BA in Applied Computing
Masters by Research, Current
With four children, you wouldn’t think Denis Bourne has too much time for studying. But not only has he just completed a degree and is about to embark on a two-year Research Masters, he’s working part-time and has still found time for voluntary work and starting his own society on campus.
Denis hasn’t taken the orthodox route to his Masters. Growing up in Buncrana, he left school at 15 and worked in the building trade for several years. “But I knew it wasn’t for me,” he says, “so I took an access course at LYIT. It leads you easily into academic work. I then began an Applied Computing Degree.”
During all this time, LYIT has been a second home for Denis and the teaching staff and lecturers have backed him all the way. It was actually Denis’s lecturers who suggested a slightly different route for him. “They saw that I enjoyed the computer programming more than the rest of the degree and suggested it would suit me better, so I switched to a full computer programming degree.”
Their advice turned out to be spot on. After flourishing in the four-year degree course, Denis has now been accepted for a Masters at LYIT, researching into airport indoor positioning systems. Using mobile devices and blue chip pin locations, this technology essentially helps airports track and manage queuing times.
Denis can’t wait to get started. “All the facilities are here for the research,” he says. “The IT facilities here are great for whatever you want to do and the lecturers are always on hand to help.”
The Masters will mean another two years combining study, work and family but Denis knows he is capable of taking it all on. “It has been difficult at times. In the first and second years of my degree I was working two evenings a week and weekends as a waiter. But since then I have found work doing web development for a local company and my weekends are free again. Thankfully, I have a very supportive partner too!”
Somehow Denis has also found time for voluntary work, running a CoderDojo class for pupils at Coláiste Ailigh secondary school in Letterkenny, which helps them understand computer programming. He will also be getting closely involved with societies again. He was a member of the kayaking society and helped found his own society, the popular Android App Society. “It is basically an android development programme, showing students how to use android. But we have also raised several thousand euro for charity.” Being a bit older than the average student and a family man has never been a problem for Denis.
“There’s a great mix of students here and everyone gets on. I knew no one when I first came here but I have just made more and more friends.”