I was accepted into Newcastle, Northumbria, Durham and Lancaster but Sunderland had the best IT facilities and a strong selection of computing courses. I was, and continue to be, impressed with how forward-thinking Sunderland is when it comes to technology.
I attended the University of Sunderland immediately after City of Sunderland College. I always knew I wanted to go into higher education and continued in academia from college with no break.
Business Computing taught me a broad range of IT skills: web design & development, databases, computer programming, networking etc. but also the business skills to commercialise them. The two make for a powerful combination to get into the world of technology startups.
I would recommend the University of Sunderland to other students and currently do.
Take the time to develop relationships with your lecturers and people running initiatives you’re interested in – e.g. entrepreneurial programmes. We all know the saying “it’s not what you know it’s who you know” – the network you build at the university will forever pay dividends if you invest in them. They continue to provide opportunities for me and I always make sure to check in from time to time.
The University of Sunderland was responsible for landing me an undergraduate placement at Sage – a big deal at the time as they had never taken on undergraduates prior. I started my career as a software engineer there and, under the guidance of some fantastic mentors, went from average coder to pretty good programmer. From there I jumped straight into startup land and sold my first company in 2014. Since then, I’ve founded a number of technology startups of varying success but currently building Flex, a fitness technology company, out of TechStars, one of the world’s most prestigious startup accelerator programmes.
My only aspiration is to create technology products that are valuable to millions of people and to always tinker with new and emerging technologies to challenge and explore what’s possible.
At Sunderland I have learnt skills I will use for years to come, and made friends I’ll keep for years to come.
Published 26 March 2018