Morné Chamberlain, who graduated from SU in 2009 with an MSc in Computer Science, landed his first job as a software developer at BlackGinger in Cape Town. He answered a few questions about his studies and career.
Background - what did you study, when did you finish?
I studied for a BSc degree with a focus on Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, and graduated in 2006. In 2007 I completed my BScHons degree with a focus on Computer Science, and in 2009 my MSc degree, also with a focus on Computer Science.
Describe your work experience prior to your official job search process?
I mainly did some freelance programming work in my spare-time. I also worked as a part-time software developer, on a contractual-basis, for a company in Technopark.
I am currently employed as a pipeline and R&D software developer at a company called BlackGinger in Cape Town. We work in the computer animation, visual effects and post-production industry.
How did you get the job?
I heard about the company during the course of 2009 and by the end of the year they were hiring developers in preparation for work on the feature film Aftershock. I sent in my CV and after a successful interview and internship I received a permanent position. I have since also worked on Free Willy: Escape from Pirates Cove and A Women, a Gun and a Noodle Shop.
What is exciting about your work?
In this industry you are exposed to many facets of computer science, from project management databases to physics simulation implementations and computer graphics algorithms. Ultimately your work contributes to the production of television commercials and features.
Your advice to students who are entering the job market:
You will never know if you would have gotten a position if you do not apply for it, so do not just think about it, do it! You should be used to hard work by the time you finish your degree, and you should not expect your career to be successful without hard work. Your studies are the gateway to your career, not the culmination of it.
What would you have done differently during your years at university?
I have only fond memories of my time at Stellenbosch, but there are a couple of things I would have done differently. I would have taken some of the physics courses that were not part of my standard course load, and I would have taken part in some of the computer science contests (such as Google Code Jam and the Standard Bank IT Challenge).
Read about other BSc alumni:
Going place with a BSc degree in Computer Science (Carl Crous)