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Monica Shah

Network Support Analyst, Home Office

BSc Information Technology and MSc Computer and Network Security

What made you choose Middlesex University?:

I chose Middlesex because of the vibe: I instantly felt comfortable when I entered the building at the open day. All the staff and students were really friendly. There were a variety of courses available to choose from and this gave me the opportunity to make the right decision. Another factor was that it was relatively close to my home and so travelling was not an issue.

What course did you study and what attracted you to that course?:

I studied BSc Information Technology and MSc Computer and Network Security. With the help of my teachers, I realised that I wanted to strengthen my knowledge in computer and network security in order to work in within this field. I always excelled in the computer networks module and thus, I knew it was the right one for me.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy the most?:

I enjoyed the labs, the group work, the fun that the teachers put into learning and how they made us feel comfortable with the amount of information, despite that sometimes it was difficult to understand. Group studies were the best part! During exam times we used to meet up regularly in the library and answer all the exam questions as a group debating the right and wrong answers. I also enjoyed the trip to Bletchley Park where we learned about coding used in WWl & ll.

What is your fondest memory of Middlesex?:

My fondest memory of Middlesex is when we took our lecturer with us to Thorpe Park and we had the most amazing day possible!
Also, the experience of graduating twice with the black and blue robes.

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

My advice is to go with your heart and follow your dreams. Study courses and modules not because your friends are doing so but because you are genuinely interested in those subjects and you will believe it will help in shaping your future career.

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

My courses helped me to get where I am today simply because of the vast amount of knowledge gained through theory and practical study. As I was a shy person, it helped me come out of my shell and become a bubbly person, full of life and willing to live each moment as if it was the last. I'm truly grateful to all the teachers, students and friends who helped me find myself and become who I am today.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?:

Baby steps did the trick. I worked in few IT companies, not necessarily the best but, they made me learn a lot about IT and myself. I was out of work for a few months applying for jobs, went for many interview's and finally I was called in by the Home Office, in which I aced the interview. Got the job as a computer operator and then I worked my way up to becoming a network support analyst.

What has been your defining career break of highlight to date?:

After being made redundant from a role that lasted one month, having a few months to myself to work out where I stood on terms of the job I wanted to do in IT cleared my head and made me apply for specific positions, which finally lead me to obtaining the job at the Home Office.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?:

1. Do what you love.
2. Failure is success.
3. Take baby steps and make small progresses in your life. It will eventually get to where you want to be. You can't get everything at once.

What skills have been most valuable in your career so far and how have you developed these?:

1. Communication skills by interacting with different clientele and different parties.
2. Professionalism and hardworking. I said 'yes' to all tasks and challenges that faced me. I completed all assignments as good as I could possibly do and later in the working environment I then accepted all the tasks assigned to me using it as an opportunity to learn from both the failures and successes.

Are there any tips you can give international students looking to move abroad to study?:

Use the help available to you, ask for help and don't be shy. There are lots of teachers and people who would do anything to make sure your education and stay in Middlesex is the most pleasant it can be.

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