Student Interview: Joe Boston

Last term, I spoke to second year student Joe Boston about the BSc Creative Computing, his student project, and his plans for the future:

Rose: Why Creative Computing? What made you choose this degree programme?

Joe: When I was choosing my degree, I looked at other courses but I didn’t want to do pure computer science. I’ve always been interested in computers and the programming element was really important to me, but I also wanted to study for a degree that let me explore audio and visual components as part of that. This course is a lot more practical than other computer science programmes that I looked at, and I felt as though that would be better for my employment prospects because employers can see that you can apply what you have learned.

Rose: Can you tell me a bit about the projects you’ve been working on? 

Joe: Ok. Some of these things have been part of assignments for the course but some of them are just things I’ve been able to create because of the skills I’ve learned over the last couple of years. I’ve chosen to specialise in Android phone apps but really you can specialise in anything you want.

At the moment I’m working on a game called ‘Long Cat’ which is based on an internet meme of the same name [Joe shows me ‘Long Cat’ in action on his phone – you can see a video of it here]. I’ve also been building a 3D logic game that plays around with different colour spaces. Nobody’s done this in this way before so it’s a new market. There’s a video here.

That’s one of the things that’s great about this course – by the end of your third year you’re expected to have developed some software that’s ready for the market so it’s really good preparation.

Rose: So are you looking forward to your third year? Do you have a dissertation?

Joe: I’m looking forward to the 3rd year project. It’s called Research and Development, so you do the research but whereas on other courses you’re doing that research and writing it up, in R&D, it’s really practical so it’s a combination of learning and applying what you’ve learned. Sometimes it’s even doing something then learning how you’ve actually done it. Creating your own software means learning from your own mistakes because you’re not just learning the theory – you’re learning how to apply it!

Rose: And after you’ve finished the degree? Have you thought about what you want to do afterwards?

Joe: I’ve already had a few job offers! Even while I’ve been studying I’ve done paid work and built up a portfolio from the skills I’ve learned on this degree so it’s already benefitted me in that way. I think it comes from the focus of the degree being on learning things so proactively.

Rose: And if you were to tell prospective students about the degree, what would you say to them?

Joe [laughs]: I’d tell them to learn some Maths! No, the Maths isn’t too challenging  – you only learn what you need to be able to get on with the creative side – that’s definitely the focus of this course. I’d also tell them about all the programming languages this course has helped me learn! I think this department stays on top of what’s new and makes sure they’re always teaching up-to-date and relevant web technologies. They introduce new languages as they become prevalent in the industry and that was really important to me.

You can visit Joe’s website here or why not take a look at videos of his work on YouTube.