Meet Vivien, Digital Technologies Level 5 HND
After completing an IT and Computing Level 3 Extended Diploma at Reading College, Vivien chose to study a Digital Technologies Level 4 HNC at the South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) Reading hub, based at Reading College and University Centre.
Vivien is 20 and lives in Reading.
She just finished studying a Digital Technologies Level 5 HND at the SCIoT.
“I heard about the SCIoT through my teachers and what I would be learning.” Vivien explains. “It sounded interesting, and I knew that I wanted to continue doing IT, so I decided to apply to study at the Reading hub.”
“I’m interested in the security aspects of IT. Both of my parents have worked in security, so I’ve always been surrounded by it. They also both did an HND, so I thought it would be a good option for me, rather than going to a university.”
Working with employers
Vivien has worked with many employers while studying at the SCIoT.
“One of the best things about studying at the SCIoT is that we get to work with employers,” Vivien beams. “They teach half the course! I really enjoy working with them as it prepares us for the industry.”
“When I did the HNC, we did a project with The National Museum of Computing, where we developed some advertising to help them improve their visitor numbers after the pandemic. We also went to the museum to present everything we’ve done to them.
“This year we worked with IBM, where we’ve been given the chance to go to one of their sites to see their data centre.
“Working with employers gives you an insight into what the industry is like. For some of the projects we’ve also been able to work on our pitching and negotiation skills. Getting to pitch to them and being giving feedback by them helps us to improve.”
Being a woman in Tech
Although Vivien is often in the minority, she has always felt included and encouraged at the SCIoT.
“Studying with the SCIoT is very inclusive, we can all share our ideas and everything. I’m the only woman on this course, but I’m still included in everything.
“One of my teachers, Preeti has encouraged me a lot, especially with trying to get more women into the field.
“I decided to study IT because it’s an interesting subject. Some people might be discouraged because there’s not a lot of women in the field or think that they’re not good enough but in actuality, they might be just as good. I know that in the past I felt like that but since I’ve had a lot of encouragement, it’s helped me.
“If someone is interested in it, they should go for it.”
Getting Microsoft Qualifications
Vivien has been able to upskill by studying some Microsoft qualifications alongside her course.
“As the SCIoT is a partner for Microsoft, we had the chance to do some certifications,” Vivien explains.
“Last year, I did a Security Fundamentals Certification alongside my HNC.
“This year, I’ve been doing Data Fundamentals alongside my HND.”
Tailoring your own course
At the SCIoT, there are modules that you can choose to tailor the course to your interests.
“As well as the units that we all learn, there are some units that you can choose such as Security, Software Development or Gaming,” Vivien adds.
“There are lots of options. It’s good for everyone, depending on what you like, there’s something for everyone.
Vivien would like to continue her studies and do a Level 6, even if it means taking a gap year to ideally work in IT or a job where she can work her way up.
“The SCIoT prepares us for the future because it gives you an insight into what it’s going to be like,” Vivien adds.
How she’s changed
Studying with the SCIoT has made a big difference to Vivien’s character.
“I’ve become more confident since studying with the SCIoT,” Vivien explains. “At the beginning, I wasn’t very confident, but this course has helped me with that. Presenting to employers has made me more confident.
“My teachers and classmates have also noticed.
“I’ve also gained a few more skills that I don’t think I would have gained otherwise such as pitching and negotiating and transferable skills such as teamwork and independent working.”
Chosen as the Student of the Year
Vivien was selected as the Student of the Year when she studied her HNC.
“It felt good. I wasn’t expecting it,” Vivien said.
“There’s not a lot of women in IT and it might help others to see that you can do it.
“It might help others to be a bit more confident to try and pursue it as well because if I was able to achieve what I did last year, then they can too.”