Computer Science Personal Statement
My motivation to study computer science extends further than my basic interest in technology. For me computing, both innovative and exciting, is a profession offering unlimited boundaries.
Computing changed from being more than a hobby when I started at DLD College in 1996. DLD was the first educational establishment I had attended that offered a full-time Computing course, enabling me to take this A-Level a year early in 1997. The principal invited me to head a specialist computer course for some staff members and pupils, which I found rewarding and proved very successful. Other activities I participated in at the college included being a founder member of the student committee, editor of the student newspaper and goalkeeper for the 1sts.
Outside of college, I created centralperk.com, a website dedicated to the Friends TV show which received over 500,000 visitors per month. The popularity of the site earned me a place in the 1997 UK Web awards held at BAFTA in London. It was at the awards that I was approached by Online Magic, the UKs leading web agency, and started to work for them during breaks from college. Through this, I gained extremely valuable commercial exposure to clients such as British Airways, Economist, Channel 4 and Decca Records.
In 1997 I embarked on building an online sign language tutorial, called SignHear, as part of the ThinkQuest Internet Challenge. The site provided 200 basic signs and the alphabet. To date, the site has received over 2 million visitors and its success was officially recognized in 1999 by the judges at ThinkQuest. Along with teammates from the UK and USA, I was invited to the award ceremony in Los Angeles and presented with a $20,000 prize by Marlee Matlin, an Oscar winning hearing-impaired actress. It was an uplifting experience for me to witness the life enhancing contribution that technology can make.
With the fast pace at which the Internet and surrounding technologies were developing during 1998, I decided to take a gap year in industry before starting a Computer Science course at university. My gap year began when I commenced full-time employment with Online Magic, which continued until October 1998. I was then headhunted by Traxdata and joined their team as an Information Architect.
Despite my age and lack of commercial experience, within a year of joining Traxdata I was promoted to Head of IT/Internet for their European operations. This meant responsibility for a network with over 300 users across 5 countries as well as directly managing five members of staff. Other responsibilities included running our live, in-house Internet servers that coped with over 250,000 visitors per month and supporting the marketing team with custom CD-ROMs, presentations and field demonstrations. At Traxdata my gap year turned into four amazing years that gave me the opportunity to travel and work in countries across three different continents. I also gained invaluable experience on both technological and human levels.
On a lighter note, I recently created my own online diary, inkiboo.com, which so far has had over 11,000 visitors from all over the world. I am also a sound engineer/manager for a rock band consisting of students from both Imperial College and UCL. These close friends were also a great comfort and support to me when my mother died from cancer in March last year. This started my involvement with the local division of the Macmillan Nurses where I help with computer training and support.
Although I would not have passed on the last four years, I now realize the value that a degree affords in underpinning the foundations of computer technology. I believe I have grown in both confidence and maturity and if given the opportunity of a place at university, I will be fully committed to successfully completing a degree course.