Daniel Doyle, alumnus, BSc (Hons) Business Information TechnologyFrom A Levels to BI developer: Daniel talks us through his journey from studying for a part-time degree to working for himself as an IT contractor for top finance companies
Even before he started university, Daniel Doyle had one eye very much on the future. While his A Level classmates were heading straight off to university, Daniel was looking at ways of getting some experience under his belt early.
Putting learning into practice
“I took a year out before starting university, to get a bit of a break from education,” explains Daniel. “During that time, I secured a month’s unpaid placement at The Children’s Society as a data analyst. When that finished, I was offered a temporary contract and full pay, with the added bonus of them offering me a part-time role once I started my degree the following year.”
As a result, Daniel was able to combine his BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology degree with a part-time job that was related to the field he wanted to move into. It’s a combination he thoroughly recommends. “I found that doing a technical degree and having a part-time job where I could immediately put my learning into practice was a big help,” he says. “In fact, I think it is what helped me to secure a First Class honours degree.”
Building new systems
After graduating, Daniel secured a role as a developer for a small bank and, looking back with more experience, feels working for a small company was a great beginning. “It helped to expand my skillset from the start,’ he says. “Admittedly, smaller companies tend to have lower salaries, but you are not limited by countless processes and controls.”
After working at a mix of big and small businesses, Daniel is now facing his most exciting challenge – running his own company. “I’m a contractor for Lloyds Bank,” he says. “Not only is the remuneration package better, the work is more varied. Because I’m not involved in the day-to-day running of the department, I can focus on building new systems rather than supporting existing ones.”
Latest development tools
Daniel enjoys concentrating on project work. “The advantage with developing new systems is that you tend to use the latest development tools, which keeps your skillset very up to date,” he explains. “In a permanent role, you might be expected to maintain and update an existing system using older tools – then, when you come to move on, you don’t have the same skills as the rest of the job market.”
My degree gave me the skills I need to understand finance, accountancy, programming, databases and business intelligence. Those are all skills I put into practice today, and they have been critical in helping me acquire roles in large financial companies along the way.
Even now he has established himself in his industry, Daniel still looks to the future to make sure he keeps ahead of the field. “Big data and cloud computing are the biggest IT trends at the moment,” he says. “I’m planning to look into Microsoft’s Azure platform, and Hadoop to help manage big data. I believe focusing on those technologies will give me an advantage in the job market, as there are very few people out there with those skills at the moment.”
Daniel’s advice to anyone considering a career in IT is simple. “It’s a broad area, so decide which area you want to focus on,” he says. “Being focused on the units I wanted to study at LSBU has really helped me, and I think it’s more important than ever to make sure university is working for you, and preparing you for the career you want. That’s what I did, and it couldn’t have worked out better.”
Read more about studying BSc (Hons) Business Information Technology at LSBU.