Sam Starling

Internet Computing [BSc]

Sam Starling

Since joining the BBC, I have played a part in delivering both data (such as live results) and video for the London 2012 Olympics, as well as rolling out the responsive version of the BBC News website to users worldwide.

Current position: Software Engineer, BBC Future Media

After graduating from the Internet Computing [BSc], I applied to the BBC's Digital Media Graduate Scheme. The scheme gave me a great opportunity to see a lot of what the BBC do in terms of software development, and I learned a lot of new skills through it. Off the back of that, I got a more permanent job at the BBC, and I'm now working on the Linked Data Platform, programming in predominantly in Scala.

In a nutshell, I develop software – but that doesn’t just involve days full of coding. Our team generally take a test-driven approach, and we pair program on pretty much all of the production code we write. Aside from coding, there's also operational work to do and bugs to diagnose, as well as helping others to use the internal APIs and services we provide to other teams at the BBC.

The best bit has to be the variety of the work involved, and the projects I get to work on. Since joining I have played a part in delivering both data (such as live results) and video for the London 2012 Olympics, as well as rolling out the responsive version of the BBC News website to users worldwide. Getting to work on projects that are seen by so many people around the world is a unique opportunity.

My previous experience, including my industrial placement year, really helped me when I was applying for jobs.

My favourite thing about the course at Manchester is that it wasn’t wall-to-wall coding. In fact, some of the units I enjoyed the most weren't coding related. There were plenty of units to choose from, and they were given by lecturers who had a genuine passion for the subjects they taught. That, and the fact that Manchester is a fantastic city to be a student in!

The Agile unit I took is something that I find particularly useful now, along with the units that taught software design principles. Being able to talk about things like test-driven development in job interviews was incredibly useful. I picked up several transferrable skills like knowing design patterns, which can be used regardless of the language you code in.

My advice to students taking this course would be to read up on the units you'll get to choose from, and try and work out which ones might give you the edge when it comes to applying for the kinds of job that you might be after. Most importantly, pick something you think you'll enjoy.

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