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Christopher Beard

Christopher BeardSenior Reporting Analyst, CollectPlus

BSc Computer Networks, 2012

Tell us about your role at CollectPlus.

My current role at CollectPlus is as a Senior Reporting Analyst. The responsibilities include managing the reporting of data internally and externally to clients, analysing and providing operational insight into performance, customer behaviour/feedback and issues. Working on the continued development of the operational database, BI tools and datasets.

What drew you to a career in computer networking?

Before university I knew I wanted a technical career as it involves a lot of logical thinking and problem solving which I enjoy. At university, I found I enjoyed a wide range of computing and built a solid skillset that involved networking, programming and data handling.

What do you find most rewarding about your career?

Being able to apply my skillset to identify and solve operational issues is very rewarding. I love being able to handle big data and get insights which positively impact the operation. I think logistics are a challenge, especially as customers are becoming more expectant on convenience, so to be able to source, handle and use large data to manage the operation and customer experience is great.

What made you choose to study at Middlesex University?

Middlesex has a great location, facilities and a good social life. The open day I attended convinced me it was the right choice for me as the facilities and lecturers were impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, so much so I became a student ambassador and helped with the open days myself.

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

I would advise to make the most out the resources available; you get out what you put in. But it’s also a balance of work and personal life as there are many life skills you will learn, not just course material.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Middlesex?

The best moment has got to be handing in my dissertation, the feeling of completing such a large piece of work which took months of study and research is a great one. Also the friends and social life while at university was brilliant.

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

Middlesex taught me a wide range of technical skills but I also developed my soft skills in presenting and working in a team environment, which are important for the workplace. Once I graduated I was confident in what I learnt and how to go about applying those skills. My understanding of databases, programming languages, and computer architecture as well as how data flows/how to handle it enables me to successfully do my job.

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

My course has given me the edge in the professional world as I have a wide range of abilities. I had the knowledge so I could hit the ground running when I got my first career job. It also got me the foot in the door as an applicant. Now I’ve gained experience alongside the knowledge I’m confident in my career path.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder after you graduated?

My first job after university was as a scheduling strategy analyst for Tesco. The job involved managing the real time scheduling system for grocery home shopping vans. My degree title and grade got me through to the interview and the experience/skills I was able to talk about got me the job. I gained experience and responsibility throughout until I felt the need to move onto a new challenge where I could develop further.

What advice would you give to those just starting out?

A lot of companies look for experience, if you’re lacking the experience you can always take it upon yourself to get some, whether that’s showing willing by applying yourself outside of work or volunteering. After I graduated I would demonstrate technical abilities by building websites through AWS, ad hoc data analysis, creating Android apps etc. This showed I was capable but also that I am enthusiastic about what I do.

What would you say your career highlight to date?

Working for Tesco was a highlight as I gained so many responsibilities while I was there including successful peak management of the scheduling system. The biggest highlight to date though, has to be my promotion to the senior analyst at CollectPlus after a year of working here. For me it just demonstrated how far I have come in my career to date and what I’m now capable of doing.

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