Edge Hill graduate Robert Clarke used a degree in IT Management for Business as a springboard into the world of IT architecture.
Originally from the town of Corby in the East Midlands, Robert viewed a number of city-based universities, but found himself drawn to the inclusiveness of Edge Hill’s campus set-up.
“Its combination of old historic buildings with the sleek modern designs of the Hub, Law, Business and Computing buildings really attracted me to the place. The naturalistic areas and huge duck ponds couldn’t be missed! The sense of community within the university and the course outline sold it to me.”
Robert praises his course as being well-tailored for those looking to study something that will teach them how to apply IT principles to a business setting.
“It provided me with the core computer science foundation – key areas such as database design, networks and programming – as well as modules such as business and systems analysis and project management, which help you to understand common business problems.”
In particular, he cites a Work Related Learning module that enabled him to undertake a short-term role as an IT Support Officer for a local IT support service.
“I requested to take on more responsibility and was given a Project Manager role and managed to coordinate the companies’ office move to a different, more suitable location.”
As well as the relevant course content, Robert says that the Edge Hill Careers team equipped him with useful practical knowledge which helped his transition into the working world.
“The best parts were the mock interviews which gave a real sense of what it is like to be put on the spot with direct and indirect questions. Edge Hill’s Careers CV proofreading support also helped a great deal, without these I would have been quite lost.”
Leaving Edge Hill with the requisite skill set, Robert landed a job as an IT Consultant for Glue Reply, a firm that provides IT and Business Architecture services across the telecommunications, financial services, government, trade and industry and defences sectors, and work with a number of high profile companies including John Lewis, Vodafone, Nationwide and the Ministry of Defence.
“We arrange meetings with companies looking for a solution to their problems. We listen carefully to the issues which are holding them back from being adaptable. I use my knowledge, technical and business skills to advise organisations and their leaders on methods of achieving a usable blueprint for the future.”
As just about every sector needs efficient information technology, the diversity of clients and the scope of their problems is something that keeps Robert on his toes.
“I face new challenges each day. The issues we are trying to solve are usually industry-wide global problems that need dynamic solution thinking. This can be extremely challenging in itself, while you also have to think about culture and other interesting additional factors which you need to be aware of. It is difficult to listen, learn and apply in the correct manner that suits the organisation.”
“I also get to travel around quite a bit and go on business trips across the country and Europe to places like Milan.”
Robert says that he takes great satisfaction from the wide-ranging impact that his work can have, as he found out early in his career when he successfully account managed a project for an international telecommunication company.
“The project consisted of helping to deliver a Vulnerability Reporting System and Risk Management System which would radically improve network and devices security for the company and its hundreds of millions of customers. I have also been involved in Government based projects which helped enable the possibility of further Scottish devolution and provided Information Architecture for UK regulators in the Healthcare industry.”
So if you are interested in IT architecture, how do you get ahead? Robert thinks that most important advice can be summarised in two words: be proactive.
“I can’t stress it enough, whether you are applying for jobs, looking for placements or already in work aspiring to be successful. When you manage to get a graduate job, if you feel like you can do more, go searching for it. If you wish to go into consulting or a similar job type, try to improve your social and team skills through any means as communication really is key. For technical ability, read articles and go to lectures, seminars and ‘buzz’ days, expand your brain and connect strong business and communication skills with technical know-how.”
He also adds that students should not pass up any opportunity to use resources that are available to them while they are at university.
“The library and the partnerships Edge Hill are linked to could be used much better by undergraduates. Resources such as the BCS memberships should be signed up to as it is beneficial and looks good for recruiters looking for graduates. I also wish I did more voluntary work and gave a little bit more back whilst at the university, but I hope to do that now as an alumnus!”