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Past Questions

  1. Hello Brian, just a small question. I wanna do my masters in Artificial intelligence and Machine learning so, what will be the job opportunities in Uk?

    I believe if you follow the course, embrace what you learn and be proactive about reaching out to employers in your industry by demonstrating you are really passionate about the subject area and can show them how you will add value to their company, you will get offers for work.

    Every company is an technology company now. There are many businesses that are trying to use AI and ML. Have a think about mini projects you could start working on that will give you material to talk about at interview and demonstrate your abilities.

  2. Hi Brian, just a small question. I wanna do my masters either in MS computer science or MS in data science. which one will be better doing career wise? what will be the job opportunities available for both in UK?

    Hello there. Both paths can result in excellent career opportunities. Software engineers and data scientists are both in high demand and are comparatively well paid graduate jobs that can lead you onto rewarding career trajectories. I would say that the computer science path will give you a broader grounding and will keep your options open (software engineer, product management, startup founder). Data science is more specific. I would expect a computer scientist to be able to pick up what a data scientist does and run with it. A data scientist could pick up what a computer scientist does but their scope is a bit more focused. Ultimately I think it comes down to what you find most exciting. If you like having the knowledge / skill / flexibility to build a product from scratch end to end, computer science may suit you better. If you are excited and optimistic about data/ Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Deep Learning then the Data Science path may be better for you.

  3. Hey Brian, I think I read on one of the questions you did your BSc in French and buiness? Is this correct?

    The reason I ask is because my BSc is in economics and I'm wanting to swap to AI, i was wondering what you thought the switch to STEM was like for you?

    Hi, My undergrad was in German and Business Studies. Transitioning from Economics (whether it involved a lot of number crunching or not) is fine. The MSc courses are intended to take non programmers/data analysts and help you make the jump in a short but concentrated period. If you're thinking of transitioning to the MSc, the most important thing is you have a genuine interest in AI and you are ready to get stuck in and familiarise yourself with the material. The direction that the world is heading in (with regard to AI adoption) means your application to future graduate schemes / jobs / roles will stand out if you have a degree with a substantial element of AI.

    Best of luck.

  4. Hello Brian, this is Miguel from Dominican Republic.

    I am thinking on taking the MSc in Cyber Security. What makes Birmingham unique about others universities. Accreditation? Modules?

    Thank you

    Hello Miguel, I'll try and summarise as briefly as possible: 1. Consistent High Score in Uni League Table both for Bham Uni as a whole and Computer Science specifically - Usually ranks inside the top 15 in UK. 2. "Red Brick" status and "Russell Group" status i.e. well thought of by employers - Even though there have been steps to flush out uni status / bias, it still exists. So worth bearing in mind. 3. Campus University - More important if you are an undergrad but if the archetypal all-in-one uni campus is something that is important to you, Bham has it. 4. Busy City with lots going on - Normally this would apply but pretty much everywhere is quiet during lockdown. 5. Cheaper than London and cities further South. 6. Culturally very diverse.

    Best of luck!

  5. Hello Brian! I just got an offer for the Msc in Computer Science, I am interested to know about more about the course, do you think its was up to date? and are the projects were related to real companies? Also, about the city, how is the IT industry in Birmingham? and finally what tips would you give someone that is about to start a career change to MSc, I also have a background in business, my major is in Economics. Thank you!

    Congrats on your offer. The Bham Uni MSC is still one of the finest in the country. I took the MSc some years ago now. However, as far as I can tell, the course continues to be relevant. Java is a solid programming language that is still widely used and will provide a good grounding for industry and for learning other languages. The weekly programming exercises start off simple and become more challenging. In my time, one of the first exercises was to design a simple tick tack toe game. Towards the end of the tuition period, the group exercise was more advanced involving designing a database driven application.

    Regarding the project, well that's entirely up to you what you choose. If you have a particular industry you'd like to enter, it makes sense to make your project relevant to that industry / company so when it comes to interviewing time, you have something very relevant to explain to your interviewer.

    Birminham is considered the UKs second biggest city after London, so I would imaginee there are lots of IT opportunities in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. I would have two priorities 1. With your skills though virtual working anywhere in the world should be a reality.

