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Originally from the UK, Peter Membrey is a software engineer in Hong Kong, building trading software for Asian financial markets. He graduated with a Computer Science master's degree (specialising in Information Security) from the University of Liverpool after studying online.

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool for this degree?

The University of Liverpool was willing to look at my work experience when assessing me for a place on the programme. I don't hold a bachelors degree and so my placement was based solely on past professional performance. I ultimately graduated with distinction, earning two awards (Dissertation of the Year award and Student of the Year award). Since then, I have gone on to achieve my other goal – studying for a PhD in software engineering.

What did you enjoy most about studying online with the University?

I enjoyed the flexibility of the programme and being able to interact with other students from all over the world. One thing they had in common was their professionalism. The vast majority were at senior stages in their careers.

How did you fit online study into your life?

It was far more practical than a campus-based course. I could study anywhere and at any time. For me I found that I could squeeze in a few minutes here and there and that it all added up. It's possible to fit the programme in and around your life.

What are your top tips for others?

It is easier if you can snatch a few minutes here and there rather than trying to always book a block of time. For the dissertation, try to come up with a suitable idea that you have a deep understanding of already. The dissertation is not the place to earn your next Nobel Prize – aim for the right level and you'll find it a much more enjoyable experience.

How is the programme helping you in your life and career?

The degree led to a new employment offer as well as allowing me to study locally for a PhD in Software Engineering. As a side effect of my study and the people I met whilst studying, I joined various professional organisations – I am now a fellow of the British Computer Society – and became a published technical author with Apress. My books include “Learn Raspberry Pi With Linux”, co-authored by David Hows, and “The Definitive Guide to CentOS”, co-authored by Tim Verhoeven and Ralph Angenendt.

How useful and relevant this MSc programme is for your current and potential future roles?

For me, the programme was about affirming my knowledge and being able to demonstrate that a third party recognised my abilities. In countries like Hong Kong where there is a significant bias towards paper qualifications, it is extremely useful to have a prestigious degree from a world renowned University.

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