Turn On Your Future @ UWTSD's School of Applied Computing

Q. What is your Name? Matthew Rhys Meader.

Q. What University course/s did you study? BSc (Hons) Computing & Information Systems (1st Class)

Q. What is your job title and role? As a Senior Software Developer, it is my role to engage in all phases of the software development lifecycle that include the analysis, design, development and support of nationally used clinical systems used within NHS Wales. It is also my role to mentor new staff with less clinical and technical knowledge and expertise.

Q. Could you briefly describe the organisation you work for? I work for the National Welsh Informatics Service (NWIS); we supply over seventy software services to users across NHS Wales and to other parts of the United Kingdom. We support doctors, nurses and other clinical professionals, helping them provide specialist care to patients in hospitals, GP practices and across the community.
My team in particular are responsible for updating, maintaining and creating new modules for the National Welsh Patient Administration System (WPAS). This system records details of patient’s hospital visits, including waiting list management, medical records, inpatient treatment, outpatient appointments and emergency visits.

Q. Which skills learned at University are helpful to you in your job? The most prevalent skill I gained whilst at University was the ability to write clean code and learn new languages as and when required. Other skills I learned that were helpful include:
• Project Management.
• Software Development Methodologies (Agile etc…)
• Usability Engineering & UX Design.
• Web Design.
• JavaScript, JQuery, JSON, Web Services (REST/SOAP), CSS/LESS.
• SQL.

Q. Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it? My typical day usually starts at 0800 with me planning the day ahead by checking emails and the Team Foundation Server (TFS) to ensure that all work tasks are on schedule and prioritised correctly. We hold daily SCRUM meetings to divide workloads amongst the team and to effectively help those struggling on certain tasks. Throughout the day, the team (Including myself) work on agreed tasks, but sometimes we have to fix bugs identified by users. This usually comes through from the helpdesk, though we do have to call users to gain an insight into the bug before creating a fix. Once a fix is completed and checked into Source Control, tests are conducted against the Systems Requirements Specification (SRS) document as well as a pre-defined Test Plan that the developer creates at the start of each task. The job at times can be unpredictable and requires focus and efficiency.

Q. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most? I enjoy problem solving, especially when it takes a long time to solve and it gives me great joy when a piece of work that I have developed is released LIVE with the knowledge that it is being used in hospitals across Wales.

Q. Do you have any advice for students who would like to start a Career? If you wish to start a career straight from University, then I suggest looking for jobs half way through your third year, this will give you scope as to what is out there. Also, look out for Graduate schemes in workplaces, these will give you the experience you need and can help you progress in that organisation. Also to Quote Vincent, van Gogh:

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Think about this as you start each assignment and think what grade you wish to achieve at the end goal ‘Graduation’. Also, remember to ask questions.

Q. A Quote that sums up your time at the University?

“Teachers/Lecturers open doors, but you must walk through them yourself. “

I loved my time at university; it gave me perspective into my capabilities and motivated me more than I ever was in school. The lecturers were extremely helpful and I urge students to talk to them whenever they can.

For more information about Computing courses and opportunities at UWTSD please click here.

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Applied Computing students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David recently participated in the TechStars Innovation Competition and presented their enterprising and innovative ideas to a panel of judges at Swansea’s TechHub. The panel of experts included: Guy Wendon, Business Development Manager from the module & event sponsor Alacrity, Ann Swift, Enterprise Manager for the Welsh Government and Paul Harwood co-founder of TechHub Swansea.

The TechStars Innovation Champions 2019 Award sponsored by Alacrity went to ‘Team Version ZERO’ consisting of Richard Davies, Dylan Evans, James Millns, Austin Hooper, Sarann Strange. The Team created ‘Doggogo’ an Animal Well-being System that included a Pet Health tracker for physical and mental well-being.

Doggogo is a phone application and device pair that will allow dog owners to better care for their dog. The device is a small cuboid that clips onto the collar of the dog. The phone application gives tailored recommendations based on the breed of the dog, for example; giving walk distance recommendations which would be higher for a husky as opposed to a Chihuahua. The device is GPS enabled and relays the live location of the dog to the application, this can be used to alert the owner if the dog escapes the property. The phone application can also store reminders for the dog including de-worm/flea reminders and vet appointments. The application will store the health progress of the dog and will have a review section which will be useful for vet appointments.” Team Version ZERO.

