Why I chose to study a Digital Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Birmingham

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Hi, I’m John, a current Computer Science Degree Apprentice with Vodafone. In this blog I will talk about my reasons for choosing Birmingham and specifically a degree apprenticeship.

Choosing a university has a big impact on what you do in the future, and what you gain from your experience is, in part, made by your choice of university. There are lots of different things to consider: the atmosphere, the course, the campus… All of which have differing importance to different people.

The fact is, nobody is looking for the same thing.

That’s one of the reasons it’s important for anyone going to university, whether you’re going to finish your A-Levels or are thinking of pursuing higher education, to do some research on where you want to be, what you want to do, and how long you want to be doing it for. I spent a large amount of time getting advice from my peers and mentors, something that I’d recommend anyone to do.

There are quite a few things that I knew straight away; I wanted to be more independent, which meant living a distance away from my parents, and I wanted to study Computer Science – since both of those are offered in the majority of places – that didn’t really leave me with that much to go on.

In all honesty, I stumbled across Birmingham by chance. The first thing I saw from them was on UCAS looking for Computer Science degrees. They had a good reputation, with Birmingham being 8th on the Guardian University League Tables for 2018, and an overall interesting course that they had just introduced at the time.

I then discovered the Degree Apprenticeship which the University of Birmingham and industry had partnered to create. The lack of tuition fees and the salary are big attractions for anyone, making the opportunity quite competitive. As well as this big draw, the opportunity to work at one of “The Big Four” over a summer and as part of an industrial year, the opportunity to network, and get support from the company were large influences.

I applied for the DA for PwC and Vodafone, launched in the same year. Unfortunately, after failing to get the placement due to botched interviews and low grades, I took a foundation year, studying Physical Sciences with a guaranteed progression into computer science if I passed. This also gave me another chance to apply and go through the process to get into the DAs. The second time, I received an offer from Vodafone, leaving me where I am today – studying computer science here at Birmingham, but with some extra perks.

I realised that Birmingham was where I wanted to be after the interview days – when I got tours and was able to ask questions about the University. The wealth of societies encouraged me to try something new – I joined almost 10 in my first year! There were also many places to study and work hard – including the computer science building, that is open 24 hours for Computer Science students.

Overall, I’m very happy with my current choices – UoB has catered to almost all my expectations (well, except for the lack of Greggs on campus) and hopefully, I’ve given some insight as to what UoB offers and my personal opinion on whether to join us in the future.

Computer Science building
Vodafone Degree Apprentices