Placement within the School of Computing and Digital Media – blog

Hello, I am Callum a current student at RGU. For the third year of my course I have decided to take a year out to do a placement, coincidentally that placement happens to be taking place at RGU within the school of computer science and digital science’s IT support team.

I have been encouraged by my colleagues to begin writing a blog which will document my experience over the course of the next 12 months and may serve as an example of what to write(or possibly not write about) to potential future students if the idea of having each placement student write a blog is taken up.

I am currently midway through the fourth week of my placement and have already been involved in numerous different activities even though the first semester has yet to start. Primarily I have been assisting in the building of numerous computers within the labs which have been designated for the school of computing and digital media, though this isn’t the most interesting of tasks it has allowed me to firmly be aware of how all the computers within the school of computing have been connected up and this knowledge should prove useful if there are any faults related to the connections in the future. I have also been involved to some extent with the installation of various pieces of software (a predetermined build) onto the aforementioned computers, this has given me an insight how software and systems are rolled out on a large scale and has also given me a greater appreciation for those staff members involved in this task.

During the first week of my placement I was given the option to join the team visiting the Edward Wright Data Centre which is where a number of the RGU servers that were previously based in ST Andrews Street were to be transferred. I had never visited at data centre before and it was quite an interesting experience to visit one and see all the technology behind it – especially all the safety measures instituted to ensure that should a fire occur within the server room it would be swiftly stopped to prevent a large amount servers being damaged. I also visited the Edward Wright building the week after with another member of the systems administration team to install one of the servers that was being transferred, though I could not provide a large amount of assistance as my knowledge of server systems is currently fairly limited it was quite interesting to see the physical installation happen.

Another activity I was fairly heavily involved in was RGU’s display at techfest. During the week before the techfest event I tested out the activity that was going to be available to the public during the techfest weekend (the display was a photo-mosaicing activity in which an individual’s photo would be divided into thousands of squares and then replaced by various photos from around Aberdeen to recreate a similar interpretation of the original photo). I took part in a short demonstration of the activity to a number of staff/student volunteers who would be helping out that weekend which seemed to go over quite well, the activity was not that difficult so it was quite easy for the others to grasp. Before the first day of techfest I assisted others in gathering up all the materials that were required and then loading them into a car to be transported down to the beach. Later on at the weekend I was one of the RGU members operating the equipment at the display, I also went down to assist in the activities for primary school classes during one of the days that these activities were on-going.

The final activity that is worth mentioning would be that of taking a look at the “Phantom Quadcopters” that have been recently introduced to the stock of digital media items. The “Phantom Quadcopter” is a small portable device that allows the user to take photos/video from up in the air, since they are quite new to the stock of digital media the support team have taken the time to familiarise themselves with the devices. The devices are surprisingly easy and fun to use however the quality of videos/photos isn’t quite as great as was advertised (most likely due to Aberdeen usually been cloudy and generally grey).

That concludes the first part of my blog, if you took the time to read it I hope you didn’t find it too dull. There will likely be an update once or twice a month, so until then goodbye.