Winning Team with Judges and Module tutors

James Williams, Paul Harwood, Richard Davies, James Millns, Dylan Evans, Sarann Strange, Ann Swift, Mabrouka Abuhmida.

The Best Prototype Innovation Awards sponsored by IICED The International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development went to Team EEST consisting of Nicholas Jones and Team LIFE consisting of Helen Frey & Julie Millard.

Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones created a proposition called EEST Educational, Electronics & Science, Technologies. A potential Tech Start-Up Company to design and create educational products geared towards electronics and sciences. The initial product offering and prototype demonstrated included a modular environmental weather monitoring system.

Helen Frey & Julie Millard

Helen Frey & Julie Millard

Team Life’s innovative idea and prototype is a Health App that monitors and reacts to abnormal parameters in heart-rate temperature and body functions, and if an emergency situation occurs such as a stoke or collapse the App would notify a pre-arranged contact alerting them to the event.

“The ingenuity and creativity of our students never ceases to amaze me.  Their curiosity and capacity for spotting opportunities is something we  know will put them in good stead for their future careers. What drives IICED is that simple fact, and our international research activities helps us to learn how to continuously improve – so that we can fully support our students in their creative endeavours.” – Kathryn Penaluna

The Best Tech Start-Up & Business Development report sponsored by Alacrity and selected by Alacrity CEO Dr. Will Williams went to Sarann Strange.

Prizes for the Winning Teams and students provided by the event sponsor include an overnight stay and dinner at the prestigious 5* Celtic Manor Resort.

 “The Alacrity Foundation is a charity that helps to nurture and create the next generation of technology entrepreneurs. We recognise the value of innovation in academia and were delighted to sponsor the 2019 Techstars competition. James and his team have supported a fantastic group of students from a variety of disciplines to create some cutting-edge technical innovation.  We are excited to continue to work with UWTSD.” – Guy Wendon

Ann Swift, Guy Wendon and Paul Harwood

Ann Swift, Guy Wendon and Paul Harwood.

The TechStars Innovation Competition, was organised by UWTSD Senior Lecturer James Williams who teaches the School’s Enterprise and Innovation Group Project module. The competition enables students within the School of Applied Computing to form inter-disciplinary teams and pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of experts from industry. Teams consist of students from multiple Computing degree programmes including Applied Computing, Business Information Systems, Web Development, Computer Games Development, Computer Networks & Cyber Security and Software Engineering.

“The Group project module and the TechStars event is a fantastic learning experience for our students. It enables and supports them to discover their potential and develop enterprising innovation & employability skills. Congratulations to all our students who presented at today’s event. You should all be very proud of yourselves. A special thanks to the module and event’s main sponsor The Alacrity Foundation represented by Guy Wendon. A special acknowledgement and thanks to the module and event’s supporters and prototype Innovation sponsor: TechHub Swansea represented by co-founder Paul Harwood, The Welsh Government represented by Youth Entrepreneurship Manger Ann Swift and IICED The International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development. Thank you for your time support and expertise. Particularly for the constructive positive and encouraging advice given to our students.
Finally but not least, the proficient application of up-to-date technical skill displayed by the students is testament to the excellent teaching team at the School of Applied Computing UWTSD.” – James Williams

For more information about the Techstars Innovation Competition please click-here.

Massive congratulations to School of Applied Computing students Arya Sedigh (left) and Archie Watt who have successfully defended their PhD thesis in the last couple of weeks. A PhD is a very long undertaking and both are pleased (and relieved) to have been successful with only minor corrections. Well done to both and also to their supervisory team 🙂

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UWTSD Computing students visited TechHub Swansea today to learn about exciting Graduate ‘Tech Start-Up’ Opportunities at Alacrity and TechHub Swansea.

Many thanks to Sarah Fogel & Jennifer Clay from TechHub and Guy Wendon & Emily Rees from Alacrity for speaking with our students.

The build up to TechStars Innovation Comp 2019 has begun👍😃.

