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    I've visited both but I keep alternating between the two :/

    Details:
    • Bristol has the posh-private schooled stereotypes which I don't know how much are true
    • Manchester has a year in industry which seems really advantageous
    • Bristol has a unique course which is CompSci with innovation and is MEng that seems so interesting
    • Bristol city seems nicer but more expensive
    • Manchester has a more friendly community vibe

    Any input from anyone would be much appreciated!

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Phatty_Magoo)
    I've visited both but I keep alternating between the two :/

    Details:
    • Bristol has the posh-private schooled stereotypes which I don't know how much are true
    • Manchester has a year in industry which seems really advantageous
    • Bristol has a unique course which is CompSci with innovation and is MEng that seems so interesting
    • Bristol city seems nicer but more expensive
    • Manchester has a more friendly community vibe

    Any input from anyone would be much appreciated!

    Thanks
    The posh-private school thing in Bristol is very true. It might depend on which halls you're in though. The stoke bishop halls are the most social but also more expensive and have a lot of private schoolers as opposed to some of the city accom. But even in the city you'll find a lot of private school upper middle class. Tbh though, you'll find a lot of private schoolers in Manchester as well.

    Both cities are great to be honest, Bristol is probably more expensive in terms of housing but not that much difference in regards to other things. Both very lively with great shopping, restaurants, nightlife etc. They have slightly different vibes though. I find Bristol more uplifting, probably because it's always raining in Manchester.

    I don't think you can really go wrong with either in terms of accom, city, friendliness etc. They're on a similar level. I think you're just going to have to focus on the course side of things and how important the 'innovation' side of the course is to you. I would recommend a year in industry though. Is there definitely no opportunity on the bristol course? On my course (diff course and diff uni), year in industry was never really mentioned but a few people still did one after second year.
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    As far as career prospects are concerned, having an industrial placement year puts you at a significant advantage when applying for graduate jobs. Employers hiring graduates are looking for tangible evidence that you're able to cope with the demands of the job they're offering, and while it's certainly not required to take a placement year, there's really no better way to demonstrate that than being able to talk in detail about that experience in an interview.

    Employers given a choice between a candidate with 12 months commercial experience versus zero commercial experience are likely to look favourably at those 12 months, even if the candidate has a lower degree classification, or a degree from a less prestigious university. (In reality, the prestige of a university doesn't really carry a lot of weight for most technology jobs anyway). The people you'll likely have interviewing you and making the decision to hire you often aren't managers or academics, they're usually the senior IT/Tech geeks, so their priority will be assessing your technical and problem solving skills rather than your degree.

    Have you checked whether Bristol also offers a sandwich placement year? This sort of thing is becoming increasingly common, although I realise there are still many universities which still don't have this
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    (Original post by showaeski)
    The posh-private school thing in Bristol is very true. It might depend on which halls you're in though. The stoke bishop halls are the most social but also more expensive and have a lot of private schoolers as opposed to some of the city accom. But even in the city you'll find a lot of private school upper middle class. Tbh though, you'll find a lot of private schoolers in Manchester as well.

    Both cities are great to be honest, Bristol is probably more expensive in terms of housing but not that much difference in regards to other things. Both very lively with great shopping, restaurants, nightlife etc. They have slightly different vibes though. I find Bristol more uplifting, probably because it's always raining in Manchester.

    I don't think you can really go wrong with either in terms of accom, city, friendliness etc. They're on a similar level. I think you're just going to have to focus on the course side of things and how important the 'innovation' side of the course is to you. I would recommend a year in industry though. Is there definitely no opportunity on the bristol course? On my course (diff course and diff uni), year in industry was never really mentioned but a few people still did one after second year.
    Thank you for the reply!

    Yeah, the accommodation pricing I've noticed is a fair bit more expensive which isn't the end of the world but just means more budgeting

    There's no sandwich year with Bristol's CompSci courses but they do have actual companies come in with real problems that you solve as a team project so I thought you'd probably be able to network there, but I guess that's not the same as having a solid year in Industry then?

    I might email if they support students organising their own placements - thank you
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    As far as career prospects are concerned, having an industrial placement year puts you at a significant advantage when applying for graduate jobs. Employers hiring graduates are looking for tangible evidence that you're able to cope with the demands of the job they're offering, and while it's certainly not required to take a placement year, there's really no better way to demonstrate that than being able to talk in detail about that experience in an interview.

