Nikiforos Botis1. Why this program? Why Imperial?

Computer Science is a field I really wanted to explore in more depth, especially after realising during my BSc that I particularly enjoy programming and getting computers to perform the actions I specify. Imperial College was by far the first choice for me, as it’s known for the top-quality studies it offers as well as the incredibly powerful community that you get to join and interact with by being part of the College.

2. What did you do before the program?

Before I joined Imperial I’d just completed a 4-year Bachelor’s program on “Management Science and Technology” at Athens University of Economics and Business. Throughout my time in this program, I found out that I wanted to focus more on the technology side of things and applying to Imperial for the MSc Computing Science was the natural next step. Also, it’s worth noting that I’d spent 6 months in London during my 3rd year of BSc as an exchange student and this gave me a really good opportunity to experience living abroad for the first time and made me extremely passionate about the city and the opportunity it offers. This was a key moment and when I decided I definitely wanted to come back and be part of a top-class university.

3. What coding experience did you have when you started?

As part of the projects I did during my BSc, I’d gotten some coding experience in Java and Python, mostly applied towards building Web Applications and turning algorithms written in text into code. I felt I wanted to expand my programming skills and that was a key reason for me to turn to Computer Science when looking for topics for my Master’s degree.

4. What did you like best about the program?

The academic year of 2017-18 is, and will always be in my memory as one of the best in my life. There were lots of unique things I got to experience but if I had to choose one, it’d be the exposure to academic knowledge and practical skills, all taught by people who are in the forefront of the research in cutting-edge technologies. I got so inspired about science that even though I’ve pursued a role in the industry post-graduation, I’ve been returning to the College quite frequently and meeting up with my colleagues and professors.

5. What did you find most challenging about the program?

Getting to know the basics of Computing Science within a single year is by itself a huge challenge. I found especially challenging balancing out my time to the coursework and lectures during term time. My biggest lesson learnt from that is that being organised and timeboxing yourself is key in order to succeed in these busy times.

6. What did you learn or do that you are most proud of?

I’m very proud of the group project that we worked on for 5 months and led to a system powered by state-of-the-art technology such as Computer Vision for tackling gun and knife crime. The results show that technology can definitely help in tackling this big challenge that exists in many parts of the world. Despite the time pressure and stress, we employed good mechanisms and worked closely as a team throughout the course of the project, something I’m particularly proud of.

7. What was your ideal next step as the program was completing and what are you doing now? 

As I was going through the program, I decided that pursuing a role in the industry was the most meaningful next step for me. I was fortunate enough to be in close touch with the Imperial’s Career Services from early on the year (something I strongly advise students to do) and straight after I graduated, I joined a graduate program in Amazon Web Services (AWS). I remain part of this organisation as of today and I’m working as a Solutions Architect. As such, I combine the technical skills and experience that I got from the program with my business skills from my earlier studies, something that I really join and fits my skill-set quite nicely.

8. Anything else you would like to tell people who are considering this program?

Even though it’s a demanding and challenging program, the MSc Computing Science at Imperial College London is uniquely positioned to be available for people with no existing (substantial) technical background who are looking to pursue a career in technology. It’s definitely the best decision I could have taken and I will always remember this year at Imperial as one of the best in my life.