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Guy Wendon – Business Development Manager – Alacrity

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Emily Rees – Graduate Entrepreneur – Alacrity

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Q. What is your Name? Nathan Dickinson 

Q. What was your University course? B.Sc. (Hons) Computing & Information Systems

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Q. What is your job title and role? My current job title is Product technical lead for the vDoc product of the Vizolution product suite.

Q. What does the role involve? This role involves me being the de-facto technical expert in all aspects of the vDoc product production with the overall goal being to align multiple development teams to delivery and fulfil customer requirements. Daily duties include attending stand-ups, providing estimates for new functionality, ensuring coding standards and providing technical leadership to development teams and steer and provide technical design and architecture for requirements. Also heavily involved in product support and deployments to ensure smooth roll-out and running of the product on a daily basis.

vDoc is an unassisted document sharing solution that allows customers to seamlessly progress their own customer journey through the upload, download or electronic signature of documents via a secure customer portal.
http://www.vizolution.co.uk/solutions/vdoc/

Q. Could you briefly describe the organisation you work for? Vizolution is a CX Tech company focused on streamlining difficult customer journeys. The Vizolution suite of digital products streamlines the end-to-end customer journey and supports the omni-channel strategy of our customers across branch, telephony and digital channels. It’s SaaS products are quick and easy to implement. The solutions eliminate breaks in the customer journey to deliver improved compliance, customer service and satisfaction and conversions as well as reduced costs.

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 Q. Which skills learned at University are helpful to you in your job? Confidence and self-belief, the environment in the university was very open and students were encouraged to interact as much as possible, feedback was always constructive and lecturers often pushed to get the best from me. This really helped with my self-belief and confidence allowing me to step out of my comfort zone and push my self and my abilities. It is this I believe has allowed me to progress to where I am today.


Q. Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it?
My days vary quite a lot but usually start with attending stand-ups for the development teams of which there are five that work on the vDoc product. I am then usually attending meetings to either provide high level estimation and technical implementation guidance/design for new functionality. Performing code reviews to ensure code is of a suitable standard and follows our defined coding standards. Assisting other developers with issues or problems and providing technical guidance. Occasionally I have the chance to develop some functionality myself but I am mostly in a hands off type of role now.

Q. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
It would have the be the problem solving, quite often I am faced with complex issues to which I need to provide technical guidance for, whilst this can be challenging and frustrating at times. The sense of achievement when something you’ve planned turns out how you expected it to or sometimes even better it makes it all worth it. My position can be quite stressful but its taking these small wins and seeing the impact our technology is having is what keeps me motivated

Q. Do you have any advice for students who would like to start a Career? Prepare early, there are going to be hundreds of graduates across the UK in your sector all looking for jobs, be proactive and get your foot in the door first. Look for summer placement work, try and reach out to places where you would like to work to see if they have any openings or what opportunities they have for graduates. Most important be persistent and be strong minded, there will be times where you will be turned down at interview, instead of taking that negatively look for the positives and look for areas to improve and come back stronger. You’ve done the hard work in getting into university and taking your degree so you deserve a good career so just remember that.

You’ve done the hard work in getting into university and taking your degree so you deserve a good career so just remember that.

Q. A Quote that sums up your time at the University? One of the most challenging but at the same time rewarding experiences of my life.

In today’s Faculty Lunchtime Research Seminar, Mr Kelvin Lake from the School of Engineering told us about his research into the design of composites. This was applied in particular to the design of snowboards and kiteboards. For more detail, please see Moodle. Thank you very much to Kelvin for sharing his research with us and our best wishes for your PhD viva coming up in 2019.

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This year to Celebrate ‘Global Enterprise Week‘ the School of Applied Computing hosted two Tech talks and welcomed Robert James (Digital Architect @ the DVLA) and Mathew Marl (Head of IS @ UWTSD).

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Robert James & Mathew Marl

Mathew’s talk on Agile Development & Innovation provided real world insight into how interdisciplinary software development teams work together to build and evolve solutions to meet stakeholder requirements in the fast changing world of technological development and change.

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Mathew Marl – Agile Development

“I had a great afternoon engaging with the FACE students, who were a welcoming bunch, and got fully involved with both presentations. It was an uplifting couple of hours which gave me a lot of heart for the future. Thanks to James for the invite.” – Mathew Marl

Rob’s talk showed we are living the future of our child hood dreams and emerging technologies current impact and potential future impact on the DVLA’s services. His talk encapsulated the technological change we have seen over the last 20 years and provided snapshots of how we will be using technology 20 years from now.

