Harrison is a charming young man who has really thrown himself into university life, relishing all the challenges and opportunities that have come his way. He is in the second year of his BSc (Hons) Software Engineering degree and he’s really enjoying the practical elements of his course.
“I like all the teamwork. They put you in random teams of people from throughout the course and you have to work together on tasks that you’d expect to have to do in the industry,” he explains. Harrison names Computing Business week, where each team has to work five days of nine to five on a real project, as a particular highlight.
“It was something we would have to do in the industry. Doing this gave me the knowledge of what it would be like to work with other people, so that was good.
“They also give us assignments that are more creative than you’d imagine them to be. So, for example, we’ve had to make an Android app of Battleships,” he says with a smile.
Harrison is also excited about his placement next year, which will see him working for local communications firm Bistech. He tells us that he’s really looking forward to “being able to work in a proper job” and to put his skills into practice in the workplace. But he’s equally looking forward to returning to university after his placement and being able to apply what he learns working in the industry to his dissertation.
It’s clear that Harrison has a real passion for what he does, even though he jokes that when people ask about his degree he just tells them he works on a keyboard all day. Despite only being in his second year, he has been elected the president of the Computing Society, something he cites as his biggest achievement to date.
He’s been involved in a number of events, seminars and other activities through this society. Towards the end of his first year at BU, he made the long journey to Manchester with other members of the group to compete in Student Hack, a national competition.
“We had 36 hours to make any kind of application. We made this application called Stock Sprint, which was a fast-paced intensive game where you bought and sold shares and it was based on the proper stock market,” he says with enthusiasm, adding that the team won and came home with “a big trophy”.
When asked what drew him to software engineering as a subject, he reveals that it wasn’t his original career choice. “When I went to sixth form I started off with Chemistry as my main focus, although I was also doing a Computer Science A-level,” he says.
“As soon as we hit programming, Chemistry went down and programming and software development went up. I think for me it was just being introduced to it and realising that I love this and want to do more of it.”
For Harrison, the choice to come to BU was made easy by the option of having a placement, as well as the business-oriented focus of the course itself. “Where many courses might just be focused on the practical, this course is focused on the real world, how you’re going to be able to apply it in a practical sense,” he explains, noting that it’s given him real confidence to go into the industry and work, feeling as though he understands the processes and the technical language.
He has also really enjoyed life outside of his course, particularly meeting people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe. “I like the diversity. I’ve met people from all around the world - people from Brazil, Romania, Austria. I’m able to talk to them about things I’d never have expected to discuss at university,” he enthuses.
Harrison is also enjoying Bournemouth as a place to live, and even though he grew up on the Isle of Wight and has never been far from the sea, having the beach on his doorstep is something he really appreciates.
“Living near the beach is really nice, so when it’s sunny you’re able to just go there and enjoy it. It’s beautiful basically,” he says.
When asked if he’s got any advice for anyone starting at BU in the summer, he tells them to “get stuck in” and go out and meet people, highlighting Fresher’s Week as a particularly good time to make new friends thanks to the number and variety of events going on. “You can enjoy your course, but you can also go out and enjoy your lifestyle. There’s so much to do.”