I got interested in electronics at school, and could see this was a field where exciting things were going on. I decided to study Engineering because I wanted to combine an academically challenging subject with something practical. I applied to Cambridge because of its reputation as an excellent university. I was also attracted by the flexibility of the Engineering course and the collegiate system. I knew of students who went to different universities where they took more narrowly focussed courses which they didn't enjoy. For them, making a change was much harder. Even though I was pretty sure which direction I wanted to take, I enjoyed the breadth of the first two years of the Engineering course.
I took a gap year working with a major engineering consultancy and they also offered me a work placement in my vacations working for their telecommunications consultancy.
In my third year at Cambridge I chose the Electrical and Information Sciences option and it was great having so many modules to choose from. I could learn about Economics alongside the details of electronic circuitry and silicon chips. I loved the fourth year, which I spent mostly at the University's Superconductivity Research Centre. It felt more like doing a PhD than an undergraduate course, and the research was a mixture of Physics and Engineering, looking at the production of superconducting magnets for levitation.
Highlights of my time at Cambridge included being on my College May Ball Committee in my third year. It was very challenging fitting in all the organisational work required for that with studying for my exams, and it was excellent experience learning how to handle large sums of money and deal with various suppliers. In all, it was a good introduction to management skills. My involvement with the College drama society for which I did the lighting took me up to the Edinburgh Festival, which was very rewarding.
When I left Cambridge, I travelled to South Africa, then got a job with IBM working in IT services. I then moved on to work for Goldman Sachs, the investment banking and securities firm, as an analyst programmer in equities. This job makes use of all the computing skills I learned at Cambridge, writing software in Visual Basic and C++ using both Windows-based and Unix systems. The analytical skills I picked up are also very useful, as well as the experience of working in teams and making presentations.
I enjoy working with a large international company in an environment where results are expected quickly. It is challenging work but most importantly I really enjoy what I am doing.