An Aberdeen student has topped off his time at university with a first class honours degree, a new fiancée and the offer of his dream job in New Zealand.
Stuart Whitehead, from Cove Bay, graduated from Robert Gordon University (RGU) with a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science on Friday, July 15 at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen.
He is also in the running for the ScotlandIS Young Software Engineer of the Year, the winner of which will be announced in October, as well as picking up the Servelec Controls Prize for Best Honours Project in Software Engineering at RGU’s School of Computing Science and Digital Media annual prize giving.
The 23-year-old former Kincorth Academy pupil said that his time at RGU had been engaging, motivating and supportive and had helped set the foundations for the rest of his career.
“I’ve now got a refined understanding of the fundamentals of computer science, allowing me to broaden my knowledge of the industry,” Stuart said.
“I feel confident enough to pitch myself as a competent, professional software engineer. More personally, my degree has opened doors further afield and will help to obtain a work visa abroad.”
He added: “I feel that the only challenge I’ve faced has been squeezing all of my university into my schedule. In the grand scheme that’s not a huge problem and that’s down to the supportive atmosphere at RGU. The first half of my studies were at the old St Andrews Street building and I finished the remainder at the new Sir Ian Wood Building. I think that this investment exemplifies RGU’s forward-thinking ethos.
“Similarly, I got on really well with the staff and other students. If I needed guidance or help with my studies, placement or personal life, I always felt supported.”
Stuart said his placement at local design agency EQ Design helped to forge his career and led to him working there in both full- and part-time roles while he finished his studies.
He also spent last summer working at the internationally-acclaimed digital design agency Edenspiekermann in Berlin.
“I worked on some large projects for clients like Red Bull and a regional newspaper rebrand,” Stuart said. “Making the most of my time there, I had the privilege of meeting the inventor of the world-wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and world-renowned designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann. Berlin is an awesome city.”
Stuart was also one of five founding members of a new brand and design studio called FortyTwo Studio which was set up in January.
He said: “I worked with these colleagues previously at EQ Design, and they’ve played a large role in the development of my career, too. They’ve supported me through my placement, they encouraged my internship in Berlin and they’ve been flexible around my university timetable.
“I’d like to make a point in saying thanks to them and the wider Aberdeen creative community.”
Stuart is now looking forward to an exciting chapter in his life with his new fiancée Teri, as the couple prepare for a move to Wellington, New Zealand.
“Thanks to a combination of my degree, placement and experience in Berlin, I’ve been able to apply for and be offered my ideal job on the other side of the world,” Stuart said. “I’ll be working as a full-stack developer at a design-led technology company called Springload.
“I’m looking forward to an adventure and to new experiences which wouldn’t be possible without my degree. Over the last few years, I’ve learnt that I like to help people - either clients, colleagues or friends - solve challenging problems.”
Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology