This image shows Chloe Ward

Interview with Chloe Ward

Computer Science graduate Chloe Ward reflects on her experience of the programme and discusses how it played a crucial role in launching her successful career. Chloe currently works as a Software Development Engineer at the systems software company Workday.


Why did you choose to study Computer Science at DCU?

I decided to study Computer Science at DCU after attending multiple Open Days and talking to lecturers and previous students. I was also lucky enough to shadow a Computer Science student when I was in 5th year of secondary school thanks to the DCU Access ‘Ufirst’ programme. I liked how DCU’s computer science course offered a more practical approach to software engineering compared to the other courses where they were more theory based. There were a lot of coding labs offered in the DCU course and coming from a background of little coding knowledge I felt it would give me the best opportunity of becoming a better programmer. It also offered a 6 month internship in third year which I thought would be really helpful in gaining industry knowledge before my final year!


Tell us about your experience of the programme

The course was great! I made lifelong friends in my course and I really grew as a software engineer throughout the four years at DCU. We had labs every week where we put the theory that we learned in lectures into practice and carried out paired programming with different students in the class, which made it really helpful identifying people we worked best with when it came to doing our third and final year projects. I gained a lot of knowledge about the software development process and agile methodologies, compiler construction and even learned a lot about accessibility and users needs which I still have a strong interest in my current role.


What was your favourite module?

I had a few favourites! In final year, I really enjoyed 'Cryptography and Security Protocols' because we learned a lot about cryptography and decrypting messages etc. We even wrote programs for it which made up for a lot of our grade before we went into the final exam.

I also really enjoyed the 'Introduction to DevOps' module as it taught me a lot that I’ve been able to use in my current role in Workday. Especially allowing me to gain knowledge of shell and bash scripting, learning a lot of git. It really prepared me for entering the workforce!


How did the DCU Access programme support you on your university journey? 

I was a DCU Access Ambassador where I did an access orientation with incoming first years. I also visited schools in disadvantaged areas talking about my own journey to college to make them aware that third level is a possibility for them! 

Access was a great support during my time at DCU and I can’t thank them enough. In first year I was struggling with  maths and they were so helpful as they got me a maths tutor which helped me a lot! In first year I was also struggling with programming before it clicked with me and Colette from Access gave me great advice which stuck with me for the whole duration of my time at DCU and still to this day! It was nice having additional support like that in college.

DCU Access also gave me an opportunity to have an internship with BT Ireland with their Access to the Workplace programme. It was during the pandemic so it was a fully remote role, but I learned a lot about the BT Young Scientist Exhibition. I got to work with a great team in getting it online for the first time ever! As it had to be remote that year due to the pandemic, I got to talk to so many people in the company and build connections. It was a great opportunity to have!


How did you find your career path?

I was always interested in technology when I was younger which led to me learning basic coding when I was younger like HTML and CSS. When I was picking my courses for my CAO, I knew it was going to be STEM related. I also really liked solving problems and had an interest in maths.


Tell us about your INTRA work placement

I did a 6 month internship at Fidelity Investments. It was a great company and I really enjoyed working there, I even got offered a graduate position there!


Did this programme prepare you for your current job?

It did! All of the group projects and paired programming really helped as software development requires a lot of team work and working with other people. Modules such as DevOps really prepared me for the workforce as I’m using knowledge that I learned from that module to this day.


Tell us about your current role

I’m a software development engineer in Workday! I work in the recruiting department. I get to work with React and various other technologies. I’ve really grown a love for frontend development. I’m currently on a 6 month rotation right now on another team where I’ll get more experience with backend development. I was actually given the opportunity to work for Workday at the DCU Final Year Project Expo, when companies came around looking at our final year projects! Workday liked our project so we won “Best Computing Project” as the Project Expo in 2022!


What advice do you have for prospective students?

Look for programmes that excite you! I was contemplating between different careers but I was told to go with the one that excited me the most and that’s the best advice I was given. I’m so glad that I did! Also, when choosing a computer science course, make sure you attend opening days and talk to current students to learn more!


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