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Radu Stefan

BSc (Hons) Computer Science (2015)
Guardian Consultant, Dynatrace, Maidenhead

Radu Stefan

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? What was your first impression of the university and the city? What did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford? 

When I was considering the option of studying abroad I didn’t know anything about the UK in general, much less the education system and universities available. I did a bit of research and started looking at the computing departments of each university; the facilities at the University of Bradford were quite highly ranked, and, coupled with being one of the most inexpensive cities in the UK and boasting multicultural diversity made Bradford an ideal choice for pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Socialising and meeting people from literally all around the world is what I enjoyed most about Bradford – getting to know other people’s cultures and the way they grew up can really help you develop and become a more rounded individual.

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about your course? 

My passion for technology stems from high school when I was first introduced to programming in C++. Programming concepts seemed easy to understand and I got good enough at it that it made me think about pursuing a career in the field of information technology – and what better way to do it than by enrolling on a Computer Science course?

What I enjoyed most about this course is that in the first two years had an all-encompassing view of the subject, with modules ranging from Java programming, to computer architecture, networking concepts, human-computer interaction, and even artificial intelligence; this helped me a lot when applying for industrial placements as it gave me more to talk about. At the same time, I really enjoyed the fact that all modules were optional in the final year, allowing you to customise it based on your preferred specialisation.

What tips would you give to prospective students (about the course at University of Bradford and the university itself)?

Definitely go for it! The course is rich in information and the facilities are plentiful and make a big difference when preparing academic work. The university is also prepared to help its students with literally any aspects of academic life from proof-reading essays, to preparing for job interviews, and even finding or managing accommodation. On top of that the multitude of societies and spare time activities is staggering – you will definitely find new hobbies and fill your time with unique events.

How did Career Development Services support you during your time at University?

I started taking advantage of the University’s Career Development Services during my second year of study when I was determined to secure a position on an industrial placement scheme. Careers helped me polish my CV into one that stands out, write convincing covering letters that convey my passion for technology, and overall be prepared for those tricky interview questions and assessment centre exercises that companies heavily rely on when selecting candidates. My efforts resulted in securing an industrial placement with IBM and I think this is enough to reflect the high quality of the University’s Career Development Services.

Tell us about your current job.

I recently accepted an offer for a Guardian Consultant position within Dynatrace (starting Aug 2015), a global company specialising in solving performance issues across applications and infrastructure by monitoring and understanding the user experience. My role will involve a 5 month training period in Detroit (Michigan), followed by travelling across the UK at client locations in order help them make the most of our products. This may include ensuring customer applications are available and performing at their peak, reviewing performance trends with customers, assisting with troubleshooting and pinpointing the root cause of performance issues, and even training their staff to ensure they are using our solution at its full potential.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at University?

In my second year, I started going to workshops on writing effective covering letters and application forms, and I also booked sessions with Careers office to review my CV and prepare for interviews. Joining the Archery and Romanian Societies have definitely helped me talk about positions of responsibility, teamwork skills, and competitive nature, all desired from candidates, especially since I didn’t have any relevant job experience at that time.

During my final year I focussed a lot on polishing my LinkedIn profile which helped me keep in touch with my previous industry contacts, and also put me on the map for career prospects as I received offers to apply for opportunities I might have otherwise missed (including the one at Dynatrace).

What advice would you give to current students wishing to enter this type of career?

Be determined to succeed! The field of information technology is extremely vast, and with technology infiltrating every little aspect of our lives, there are opportunities for everyone ranging from software development to support services, technical sales, consultancy, and everything in between! Find the area which attracts you most and be passionate about it; passion is what drives technology forward.

Definitely try as hard as possible to secure an industrial placement. I cannot stress enough how important this is for your future career as it demonstrates you can work alongside field professionals, gaining exposure to industry standards, technologies and processes.

Lastly, never give up! I went through 20 companies until securing the placement with IBM, and 15 more before Dynatrace. Rejection is inevitable, especially with today’s high standards, so always analyse your failures, learn from them, and never let them bring you down – whenever one door closes, another one opens.

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