How I got a great graduate role as an international student

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Abdulbasit Yekeen, B.Eng Hons Robotics graduate, talks through his UWE journey and graduate experience

‘If you are very good at what you do, building a career should be the least of your worries’

Since childhood, I have been curious about  technology and engineering. Designing electronic circuits and writing intelligent software were all I could think about as I grew older. I was very fascinated by robots and machines so studying robotics was a no-brainer. Many thought I had chosen a degree that was too specialized and that building a career in it will be very difficult. I was more than ready to prove them wrong because I believed that if you are very good at what you do, building a career should be the least of your worries.

‘At the end of the year, I had one of the best results’

Due to visa delays, I came a month late to the university. Various deadlines and lectures were already missed and others were very close. I had to spend long hours in the lab and also understanding various complex concepts fast to submit the assignments. My course mates were very kind and they assisted me in catching up with the rest of the class. At the end of my first year, I managed to get a good grade. During the summer holiday, I spent most of my time programming because this was my weakest skill. The second year commenced and I put in more effort into understanding every subject. The pandemic prevented us from doing various exciting practicals which could be used to demonstrate deep understanding with potential employers. At the end of the year, I had one of the best results, and getting a placement to apply my knowledge was the plan.

‘I reviewed my rejection letters and researched the skills employers were looking for. I think I may have actually applied to almost three hundred jobs’

I applied for several placement opportunities, and none were successful. The pandemic drastically reduced the number of placement opportunities and the few available were highly competitive. Over the holiday, I reviewed my rejection letters and researched the skills employers were looking for in potential candidates. My review showed that I needed to perform more practical projects and also learn C++(programming language). I found a good C++ on Udacity and spent several weeks mastering the concepts of the language. I also did various practical projects which could be showcased to potential employers.

Within that period, I got a two-week International Talent Internship with Milbotix and also following this a junior firmware engineer role with a company called DOMIN. I was very excited since this was my first experience working as an engineer. The Internship with Milbotix made me apply various skills I had learned personally and at the university. This internship opened the door to a lot of offers I did not even apply for. Every now and then, someone called me on LinkedIn about a potential opportunity somewhere. The results came out and guess what? I got a first-class and most of us graduated with a minimum of 2:1. Remember I said at the start that many thought getting a job was going to be extremely difficult. Well, I proved them wrong. I graduated with a good grade and got a great job in my career of choice.  I have started the role and so far I am enjoying it. I hope to get involved with more amazing technologies and one day start a Tech company. Take this with you, If I can achieve it then you definitely can.

‘Take this with you, If I can achieve it then you definitely can.

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