    Employers given a choice between a candidate with 12 months commercial experience versus zero commercial experience are likely to look favourably at those 12 months, even if the candidate has a lower degree classification, or a degree from a less prestigious university. (In reality, the prestige of a university doesn't really carry a lot of weight for most technology jobs anyway). The people you'll likely have interviewing you and making the decision to hire you often aren't managers or academics, they're usually the senior IT/Tech geeks, so their priority will be assessing your technical and problem solving skills rather than your degree.

    Have you checked whether Bristol also offers a sandwich placement year? This sort of thing is becoming increasingly common, although I realise there are still many universities which still don't have this
    Thank you for your reply!

    See I wasn't certain how significant work experience for CompSci jobs would be as you'd gain all the technical skills (I assume) from the cause, but when you put it like that it does seem like a no brainier. I've looked and Bristol don't do any Industry years officially, but I will email them and see if i could organise my own.

    Can I ask did you take a year in Industry and if you did were there anything you regretted or would change? Thanks
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    (Original post by Phatty_Magoo)
    Thank you for your reply!

    See I wasn't certain how significant work experience for CompSci jobs would be as you'd gain all the technical skills (I assume) from the cause, but when you put it like that it does seem like a no brainier. I've looked and Bristol don't do any Industry years officially, but I will email them and see if i could organise my own.

    Can I ask did you take a year in Industry and if you did were there anything you regretted or would change? Thanks
    It's definitely worth finding out whether Bristol can accommodate that, I'd hope they'd be flexible enough to allow you to have a gap year before the final year.

    I studied Software Engineering with a Sandwich placement (junior software developer job) through Staffs Uni and dropped the entire degree part-way through my placement year after being offered the job permanently - so far, that hasn't really held me back, so I wouldn't really say that I necessarily regret taking the job, although I'd always wanted to go back and finish it eventually (which is what I'm doing now, having been working for several years, and really at the point where the degree itself won't hold much value to employers, but I hate leaving things like that 'unfinished', but I guess right now I'm wishing I'd finished it back when I had more free time and wasn't trying to fit part-time study around a full-time job).

    I certainly don't think Staffs nor most other universities that I'm aware of really teach anywhere near enough technical skills; this isn't really a criticism of any of those universities because it's a near-impossible task - particularly where you find a lot of lecturers have been away from the 'real world' for years. Or in some cases, lecturers have spent their entire life wrapped up in the 'bubble' of academia and research. Unfortunately it always creates a bit of a disconnect in a world where technology and working practices move so quickly, but that can't be helped really.

    IMO it's really just not feasible to use a classroom to teach all the kinds of things which you'll encounter in the real world - at best you'll only ever get a subset, and you'll also end up learning loads of things which you might not actually need in your job too. (I had a hardware programming module which used 8086 assembly language - which was a really interesting and fun module, but aside from being a really useful way to learn about CPU architecture, and some CompSci theory, my career so far has all been based around C++ and C#, so I have little need for knowing an assembly language - perhaps one day in the future I'll work at a company which uses it, but that hasn't happened yet. I probably should have taken the Cloud Computing module instead.. ).

    The other problem is that you'll never encounter the complexity of working with huge complex legacy systems, nor will you get the kinds of weird customer/user requests which are commonplace in most companies. You'll probably not be taught many troubleshooting or diagnostic techniques, nor many of the tools which you'd use for that sort of thing. Also, at university you almost certainly won't ever learn the 'human' side of working in a team of people, with a boss, a deadline, a poorly-written work specification, a customer who can't make up their mind what they want, a bunch of company guidelines to follow, etc.

    Also (this may have changed now..) Staffs at the time barely touched on several important software engineering topics like source control and automated testing (and I've met other CS graduates who also didn't learn any of that stuff on their degree either), but it turns out that these are a pretty important part of the day-job working as a Software Engineer. I mean, we covered some of it, but the experience of learning about it in lectures compared with sitting down to actually have to do that stuff are worlds apart from each other - I guess it's kind of difficult to get the context when you're sitting in a lecture hall - all you care about is the coursework grade and passing the exam; it makes all the difference when you actually have to get a job done.

    Sorry, this probably sounds really negative against a lot of university courses - so I just want to finish by saying that I don't think in any way that the things you learn in a CS degrees are useless because they certainly aren't useless - Even the stuff I don't use like the knowledge of assembly language has been helpful, it's more that I think the 3 years studying in lecture halls and classrooms leaves you with an 'incomplete' education which is complemented superbly by having an industrial placement
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    (Original post by Phatty_Magoo)
    Thank you for your reply!

