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

Mark Sutcliffe


What was your undergraduate degree and when did you graduate?
Software Engineering – 2010.

What is your job title and role?
Prince of Wales innovation scholar at TWI.  Involved in the development of full-matrix capture algorithms for use in ultrasonic inspection as part of PhD research.

Could you briefly describe the organization you work for?  TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations. With headquarters in Cambridge, UK, since 1946, and with several facilities around the world, they have a long history of invention, innovation and knowledge transfer. They work across all industry sectors and are experts in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management technologies.

Did you complete a foundation degree or HND/C before studying for your degree?
No, although I did complete a National Diploma in Computing studies in 1992, and several industry recognised Microsoft certifications.

Did any of your degree modules inspire you or help you in choosing your job? How?
Graphics, advanced graphics and data structures and algorithms.  These modules provided the confidence in moving into an area that requires a deeper understanding of how systems and algorithms work.  A further influencing factor was the success of the final year project and assistance provided by the supervisor and lecturers.

What modules are most helpful to you in your job?
Graphics, advanced graphics, algorithms and data structures and software engineering principle (SEP) modules provide a great influence on the work I am undertaking.  SEP to facilitate in providing a framework to develop software, and the other modules assist in providing a deeper understanding of how complex algorithms work, and can be optimised.

Where do you find yourself using the transferable skills that you developed in University (e.g. initiative, communication skills, critical thinking and analytical skills, presentation and interpersonal skils, team working, ethics, time management and organizational skills)?
As a mature student much of this I have covered in previous roles and positions, however the University allowed for a greater confidence to develop in many of these areas.  The best example being the work I have undertaken as a part-time lecturer would not have been possible without the development of my presentation and communication skills.

Where do you use your specialist skills and abilities (e.g. business, programming, web, databases, networks etc.)
My core skill is in algorithm development and software engineering.  I am involved in taking code  intitially developed under Matlab and transforming this to operate at many times its original speed using a combination of optimisation techniques and programming languages.

Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it?
A typical day is split into three parts; research, development and testing.  The use of ultrasonics as an inspection technique is a new field of me, and it is necessary that I research current practices and procedures, and identify emerging technologies.  To achieve this I rely heavily on published journals, articles and web-content, with a large part of the day spent on reading literature.  When a technique is discovered that requires exploration, I will develop some code and move to the lab environment to access the necessary ultrasonic equipment and test my ideas.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
It is mentally challenging, at at the end of each day I find that I have learned something new I did not know at the start of the day.

Posted: 2012.

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