Shrikant Ghoshal

Shrikant Ghoshal

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

There are several important factors supporting my decision to study at the University of Leeds: the credentials of the University itself like being part of the Russel group, a Gold rating on the Teaching Education Framework (TEF), a 90% satisfaction rate according to the National Student Survey conducted at the time I was applying, the availability of my course subject – Electronics and Computer Engineering, and of course, the University of Leeds guaranteeing University accommodation to all students paying the international fee who apply to live in University accommodation. Moreover, Leeds, being a city with five universities, has a very high number of students and thus has lower costs of living to cater to the needs of students while boasting the availability if a vast range of commodities and products from all around the world.

Why did you choose this particular course?

We live in a world where processes are constantly being automated through implementation of artificially intelligent systems, synchronous functionality of robots and other unmanned devices acting together thanks to concepts like the Internet of Things (IoT) and development in the field of Machine Learning and Neural Networks that improve the ability to collect and use information in IT systems. The implementation of such technologies requires cooperation between the physical components (electronics) of a system and the software (computing) that controls it – essentially meaning that electronics and computers are interdependent. Electronics and Computer Engineering is a joint honours course with the (parent) School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and the School of Computing which, like the name suggests, integrates the interdependent concepts of Electronics and Computing and is aimed at providing the students with an opportunity to be proficient with technological systems in entirety, emphasizing both software and physical components of a system.

What have been the best aspects of studying your course, and why?

There are two primary things that really make my course interesting: experiencing the constant switching between the concepts taught in Electronics and Computing and being able to “make connections” between the content being taught in both the subjects gives me a sense of satisfaction and, knowing that almost every single commodity that surrounds us has an application of either electronics or computers embedded in it is exciting! Ranging from wristwatches and till-machines at stores to high-performance antennas, cameras etc., Electronics and Computer Engineering has significant applications anywhere and everywhere.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed on your course?

Being a joint honours course in two schools, Electronics and Computer Engineering offers several projects to its students which help in getting hands-on experience in the respective fields. In this first year, I have made several programming projects in programming languages like C and Java as part of assessed coursework in the School of Computing, through which I experienced the logic and effort that goes into making something as simple as a tic-tac-toe game or designing the coordinate system for a GPS through the processes of procedural and object-oriented programming, respectively. I have also had the opportunity to work with fellow students in the School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering to make a small-scale wirelessly-controlled vehicle, which required us to use the entirety of our fundamental knowledge in electronics – we had to think about the most efficient way of making the vehicle go faster with limited power available, and simultaneously design and implement a wireless control system to manoeuvre the vehicle all the while keeping in mind that the circuits implemented need to be compact so the vehicle isn’t bulky or too heavy to match performance requirements.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

With five universities situated in Leeds, a majority of the population of Leeds are students, with a significant part of them being international. Leeds as a city caters to this diverse and selective audience very well, considering numerous conveniently located general stores selling essentials like toiletries, food and stationery, and the availability of cuisine from all around the world at affordable prices. Moreover, there is a large range of student discounts offered by shops, restaurants and public transport services that help in keeping the cost of living comparatively low for students. Leeds is also known for its nightlife, and one can have an eventful night out to unwind after intense studies. Of course, that’s not all – with plenty of houses available to rent, students would hardly ever find it difficult to find affordable, yet convenient living spaces close to the university – and with a well-connected public transport system of Buses running late into the night, one can be quite secure while travelling.

What are your ambitions for the future?

As of now, my future plans are spread across a very broad range. Academically, of course, I intend to fully use the University’s potential and be proficient with concepts in both Electronics and Computers so I can apply them to further improve the fast-paced development of technology and its various fields. Currently, my interests lie in the fields relating to the implementation of machine learning, neural networks and artificial intelligence to improve automated systems. My extra-curricular endeavours involve improving my ability in playing the piano and guitar, and playing badminton to keep fit. Apart from this, I would also like to be proficient in a few languages including (but not limited to) German, Japanese, French and Chinese, so I can communicate with a majority of the people of the world (though as of now, I am far from achieving this in the near future).

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

Here at Leeds, I have had the opportunity to interact with people from all around the world, and making new friends from diverse backgrounds has helped me significantly improve my communication skills – something that I believe will prove to be a very useful asset in my career. My course, being a part of two schools, had a significantly different arrangement for assignments or examinations, requiring good organisational skills. As a result of this, I practiced managing my time, and, though it took some adjusting to, I was able to balance my workload efficiently – a skill I believe to be essential for someone working in the fast-changing world of technology. Moreover, the numerous opportunities provided by the university to engage in different exploratory activities across a wide range of disciplines helped add to my experience of viewing the world, which will allow me to solve problems or issues by looking at multiple perspectives towards developing a solution. This is extremely important when considering a career in electronics and computer engineering, which has applications everywhere, like medical equipment, construction, transport and informatics, just to mention a few.

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

Electronics and Computer Engineering is jointly managed by the School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and the School of Computing. So, while there might be times when the pressure of the combined workload seems difficult, the opportunity to be able to learn the core concepts of both these interdependent fields and work on integrating them for application in the real world will prove as a head-start for a career across the fields of engineering and computing.

The teaching methods are centred around theory classes heavily supported by practical sessions and projects to ensure the understanding of how to apply the concepts taught theoretically, which is indeed effective, provided that a fair amount of personal engagement is involved. And the decision to study this course is a brave one and a lot is expected out of a student in such a course, but it is necessary, as is your responsibility to keep going against any mental academic pressure and grow your experience. This endurance will help strengthen the foundations of knowledge and understanding in the discipline while providing a glimpse of the weight of responsibility that working professionals experience in this field, thus preparing the students for their careers ahead.

As a conclusion, to those who are aiming to do the same course, I would implore you to be passionate about learning, work hard and endure academic pressure, and most of all, enjoy your time living and studying at Leeds.