Luke Brown

An appealing course

After studying A Levels in Geography and English as well as a BTEC in IT, Luke Brown decided that studying IT at Lancaster would pave the way for a strong career in the industry. “I knew IT was the career I wanted to be involved in, and I wanted to specialise in the subject,” he says. Luke is grateful that Lancaster offered him the chance to study an IT degree that allowed him to specialise in the areas of the subject that he most excels at. “When it came to choosing my degree, the title just fit what I wanted to do, as I’m not much of a ‘pure coder’,” he explains. “It features some of the programming modules you’d expect, but combines them nicely with some more creative modules, as well as some good specialisation options later on.”

A warm welcome

As well as the content of the course, the welcome that Luke received upon attending an Open Day proved a major factor in his decision to study here. “I was very impressed with the quality of the lecturers, they seemed modern and relevant and everyone seemed really nice,” he explains. “I also liked the sound of the modules I’d be studying, and this was confirmed when I visited on the Open Day.  I visited other universities as well, but something kept drawing me back to Lancaster - it just felt right from the moment I arrived on the campus.  It seemed the obvious choice from the outset.”

Lancaster’s enviable reputation also helped Luke to decide that Lancaster was the right place for him. “I was impressed with the fact that Lancaster really can compete with other universities in the area - it is gaining more of the recognition it deserves,” he says. “I really like seeing some of SCC’s exciting research featuring on the news, which is something that happens a lot nowadays. InfoLab is truly iconic in the area, and when I told my family and friends that I was thinking of going there, they suggested I jump at the chance. It is also really nice to know that SCC is top in the country for student prospects, and top in the North West overall.”

A wealth of activities

Whilst studying his degree, Luke has also taken advantage of the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer at Lancaster. “I’m currently completing the Lancaster Award, which is something really good to consider as Lancaster is the only place to offer something like this as far as I know,” he says. “It’s important to do something in addition to your degree to make you stand out from the crowd, and to show employers that you made the most of your time here. The Lancaster Award really helps you to do that.”

Luke is also involved with a number of other activities relating to his department, as well as being involved with student societies. “I’m involved with the career mentoring programme, where I’ve been matched with an industry professional,” he says. “I’m also a student representative for my course - myself and the other course reps attend termly meetings to convey student feedback to staff and keep students up to date with what is going on. Currently we’re working on introducing a new module to IT for Creative Industries, which sounds really fun!

“Now and again I also help out at the SCC Open Events, and I am involved with the Doctor Who and Computing Societies on campus,” he continues. “Just recently, I have certified as a Microsoft Office Professional in Word and PowerPoint. This was a nice little extra offered at Lancaster, and I plan to complete Excel and Access when I can.”

A fantastic department

The quality of SCC itself has also helped Luke’s experience studying at Lancaster to be a highly positive one. “The flexibility and variety of modules that you study is really interesting,” he says. “It’s amazing to think how much I have covered since I started here, and some modules are very much designed to give you an insight into the industry you wish to work in after your degree. Some of the lecturers could not help you more when it comes to feedback, some have a brilliant sense of humour as well, which never goes amiss. Every lecturer has office hours where you can go and see them, and are always available to contact out of hours. You also get assigned an academic advisor to help you with your studies and decide what’s next.  Something very important is that SCC really do listen to student views and act on them - they are always wanting to make your experience the very best it can be.”

Plans for the future

Luke is eager to make the most of his remaining time left at University, and the interests that he has developed during his degree have given him ideas regarding his future career path. “I really want to make the most of my time at Lancaster, and expand my experience as much as possible,” he says. “I want to get involved with the user end of IT, maybe graphic design, website design or animation (the creative stuff). Personally I don’t fancy being a hard coder but of course I’m aware I’ll have to do a bit (which is why this course is perfect!) I want to something fun to do every day. ‘IT Professional’ would look very nice on the CV.”

Advice for prospective students

Having found his course and university experience highly useful and enjoyable, Luke has advice for prospective students wishing to study in SCC. “It helps to have even the vaguest idea of what you want to do in the future, as this makes choosing your modules later on easier,” he says. “However, if you don’t know, that is fine too- you get taught pretty much everything you need to know during the first year- they start at the basics and build steadily from there. I’ve found it really helpful to get to know my fellow students and staff quite quickly, as it makes the university experience a lot more fun.”

Luke also emphasises that students should undertake extra-curricular activities to make them stand out from their peers. “Obviously the main thing you’re at Lancaster for is to get your brilliant degree result, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer that you need to do something extra to stand out,” he says. “Get involved with the running of your department or college, join a society or two, and definitely take a look at what our Careers Service has to offer. Doing something in the background to your degree will make a difference when it comes to leaving Lancaster!”