My Graduate Experience

My name is Adam Gall, and I’m a Computing for Graphics and Animation graduate. I graduated from the Robert Gordon University in the summer of 2011, with a 1st class Honours degree. I’m currently on a 12-month contract with an accountancy firm – FW Accounting – in Aberdeen, working on various software development projects.

 

Firstly, let me tell you a little about my course. Although the graphics element was originally what drew me to Computing for Graphics and Animation, there is a big focus on programming in the first two years – specifically with Java. I struggled at first with some of the concepts, having never done any programming before. With the help of the lecturers though, I soon picked it up; in fact, I ended up enjoying programming more than the graphics work, which is a big testament to the quality of the staff at the School of Computing.

 

For my Honours project in my final year, I decided to test my programming abilities, and choose an ambitious project – to create a 3D model of the Solar System, programmed in C++ with OpenGL. You can read more about that on the blog I kept whilst I worked on it – http://www.agorrery.blogspot.com. I received an A for my final solution, which I was delighted with!

 

My graduate experience has been slightly different than I would have expected, in that I got the chance to be part of a new RGU initiative, led by Dr. John Park, head of the University Enterprise Programme. John sourced out three graduates with specific skill sets to work as a team on an IT project – in my case; he was looking for a programmer. Gordon Eccleston recommended me to him on the strength of my iPhone development work, with the understanding the project would require this skillset at some point. I had a meeting with John, and got accepted into the project, which was to run for 12 months.

 

I started with FW Accounting (then known as Freelance World) in July 2011, a few weeks before I graduated. Although initially I believed Objective-C and App development would be my main role at the company, the first project was something entirely new to me. I had to create an internal piece of software, to interface with the existing Customer-Relationship Management (CRM) software, built by Codify, an Aberdeen City based software Development Company. My application would have to create and prepopulate PDF documents with existing information from the CRM. The aim is to save the team at FW a vast amount of time, entering in repeating information. The program was also required provide capability to send documents for electronic signature, integrating into my program using an API.

 

The CRM software was written in C# and Silverlight, so the best course of action was to make my program an internal in-browser Silverlight application. As this project was through RGU, I was able to get assistance throughout the project from the University – principally from David Davidson. This was to aid in my initial learning of C# – a language I had never programmed in. I was also able to spend some time with Codify, which greatly helped my understanding.

 

I’m happy to say that I was able to complete the program last month, and my employers are delighted with the final result. Although a few delays have meant it has not gone live yet, I’m hopeful this will happen in the coming weeks. My next projects involve iPhone App development, along with learning some more C# and LINQ, so it will be a busy last few months!

 

Overall, the past 8 months – since I graduated – have been a fantastic experience for me; I have learned new programming languages and techniques, made important new business contacts, and enhanced my employability prospects. I have to thank RGU and the School of Computing for giving me the opportunity, and I look forward to what the future holds.