Univ Dates: 2006-2010
Degree: MEng Engineering
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Software Developer
Biography: As a student Hereward worked for Cambridge Consultants, where he wrote tests and maintained documentation for the XAP family of microprocessors. In 2010 he tutored in Maths and Physics, before becoming Graduate Manufacturing Systems Engineer in the System Design and Integration group at Delphi Diesel Systems in 2011. This role involved creating software for test rig control and data analysis, helping implement a factory wide ANDON system, and mentoring Year In Industry students. Since 2013 he has been at Softwire, a bespoke software development agency. He has worked with clients including the BBC and David Lloyd Leisure, initially as a Software Developer and since 2015 as a Technical Lead. Hereward was a Choral Exhibitioner at Univ in 2007. He was awarded a Univ Prize for Music in 2007 and was elected a Scholar in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He received a Univ Travel Scholarship in 2009 for travel to the USA.
What, if any, preconceptions did you have of Univ?
I knew very little about Univ, I had been here for one half-day for Engineering interviews and then a brief tour during my gap year. I had a bit of a general preconception because I had spent my gap year working in Cambridge, so I had a vague feeling of what university might be like, but not much beyond that.
I expected to come and study and to have fun and to be away from home and do that bit of growing up that, in theory, we do at college. I found the work challenging, the social life good, the activities entertaining and diverse – I never expected to end up singing in a chapel choir for four years and enjoying it! Oxford was, if anything, far more diverse than I had been expecting.
Any particular influences at Univ?
The tutors are great influencers over your time at College and I did like the way our tutors were involved in the social life to some extent too, they weren’t distant. In fact everyone you interact with at the College ends up being a positive influence; from the hall staff to the very upper positions.
What have to been doing since graduating?
I really didn’t know what to do after leaving Univ – I had found fourth year exceedingly tough and it had really shaken my confidence; I think the last two years of College were the first two that I’d ever really had to work to get through. It was a challenging experience and it took me some time to take stock and find a direction.
I ended up working in manufacturing in the West Country, actually in a factory environment. I was one of their graduate engineers and it was a totally different place to any that I’d been before. It was fascinating and diverse in terms of environment and backgrounds – you had graduates coming in from many different universities, people coming up through apprenticeship routes and then people on the shop floor who were just above minimum wage level.
I moved from that after a couple of years to working in software; I had been doing a lot of software in the factory because data drives all modern production, but I started doing that properly at a high-level company in London called Softwire. It’s a bespoke software design and construction agency. They are about 100 people working for a variety of clients like the BBC, David Lloyd Leisure – I’ve just started a project this week for Anthony Nolan, the blood Cancer Charity.
How do you see the importance of this project?
The Gallery is going to be useful partly to demonstrate to current students that here are some people that are not that far away from you, not people at the end of their careers, but people still relatively early on – relatable people, people that have taken steps that they too will be taking soon.