Stuart Beard

Software Engineering graduate Stuart Beard talks to us about his time at the School of Informatics and how it led to his career as a software integrator and designer.

Name Stuart Beard
Degree Course BEng. (Hons) Software Engineering
Year of Graduation 2010
Stuart Beard

Your time at University

When I first came to Edinburgh and looked around the university I knew that this was the place I wanted to study. The city, the architecture and the history made me fall in love with the city. It was important to me that there was plenty of open spaces, but more campus based. Edinburgh had that feeling of being in the centre of the city while still having the fresh countryside feeling. What the school of informatics was doing when I first visited excited me, and I wanted to learn as much as I could.

I was lucky enough to be asked to create the Edinburgh Charity Fashion Show’s website in 2008, which was the first time they had offered ticket sales through Paypal and online, and I then ran the Edinburgh University’s Rugby Club website for a number of years, even after leaving the university. These had the added benefit that I learnt a fair amount of Web skills that I was able to put to use at a Summer internship in New York and after I left the university as a piece of contracting work.

I have so many memories, from watching the sunrise over Arthur’s seat, to watching the Six Nations at Murrayfield. There is so much to do (even I haven’t done everything… yet), Edinburgh has it all.

Your experiences since leaving University

I’m currently a Field Services Consultant Engineer at a Software Security firm called Entrust. This involves designing systems and integrations where our off the shelf product set doesn’t quite fit within a client’s needs. The scale of the work ranges from very small to large, and encompasses many different industries including Financial, Government, and Utilities.

Previously I worked for a large Systems Integrator, Logica (and then CGI), on the precursor to the National Smart Metering rollout. The aim is to allow the suppliers and meter manufacturers to be able to trial the systems before the rollout so any kinks and bumps along the way are smoothly ironed out.

I worked on both the front end web services delegating suppliers requests for information and configuration changes, and the backend, integrating some of the latest Smart Metering systems into the product, often at the byte level. I designed key parts of the system to allow any smart meter to be quickly integrated and I oversaw the complete lifecycle of 3 Smart Meter integrations from Proof of Concept Design to full live deployment. As the national rollout development started, I was invited to provide detailed protocol knowledge to the Government on how the final Smart Meters should communicate.

I relish nothing more than seeing software and hardware work seamlessly together, every part of the Smart Meter work I did was a new discovery; from turning a light bulb on and off remotely to being able to remotely upgrade firmware. I now do this with Smart Cards, Soft Tokens, Smart Phones and Physical Access Systems.

Knowing that the work I do is used by millions of people globally is what drives me, and my time at Edinburgh really helped shape me towards that goal. By using the skills and knowledge I obtained with my degree I am able to give back to society through the software I write.

Alumni Wisdom

Don’t be afraid to jump into something you don’t know at all. Challenge yourself and you never know what you will discover. No matter how hard it gets there will be people who can help you understand on your terms, and there will be others struggling as well. We are all different, and we all learn things in different ways. Your time at university will shape you more than you will know and these challenges that you face and have overcome will distinguish you from the crowd.

This article was first published in 2015. For updates on what Stuart is doing now, find his LinkedIn below.

Related links

Stuart Beard on LinkedIn