    Commit yourself to learning coding and database integration - embrace it:-) 2. Start planning early what you'd like to do once you finish. If you're trying to land a job, start lining up those ideal interviews from the early autumn.

    Good luck!

  6. Hi Brian, I have an offer for the Compter Science conversion MSc and am trying to figure out how I can have some income while doing the course. I currently have a great part time job teaching one day per week at an academy. Do you think it would be realistic to continue to do this alongside the course? And is it likely that the timetable would give me a free daythat I could reliably commit every week? Thanks, Robin

    Congrats on your acceptance to the MSc conversion. It's a world class course! Working 1 day a week at the academy while also attending your MSc should be fine. The more organised you are, the better:-) You'd have to double check though that there are no clashes with the day you need to work. If there are, you'd just need to be a bit creative with negotiating a different day to work or figure out a way to catch up on any material you miss.

  7. I am currently going into my a levels(computer science, statistics and law) and i am planning going into a undergrad in computer science and then a postgrad masters in cyber security, i would like to know how hard is it being a graduate from UoB and getting a job.

    Hello, based on your selection of courses at A-Level, degree and postgrad, I think you'll be just fine. It's rare to see such detailed forward planning. Where possible, I recommend you try and get some industry / commercial experience (even if it's virtual via upwork or fiverrr). If you focus on building your real world experience while you're still studying, you'll have a much better idea of what you really enjoy and what you are good at. By the end of your Cyber Security masters and with several years practical experience to your name, I imagine employers will be fighting over you:-) Good luck.

  8. Hi Brian, I have a few queries: 1) Are all lectures recorded online? 2)Is the course a year long, exactly from September to September as opposed to an undergrad degree? For example, the summer project, does that actually take 4 months or do some students finish it earlier? 3)Would you recommend learning some Python before the course, or stick with JAVA? Thanks

    1. Best to check directly with the faculty on this. Lectures were not recorded when I was at Birmingham. 2. The course is one calendar year long. You start in Sept/Oct and then in the same month of the following year you are expected to submit your Project. 3. If you're new to programming, I would stick with the main language being taught (Java). The best coders will pick up multiple languages throughout their career as new languages rise in popularity. I learned Java on My MSc and I've spent time learning Python in recent years.

  9. Hello Brian. I have applied for several Cyber Security master courses, and just received offers from four of them: Birmingham, Manchester, Lancaster and York. Would you be so kind as to try to compare them in general and in this particular field? In fact, I have seen numerous videos about these universities, but it is really hard to find out which is better than the others in cyber security. Thank you for your answer!

    Hello, Congrats on the offers! It's tricky for me to comment on Manchester, Lancaster or York. But I would take 3 key factors into consideration, all of which you can Goolge: - National University Reputation ("Best UK university") - National Faculty Reputation ("Best UK university for Cyber Security") OR prehaps ("Best UK university for Computer Science") - Consider the type of city you want to live in (see Good luck!

  10. Hello Brian, I'm Chetan. I got an offer from the University of Birmingham and UCL (University College London) for MSc in Cyber Security. I'm confused between the two of them. Which university is the best according to academics (theory and practicals) and the job opportunities after the completion of masters? Can you help me in this regards? Thanks, Chetan

    Chetan, There are a few things that can help you. Firstly, I would do a search for "Best Computer Science University Departments in UK". As you'll see, some ranking tables rate one above the other.

    Reputation-wise, both universities and comsci departments usually rank among the top 10 or 20 in the UK. Both universities are highly recognised by employers as being among the best in the UK.

    So it really comes down to personal choice. Birmingham and London are two very different cities. I lived in London growing up and wanted to live on campus and away from home so chose Birmingham for my Bachelor degree. After a few years working in London following graduation, I chose Birmingham again for my Masters degree because I wanted to minimise the amount of time I had to adapt to a new university. I knew Birmingham well and didn't have to waste time on the usual distractions when you arrive on a new university campus.

    If you are on a tight budget, living costs in Birmingham will be significantly lower than those in London. London on the other hand is huge in comparison to Birmingham and perhaps has 20 different equivalents to Birmingham's downtown area - not to mention museums, attractions etc. But hey, I'm guessing you won't have much time for that stuff:-)

    Either choice will give you a memorable yet different experience. A good pass grade from either institution will be looked on favourably by an employer.