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Robert James – Emerging Technologies

“It was great to see how engaged the students were, I had some brilliant questions and good discussion about how technology will influence the way we interact and consume services in the future and of course the security issues and ethical considerations society would need to solve.” – Robert James

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James Matt & Rob

Our students enjoyed and gained valuable up-to-date knowledge & industry insights from both talks, increasing their employability, professional development and preparing them for exciting careers in a rapidly evolving world.

The School would like to sincerely thank both Mathew and Robert for sharing their industry knowledge and expertise with our students. Diolch yn fawr iawn – James.

We are pleased to tell you that we have brought our emergency evacuation equipment with us to the UWTSD SA1 Waterfront campus. The “stair crawler” is designed to evacuate wheelchair users in case of emergency. This is particularly important when the wheelchair user cannot be carried down the stairs – due to the chair being a life-support system in itself – and, of course, to preserve dignity.

One of our lecturers, Dr Tim Bashford, learned how it felt to be ‘evacuated’ today while training staff to use the equipment.

Here is the stair crawler (kept on charge when not in use):

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…and the stair crawler in action:

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We have brought our popular Faculty Lunchtime Research Seminars with us to the SA1 campus. These seminars are to help share research happening in the Faculty, and hopefully encourage future collaborations. All are welcome, from inside or outside the Faculty, staff or student.

This month, Professor Kelvin Donne told us about his research which has included the following:

  • Ballistics impact of projectiles onto automotive glass.
  • Computational modelling of light-tissue interaction.
  • Non-destructive testing of composite materials
  • Usability analysis in product engineering research

Here’s Kelvin in action:

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If you missed the talk, and would like to catch up with what Kelvin said, the video is available on Moodle. If you cannot see “Faculty Lunchtime Research Seminars” on Moodle, comment below and Gaynor will add you.

Every year it is lovely to receive messages from Graduates who would like to return to the School to give something back. These Graduates are doing well, they have established successful Careers and volunteer to come back to the School to talk with our students. Often they themselves were inspired and given employment opportunities by other Graduate talks during their time with us at the University. Our graduates work in countries all over the world, have exciting careers and fantastic lifestyles. There are a lot of opportunities in the field of Computing & Technology, globally and locally – more than ever before.

Today we welcomed back one of our Computing Graduates Nathan Dickinson (Product Technical lead at Vizolution) to share hints & tips for Uni and Career success along with his colleague Simone Cuomo who spoke about exciting career opportunities for our Graduates.

Nathan completed his Computing degree with us in 2012 before starting his Career as a Software Developer with the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS), he quickly became a Senior Software Developer with NWIS 2014 before starting as a Senior Developer with Vizolution in 2016. Nathan quickly went on to become a Lead Developer with Vizolution and a Product Technical Lead in 2017.

To encourage students Nathan says “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are lucky, you have worked hard and deserve your place here at Uni” … “In the words of Buzz light-year ‘To Infinity and Beyond!’ dare to dream and never give up, if you set you mind to it you can do it!”.

Vizolution is an exciting 21st Century Tech company based in Swansea that provides excellent benefits and a great place to work. Vizolution is a Saas Company and started in 2012. Grown from 5 staff members to over 130 staff worldwide with offices in Swansea, Bristol, London, North America and Canada (105 based in the new Swansea office). Ranked by Deloitte as on of the EMEA’s fastest growing tech companies with 31 enterprise clients (87% financial services, 10% telecoms, 3% utililes), with 4 products live in 13 countries and in 8 languages. They have a New Swansea office (located in Bay studios – Fabian way with 12,500 ft office space with 160 desks, Open plan, Break out area with ping-pong table, arcade and table football. With free fruit and yoga it is a True 21st Century Tech Company.

We also welcome PhD student Mathew Hunt one of our Electronics Graduates who shared wise words and many valuable hints & tips for success at Uni and Post Graduate opportunities within the school.

Congratulations and thank you to Nathan, Simone, Mathew and all the staff at the Dylan Thomas Centre Swansea for making this event possible and allowing our students to gain such valuable and inspiring knowledge. Diolch.

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