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Matthew Tinn

Career Path: Full Stack Developer, Saggezza
Location: Sunderland, UK

My love of videogames as a child drove me instinctively towards the games industry, which I thought would be an exciting and creative area to work in. I had the opportunity to take a Cisco-accredited course during my GCSEs, which helped further my affinity towards tech, then progressed onto a Computing A-Level and finally Northumbria's Games Programming degree. While I ended up ultimately veering away from games, the course, toted as "computer science with a games slant" gave me the correct skills to allow me to work in any area of the tech industry, ultimately helping me to land my current position.


What are you doing now?

I currently work at the IT consultancy Saggezza as a full-stack developer, creating websites and software for a range of high-profile clients involved in everything from business technology and customer communications to fashion and retail.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I wanted to stay local to home, and the course at the time was the strongest in the area, offering a solid curriculum that was recognised and accredited with the games industry, along with good teaching and extra-curricular activities such as opportunities to go to conferences and visit local game studios.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

The course offered a well-balanced mix of lectures, seminars and group projects that all worked together to build skills and confidence. Lectures gave you the exact knowledge you needed to be able to try things out at home and take it on your own to expand your learning further. The lecturers were fantastic, giving good tutelage and were always on-hand to give friendly advice when needed.

How connected was your course with industry?

The course was well-connected, with industry accreditation, opportunities to visit local game studios, and offering the ability for students to attend industry conferences. An option for a placement year was also available, although I chose not to take it.

What was the best thing about your course?

I'd say it was the strong curriculum, offering a full-width education in computer science rather than just focussing on programming games, giving it an edge over courses at competing institutions at the time. I also loved the course lecturers, and were impressed by both their knowledge, friendly attitude and willingness to go above and beyond to help their students.

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

Studying at Northumbria gave me all the tools, skills and knowledge that I have needed in my career, making me a very versatile and adaptable person, a useful thing to be in a fast-changing industry like technology. Extra-curricular activities offered through both the School of Computing and the Students' Union also really helped me develop a range soft skills in things such as teamwork and leadership that are very valuable to an employer.

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

Core computer science skills such as understanding and developing algorithms, creating data structures and databases, and general programming theory have been key in working on projects for clients, allowing me to take requirements and develop efficient solutions. Having knowledge of business and working practices such as agile and Scrum have also been beneficial working for a company that fully embraces things such as agile and test-driven development.

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

Studying at Northumbria gave me the opportunity to figure out who I really was, from solidifying my career path with my degree, to developing myself and forging life-long friendships through leading Students' Union societies such as the Japanese Animation and Culture Society. If I didn't choose Northumbria I wouldn't be the person I am today, and for that I am forever grateful.

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

Definitely don't pass on the opportunity. Northumbria is perhaps the most exciting and vibrant university in the North East, with great courses, a fantastic extra-curricular programme bolstered by the Students' Union and Sport Central, and the advantage of being in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, one of the best cities in the UK for student life.

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

Thrilling. Inspirational. Life-changing.

For more information about me visit:

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