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Atif Bilal

Atif BilalProfessional Services Consultant, Teradata (Islamabad)

BSc Computer Science, 2006

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I was looking for a good, reputable university so that I could go abroad to continue my education and Middlesex was the best option. I had friends there which helped, so I applied and got admitted.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply?

I was attracted to the course because its structure and outline were the best. In terms of the technology that was available to use, compared to what was on the market at the time, it was very good and it allowed me to get real, hands on experience.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

The whole course was great. The sessions in labs and the hands-on experience on machines developing different graphics and games were very enjoyable.

What were the facilities like at your institution?

The facilities were brilliant, the Learning Resource Centre and the labs were really up to date. The University was also offering Dell XPS machines for students to come and use and at the time they were the fastest, most powerful machines available and you needed them for programming code and graphics so that was great.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

The graduation ceremony was probably my fondest memory. When you're a student at an international university graduation is what you dream about so to be there was like a dream coming true. The way teachers kept us engaged and helped us too. Everyone was always available whenever you needed them and I have never experienced this kind of attitude from teachers anywhere else in the world.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

I would simply say 'go ahead, do the hard work and get your degree'.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you get to where you are professionally today?

Without the skills I developed at Middlesex I would not have got the job I have right now. When I came back to Pakistan I had a job within 15 days because of the University's name on my CV and the knowledge I had developed.

Obviously in IT you need to be on your toes all the time and have a good attitude to learning and I think this was encouraged by all of the lecturers. They did not spoon feed us; there was a conceptual approach to teaching and by using all of the seminar and lab sessions that drives you to learn and be involved.

How did you get your first foot on the career ladder?

When I moved back to Pakistan I went and dropped my CV off at some of the software companies in Islamabad. They called me back and I had a couple of interviews straight away and there you go, I got hired.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

When I joined the company I won the Employee of the Year award in my first year so that was definitely the best career highlight so far.

What are the top tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?

Have faith in your skills and keep developing them; just because you have a degree you shouldn't stop learning new skills. Doing a Masters degree is a good choice. Try and excel in whatever you do and focus on excellence, not on content. You should not try to be a jack of all trades but excel in the field you choose.

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

Do whatever you want to do, do not just follow the trends. Try to excel in a field of your own choice and success will be yours.

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