UCAS: Case Notes - 'I've ended up with two hats'

After completing a course at Staffordshire, Jon Lovatt can both programme and design
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The Independent Culture
Jon Lovatt knew that he had chosen to study the right computing course when he was offered a senior full-time job during his industrial placement. Jon, who is from Staffordshire, had aimed to leave home when he began his university career but he found that the university on his doorstep was offering a course exactly tailored to his needs

The course was a BA Hons in inter-active systems design - which has since been re-named "multi-media graphics".

Jon says: "It is a hybrid course, hosted by the school of computing and by the school of art and design."

Jon joined Staffordshire University straight from school, where he had taken A-levels in computing and design. "I've ended up as a person who wears two hats - computer programming and designing web sites. But I've been incredibly lucky," says Jon.

"There seems to be a major shortage of people who can do this, and there are a host of well-paid jobs now in web design. There are lots of people who can programme, and lots who can design - but there are very few people can do both. This is why this course is so useful - and exciting."

All the computing courses at Staffordshire are sandwich courses, and Jon spent several years in London working at a company called Clockwork Web, where he ended up as design manager.

Jon has been especially impressed by the Staffordshire course because it has more than kept pace with the ever-changing technology. "During the course, modules were changing all the time, especially in Internet technology, because things were racing ahead so fast. Staffordshire has real state-of-the-art technology and all the industry-standard tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as 3-D work and animation computing," he says. "I've visited friends at other universities doing computer studies and it seems that some of them are working with equipment five years behind the times."

Staffordshire has recently opened its new computer centre, the Trent Building, which houses 200 Pentiums, equipped with the latest scanners.

If you are aiming to take up a computing course at Staffordshire through Clearing then visit the university's website - Jon designed it!

He says: "I'm very proud of the Clearing website - it provides up-to- the-hour information about which awards are available, and then links you into the university prospectus so you can read up about the course."

Most of the course has been project-based with a couple of exams. Jon says: "There is a lot of work involved, and with most of it you have to be prepared to get on with it on your own.

"I firmly believe that you have to be really interested in the subject to get the most out of it. I genuinely love it - it's absolutely fascinating and constantly challenging."