NAME: ALEX REDSTONE / AGE: 23
JOB: RESEARCHER AT MRG, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH/ NEW ROLE AS SOFTWARE DEVELOPER AT AUTONOMY, CAMBRIDGE
DEGREE: BSC ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Q. Why did you choose science at university?
I took chemistry, English and double maths for my A–levels so my university options were varied. I focused on artificial intelligence (AI) because it has a cutting edge to it. I wanted to be involved in new research and AI is constantly evolving. My decision wasn’t particularly informed, but I enjoyed science fiction from a young age and had an interest in technology and mathematics that led me to computers.
Q. Why did you decide to enter the job market?
I did get offers to do a PhD when I graduated, but I wanted to see what was out there in terms of jobs before I committed to another three years of study. I wanted to see what my degree could get me, and in my short job hunt, I realised that it’s quite a valuable degree to hold in the current market. I was offered a lot of interviews and got a few job offers.
Q. What did you find employers asking for in the jobs you applied to?
The jobs I had applied for were generally quite technical, so employers were looking for the basic technical skills, but apart from academics, they just wanted to see that I was a well–rounded individual. My CV reflected my other interests and I was part of many different societies at university that demonstrated this – the film society, the chocolate society and the tango society.
Q. What do you do in your current job?
I start a permanent job next month and will be working as a software developer for a research company, working on aspects of search engines and incorporating artificial intelligence to develop a contents–based search.
Q. What do you find the most enjoyable in your current job and what are you looking forward to in your new job?
My current job is very relaxed and I know most of the people I work with, so we spend a lot of time together and swap ideas on what we’re all doing. It’s not an isolated job, and the hours are very flexible.
Q. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of your new job?
I’m worried that staying interested in the job may be an issue. I chose this job over other jobs as it was most relevant to my degree and I thought it would be the most interesting option for me. I hope I don’t get stuck on a project where the end is nowhere in sight and the excitement just dissolves.
Q. What advice do you have for students thinking of entering your field in the job market?
Graduates should take their time and really assess all the offers and options before accepting a job. Start by giving your CV the most exposure; make sure you approach a lot of recruiters and employers in your field. The difficulty will be that you get more offers than you may expect, and often for jobs that you may not be fully interested in.