Ahmed Zaid, an international student studying Electronic and Communications Engineering at Leeds

Ahmed Abu Zaid

Ahmed graduated from the University of Leeds in 2018 with a BEng undergraduate degree in Electronic and Communications Engineering. He is currently an Internet of Things (IoT) Engineer working at AirSensa. Here, he shares his experience during his studies at Leeds.

Undergraduate life

At high school, Ahmed was advised to take up Engineering because he was good at Mathematics and Physics. He said, “I was always interested in the electronic and electrical subjects, and that interest gradually evolved over the time.

The University of Leeds has a great reputation in this field. I was offered places by several high standard universities, including Leeds but I chose to study here after attending the Undergraduate Open Days. It was very well organised and inspiring. Furthermore, the brilliance of the city contributed to a big part of my decision.”

Campus tours

I was always interested in the electronic and electrical subjects, and that interest gradually evolved over the time.

Teaching system

“There are two things that have interested me the most in terms of the teaching system here at Leeds. Firstly, you get to work on projects on topics that have been taught during the semester, enabling students to apply what they have learnt and enhance their understanding.

Secondly, the teaching system is designed to introduce the basics of the different fields in electronic and electrical engineering to students at an early stage, by teaching introductory modules in the first semester. This approach gives students an insight into the field that they intend to specialise in.”

...you get to work on projects on topics that have been taught during the semester, enabling students to apply what they have learnt and enhance their understanding.

Project work

At Leeds, students have the chance to carry out project work, giving you the opportunity to develop vital skills. In applying theory to practice, your project work will give you an effective way of learning in depth, and give you the chance to understand how different aspects of electronics work together. 

Ahmed added, “I have completed several projects during my time at Leeds. During my second year, I created a game (car racing) that was controlled using a gamepad. We designed the gamepad so that it had a joystick and a couple of buttons (to destroy enemies!). I also designed a mobile app to help students learn about and design electronic filters.

In my final year project, I use all the skills I have gained to create a smart watch for m-Health. For this project, I acquired data from various sensors, then sent them using Bluetooth Low Energy technology “BLE”, before making a mobile application to visualise important data. This data included heart rate measure, galvanic skin response, air quality, temperature and time.”

Living in Leeds

“The city of Leeds is considered one of the most highly student populated cities in the UK. For sports, it has a football team, a rugby league and rugby union and a county cricket team. As the university is located in the city centre, it is easy and convenient to find your way to different shops where you can find everything you need. Furthermore, Leeds is in the middle of the UK which makes it easy to visit different places in the country.”

Leeds city, Leeds trinity shopping centre

Building a professional career

Ahmed’s ambition is to have a mixture of a practical and an academic career. He said, “my short-term target is to get experience in communications engineering (in the field of Internet of Things) by working for specialised companies in this discipline. Once I’ve gained enough experience, I’d like to be able to get into academia.”

Advice and tips

“The University offers various opportunities that can significantly affect your career. The Employability team offers many opportunities and I had two work opportunities arranged through the Employability team. One was a job shadowing with Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Company, who were in charge of the mechanical and electrical engineering tasks for the Edward Boyle library refurbishment project. The other was a summer internship as an Internet of Things (IoT) developer with Smart Buildings in which I learnt a lot. This opened the door to me to a very interesting, promising and rapidly growing field.

The university offers various opportunities that can significantly affect your career... I strongly recommend students to get involved in every single opportunity that comes up.

picture of 2 male students at the terrace bar

I strongly recommend future student to get involved in every single opportunity that comes up. I’d also advise them to become a member of Leeds University Union. I would also recommend trying out ShockSoc, the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Society, as it offers different workshops, talks and trips. Last but not least, remember to study hard, but play harder!”