The skills I’ve gained in mathematics and statistics from my degree and placement year will provide a strong base for working in the financial sector."

I was also given a good level of responsibility when it came to working with clients, including conducting an investigation into an American customer’s problem. This involved diagnosing, solving and implementing the solution into the company code base.

During my placement I tried to expand my knowledge by taking on tasks which required interaction with colleagues in the hardware and firmware departments, as well as in outreach and advertising. For example I produced a minute-long advertising video for the company which was ranked in the SmallBiz 100, providing some good publicity.

I learned a lot on placement and, although it was obviously great to increase my technical knowledge, the most important things to me were the soft skills. My time management, concentration over long periods and teamwork definitely improved. I’m now aiming to either go straight into the VR industry after graduating or work in the financial sector for a few years. This might not seem a logical step, but my eventual goal is to set up my own VR consultancy business, so understanding the different aspects of a company beyond the technical is important. The skills I’ve gained in mathematics and statistics from my degree and placement year will provide a strong base for working in the financial sector."

Discover more about our physics courses, including our BSc (Hons) Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics.

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