Olsi Birbo | Middlesex University London
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Olsi Birbo

Olsi Birbo - MSc Business Information Technology

Technical Architecture Designer/Software Engineer, Accenture

MSc Business Information Technology

What inspired you to choose to study at Middlesex University?

I was inspired to study at Middlesex University after finding out about the exceptional opportunities it offered to potential students and its strong academic pedigree. The university has won many prizes in the UK and internationally. I also really liked its modern campus and facilities in London as I felt these demonstrated the university's commitment to providing an exceptional learning environment for its students. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to embark upon my own journey of study there. 

The final thing that made me decide to study at the university was the wide range of postgraduate IT courses on offer. These were perfectly tailored to match the needs of potential employers.

What one piece of advice would you give to a new student preparing to study at Middlesex?

My recommendation would be to grasp the opportunities that Middlesex University offers you while you can. Study hard, socialise, make sure you sign up for a work placement, volunteer at a charity, etc. You never know where you might find your interest lies and many of these opportunities can provide your will transferable skills that are applicable to real-life situations.

Do you have a defining memory of your time at Middlesex? What makes this stand out in particular?

Yes, I think the multicultural environment is great and equips you with the right skills to work in today's global economy.

What made you want to study your course?

I had already had a few years of work experience in my home country so I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with my career. The course was the perfect match with my previous skills and my future career aspirations.

It was very exciting participating in and contributing to the classes as everyone brought their own experiences to the subject. This made it much more tangible and interesting.

We also really benefited from the extensive knowledge of the professors, some of them brilliant minds, without whom the experience would have not been the same. The IT facilities and labs were also a winning point as they helped us to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

The professors always strived to ensure the topics correlated with real-life situations in the business world. They were always well informed about the latest trends and technologies in the fast-changing world of IT and were happy to provide guidance and advice relating to your career choice.

I really liked the fact the course showed how the knowledge we learnt could be applied in the real business and corporate world.

What was the most interesting/influential/important thing that you learned during your course?

Curiosity and determination always pays off.

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

I believe the course gave me the right skills to progress and succeed in the role I'm doing today. In particular, the Information Systems Management module is extremely helpful if you see yourself working in companies that operate in management and technology consulting. It provided me with a deep understanding of the latest systems and technologies, how they can be integrated and how that can transform your business in order to gain advantage over competitors.

I have applied a vast amount of that knowledge while designing the technical architecture for the client I'm currently working for.

I also think that being involved in the various activities and sports on offer through the university helps to improve social skills which is an equally important part in your personal development.

What made you choose the industry you work in?

The main reason for choosing the industry I work in and more specifically the company I am currently working for, is the flexibility it offers and the variety of opportunities available. You can tailor your career to your interest areas as you have the opportunity to be involved in a wide number of roles and projects until you find your best fit.

I think professionally it is important to work with the best and smartest people in the industry as this enables you to learn a lot and develop your skills further. The company I work for provides me with all the training I need and gives me access to one of the largest knowledge sharing systems in the world. This is quite a unique opportunity and has enabled me to expand my skills portfolio.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder after you graduated? Would you recommend this route?

After finishing university, I was selected for a role that required previous experience and which fitted my skill set. When looking for roles, it's worth speaking to Middlesex University's Employability team as they can offer you great advice.

For individuals with no previous work experience, I would also recommend graduate recruitment schemes. These offer a great opportunity to those starting out on their chosen career path. You can start applying for these schemes well in advance of graduation but you need to study hard as most of the schemes require at least a 2:1 degree classification.

What advice would you give to those just starting out?

Make sure you get the most out of the university. Study hard, get involved in sports, socialise as much as you can and don't forget to have fun! It's important that when you look back on your university experience a few years after graduation that you can say I achieved my goals and I'm proud I made the most of my time there.

What would you say your career highlights are to date?

My career highlight to date has been delivering an important project for one of my current employer's clients. This was the delivery of the Radiology Information System (RIS) to 5 Southwest Trusts in the UK. The project involved migrating the system from local to the Cloud by offering a centralised solution to the consortium. This has dramatically increased the efficiency and quality of the systems but ensured the end-solution remained cost-effective. The team involved in this project was relatively small which gave everyone a hands-on opportunity to get to grips with a vast array of technologies in order to design and deliver the solution.

My role on the project as a Solution Analyst involved delivering a considerable amount of work on database configuration and migration, system integration, solution design, functional and performance testing, system monitoring and tuning, networking, scripting etc. People skills were crucial when interacting with the client and domain experts.

The project was successfully delivered in record time, improved efficiency by 100% and had the lowest backlog of post-live issues possible. I was really proud of the work we delivered. I got great feedback from my superiors and most importantly, the Southwest Trust Managers, which was a really rewarding experience. My satisfaction was made even greater as I knew this project had a direct impact on people's lives as it improved the efficiency of healthcare systems, reduced processing times and increased the quality of information.

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