Jiacheng Li

BEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering with Industrial Year, 2021
Graduate Software Engineer, NatWest Group

I deliver software solutions to both internal and external customers for the bank. This includes designing, building, testing and deploying various solutions. I've always been passionate about technology and how it changes people's lives. Working as a software engineer at NatWest provides me with the chance to learn and develop innovative technology products that potentially impact millions of customers. 

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

The University of Birmingham is a member of the Russell Group, which guarantees its teaching quality and academic resources. The campus is beautiful all year round and has plenty of modern facilities for studying and sports. Additionally, Birmingham is a very multicultural city where the locals are always friendly and welcoming. 

What are your fondest memories of the University?

The trip to Coniston in the Lake District, organised by my department is definitely one of them. I had the chance to do lots of outdoor activities with my classmates, who I later worked with throughout our robotics project. Also, Birmingham holds the All England Badminton Championships every year, where I've had the chance to meet my favourite athletes.

Jiacheng Li

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I was a Global Buddy (student mentor) and an Engineering Student Ambassador. I also participated in two sports clubs, Lions Ice Hockey Team and Wayfarers Hiking Club. In addition, I worked as a Mandarin-English translator at Birmingham Medical School during the summer holidays. 

How did your time at university help you start your career?

During the summer holiday in my first year Dr Tim Jackson offered me a volunteering opportunity to work on a robotics project, which was my very first work experience. Then in my second year, I was able to secure a year-long industrial placement offer (not mentioning the 30+ rejections I worked through) in an engineering company in Southampton, where I was introduced to software engineering. I was also very lucky to have Tim as my tutor and several industrial mentors (from UoB Mentoring Schemes and LinkedIn) throughout my university journey. They provided me with lots of industry insights, work shadowing experience and guidance on interviewing and collaborating with co-workers. 

What advice would you give to current students?

Apart from your academic study, work on side projects, and try to gain early work experience such as internships and placements. These will certainly help you to gain lots of advantages when interviewing for your graduate job. I would also encourage you to apply for the UoB Mentoring Scheme, and learn as much as you can from them. Last but not the least, participate in the societies you are interested in and have lots of fun! 

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