  11. Hi, I am from India. I have received an offer from the university for MSc in Cyber-security.

    I have heard that the placements in UK are not based on the ranking of University you are passed out from, but completely depends on the knowledge you have. I wanted information regarding this as i have the same offer from the Birmingham City University. The difference in fees between both is large so I want to know if Birmingham is worth it.

    thank you

    Hello. Times are changing. Employers are now more open to looking at what an individual has done in their professional and personal life rather than just looking at what University you have attended. In recent years, some employers have actually removed a university degree as being one of the criteria they use for considering applicants.

    That being said, there is still a place for educating yourself in a formal environment and receiving the associated accreditation. Many employers are openminded to consider applicatants with no formal degree but the reality is many employers still make this a requirement.

    Specific to your question Bham Uni vs Bham City, even though it is politically correct not to have bias, I believe there is still a huge amount of bias. Birmingham University has a much longer history as a university than Bham City University. Some employers may consider this a factor in assessing your application.

    Even I'm a little biased too. I would say go to Bham Uni because that's an institution I know. The reputation of the Bham ComSci department when I was applying was outstanding. I believe it was one of the 3 best departments in the country at the time. But City may have something special that suits your personal circumstance much better.

    In terms of making your choice, well I would research the league tables on Google. This is exactly what the HR departments of the organisations you will be applying to will be doing.

    If you can, I would also try and visit both campuses and talk to faculty staff. If this is not possible, reach out to as many people from each institution as you can (past and present) to get their view on what each university is like. You can even search for people on LinkedIn who have attended each Uni and ask them what it was like (just like you're asking my opinion here).

  12. Hi Brain I am 36 years old and experienced computer engineer applying to Mcs Cybersecurity in both Birmingham and Warwick. Could you help me decide the advantages of Birmingham over Warwick? Thanks

    Both universities have great track records and regularly score well in the league tables both for ComSci and overall. I would say the Birmingham "Brand" is stronger... but then, I am a bit biased:-)

    You should also consider the two very different locations. Warwick is closer to Coventry. Birmingham Uni is a couple stops from downtown Birmingham city centre.

  13. do msc computerscience have job opportunities in uk

    Lots yes. Companies recognise Birmingham university as one of the leading UK universities and the comsci MSc is very well regarded.

  14. Hi Brain, I'm Ricky. I got an offer from computer science postgraduate and I want to know what software projects that students will often do, also how it relates to real world stuff.

    I believe there is a directory of all previous software projects held by the ComSci department. But rather than looking back at what others have done, I would pick a project that you are interested in and is also in some way related to developments in industry and the field you would like to enter. Being interested in the subject matter will ensure you keep going when things get tough. Making sure it's somehow relevant to industry trends will give you some valuable material to discuss if / when the time comes to go job hunting... and if the project is good enough, maybe you won't need to hunt for a job and can turn it into a business once you finish;-)

  15. Hy Brain, my name is Dewank and i am an international student offered a place at University in Msc Data science program. My question concerns about the companies mentioned in the employability link ( are ones which visit for campus placements or ones which students can get placements into.

    Hello Dewank, I imagine some of these companies may visit the university at some point. However, I suspect though that the companies named are really to give you a taste of some of the organisations that could be interested in taking you on as a graduate once you've completed your degree. If there are companies in the list shown that you would really like to work for, I would start researching their recruitment process and getting to know more about the company from its web site and social media (especially LinkedIn) activity. This means when the time comes to apply, you are really well equipped to demonstrate you know the values and personalities of the organisation. Brian

  16. Hi Brian,

    I wanted to ask you a question more specific to the entry requirements for this program. I have some relevant work experience to apply for this program but I have not done the equivalent of maths a-levels or gcses. I read that it is important to demonstrate good mathematical ability on the application.

    Do you think this would be an issue?

