Case study: Engineering a role in finance

Marios Kampouridis, 24, is a business analyst for Barclays. He studied at City University for a degree in computer systems engineering
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The Independent Online

I decided to go into engineering because from a young age I always wanted to see how things were made. I thought engineering would suit me because I preferred practical to theoretical work. Little did I know that I would be doing a lot of theory anyway! I was already building computers for friends and family as a hobby, so I thought I'd go into computer systems.

I enjoyed studying engineering mainly because my degree had a good balance of laboratory work and practical experience with some theory work. I chose City University because it was based in London and so I thought there would be plenty of opportunities to make connections within the engineering industry.

The computer systems engineering degree was a four-year course and it involved a lot of practical work in the laboratory centred around logic gates and small circuits. It also involved learning a lot of theory and some programming too.

The course contained a managerial element, which I really enjoyed. It was this, along with my interest in the financial side of engineering, that led to me creating a trading tool for options pricing (a piece of software that helps new investors who have no idea about trading in the stock market), which involved me studying on my own.

After the course, I felt I had the analytical ability to make a career from computer systems and that was when I went to work for Barclays. I now work in the chief information office, so I do the IT for the company.

My job involves relationship management, business analysis and "firefighting", which includes solving any infrastructure problems or application issues. I also design and see small projects through to completion, and this is the part I really love. There is nothing better than seeing one of your own projects, big or small, coming to a successful end.

As my career progresses, I would eventually like to be in a managerial role, managing teams in a technical environment. I would love a position in the front office.

For anyone who is considering a career in engineering, I'd say that the most important thing is experience. Try and go for a degree that involves a year working in the industry. If this isn't possible, always try to organise your own work experience in the area you would like to work in. There was no work experience involved in my degree, but I was able to organise my own and I learnt invaluable skills during that time. It's also the most fun part of studying engineering!

Even though my Masters degree has helped me personally to gain more experience, I wouldn't say that it was necessary for a career in engineering. Most of the people I work with only have an undergraduate degree anyway.

At the moment there are plenty of opportunities for careers in engineering, particularly in the financial sector, and there are new positions becoming available every month for those who have the technical and analytical ability to pursue a career in the industry.

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