Alumni Profile - Jen Crowe

Chief Navigator, Polarcus

jen-crowe"It would not have been possible for me to complete my Masters without the facilities in the School. The fact they are open 24/7 to students was amazing and invaluable to me."  

MSc Computer Science (2005), School of Computer Science

Please provide a short paragraph detailing how your career has developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

I am a Chief Navigator for Polarcus - there is only one position more senior onboard the vessel. Computer Science opened the door to my industry and has helped me advance abnormally fast by giving me the best foundation. It is noticeable that a lot of of people I work with know some things but it is a narrow field of vision, whereas I came away from the conversion course with the relevant building blocks to keep learning and creatively solve problems which is why I have advanced ahead of those with technically more relevant knowledge.

Why did you originally apply to do your chosen course at Birmingham?

I was close to graduating with a degree in Literature from the University of Birmingham. Realising abruptly that I didnt know what career path I wanted to follow I spoke to my tutor at the time. He spoke about the conversion Masters in Computer Science and said I should consider it. It had honestly never occured to me as I was not computer literate at the time and bewildered by even the most basic of tasks, but I thought if I could complete the course I might qualify as a Technical Author which sounded more exciting than any other career path. Oddly, even though I studied at Birmingham I wasnt particularly fussed about staying until I read up on the conversion courses available in the UK. There were only four who would accept Arts students amd two of them were IT type courses, so I chose to stay at Birmingham.

What were the best points of your course at the University?

During the year I grew to love Computer Science. It was a hard transition but the best part for me was databases. SQL was one of the few things I could grasp and hang on to - databases just seemed sensible to me.

What did you think of the facilities in the School?

It would not have been possible for me to complete my Masters without the facilities in the School. The fact they were open 24/7 to students was amazing and invaluable to me. Working two jobs on top of my Masters meant the ability to come in to the School at 11am and work until 10pm on the weekend was helpful.

What are your experiences with the staff in the School?

As above, I could not have completed my Masters without the support and understanding of the staff. They took a chance other universities weren't willing to take by accepting Arts students and they put the time in to make that faith work.

What do you think of Birmingham city as a place to live and study?

It is difficult to describe how much fun I had in Birmingham in the 5 years I was there. There was always plenty of work for students, lots of places to live, always something interesting going on and the campus itself just made me happy to be there. It was everything I expected of university, and then some more.

What advice would you give to students thinking about studying on the course?

Never be beaten by a problem, and don't be afraid to ask for help.