Ulster University graduations: Degree helps Kenneth secure job of his dreams in IT
It is never too late to follow your dream is the message from Ulster University graduate Kenneth Vaughan.
He graduates today at the Waterfront Hall with first-class honours in computer science, and has already secured a full-time job with global IT company Civica.
Kenneth (28) said he had been passionate about IT since he was a child but never followed his dream until recently.
"I have always had an interest in computers ever since I first got to use one in my first year of secondary school," he said.
"I remember going home that day and being fascinated by the idea that this piece of technology could open up a whole new world to me.
"I didn't, however, progress straight to university after school. I worked in a fast food restaurant, local grocery store and as an administrator for a not-for-profit body, but I never felt like I was fulfilling my passion. Every job I went in to, I always managed it, so I ended up doing something IT-related."
Eventually, with encouragement from his friends and support from his family, he decided to take the plunge and enrolled at the Ulster University to study computer science.
"I was worried about leaving a full-time job to go back to study, so I attended an open evening about the course to find out more," Kenneth said.
"Before it was even over I knew that a career in IT was for me. It put any doubts I had in my mind to rest and I haven't looked back since. It's opened up a world of opportunities for me."
The 28-year-old was the recipient of the coveted Asidua scholarship in 2012, which provided him with not only financial support worth £25,000 during his four years of study, but also with guaranteed summer internships in addition to a one-year work experience placement.
After impressing at his work placement, Kenneth was able to count his job hunt over after securing a full-time software engineer position with Civica, which recently acquired Asidua.
"I am delighted that today, on my graduation day, I have already secured the job of my dreams," he said.
"During my placement year, I worked as a software developer on real-life projects alongside a very experienced team.
"I got the opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the best in the IT industry.
"I guess I must have impressed as straight after my placement year, the company offered me a full-time job on successful completion of my degree."
Ulster University graduations will continue this morning at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
Queen's University graduations will start on Thursday.