    See I wasn't certain how significant work experience for CompSci jobs would be as you'd gain all the technical skills (I assume) from the cause, but when you put it like that it does seem like a no brainier.
    So this is a risky thing to assume. I've been working in tech a long time one of the biggest gripes companies have about graduates is the disconnect between what they do at university and what the companies need them to do in the work place. What universities teach you in a lot of CS degrees is CS theory, which is great to know as it shows you have a deep understanding of CS and a rock solid foundation from which to learn the skills you'll need in your tech career.

    As wintercoming mentioned, what will help you is a placement year, especially if you get in to a good company. You will get real world experience and a chance to demonstrate your understanding from your degree by picking up new skills and working on projects. That is worth it;s weight in gold in terms of getting work post uni.

    As I have mentioned in other threads recently, a MEng (sans work placement) is a good choice if you want to stay in academia and do a PhD after you graduate. You may be limiting your career options in the tech sector by doing that though, but if you love academia/research, go for it.

    Based on what you've said:

    Manchester: Clear winner if you want the best prospects at getting a job after uni, and if you do a good placement year you will be set up nicely with a lot of opportunities when you graduate.

    Bristol: Clear winner if you want to do a PhD after you graduate and develop specialist knowledge in a particular cutting edge field of Computer Sincere.
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    (Original post by jestersnow)
    So this is a risky thing to assume. I've been working in tech a long time one of the biggest gripes companies have about graduates is the disconnect between what they do at university and what the companies need them to do in the work place. What universities teach you in a lot of CS degrees is CS theory, which is great to know as it shows you have a deep understanding of CS and a rock solid foundation from which to learn the skills you'll need in your tech career.

    As wintercoming mentioned, what will help you is a placement year, especially if you get in to a good company. You will get real world experience and a chance to demonstrate your understanding from your degree by picking up new skills and working on projects. That is worth it;s weight in gold in terms of getting work post uni.

    As I have mentioned in other threads recently, a MEng (sans work placement) is a good choice if you want to stay in academia and do a PhD after you graduate. You may be limiting your career options in the tech sector by doing that though, but if you love academia/research, go for it.

    Based on what you've said:

    Manchester: Clear winner if you want the best prospects at getting a job after uni, and if you do a good placement year you will be set up nicely with a lot of opportunities when you graduate.

    Bristol: Clear winner if you want to do a PhD after you graduate and develop specialist knowledge in a particular cutting edge field of Computer Sincere.

    Really appreciate the sort of ultimatum at the end, as it helps to put things into perspective. From that point of view, I think Manchester is the one for me as I can't see myself wanting to pursue further research and a PHD in the future.

    Thank you so much for your help!
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    It's definitely worth finding out whether Bristol can accommodate that, I'd hope they'd be flexible enough to allow you to have a gap year before the final year.

    I studied Software Engineering with a Sandwich placement (junior software developer job) through Staffs Uni and dropped the entire degree part-way through my placement year after being offered the job permanently - so far, that hasn't really held me back, so I wouldn't really say that I necessarily regret taking the job, although I'd always wanted to go back and finish it eventually (which is what I'm doing now, having been working for several years, and really at the point where the degree itself won't hold much value to employers, but I hate leaving things like that 'unfinished', but I guess right now I'm wishing I'd finished it back when I had more free time and wasn't trying to fit part-time study around a full-time job).

    I certainly don't think Staffs nor most other universities that I'm aware of really teach anywhere near enough technical skills; this isn't really a criticism of any of those universities because it's a near-impossible task - particularly where you find a lot of lecturers have been away from the 'real world' for years. Or in some cases, lecturers have spent their entire life wrapped up in the 'bubble' of academia and research. Unfortunately it always creates a bit of a disconnect in a world where technology and working practices move so quickly, but that can't be helped really.

    IMO it's really just not feasible to use a classroom to teach all the kinds of things which you'll encounter in the real world - at best you'll only ever get a subset, and you'll also end up learning loads of things which you might not actually need in your job too. (I had a hardware programming module which used 8086 assembly language - which was a really interesting and fun module, but aside from being a really useful way to learn about CPU architecture, and some CompSci theory, my career so far has all been based around C++ and C#, so I have little need for knowing an assembly language - perhaps one day in the future I'll work at a company which uses it, but that hasn't happened yet. I probably should have taken the Cloud Computing module instead.. ).

    The other problem is that you'll never encounter the complexity of working with huge complex legacy systems, nor will you get the kinds of weird customer/user requests which are commonplace in most companies. You'll probably not be taught many troubleshooting or diagnostic techniques, nor many of the tools which you'd use for that sort of thing. Also, at university you almost certainly won't ever learn the 'human' side of working in a team of people, with a boss, a deadline, a poorly-written work specification, a customer who can't make up their mind what they want, a bunch of company guidelines to follow, etc.

