Three students studying on the @S_ERC Foundation Degree in Computing give an insight into how the Ulster University accredited course has proved the right fit higher-level course for them.

Matthew Reynolds from Downpatrick spoke about his decision to choose SERC’s Foundation Degree in Computing over other options. He said, “I found that it gave me the best opportunity to explore the various future career pathways and provide me with insights into the IT industry, and its roles in today's ever-changing technological world. I didn’t think I was quite ready to go to university, so this course offered the chance for me to explore if IT was the career route for me, whilst gaining a level 5 qualification.

He concluded that he would recommend the course to others, “If you enjoy working with IT systems and related topics you will thoroughly enjoy this course. Perhaps you feel that like me, you aren't ready to go university just yet, maybe want to better your employment opportunities, or just want to expand your knowledge of IT, if so, this course is for you. I would recommend it to everybody, and SERC is an excellent place to study.”

Katie Logue, also from Downpatrick progressed to the Foundation Degree in Computing after completing her BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT with the College. Katie has studied in the town throughout her entire education. She said, “I studied my GCSE’s in St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick. I then completed my Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT at SERC. I wanted to continue my education to degree level, and I felt SERC suited me best in that I was able to progress to the next level close to home which was ideal due to family commitments. There was the added benefit of being familiar with the College and the lecturers which meant I could get straight in and settled onto the programme. 

Katie spoke about her favourite aspects of the course, “I enjoy the professional experience the course provides. During the first semester, as part of the Computer Systems unit, I learnt how to build and design a PC. I also learnt how to remotely install an Operating System. This experience means I have work-ready skills and experience to take to any employer when I enter the workplace, giving me the edge.”

Glen Hagan has lived and worked in Manchester until retirement from a 40-year career in social work. Glen recently relocated to Kilclief with his wife who is originally from the area. Glen wanted to study a subject that would give him a new challenge and keep him interest in learning. He said, “I have a degree and postgraduate qualifications, but I wanted to do something new and different that would keep me interested in learning. I did some computing in my first degree and have enjoyed using IT throughout my working life so developing that interest seemed promising.

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Glen is enjoying his time on the course listing the rebuilding of equipment and learning how to make computers work as his favourite aspects of the course so far. He continued, “Returning to education in a classroom environment has been a challenge. But I keep myself motivated by sitting in the front row and asking questions all the time so that I stay focused on the lesson and extract as much as I can from the lecturer and their experience and any speakers from industry. Having this second go at education - following a successful career - means I particularly appreciate the value in not shying away from questions, making sure I get the most from every class and challenging myself to do better. I recommend anyone who is thinking about the course realises the opportunities that are open to them here and now.

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