    Hi, I think a good basic grasp of maths will put you in a good place for the course. You may not have a formal qualification at GCSE or A Level but maybe you've had to use some maths or basic equations at work. If you can demonstrate this in your application you may be OK. A big part of the course will involve constructing algorithms that work so having an appreciation of building formulas e.g. in Excel will help you. You'll have to check with the department of course to see if they will accept your application if a previous maths qualification is one of the entry requirements. Brian

  17. Did you join any clubs or societies, go on any research trips or do any volunteering?

    The university has a great sporting pedigree and top facilities. I was a member of the track and field team.

  18. How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

    I had several job offers confirmed before my MSc completed. I accepted the offer from Accenture as I saw it as a great place to build broad experience early in my career. After several years travelling the world working for Accenture, I set up my own consulting business and have spent my career since then working with financial services companies and startups.

  19. How did your degree prepare you for what you are doing now?

    The skills from my MSc, which I've found most useful in my career in technology consulting, have been software programming, requirements gathering and working with stakeholders.

  20. How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?

    My MSc helped build my confidence of databases and programming. It also reinforced my belief that if you put your mind to something and commit, all things are possible.

  21. What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?

    Make an early trip to the careers lab to line up opportunities for when your MSc completes. Invest in "how to code" text books - the good ones will become your best friends. Reach out to buddies or tutors if there's technical stuff you don't understand. Choose an end of year project you are really passionate about - that way you'll keep coding even when you're tired. Most importantly have fun and make the most of your year as it will be over before you know it.

  22. What was the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

    After my final exams, I really enjoyed spending the summer working on my end of year software project. It was a lot of fun creating a significant application from scratch and getting to grips with the Java programming language.

  23. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    I thought an MSc in computer science would give me a competitive advantage in my career and would form a good foundation for understanding how to build great software.  I also thought that in comparison to an MBA, an MSc in computer science represented better value, the opportunity to acquire practical skills that were in high demand and also meant a shorter timeframe before returning to the business world.

  24. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    I did my undergraduate degree in German and Business Studies at Birmingham so I knew I wouldn't waste any time getting up to speed in a familiar environment. As well as this, I was also encouraged by the fact that the university ranks as one of the best places to study computer science in the country.

  25. In your MSc, how much coding was involved and how difficult was it? I understand that you have to code for your final project but if someone does not have the best coding skills in the world but is still able to code and has an interest in the subject, do you think they will be able to hack the course? Thanks

    Coding exercises are set for the group from the first few weeks of the course. The exercises get progressively more complicated. I recommend you get a good coding textbook to support any material you access online. I also recommend attending the workshops where postgraduate comsci tutors can provide you with additional help. Form a few alliances with other students so you can help each other out. The quicker you can get your head around the coding basics the easier things will be for you later on.

  26. Hi Brian, how well do you feel the conversion MSc would prepare a student for a career in cyber security, and which careers within the information security field are open to graduates of the MSc Computer Science (Conversion) at Birmingham?

    Hi. The MSc focuses on equipping you with software development skills. Lab time, weekly exercises and software projects aim to get you up to speed with writing software programs to solve problems. The MSc will get you familiar with coding and databases. It will help you to abstract problems and start thinking of problems in terms of coding solutions.

    One or two members of my cohort went on to careers in cyber security. However, if cyber security is the path you have your heart set on, there may be more relevant / direct ways of getting there. That being said, cyber security is a major topic of concern for every CEO. I would imagine a recruiter looking to hire a cyber security graduate would shortlist a candidate with a computer science degree over one with no computer science degree (all other things being equal that is).

  27. How heavy is the workload and do you think it's better to live on campus for this MSc or does it make no difference?

    The workload is heavy yes. You have a lot to learn in a short space of time so clear your social diary:-). Most MSc students do not live on campus. That's usually for freshers who really want to lap up the experience of being in a university environment - making friends, partying etc. However, I would recommend being close to campus - ideally walking distance if not a short ride on public transport. This way, you be able to make the most of the labs, teaching facilities and working with your MSc colleagues.

  28. What do you think is the most important thing to highlight in your personal statement? How can I make myself standout?

    Dig deep to find something remarkable you have done... especially good if it has some relevant technical aspect or has positively impacted the lives of others.

  29. Hey Brian, I'm a second year student studying classics. At school I enjoyed maths and science but was not academically mature enough to pursue them further and this is probably my biggest regret. Granted that I am now capable and willing, is the conversion Msc a good springboard for entering the industry of not just computer science but engineering and design also?


