James shares the secret to bagging that all-important first job

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​Recent graduate James Cooper’s main advice to current students is to get as much work experience as possible, as this is what set him above the rest of his peers when applying for jobs.

Since graduating from the University of Northampton with a BSc in Computing (Software Engineering) in July, James has been working as a Junior Developer at Technical Direct UK Ltd and is part of the core development team working on bespoke and custom work for specific clients.

James said: “Whilst I was studying, I spent my summers working at P&MM Ltd working as a developer and was given the opportunity to shadow their senior people and the experience of using a highly regarded content management system, which I continue to use now in my current job. I do feel that this has given me the upper hand and will help me to be involved in projects to a more extensive level.

“Throughout my three years at the University of Northampton, I learned new aspects in the engineering field and my modules have taught me all the basic syntax of the current major language which has helped me to engage in many projects. I was also the President of the men’s football team in my third year and led the club to one of its most successful years. Being part of the team didn’t impact on what I chose to do after I graduated, but it has definitely influenced who I am as a person.

“With my role at Technical Direct, I will continue to learn from the developers and senior staff I am now working alongside to gain a better understanding of how they do things and to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the computing language they use. I then plan to gain some clients of my own so I can bring revenue into the business.

“My advice to all students is to start looking for work-based opportunities early and to build up your experience and CV whilst you are studying. Use your holidays to secure work placements as you will reap the benefits when you come to start your career.”

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