Alastair Struthers – MSc Information Technology with Cyber Security

Alastair Struthers
A 39-year-old father who was one of the many casualties of Covid redundancies in Aberdeen used the lockdowns of the pandemic to retrain, refocus, and secure a new future in the IT industry as a graduate of Robert Gordon University.

Alastair Struthers crossed the Aberdeen Music Hall stage on Wednesday 8 December in front of friends, family, and peers to reach the other side as a graduate of the Scottish University of the Year and a master of Information Technology with Cyber Security with distinction. 

“I’m both surprised and proud of myself,” said Alastair. “I was diligent and worked very hard—often working into the night—and happily did so. It paid off! 

“I spent 15 years in property development before becoming a casualty of Covid redundancies. I’m glad I took the opportunity to retrain in a subject that I had always enjoyed but never had the chance to pursue.” 

Like many recent students, Alastair’s time on a university campus was disrupted by the global pandemic. Despite the setback, he found a way to make the most of the situation and advanced his studies while enjoying the extra time to spend with his family. 

"The way RGU was able to pivot to online learning was exceptional and allowed me to get my new qualification and start a new career.” said Alastair. “As a father of a small child, it gave me the flexibility to be there for him: for school runs, playing in the afternoon, and then working at night. For me, it turned out to be much better than the traditional on-campus model. 

“I can’t praise the lecturers enough. They worked through a really tough time to help students. They made themselves available for drop-in meetings every week, and I took advantage of that to clear up any knowledge gaps. Some of the lecturers made pre-recorded sessions available so that you could watch them at your convenience, which was great for me when my son was home during the home-schooling period of the pandemic and wanting to play.” 

To recover from redundancy, Alastair wanted to give himself the best chance at securing a job by the end of his degree, which was what attracted him to study at RGU in the first instance as the top modern university in Scotland for graduate prospects (Guardian University Guide 2022). 

“I know the facilities are brilliant and RGU has a great reputation for finding students employment after they graduate,” said Alastair. “It’s one of the reasons why I chose RGU over other universities. 

Alastair successfully found employment, with a company named IT Foundations, through one of the university’s graduate job fairs. There, he was able to speak to the Managing Director (MD) who appreciated his skillset. 

Alastair adds: “They wanted to hire me for the skills I acquired across the last 15 years in project management, sales, customer service, and for my newly acquired knowledge of the IT industry. We shared the same values of quality over quantity, putting the customer first, and everyone mucking in to get jobs done. For such a small firm, they have amazing knowledge and talent and I’m really pleased to have landed on my feet at an exceptional company. 

“I wouldn’t have the job without my time at RGU. The MSc in Information Technology with Cyber Security gave me a fantastic grounding in a wide variety of subjects. It’s helped me recover from the disappointment of redundancy and put me in a wonderfully positive mindset for approaching my new role.  

“For anyone who wants to make the move into IT—if you have the interest and a willingness to learn—it’s absolutely achievable.” 

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