David Orrock

What are you doing now?

I work for American Express Technologies as a Computer Engineer. I work on a variety of products, and have built prototypes for Android, Google Glass, large web servers and little self-serving applications. I’m also studying my MSc in Intelligent Systems at Sussex University.

What route did you take to this point?

After a low UCAS score, I signed up to a foundation degree with Plymouth University, and transferred onto their Computing and Game Development programme. After graduating I applied to several graduate schemes and turned down a job in Bank, London to work with AmEx.

Any significant crossroads?

I had to choose whether to do my undergraduate in “Computing” or “Computing and Games Development” the latter being a new course with more risk, but also a far smaller student group. I also had to choose whether I took opportunities along the way or turn them down. Turning down jobs in favour of a potentially better one, or sacrificing free-time in order to go on business trips.

What is good about what your career offers you?

Flexible hours, the ability to work from home, generous salary, business travel (including a 2.5 month trip around the US and Canada with expenses).

Any fond memories of school you can share?

The day the fields opened in the summer, the first time it snowed and the snowball fights.

Most challenging year whilst at DHSB?

Year 7 was difficult, making new friends and getting used to the new responsibilities was difficult.

Any advice for current students?

Think of school as a learning aid. When I was a student I didn’t perform well in classes, and struggled to keep my grades up. What I learned later was the things I had an interest in and had looked up outside of the class room where the things I remembered. No-one is going to be interested in everything at school, but do your own learning out of the classroom.

Words of wisdom?

Bad grades aren’t the end of the world, but don’t let them change what you want to be. I took all the sciences and maths despite being advised not to, and even though I didn’t do well in my exams I was still able to push forward into a career that I love.