School of Informatics

Andi Dicu

Andi is in his 1st year studying for a BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics.

Name Andi Dicu
Degree BSc Computer Science and Mathematics
Year 1

Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh?

I had plenty of reasons, including:

Young man in a hat sitting on top of a hill
  • The yearly course selection seemed extremely flexible and looked like it allowed for very specialised paths within computer science starting with the honours years, which was something I definitely wanted. I now know that this is possible due to the extremely vast breadth of modules offered with every yearly programme of study. It's one of the largest computer science departments in Europe and the top 20 in the world, after all.
  • I'd been told that the presence of a compulsory Functional Programming course in the first year is a good indicator of a strong degree that seeks to model you into a knowledgeable computer scientist, as well as a proficient programmer. I believe the University of Edinburgh is one of only 4 UK universities to have that. Not only that, our Haskell course is currently taught by Professor Philip Wadler, one of its very creators!
  • CompSoc seemed to be the most developed, best structured, and most welcoming technology society out of all the ones in the UK I've looked into. I joined their main messaging platforms before enrolling (and I urge you to, too!), and the sense of community seemed like no other. My perspective hasn't changed one bit since, though I was very pleasantly surprised at how vibrant CompSoc's sub-societies (special interest groups, e.g. SIGINT, the cybersecurity special interest group) were.
  • I don't think I need to mention how amazing the city itself is. Mountainside and hiking trails, seaside and the beach, landmarks, massive public parks, it has it all. Named many times as one of the best (if not the very best) places in the world to live in.

Why did you choose to study Informatics?

Solving challenging problems increases my happy chemical levels like nothing else, and, as it turns out, you can make an impact on the world around you while you're at it! We're surrounded by embedded devices everywhere, at the core of which lie processing units, i.e. computers. As a computer scientist, you're granted the opportunity to study towards gaining mastery over them. If that's not motivating, I don't know what is.

What do you do for fun?

Even before becoming a student here, I was really into chess. I've managed to hold onto this hobby by asking around during Fresher's Week (a great time to look into some different societies that might interest you!) and being introduced to our university's chess society. What's more, I added a couple of other activities to my repertoire since enrolling -- I realised that it'd be a crime not to give climbing sports such as bouldering and hiking a try while living in a city such as Edinburgh.

Any tips for prospective students?

  1. The first year's your best year to get involved with societies and get to know people that share your interests. There's a huge amount of events organised by all kinds of societies every single day, but you need to look for them yourself! This applies to CompSoc's SIGs (game development, algorithmic trading, cybersecurity, etc.), too.
  2. Time passes by fast, and I know it sounds generic, but I still can't emphasise it enough: try getting out of your comfort zone! Explore new avenues by joining student societies you never even knew were a thing. It can be daunting, but the personal growth and fun you will experience are worth the momentary nerves tenfold.
  3. Your first and second-year grades don't count towards your degree - but, your third and fourth-year grades do! And chances are your grades further on will be higher if you get ahead from the very beginning. Don't stress out about min-maxing your A3/A2 into an A1 for a first-year course, but keep in mind that reading more around the subject than the bare minimum that's required to earn a pass can really help the future you. That said, there's more to university than just studying! It's even more important to take care of your mental health through frequent breaks than it is to work.