Meet your Head of School

Andy Aftelak is the Head of the School for Computing and Digital Technology. Learn more about his background, his interests and what he enjoys about working for the School and the University.

Meet your Head of School

What did you study at University? 

I studied BSc Honours Electronic and Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Satellite Communications both at Loughborough University. 

How did you become the Head of School for Computing and Digital Technology at Birmingham City University? 

I began my career in a small start-up business and ended up as a Vice-President of a large American multi-national in Chicago.  In looking to come back to the UK, I found myself at a turning point in my career and wanted a fresh challenge. I was lucky enough to apply for the Head of School role at a time when the Faculty was looking for different perspectives and my 25 year career in industrial research seemed to fit the need very well. So here I am!

What does your job involve? 

My job is to deliver the best student experience we can, help our graduates launch their careers, help them undertake high quality research, and ensure our research makes a huge impact on society and the economy of the country.

What’s your favourite thing about working for the School? 

The people! I love helping our students and staff succeed.

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What have been your career highlights so far?

Getting my PhD! Designing and building ground breaking space communication systems. Being a leader in the design of the TETRA police radio system, which revolutionised public safety communications. Leading research labs in Motorola in the UK, Europe and the USA. Becoming a vice-president. Being the co-author of 24 first issued patents. Becoming a professor at a university. Seeing so many of the people I work with go on to successful and fulfilling careers.

What are your specialist areas?

My specialist areas are telecommunications, digital signal processing, semantic understanding of video and audio media, big data, technology leadership, management and common sense.

How would you describe the School of Computing and Digital Technology?

Ambitious, diverse and caring. 

How would you describe your staff?

Dedicated, caring, experts in their field and wonderful teachers.

What can new students most look forward to?

Students can look forward to excellent support from staff, industry standard facilities, practical and applied learning, enhancing their career aspirations and making lifelong friends. 

How can future students prepare for university? 

University is different from further education. Part of being at university is learning to continually update your skills. As a student you need to think about how you can become self-reliant, self-confident and most of all take ownership of your learning, career and future.

Do you have any advice for working in the industry? 

Know yourself; understand what motivates you and what your ambitions are. Be as ambitious as you can. Know that in industry employers want to know what you can do for them, be as useful and innovative as possible. Get to know a lot of people and develop your network.

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