MMath Master of Mathematics - Katy Hobbs
Katy Hobbs is a Digital Associate on the Technology Graduate programme at Sky. She graduated from UEA's MMath Master of Mathematics course in 2019.
We spoke to her about her experience on this course, including completing her 'pure-maths-meets-cryptography' dissertation in which she built an algorithm herself.
Could you tell me a bit about your current career?
I am working as a Data Analyst at Sky after completing the two-year Technology Rotational Graduate Program.
During the scheme, I worked in 4 teams throughout the business and did roles including Project Manager, Data Engineer, Technical Analyst and finally Data Analyst which I eventually rolled off as. I was able to experience a lot of the wider business and develop a range of skills which I now use daily. I work with large data sets answering specific problems, data visualisation and gathering requirements for new datasets or tools.
What was the process of applying for this graduate scheme?
I remember I applied to a lot of graduate schemes after I graduated and some of them were quite repetitive, but Sky stood out as being exciting and more interactive.
There were online tests and then an in-person assessment day, which had lots of activities and opportunities to meet different people. So it can be difficult to apply to lots of different schemes and face rejection, but in the end it worked out.
What drew you to study the MMath Mathematics course at UEA?
I came to visit UEA for a campus tour and I really liked the lake and all the green space - it’s not the 'concrete jungle' that some people make it out to be!
I also liked Norwich as a city.
I originally began on the BSc Mathematics course, which I was drawn to because I liked the Pure Maths modules that were on offer, and I later took a cryptography module which I really enjoyed.
Then during my first year we were told we could join the integrated Master’s programme, and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do it at first, but I was drawn to the idea of the fourth year dissertation. I wanted to gain skills and experience from doing such an independent self-study project.
What was your experience of doing the dissertation?
The dissertation ended up being really interesting because I was able to ask my supervisor whether I could do something relating to the cryptography module that I had enjoyed.
It ended up being pure maths meets cryptography alongside algorithm work, and I worked with my supervisor to code and build the algorithm myself. It was a really good opportunity to find my own niche in the subject.
What was your experience of the teaching on this course?
I definitely benefited from going to lectures and seeing lecturers working out problems live on the blackboard.
Whenever we had coursework to do outside of classes, I would sit in a study room with my coursemates and we would all work through problems together, which was great for helping you to understand difficult things that you might not want to ask a lecturer about.
The exams were difficult, of course, but the focus is on assessing the knowledge you have gained, rather than just seeing how well you can answer an exam, which was a big difference from a school exam. We were encouraged to revise together with our coursemates and help each other out, so that was really helpful.
What employability opportunities did you participate in on this course?
There were several big careers fairs in the sports hall, and then we also had alumni who came in specifically to talk to Mathematics students, which I found were the most helpful.
They showed you exactly where a Mathematics degree could take you. It can be hard to know right away where your options are with a Mathematics degree, but these events were helpful for showing the different pathways.
Did you get involved with societies during your time at UEA?
I was President of the Maths Society in my second year, and then Vice-President in my third year.
I met a lot of really good friends through that, and we organised careers events as well as socials. It was great to be able to meet with people on the course in a more relaxed social setting.
What skills did you develop on this course?
The transferable skills that I developed were the most important to me. For example, logical thinking, problem solving, and different forms of analysis.
You develop a really strong work ethic when studying Maths because you have to sit and work through problems step by step. We were also given introductions to subjects such as coding, with the option to take it further if you wanted, which was really useful.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering studying MMath Mathematics at UEA?
It’s a great opportunity, especially if you want to research a specific area of interest.
You finish a module and realise that you have been studying to your highest pinnacle, learning really advanced maths, and so you develop a lot of confidence in your knowledge.