Avery Koh Huey Chen
1. Why this program? Why Imperial?
Imperial has a prestigious reputation in the field of computer science in the UK. Many graduates I know who went to Imperial have been placed within industry-leading roles and companies due to the university’s focus on practical learning, and its approach towards solving real-world problems.
My reason for applying to this program was to gain insight and broad understanding into the world of computer science and to learn how I can use it to apply to the legal world and transform the processes in which legal services are provided.
2. What did you do before the program?
Previously, I obtained a law degree LLB at the University of Reading and completed the Legal Practice Course at BPP University. I was also offered a 2-year Training Contract with Baker McKenzie, an international law firm that provides legal services to multinational corporations.
3. What coding experience did you have when you started?
I had no prior experience in coding before I started the program, but wish I had dabbled in it more before starting the course.
4. What did you like best about the program?
I liked that the program had a wide range of choices of courses which I could pick from, such as Network and Security, Logic-Based Learning and Machine Learning. I also liked that it offered fundamental subjects such as Databases and Algorithms, which are important concepts to learn for those who are new to Computer Science.
5. What did you find most challenging about the program?
I found the start of the program the most challenging for me as I did not have any prior experience in coding, and had to adjust my way of thinking and logic that would be used during programming applications. It definitely took me a while and some hard work to get used to learning the language and having the patience to debug code for hours on end. But the satisfaction of witnessing the program compile and eventually do what I wanted it to do made it worth it!
6. What did you learn or do that you are most proud of?
My proudest achievement during the course is my master thesis project, which I obtained a distinction. This involved building an intelligent conversational assistant which could advise people on divorce law, and tailor the advice according to the emotional sentiment of the user during the conversation. I also had the opportunity to present the master thesis program to a start-up company in Sweden, which was very exciting. The fact that I went from knowing nothing in programming to being able to build a program like this after only 6 months gives me the confidence to take on any future challenges ahead.
7. What was your ideal next step as the program was completing and what are you doing now?
My next step was to start my 2-year training contract in Baker McKenzie, London and to explore areas in which technology could help to ease the burden of lawyers, increase efficiency and reduce the cost of the provision of legal services. Throughout my training contract which consists of 4 rotations, I have sat in the Tax department, and am currently in the Mergers and Acquisitions department in Baker McKenzie.
8. Anything else you would like to tell people who are considering this program?
I would highly recommend this course to anyone who would like to have a taste of programming or anyone who is considering a career change to become a software engineer.