    Also (this may have changed now..) Staffs at the time barely touched on several important software engineering topics like source control and automated testing (and I've met other CS graduates who also didn't learn any of that stuff on their degree either), but it turns out that these are a pretty important part of the day-job working as a Software Engineer. I mean, we covered some of it, but the experience of learning about it in lectures compared with sitting down to actually have to do that stuff are worlds apart from each other - I guess it's kind of difficult to get the context when you're sitting in a lecture hall - all you care about is the coursework grade and passing the exam; it makes all the difference when you actually have to get a job done.

    Sorry, this probably sounds really negative against a lot of university courses - so I just want to finish by saying that I don't think in any way that the things you learn in a CS degrees are useless because they certainly aren't useless - Even the stuff I don't use like the knowledge of assembly language has been helpful, it's more that I think the 3 years studying in lecture halls and classrooms leaves you with an 'incomplete' education which is complemented superbly by having an industrial placement
    Haha I'll note that down about the Cloud Computing module! I've emailed Bristol so I'll just wait for their response, but definitely going to apply more weight to the industrial placement with Manchester than I did before.

    Congrats on securing a job so quickly! Didn't sound negative at all, just a realistic experience I gather it must have been a massive difference then working on your placement year compared to what you were learning on your course. I can imagine what you mean with the "incomplete education" and can see how the placement Year would fill in those gaps/skills that you otherwise could've missed out on!

    Thank you so much for your reply
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    Just to add to this, I study computing at Huddersfield and currently on placement as a UX Designer in a leading Sports Media company. In 1 year between my first and second years of study I have worked on numerous project that have been distributed all around the world, been to Amsterdam for a work trip and been offered a job for when I graduate. For me if a year in industry is involved I would pick Manchester. The good thing about placement is that you have a year of experience under your belt which makes you stand out to future employers, otherwise what makes you stand out from everyone else who got a 1st or a 2:1? I've probably learnt more in this year of placement than anything else.
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    (Original post by EmilyJHall)
    Just to add to this, I study computing at Huddersfield and currently on placement as a UX Designer in a leading Sports Media company. In 1 year between my first and second years of study I have worked on numerous project that have been distributed all around the world, been to Amsterdam for a work trip and been offered a job for when I graduate. For me if a year in industry is involved I would pick Manchester. The good thing about placement is that you have a year of experience under your belt which makes you stand out to future employers, otherwise what makes you stand out from everyone else who got a 1st or a 2:1? I've probably learnt more in this year of placement than anything else.
    Thanks for the response! Yeah the general consensus seems that everyone is putting work experience as paramount - tbh though I don't think I'll be going to either uni as I've gotten an offer for a degree apprenticeship which I think I'll take !

    Have you been given a lot of responsibilities during your placement year then?
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    (Original post by Phatty_Magoo)
    Thanks for the response! Yeah the general consensus seems that everyone is putting work experience as paramount - tbh though I don't think I'll be going to either uni as I've gotten an offer for a degree apprenticeship which I think I'll take !

    Have you been given a lot of responsibilities during your placement year then?
    Hi, yeah if you do decide to go to university in this industry you want a work placement. Puts you leagues above the rest in that regard because you know what it's like to to be within a work place, how to conduct yourself etc.

    Responsibilities wise I've just been like a regular employee, never once seen as 'just the placement student' I've taken on some fairly big projects, I still have deadlines and some of my design work has been developed and being used worldwide. It's quite a nice feeling too. I've been given more opportunities and learned so much more on placement that I feel like I could have done at University as I feel like I have found my future career.
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    (Original post by Phatty_Magoo)
    Thanks for the response! Yeah the general consensus seems that everyone is putting work experience as paramount - tbh though I don't think I'll be going to either uni as I've gotten an offer for a degree apprenticeship which I think I'll take !

    Have you been given a lot of responsibilities during your placement year then?
    I studied CS at Bristol (about to graduate) and although I agree that work experience is useful, I don't think a sandwich year is the best way to gain this in CS. I think it is much more beneficial to use your summers to get an internship each year, which are fairly easy to come by as a CS student. This way you don't extend your study time and instead of spending a year earning a pittance, you graduate a year earlier with a similar amount of work experience (and often of a broader range of industries) and are able to earn a full salary.

    I think sandwich years are useful for other subjects in which it is much harder to find a summer internship where the added help that the university gives in finding the sandwich year is therefore beneficial. Bristol, however, has a great first year internship scheme that makes it much easier to get your foot in the door and get some experience.
 
 
 
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