I was a musician, composer and producer playing in original music ensembles for almost ten years. These creative endeavours encapsulated studio-recording sessions, hundreds of gigs across the island of Ireland, and national radio airplay.
I decided to undertake a new challenge in 2010 so I moved back into education as a mature student with a desire to achieve academic recognition for my skills. I completed a HND in Music Production at the North West Regional College Derry in 2012, winning an award for finishing as the highest achieving student.
My academic history before beginning the HND finished with GCSE’ in 2001, so it can be said that my scholarly pursuits have taken a less than typical, but highly rewarding route.
Where are you now?
After completing my HND I subsequently moved into 2nd year of the BSc Music Technology and Sonic Arts degree at QUB, successfully completing my degree with 1st class honours.
I am currently studying MSc Software Development at QUB and this will run until September 2015.
As of 13th April 2015 I have already achieved my first professional qualification, gaining accreditation as a certified software tester (ISTQB) - this qualification was offered through the MSc and it will ultimately help embellish my degree and career potential.
How did you get there?
My love of the creative industries and for music and computer technologies ultimately drove my desire to return to education as a mature student. Having completed my degree, which focused on the creative aspects of technology I wanted to further my career potential with a current, highly desirable skillset, and I was fortunate enough to move into software engineering with the MSc Software development masters. While I am eager to utilise my audio based skills (eventually) within suitable web / app / game based development, I am also eager to forge a career that really expands my horizons, and helps me network with other like-minded creative professionals.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
Having spoken with Diane at the QUB careers service before the completion of my undergrad degree I was offered guidance, advice and some friendly insight into potential career opportunities, and in particular I was introduced to a past student who followed a similar path to myself; and this proved to be truly helpful.
Figuring out how I was going to repackage my skills and achievements to a suitable career was truthfully really quite difficult, particularly in the current climate of financial cuts – especially to the creative arts – so a career in the ever expanding software industry made perfect sense; with a gentle nudge in the right direction from both Diane and a past QUB student!
Advice for current Queen's students
While it sounds cheesy you really should follow your heart and pursue what you know you enjoy doing; but you must also be open minded and accepting of change, if and when it comes.
A willingness to pursue even the most unlikely of career opportunities and importantly, a strong desire to push yourself to the limit and want more from your time in academics will really help to build resolve and a sense of ambition that will serve you well moving into your future career. Good luck!