When Laura Fitzgerald lost her job with the closure of TalkTalk in Waterford in 2011, she thought long and hard about the path she would take. As a native of Waterford, not only was SETU on Laura’s doorstep, she also took the time to research the best course for her, as a mature student.
According to Laura, the advice from friends and former colleagues proved invaluable. “I talked to a number of people before choosing which course to take. I always had an interest in software development, so I spoke to people who had completed courses in Systems Software Development and other computing courses at the institute.”
“I was also lucky that I had friends working in the industry and they gave me a great insight into what a career in software development would be like. Having realised the career opportunities that were available, I chose the Bachelor of Science Software Systems Development course.”
Currently on work experience with a Dublin- based software development company, Laura speaks highly of her lecturers. “My course lecturers were very active in engaging with prospective employers in order to give students the best opportunity to start their careers. By attending a career day on campus, organised by SETU staff, I was able to secure my current position.”
In her three years at SETU Laura cites her Erasmus experience as the highlight of her studies so far. “I spent four months working in a Research & Development Department in the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. I received great support from the international office and indeed my lecturers in order to put this in place. Being able to spend one semester outside of Ireland meeting new people and seeing how another university works in a different country was a great learning experience. I would highly recommend this to any student who is on the fence about completing an Erasmus semester.”
Laura will return to SETU in September, for her final year, to commence Level 8 in Software Systems Development.
Academically, the last three years have been hugely interesting and worthwhile to Laura, but she also stresses the importance of getting involved in extra-curricular activities.
“I wanted to get the most from my college experience so I joined the SETU Karate Club and competed in two intervarsity competitions. I was voted Class Representative for the last three years and I volunteer as a mentor with Waterford Coderdojo…all of which add up to a very well-rounded college experience!”