What is it like to study a Master's in Computing?

Deciding to study a postgraduate degree has many benefits such as increasing your employment prospects and helping you become more specialist within your field of interest. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to pursue your real passion. We asked MSc Data and Networks student, Sebastian, to tell us about his experience on the course and what advice he has for those considering a Master's in Computing. 

Sebastian Parsons
Postgraduate Student

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Why did you decide to study a Master's in Data Networks and Security?

One point that had always been expressed to me from secondary school teachers, personal tutors, academic advisors and the like, is that to get the perfect job you must stand out. I studied a BSc in Computer Networks and Security at BCU and once I had completed my undergraduate, I felt I needed to further distinguish myself from my peers. Additionally, I knew I wanted to advance my knowledge in this niche area.

I decided to study an MSc Data Networks and Security for three main reasons. Firstly, master’s degrees are now covered under the student loans scheme so I could afford to do it. Secondly, the networking curriculum and facilities available to all networking students at BCU is second to none, including staff who find networking more interesting than you do. Finally, it allows me to stand out from the crowd as I will have an advanced postgraduate degree. Meaning I will have learned advanced skills that will allow me to further pursue my dream job.

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How do you think your Master's will improve your employability?

I think a postgraduate degree can do a lot for any person trying to improve their employability. The types of skills I am learning on my postgraduate such as research, advanced networking and ethical hacking, give me a competitive edge over my peers. Subsequently, I am more likely to be employed within those niche areas than a person who hasn’t advanced their knowledge in those fields. I have found my postgraduate has given me a deeper understanding and more thoughtful approach to work.

What’s the most exciting element of your course?

The most exciting element of this course is that whilst I’m being taught many different protocols that can enable a higher functioning network, I am also building it. Implementing ideas, and new skills straight away, wherever I want. Knowing literally nothing about networking when I started in my first year of university, to being on a master’s degree, implementing advanced redundancy protocols on major networks that I have built is an amazing feeling, and for me is the best part of the course.

How has your postgraduate differed from your undergraduate?

Some people might think that there is not much difference between an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, as you do certain modules, and there is a research project at the end, much like you would on a final year undergraduate. However, postgraduate work is of a much higher standard. Postgraduates are treated more like colleagues to staff than students, working on projects with staff, helping undergraduates with lab work through the University's demonstrating project. Being a postgraduate is very fulfilling and is much closer to what work life will be.

What are your plans after you graduate?

One part of network security that always interested me was cryptography - the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and computing merged into one subject – an area in high demand in this digital age. Furthering my knowledge of advanced techniques of key exchanges, encryption functions that could be used with new quantum key distribution methods has allowed me to gain a position starting my PhD with Birmingham City University. I love research and knowing the most in-depth things and intrinsic details to give me an edge, thus the opportunity to be able to further my knowledge and potentially become an academic was possibly the easiest decision of my life.

What would your advice be for those considering studying a Master's in Computing?

Do it for the right reasons. If you have the motivation and want to further your studies or pursue a job in academia or simply love research, a postgraduate degree is an amazing opportunity for you. Be prepared to read a lot, especially if it’s a new subject area. Reading everything you can in relation to your subject helps. My final piece of advice is don’t be afraid to be innovative. Especially, when it comes to research, because it can send you a long way and may allow you to attain that mark you were really not expecting, or that dream job.

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