Jane Sheard
Jane Sheard,  MEng (Hons) Robotics graduate
Current employer: Chess Dynamics
Current job title: Graduate Systems Engineer
Current location: Plymouth

The University of Plymouth is the best in the UK for robotics, as well as being an IET accredited degree and having the extra MEng year option.

Since completing my studies I have been working as a graduate systems engineer at Chess Dynamics.
At Chess, I get to do something different every day. The most exciting things I’ve done so far would be getting to see the product working in a real environment, and getting to take equipment out on trials for testing.
What would you do differently since graduating?
I would use the University careers services more, such as help with finding jobs and CV advice. This would have been really helpful when I was looking for placements in between each year at University.
What was your main reason for choosing to study your course at Plymouth? With hindsight how significant was this for you?
Plymouth is the best in the UK for robotics, as well as being an IET accredited degree and having the extra MEng year option. The modules offered on the degree were the most interesting that I’d seen, along with Plymouth being a desirable location. It was a no brainer!
How did we support you in your studies? If you used any support services whilst at the University how did they enable you to get to where you are today?
During my degree, I used the library for studying and for books during my individual project. In my Foundation year, I regularly used the SUM:UP - Mathematics and statistics drop-in service in the library, which helped me massively at getting the hang of all the maths work. The robotics course also has the advantage of a large laboratory, where there are always technicians available to help you with project work.
How did studying at Plymouth change your career aspirations and plans?
My degree gave me the chance to study many different aspects of robotics, which I may not have otherwise looked into, allowing me to broaden my interests in the subject. This made deciding on my individual project a lot easier as I realised what areas I preferred and wanted to specialise in, as well as looking for the types of graduate jobs that would suit me.
What is your favourite memory of studying for your degree at Plymouth?
One of my favourite memories is getting involved in outreach events and open days, as it gives you a bit of a break while studying, and an opportunity for some fun. The other is definitely my individual project, as I had a chance to choose my own project idea and bring it to life. Having the freedom to develop my own idea and just be left to it was a lot of fun.
How well did Plymouth prepare you for the challenges that you have faced, or will face, in your career?
Studying at Plymouth has made me feel more confident in my abilities, as I never achieved amazing grades at school. The course has developed my skills in various areas, more than just theoretical and practical, putting a focus on good technical reports and presentations, as well as working in a team. All of which are very important in an engineering career.
Why would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth?
I think the University offers some of the UK’s best courses with incredible lecturers, who do some really interesting research in their own fields, as well as being in an amazing location: close to Dartmoor and right by the sea.
If you did a placement how did this impact on your short and long term career plans?
I took two summer placements during my degree, one at ARM after my second year and the other at Babcock after my third year. At ARM my software skills were really tested and refined, making me feel more confident when I returned to my studies and helped in my decision to pursue software engineering. My placement at Babcock taught me a lot about becoming a chartered engineer and management skills, which will definitely aid my professional development.
If you returned to study (Directly or after a Foundation degree) what supported you in your return to study?
I always planned on going to University, but never really knew what I wanted to study, so I waited until I was sure and worked full time for a few years. When I did decide to return, I loved that Plymouth offered the Foundation Pathway to get onto an engineering course, allowing you to choose between BSc, BEng and MEng. I actually watched some videos on the University of Plymouth's robot football competitions, which helped my decision to hurry up and get back into education, as I knew I’d found what I finally wanted to do.

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For more information about studying robotics, please visit our  MEng (Hons) Robotics course page. 
For more information about our range of courses within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, please visit the school page.
Close-up Shot of a Futuristic Robotic Arm Controlled by Professional Development Engineer with Virtual Reality Headset and Joysticks