After working on websites for family members in his spare time, Ben Layton knew web design was the career for him. Enrolling on Edge Hill University’s Computing programme enabled him to specialise in his chosen area, gaining job-ready skills and experience that secured him a job before graduation.
“I first came across Cleversteam during one of my modules when I had to present some coursework to a member of their team. I later spoke to them at a Careers Fair and they sounded like a pretty exciting company to work for. When a job came up, my tutor recommended me and began working there before my Finals. I couldn’t wait to get started.
“I knew that Cleversteam had been co-founded by an Edge Hill graduate, and when I joined there were three other former students there as well so it was a very relaxed and welcoming environment. It really made a difference to have a ready-made network and we meet up after work regularly.
“I was given quite a lot of responsibility from the beginning, but I got lots of support from the whole team. I’ve worked on several projects, slowly gaining more responsibility. I’m now leading a project to design a new web portal for a German volunteering organisation. I had to travel to Berlin to meet the client and I have to plan the work each week for my team and bring in skills from across the company if needed. I’ve learned so much from just watching others in the team
“I think Edge Hill prepared me for working life by giving me a good foundation of knowledge and skills. I learned to use different tools and frameworks and gained personal skills like how to talk to clients and present effectively. In my final year I worked with the Students’ Union, redesigning its website based on user feedback, and the current website took inspiration from my design. That experience gave me a lot of confidence. When I speak to people who did Computing at other universities, they’re quite jealous of the breadth of the curriculum and the range of optional modules we could take.
“My one piece of advice to current Computing students would be not to waste your summers. Try and work or get some practical experience in any spare time you have. Just creating a website for a friend could give you the experience you need to attract an employer.”