Charlie Winckler

Charlie Winckler

Why did you choose to study Electronic Engineering at Leeds?

I chose to study this coursebecause I had done an A-level in Electronics at college and loved it.
The general feel I got at the open day and the fact they were accommodating with the entry requirements. Some other universities wouldn’t take me because I didn’t have an A-level in Maths; however Leeds viewed my A-Level in Electronics equally as important as A-level Maths.

What has been the best part of the course?

I’d have to say the project work has been the best aspect of the course. I’ve been able to choose my own projects which the school has provided suitable tutors for and the budget to do them. The projects are great ways to gain a real understanding for the topics taught and also allow you to learn about topics you might not be taught.

Have you undertaken any project work?

I have completed 4 projects and have one currently ongoing. In my first year I worked with a group to create a RC track buggy, looking back, it seemed so simplistic and the mistake we made was silly, yet at the time I had a massive sense of achievement.
In my second year embedded project, I created the classic Snake game. I had previously created this in Python for one of my computing modules, however converting it to work on a microcontroller provided tough and I learnt a lot about interfacing with I/O devices.

One of my projects in my third year was to create an iPhone app. I decided to create a Wi-Fi based chat app, which taught me a lot about networking and also cemented my understanding of OOP. I found this module very enjoyable because telling your friends that you can create iPhone apps is pretty cool. The skill is also very useful, when I next have some free time I hope to create and sell an app on the app store.

Another third year project was a group design project. For this, we created a Wi-Fi enabled RC car capable of streaming live video. The car had a robotic arm, which the webcam mounted on. We created an iOS app, an Android app, a desktop client and web browser client. This meant multiple people could view the video stream from multiple devices while another person drove it around. The iOS app also enabled the user to drive the car with a joystick and then used the accelerometer to move the robotic arm around.

The project I am currently working on, the fourth year individual project, involves me designing a high speed receiver board for the School’s Ultrasound Research Array Platform. There are only a couple of systems like this in the world and my project will hopefully enhance the performance greatly and also enable new research areas currently not possible with the current system.

What activities have you been involved with outside of your studies?

I am involved in the LUU Hiking Club, trips have included Scottish winter mountaineering, a week long trip to the Isle of Skye and weekend walks. I also lead walks for the club and they contributed to first aid training.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I am looking to continue working as an electronic engineer and would like to work creating communication systems. I am not definitely sure of where my career will lead me, as my degree and experiences allow me to access a wide range of areas. So far I have applied for two jobs, and received interviews for both. One of them have offered me a job, while I am still waiting to hear back from the other.

The number and variety of projects you undertake gives you a lot to talk about at technical interviews. You can make some really interesting project, which people have always found interesting.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Apply! It is a good school and I have found the staff to be supportive. It’s now when I look back at my time in Leeds that I realise how much I have learnt. The knowledge I have gained lets me understand consumer electronics to a great depth. It is pretty impressive how a mobile phone works, or how Freeview manages to squeeze a half a dozen channels into the same space as an old terrestrial channel. When you can explain things like this to your friends, they are often staggered at the complexity and this makes you proud and appreciate what you’ve learnt.

I also feel like I have got my money’s worth while being here. I have had access to equipment that is better than you’ll find in some companies and received high quality teaching. However if you’re looking for an easy course, then this isn’t for you, it is challenging and requires commitment, but as engineer this shouldn’t put you off!