While many graduates may question how far their years of academic study will really take them in the world of work, computer science graduate and Raspberry Pi inventor Eben Upton has no such qualms. Upton’s PhD subject at Cambridge required him to convert a high-level computer language to a low-level, later drawing on these notes when inventing the now hugely popular Raspberry Pi mini-computer.
His journey to selling almost a million units of the tiny single board computer was far from quick, and involved a three-year BA,a computer science diploma, a PhD and finally an MBA. Offering advice on students who are thinking of embarking on a second degree, Upton said:
“Wait, but not too long.I’m glad I didn’t go straight into my PhD. Getting out into the world a bit gives you time to think about what you want to do.
”Speaking last year, Upton argued that out of work computing graduates should spend their evenings programming and working on individual projects, in an effort to boost their employability.
In a Google Hangout video chat conference call, Upton argued that IT graduates need to impress employers with their enthusiasm for the industry, as well as showing proof of their technical competence. Responding to a graduate’s dilemma about a lack of experience being a barrier to getting a foothold on the career ladder, Upton offered some advice on how graduates can impress interviewers.
He said: “Be bright and be educated and be able to point to something you've done. People who suffer in our system are people who can't point to an interest in computers.
“We tend to hire people who are enthusiasts, who are hobbyists and I suggest you think of one little piece of evidence that you did something in the evening with a computer, maybe a Raspberry Pi; that you did something with computing that you didn't have to do. Something that you didn't do for the money is well worth a year that you turned up at a job.”