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Rob Norvill

MSc Computing

Rob Norvill
  • Studies part-time
  • Founded the University's Computing Society

Rob Norvill has embraced life at the University of Bradford, making a real difference to fellow students and young people outside the University through the Computing Society.

"I founded the society when I started," Rob says.

"We do all kinds of things, including a Coding Club where people come to us with things they want to work on. If you have to teach it to someone else, it helps you understand it yourself.

"We also do lots of public speaking and go into schools to talk about getting into computing. It’s easy to be passionate about something you enjoy."

Rob says the society's 50 members get useful industry experience, on top of the skills gained on the course, which is one of the reasons the society gets the support of his department's lecturers.

"We work with other student societies - for example, if they want a mobile app created we’ll do it for them. It gives our students real-world experience of working with clients."

Rob chose to do his course part-time, which he says gives him more time to spend being involved in outside activities such as the society.

"After graduating with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Hull, I'd been a personal trainer, a salesman and a barman - and that's what I keep doing now.

"I chose to do the course part-time because I'm working as well."

Cyber security

Rob says Bradford's MSc Computing was perfect for him as his undergraduate degree was in a completely different subject.

"Signing up for the Master's was a leap of faith but I'm really enjoying it."

"My course is a conversion Master's, so I study all areas of computing, but I'm very interested in cyber security so I'm doing quite a few modules on that."

"All being well, I'll be staying on to do a PhD here in cyber security. I definitely want to do a PhD - you get to contribute something to science."

"My goal is to do something that makes science better."

Expertise

Rob says he gets taught by "an enormous amount of people", which means he gets to draw on lots of different areas of expertise.

"From professors in mathematics to lecturers doing their own research in things like data-mining to software developers."

"If I’m doing something with mathematics having a professor teaching me means they understand the topic inside-out."

"There’s always somebody who has the expertise."

"I also get lots of support from lecturers, and the Student Support office staff are always very helpful - which has been useful for me as someone returning to academia from a break."

"It’s been a huge life-change for me since I got here. Coming here - it’s changed from doing bits and bobs, to now I have a clear path ahead of me, and when I want to progress there’s always someone here at the University to support me."

Living off-campus

Rob lives in a village outside Bradford.

"My advice to others living off-campus is that societies are a great way to get involved. They are effectively a ready-made friendship group of people with similar interests to you."

"It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off people. Once you’re involved with something great it’s difficult to get off campus!"

Well-equipped

The facilities and industry-focus of the computing department have impressed Rob - and others.

"We have huge labs. They're really well equipped with dual screens, quad-core, powerful graphics cards."

"We have the networking lab as well which most universities don’t have, so you can build physical networks rather than relying on virtual ones."

"Students from other universities who came to the Hackathon we hosted here said, 'we want your labs!'"

"Also, a lot of talks go on in the department. Recently I sat in on a talk about cyber-security by the Chief intellectual officer of a large company, and the MD of a technical consultancy firm was a judge at our Hackathon."