Careers in Computer Science and Engineering

Ayla Sensibar

CSEE graduate Ayla Sensibar, with long brown hair and a dark top, smiling at the camera.

"I wasn't certain the games industry was the direction I wanted to follow, but I knew I wanted to do something relating to computers for my career."

Ayla Sensibar, BSc Computer Science graduate, now a Lead Game Programmer with Blackwall Labs.

I knew from the start that I wanted to study at Essex as it has a very well-respected computer science course, with a broad selection of modules to study. At the time I was not certain I wanted to pursue computer games as a career, so it was great to be able to explore multiple areas of interest such as computer security and web development.

After graduating from Essex I created a portfolio website to showcase the games projects I had undertaken whilst at University, and with this started my journey to finding a job in the games industry. After a few months I landed an amazing role as a Game Programmer for Indie VR games company "Blackwall Labs", and now I am the lead programmer on the team, having seen two games through to release, with a third game due to be released soon.

I wouldn't have landed this job without my degree. Although I studied Computer Science and not Computer Games, I did choose to take all the computer games modules as they were available to both degree courses, and the skills I learnt from my course have been invaluable. When I first started at Essex, I wasn't yet certain the games industry was the direction I wanted to follow, but I knew I wanted to do something relating to computers for my career.

My favourite part of the job is having the freedom to program the game in the way I choose. My boss is happy for me to choose how I want to implement a game mechanic, as long as in the end it works and performance is good. Also, being part of a small team means I get to work across many different areas of game programming rather than having to stick to a specific area, which I really enjoy.

My advice to new students would be, if ever you have any questions about certain modules, or are struggling to understand a particular topic, don't hesitate to ask for help. I found everyone was always friendly and happy to help. When it comes to deciding which modules to choose for your next year of study ask students in the year above who have already taken them to tell you a bit about them and what they thought of them. I found this to be very useful when making my own choices.