With a personal interest in programming, Cloud wanted to gain a broader view of IT and turn his interest into practical and marketable skills so that he could build a career out of his hobby. “For my dissertation project I developed my own coding tutorial with an original user interface design and studied the impact of the tutorial upon beginners’ learning to write code for websites,” he said.
“I think it’s very important that everybody has an opportunity to try out some coding activities and learn a bit about how the software they use works,” said Cloud, who has a background in teaching.
Based in the UK and working full time, Cloud found the dissertation particularly hard work but the freedom to choose his own topic and the ongoing support from his Dissertation Advisor were among the features of the online experience he enjoyed most.
“I had some very qualified and helpful teachers, especially my Dissertation Advisor, Dr Browne, and it was great being able discuss the latest news and research in technology with classmates from all over the world,” he said.
Fitting online study into your life
Cloud’s key to success was sticking to a firm schedule that included a lot of planning ahead, it took a lot of discipline to fit 20-30 hours of study into each week. However the flexibility of the online programme was a true benefit that suited his natural learning style.
“I find I learn more effectively from reading and practical exercises than from traditional lecture-style teaching, so it helped that I could take as much time as I wanted with the course materials and work through the assignments at my own pace,” he said.
“The programme provides everything that you need to succeed as long as you care enough to put the work in.”
Skills for the future
Now working for a software design company which has many prestigious and interesting clients, Cloud feels his degree, as well as learning about a wide range of topics within IT, has really benefitted him with his career.
“I definitely think it gave me the edge when applying for my first job in software development,” he said. “I think my MSc demonstrates a commitment to my professional development, and the knowledge I gained from it gave me the confidence to answer technical questions in interviews thoroughly and accurately.”
Continuing to pursue his passion for programming, in the future Cloud would like to create a startup that uses technology to further advance global health, education or social justice.
Find out more about the University of Liverpool’s online Computer Science master’s programmes.