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

Ahmed Abu Zaid

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

Being good at math and physics at primary school, made my teachers advise me to study engineering at High school. 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 my visits to the inspiring and well organised open days. In addition, the brilliance of the city contributed to a big part of my decision.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

There are two things that have interested me the most in terms of the teaching system here at Leeds. Firstly, most modules have a coursework deadline covering most of the topics 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.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

During my course at Leeds, I have done several mini projects.

The first project was an Embedded system project. As a second-year project, I created a game (car race) that was controlled using a gamepad. We designed the gamepad so that it had a joystick and a couple of buttons (to destroy enemies!). The second mini project was designing a mobile application that works on iOS devices. The app was created to help students learn about and design electronic filters.

In my final year project, I am using all the skills I gained from these mini projects to make a smart watch for m-Health. To do this I started by acquiring data from various sensors, then sent them using Bluetooth Low Energy technology “BLE”, before making a mobile application to visualise important data. This data includes, heart rate measure, galvanic skin response, air quality, temperature and time.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

The city of Leeds is considered one of the most highly student populated cities in the UK. For sports, it has a Championship football team, a Super League rugby league team, a Premiership rugby union team and a county cricket team - and they all offer deals for students.

As the university is located in the city centre, it is easy 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.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambition is to have a mixture of a practical and an academic career. 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, in summer holidays as a placement work, and after graduation for several years. The second target after having experienced electronics for years is to deliver this experience to students at educational institutions.

What Experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

The university offers various opportunities that can significantly affect your career. At the end of each year, students work on a range of projects, learning a range of different skills including solving problems, independency and more.

The Faculty of Engineering Employability team offers many opportunities in regards to future career. For instance, I have 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 IOT (Internet of Things) 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.

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

I strongly recommend them to get involved in every single opportunity that comes up. I also advise them to become a member of Leeds University Union. I recommend ShockSoc in particular, as it offers different workshops and talks, in addition to trips and different sports` teams and other activities. Study hard, play it harder!