A FETAC course in information technology sent out of work carpenter David to WIT where he has since graduated and found employment with TSSG
What made you decide to apply to WIT as a mature student?
In 2009, after 2 years of being an unemployed carpenter, I decided that it was time to expand my horizons and re-enter the education system. My initial choice of career path was intended to be Woodwork teaching but due to it being a natural progression from my carpentry background and given the fact that I was entirely computer illiterate entering a level 8 in any area would be extremely difficult.
To that end I decided, as precursor to returning to college, to complete a Fetac Level 5 course in Information Technology in New Ross V.C. to provide me with some basic IT skills to aid me on my path into education. From the beginning of the course I discovered that I enjoyed the challenge but not only that I also enjoyed the logical interactions that the core skills of Information Technology requires.
While my ultimate goal was still Woodwork teaching I now had another option and all my eggs were not in one basket anymore. When filling out my CAO form I put BSc in Information Technology in Waterford Institute of Technology as a second choice. This decision was part driven by my new found appreciation in technology but it was mostly driven by attending a mature students open day in WIT where I encountered and spoke to some of my future lectures. I also spoke to some mature students there and when they conveyed their experiences, both in college and before, it really put my mind at ease that there were so many people in my position that have made the leap and survived.
Can you recall your feeling when finding out you were offered a place in WIT
When I received the offer from WIT I was delighted, excited and apprehensive about the prospect of returning to college. The feelings of apprehension and doubt I had when returning to college surrounding the perceived increase in the volume of knowledge delivered and also the level of autonomous learning that is required in 3rd level.
These feelings of apprehension and doubt were alleviated by some very supportive lectures and also in the way the modules teach a student research techniques which are vital tools in enabling a student to enhance the course content with autonomous learning.
Are you happy with your decision to come back to college?
My decision to return to college was the best decision I have ever made from both a financial and personal development point of view and also provided opportunities for me professionally that I otherwise wouldn't have had.
What advice would you give to students considering your course?
The advice I would give to any student considering my course would be to speak to lecturers, carefully investigate the course content & attend the open days. Try find and speak to a current or past student in a similar situation to you and ask them questions about their experiences. Keep an open mind when returning to education though as, in my case, the path you initially choose may not be the one you end up on.
Where was your first job after graduating?
TSSG, where I am still working and hold the position of Software Research Engineer
What do you hope to hope to achieve in the future?
I hope to further my research in the area of smart energy and in the coming years I intend to do a PHD. There is no doubt that if I didn't study in WIT I wouldn't be where I am today. It was pivotal in providing me the basic skills needed to enter the software engineering industry as a graduate engineer but also and maybe more importantly provided me effective research techniques which are essential to career progression and technical development.
Why did you choose your course/ to study at WIT/ study in Waterford?
There are two main factors in my decision to attend WIT, one being geographical and the other being course content. I am from South West Wexford and the proximity of WIT made my choice easy in that respect. Given my low starting point from a technical point of view, upon examining the course content for first year I found that the course I chose was not too advanced and would provide a strong spring board for the rest of the course.