My name is Graham Harvey and I graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1983 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. After a long career mostly in the TV broadcasting industry I am now Head of Wi-Fi Services at consultancy firm Cartesian Ltd.
Earlier this year I mentored a recent MSc Computer Science (Masters) graduate while he was applying for jobs and as he started his first full-time role in the software engineering industry. We were only able to meet once in person. However, we talked on Zoom calls for an hour almost every week for several months, discussing our personal lives as well as our working lives, which led us to become good friends. My mentee wanted advice on the content of his CV, how to handle interview questions and on starting his first job. Our discussions benefitted us both. My mentee welcomed my insights from my time in the software engineering industry and I greatly enjoyed passing on my knowledge. We intend to stay in touch and I’ve invited my mentee to contact me at any point in the future when my experience might benefit him. I have encouraged my contemporary graduates to take part in the UoB mentoring scheme.
Top tip for entering your industry
I encouraged my mentees to make their CVs as interesting as possible. Many job applicants might have the same or similar academic qualifications so how do you stand out at interview? Develop your hobbies and take online courses, particularly if these are relevant to the IT industry, such as learning about computer languages and project management. Take on a part-time paid or unpaid role to expand your experience while studying. Travel or maybe work abroad.
How can you support students and graduates through the mentoring scheme?
My long career has included both success in numerous technical engineering and management roles in the IT industry but also numerous setbacks, including failed projects and redundancy. I am therefore able to offer insights into what works well and what doesn’t! Mentors give mentees the opportunity to get advice from someone more experienced in their industry, to discuss fears and concerns and to bounce ideas around without any of the embarrassment or constraints that might apply when talking to family members or a senior co-worker.