Student Profile - Poppie Simmonds

MEng Computer Science with Software Engineering, School of Computer Science

Poppie Simmonds Image"We get a broad overview and introduction to many areas of the field, and I've honestly enjoyed every single module." 

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

I’d thought about doing “something to do with computers” since I was in year 8. Between then and applying to university, I’d considered a few different subjects, but whatever I thought about possibly doing, I always came back to Computer Science. It was A level Computing that really confirmed my love for the subject, and after attending the University’s Academic Enrichment Programme in the summer of year 12, I knew for sure that I wanted to study Computer Science, and that I wanted to do so here.

What do you think are the best points of your course?

Is it too cliché to say “all of it”? Probably, but it’s true! The nature of first year Computer Science means that we get a broad overview and introduction to many areas of the field, and I’ve honestly enjoyed every single module. If I had to single something out, it would probably be Robot Programming, as who doesn’t love building and programming little Lego robots? 

What’s the best thing about studying at the University of Birmingham?

For me, it’s the city of Birmingham. I’d always loved coming to visit Birmingham when I was younger, to go shopping at the Bullring, or to go to the ThinkTank and SeaLife Centre. I like that the campus isn’t directly in the centre so you’re away from the hustle and bustle, but the transport links are so good that the city is only a 10 minute train journey away. It’s a large and lively city with lots of things to offer – especially a great night out! The university campus itself is beautiful with lots of history and tradition, and that mixed with modern developments and new facilities means that it’s a wonderful place to study.

What’s your highlight of your time at the University?

I’d say it was filming [a] Day in the Life video actually! I was really honoured to be asked to do it, and it was a great challenge to go from a few ideas to producing a short video showcasing Computer Science at Birmingham. The process itself was a lot of fun, and doing something new and different such as presenting was great too. Also, knowing that something you’ve put so much effort into and taken the leading role in will be shown to hundreds and thousands of potential applicants is something to be really proud of, so I’m glad I took part. (It’s also something to look back on after I graduate and probably laugh and cringe about, so there’s that too!)

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

If you’re thinking about coming to study Computer Science at Birmingham (and I hope you are), I’d advise learning a programming language, if you don’t program already. Whilst it’s not essential for the course, as currently our first year Software Workshop module is taught from scratch, it really does help make your transition into university work smoother. As you’ll be familiar with some of the concepts, those first few exercises are a little easier to understand. You don’t have to be a fully-fledged developer or able to code Google, but having a go with Java (or a similar language) over the summer will really help you when joining the course.

Is there anything extra students thinking about studying on the course should know?

Not only was our Computer Science department ranked 1st by the Guardian for Computer Science and IT, the University is also University of the Year (which I’m sure you’ll have seen whilst browsing the website). Therefore this makes it a really great time to join the University, and especially to study Computer Science. It’s a really interesting subject with lots of possibilities - it combines many different topics such as robotics, logic, algorithmics, and programming - meaning it’s a very varied degree and also one that’s applicable to lots of different fields – making Computer Science graduates highly employable.