“Just apply for a job! You know more than you think”
Sarosh Nasir from Gothenburg received his bachelor's degree in computer science in 2019. Today he is studying for a master's degree at Chalmers University of Technology, at the same time working part-time as an IT consultant.
It was the interest in computers and gaming that got Sarosh attracted to a degree in computer science*.
– I watched a documentary about the development process of the game Halo. It showed how the company behind the game is organized and how different groups work together to create this game. I thought, “Wow, how awesome this is! I want to do that.”
Sarosh had no programming experience before he started the programme, but that did not stop him from applying.
– I had no expectations when I started, more than that I wanted to learn about programming. And I really did! I have learnt a lot of programming languages, and it is now also much easier for me to learn a new one.
IT consultant and a master's degree
After the bachelor's programme in computer science, you can take many different paths. Sarosh chose a master's degree in Software Engineering and Technology at Chalmers – while working part-time as an IT consultant at "Chalmers Teknologkonsulter", CTK.
– When I started working at CTK, I asked myself: “Am I really good enough? Do I know anything?” CTK has made me realize that you can do more than you think. After two years, I really think you can start working on CTK or similar. You might feel a bit nervous in the beginning, but what you learn in the courses, and especially in the labs, is also what you work with – but in varying degrees.
What do you work with?
– I work at CTK's IT Department. I have been working on Android development, but also iOS development, on one of CTK's biggest projects. You can choose if you want to work on one or more projects at the same time.
How would you describe the programme to someone who is considering applying?
– It's tough, but not impossible. I would not say that I am the best student, but I have done well and I have learned a lot. In my opinion, it is a good programme, with a lot of freedom in terms of courses.
You can start the programme and think 'I want to do app development, and then take courses that help me get there'.
– You don’t have to have any prior knowledge in programming to pass the education, but you need to have a genuine interest in math and programming. You need to be motivated to learn and improve your knowledge.
In the BSc programme in computer science, the freedom of choice is great, with only six compulsory courses. Otherwise, the students themselves choose which subjects they want learn more about. Sarosh chose to learn more about functional programming and app development – and to study a semester abroad.
– Having an exchange semester was absolutely magic – I can really recommend it! I studied in Melbourne, Australia, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and was able to add courses that were not available at my education at home.
Sarosh 3 best tips to get through the academic years
1. Get help from others
When you’re studying for your exam – sit with others! Even if you don’t know all the answers, it’s very good to sit with others, to learn how they think and how they come up with the right answer.
It went from being a language I hated to becoming a language I loved. It is like that when you learn new programming languages. It's always tough in the beginning, but as soon as you understand the principles, you suddenly think it's fun
2. Find a study buddy at the same level as you
Throughout the programme, there are times where you program together with other students. Then it is important to find someone who you can brainstorm ideas with, someone who is on the same level as you. If you are better than your study buddy, you’re going to be the only one writing the code, and the other person learns nothing. The same goes for the opposite: you will feel like a burden if you sit with someone who is much better. I chose different study buddies for different courses – but others stayed together throughout the programme.
3. Make the labs!
You learn a lot in the labs. Try not only to do them, but also think about what it is meant for you to learn during this particular lab.
What are your best tips for students who are on their way to start their careers?
– You have more knowledge than you think. If you find a job that sounds fun, but you are not sure if you are good enough – just apply! I know someone who got a job on Spotify right after his BSc degree. There are also many trainee programs to apply for. If you don’t know exactly what you want to work with, you can try many different roles through such a position.
* Bachelor's programme only available in Swedish (Master's in Computer Science is given in English)