Bricklayer turns software engineer after gaining first class Lancaster degree

A former bricklayer is building himself a new career as a software engineer after gaining a first class degree.

By Debbie Butler
Monday, 1st August 2022, 12:18 pm

Lancaster University Computer Science graduate Tom Watkins is now interviewing with some of the biggest tech firms in the world. He left school at 16 and did an apprenticeship in bricklaying where he worked for several years before deciding it was time for a drastic career change.

Now he has swapped one mortarboard for another with a first class degree in Computer Science which has landed him interviews for his dream job of software engineer with companies like Google.

“I always had a passion for computing and programming and I wanted to challenge myself to pursue that and eventually get a job working on some problems I have a genuine passion for.”

Lancaster University Computer Science graduate Tom Watkins.

Originally from Cambridge, Tom was smitten with Lancaster University from the very start.

“I chose Lancaster University because I really fell in love with the campus when I came to visit and also I really liked the collegiate system, and the universities' esteemed reputation was a big pull.”

In 2018, he arrived to study Computer Science in which he excelled, despite being diagnosed with a heart condition in his second year.

“I had a fantastic first year and excelled academically receiving commendations for high exam results and a first class result overall. In my second year I faced extreme difficulties as I was diagnosed with a heart condition which resulted in me needing a pacemaker and subsequently intercalating that year. “

Tom spent several weeks in various hospitals around the country while he recuperated.

“I was told I would be able to partake in sports again but it would take time to build up the fitness and confidence to do that again. In February I'd recovered from the illness and was able to take an internship at the university working on some really great projects for three months.”

He also resumed his successful sporting activities, playing on the Lancaster University County College football team and in his final year becoming club captain of four teams with a hundred members.