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Alumni

Helen Colclough

Career Path: E-Commerce Development Manager at River Island Clothing Ltd.
Location:

Where are you doing now?

Helen ColcloughI work in retail again now but on the Head Office side, managing the development of the ecommerce website. I'm responsible for technical development - both small and large, UX and customer experience and the team of developers who develop all the beautiful landing and home pages for all our sites every week.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals / give your career an edge?

The types of modules we did were really relevant to the types of work I did during both my management consultancy time and my years back in industry. Only the other day I was speaking at an event with the CEO of Domino's Pizza speaking after me - we chatted about how one of my modules had been about how Domino's had a very technology-driven supply chain - that clearly stayed with me!

What was the best thing about your course?

The real-life perspective that my lecturers were able to give me. Having been professionals in most cases and not just academics they had a really unique view of the types of skills I'd need in a career in IT. Also, they made me understand that there was more to a career in technology than learning to program. They encouraged me to focus on my strengths.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

I think for me it was the course leader Tom Prickett, though many of the lecturers were excellent. He really inspired me when things got tough (terrible marks in Java coding for one!) and helped me understand that there were other companies out there if I wasn't successful with the one I wanted.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

I can honestly say that almost everything I learned on the course has been relevant in some way to my career, from the dreaded Java (understanding how much my developers have to write to get something to work), to IT consultancy practice, to database design - all of these were things I would use or need some knowledge of during my career.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I had a great bunch of people who really wanted to learn. Being a mature student and doing evenings this was quite important in keeping momentum when you really didn't fancy going to learn after a 12-hour working day.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

One of the best, and more importantly, most relevant universities to attend I would say. Having been to both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities I would pick Northumbria every time.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Useful, relevant and inspiring.

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