    I'm not sure how they teach classics nowadays but I'm assuming you spend some of your time reading Latin and Greek. If that's the case, then you may have an advantage on your side:-)

    If you have an aptitude for languages, learning how to program is not a million miles away (grammar, rules, punctuation, syntax, nouns, objects, verbs, methods etc).

    Push yourself to learn as much as possible in the year and visit the careers center early to start lining up opportunities.

    The MSc conversion is a great access route into working in technology.

    The story of you taking your MSc in order to apply your skills as a software engineer makes sense.

    To take the course to pursue engineering or design will take a bit more explaining to a prospective employer.

    Carpe Diem!

  30. Is there an option for taking a placement or studying abroad for the CS conversion programme? I know it's available on the Dubai campus but for funding reasons I wouldn't be able to go. Also, is this degree recognised by institutions and industry abroad?

    Hi. The course is recognized widely by industry and employers. Birmingham Uni has one of the best reputations for the MSc Computer Science program in the country / world.

    I would check direct with CS admissions but in my day there was no placement or studying abroad option. You have  so much new stuff to learn, adding extra complexity would realistically require the lengthening of the course.

    Primary objective for the MSc is to pick up speed and get to grips with computer science fundamentals. Note that the course is a calendar year (12 months) rather than a shorter academic year (Sept - June). You'll need every single waking hour to get confident with the new tech.



  31. Hi Brian, aside from Java programming, are there any other areas that you would suggest students learning ahead of the course start date? Did you find that the course was mathematically intensive? Many thanks

    Funnily enough, one of the most valuable skills I can think of is the ability to follow the instructions you see in the various tutorials you'll encounter. If you still have time, perhaps try working your way through some online tutorials so you can start getting the hang of what's to come.

    Also, knowing where to go online to seek help when you hit a roadblock is super valuable. Almost without exception, someone somewhere else on the planet will have experienced the same programming problem or error you encounter so try and see if the answers to their questions also provide a solution for you.

    A good head for numbers is useful. Although, you do not need to be a mathematician to succeed on the MSc. I took maths to GCSE level and did not struggle with the math required on the MSc. What is helpful is the ability to think logically / laterally. The ability to break down human problems into logical blocks so you can convert each block into lines of code will carry you a long way.

  32. Hi, I know everyone says the MSc Computer Science course is for beginners but I am still a little worried as I have no experience at all of coding/databases/software/Java. Is this okay?? Thanks, Carly

    The MSc takes people with no previous coding background Carly so you will  be OK. I do recommend using a combination of online tutorials as well as good old fashioned text books - especially for learning to code.

    Sometimes having a text book makes it easier to start from Chapter 1, jump ahead to get a flavour of what's yet to come but then carry on where you left off at Chapter 2.

    Buddy up with someone on your course so you can help each other out. Attend the labs and ask for help from the tutors - I recall them being very willing to break things down in simple terms that were easy to understand.

    Coding is like driving a car though. No matter how many books you read on cars, you never really learn until you get behind the wheel and start to drive. Good luck and have fun!

  33. Hi Brian, How are the engineering facilities and the labs and are there any placement year?

    When I was at Brum, the labs were pretty good. It's been a while though, so I'm sure more recent students will be able to give you more relevant insights. The computers were fast. The labs were open 24/7. For the MSc conversion (the course I attended) there is no placement. I paid a visit to the careers centre within the first few weeks of arriving on campus and made sure I knew about all the juicy graduate schemes that required students with a computer science background. I applied and was really surprised by the interest that was shown in comparison to when I was applying as a BA student.

  34. Hi Brian, I was wondering, roughly how many students are generally in the course cohort? Additionally, are the modules specific to the MSc Computer Science course, or are there students from other computer science degree programmes taking the same modules?

    Hi .There were about 150 in my cohort. Some of the classes I attended were also attended students studying other computer science degrees.

  35. Hi sir,im shivani .im from india pursuing BCA(bachelor of computer application) and i want to do my further study related to computer field . i hope you can help me to figure it out and about this course. Thankyou sir . ill ne glad if you can help me with this

    It's a great course that will enrich your study, strengthen you technically and broaden your career horizons.