Donald Whyte

Donald Whyte

Final year project: Accelerating Multi-Dimensional Search

Why did you decide to study your particular course?

I was originally going to do a music related degree, since music composition was my main interest in college. During my BTEC, I took a few programming modules. From taking these, I gained an interest in programming and computers. Software is used to help so many different domains (e.g. medicine, physics and finance). Everything uses technology these days and you can make a huge impact if you're part of this field. Because of this, I realised that a career in technology was definitely something I wanted. 

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose the University of Leeds for a couple of reasons. On the social side, the university has a thriving student populace and I heard that, as a student, there was a lot to do in Leeds. Academically, the School of Computing had a good reputation and seemed like a good place to learn and kick start my career.

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why?

The huge variety of people and cultures in the university mean there's loads of societies and activities to take part in. The best part about studying here is that I've done so many things I never would have even thought of doing before I started university!

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

As a computer scientist, I spent a lot of my day sitting at a computer desk. To ensure I stayed physically active, my major hobbies were running, tennis and hiking.I got involved in both the tennis and hiking societies at the university, which were a great way of keeping in touch with my hobbies while being in a fun and social environment!

What are you doing now, what does your job involve?

I'm working as a software developer for Bloomberg, a technology company that develops core financial software used by all the major investment banks. They also provide news services to end users through a TV channel and a website.My role causes me to be involved in all stages of the software development process. This includes designing algorithms and artificial intelligence techniques, developing those designs into real, workable software and liaising with clients to ensure the developed software is deployed successfully.

How did your course help/how will it help your future career?

The course equipped me with fundamental knowledge I use frequently in my day-to-day role. Specifically, the knowledge on data structures, algorithms, artificial intelligence and project management have been vital. In addition to teaching computer science theory, the course gave me the opportunity to acquire real world experience through an industrial placement. Taking a year out to work for an IT company increased my awareness of the technology industry and gave me experience to put on my CV.This helped me decide and obtain the graduate role I wanted.

What would you say to students thinking about coming to do the same course?

Make use of every opportunity given and keep an open mind. Network with potential employers/other students at employability events and ask the lecturers when you don't understand something. Learn as much as you can. This extends to outside the course as well – make the most of the what the university offers in terms of events and societies. You won't know what opportunities are out there if you don't look!