It’s time to say goodbye! :)

Hello everyone,

This is the last post I am ever going to write as a computer science student in the University of Manchester, so feel free to be sad (or relieved that you won’t have to read these blog posts)! As cliche as it might be these 4 years of university have truly been something else. I guess there are other people out there like me, who went to uni with this clear picture in mind of what their life will be like during these 3-4 years, and I can tell you that for me it has been completely different. But I am extremely happy about where I have ended.



(Me in 2012 (left) and me in 2016 (right). As you can see i haven’t become taller in these 4 years which is a shame :(. On the bright side, Manchester appears to be sunnier 🙂 ) 

I can definitely say that computer science is no easy subject and it really takes your soul in the process; but all good things require hard work 🙂 And I think it has been worth it and not only education-wise. The experiences I have had, the people I have met, the relationships I have formed, it’s all quite unique and really shaped me as a person. During these long hours spent in Kilburn trying to fix that bug before the time runs out (pretty much like you are in an action film disarming a bomb), I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the most incredible people; talented, smart, kind and funny. And I can definitely say that this is what I would miss the most of all from university (not the bug fixing, the people! 🙂 )

I can’t really remember how I felt on my first day in university, but I presume confused and probably lost in Kilburn. I remember not being sure whether I would be able to make it, after all I had very little experience before coming to uni. And yet somehow after 4 years here I am, having completed all 27 of my exams (I hope for the final four successfully), countless coursework assignments, a few group projects, a final year project and Microcontrollers!!!!!  

IMG_0084 (1)(Last open day in Kilburn ;( )

I guess during my time here, I have managed to gain some knowledge and I definitely know that I leave this place having learnt a lot, and with the understanding that there is a vast amount out there that I either know very little about or nothing at all. I guess that’s the beauty of it, with Computer Science you never stop learning really and that’s why I like it. There is always a new challenge, a new gadget, a new life-changing discovery and it all happens so quickly.

At the end of each parent tour we did as student ambassadors , the Head of School would be waiting for the parents near the Atlas area surrounded by technology which nowadays looks outdated and from a distant past, and he would mention that there are people who have started their careers around the time the Baby was first made, and now when it is time for them to retire, we have gone from a few thousand bytes of storage to terabytes (couple trillion bytes), from computers which take up a whole room which could do a few simple calculations to ones we carry in our pockets, listening to music, taking pictures and navigating our way throughout the city. So I guess, what I would like to ask all of us graduating now is, can you even imagine what technology would look like when it’s time for us to retire?

IMG_0107(The Atlas area: where parent tours usually end )

But I will stop with the philosophical ramblings, because in my final post I would like to focus on something the experience I have had here in Manchester. I would like to tell you that it was all sunshine and joy, and it all went smoothly, but as we all know that’s not how life works. There have been quite a lot of rainy days, and difficult times, but it has been precisely these things that have taught me the most. It has made me realise that there are people that need to stay a part of your life and others which do not have a place there anymore, not because there are bad people, on the contrary; it is just the case that not everyone is your cup of tea and that’s okay :).

Most importantly, I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during this time in university. Certainly, I have been able to learn so much from the excellent academic staff, who have remained patient, helpful and replied to my last minute (Sunday evening before an exam!) emails. I would like to name them all, but since I have done quite a lot of modules and this post is turning to be quite lengthy I shall save you the trouble of reading through 20-30 names☺.

I would also like to thank the Student Support Office for all their help and advice, and specifically Gavin Donald, who has always helped all of us lost undergrads with whatever bizarre queries we have had! We all really appreciate it, Gavin! ☺ Another big thank you to Jez who has been reviewing my blog posts from day one for all his help and useful advice.

Last but not least I would like to thank all my friends, from Bulgaria and the UK alike, along with my mum, dad and my little sister,  for all your support and all the times you have been there for me! I have been so fortunate to have met you all and you have truly made this 4 year experience something extraordinary!

Cheers for the last time,


A report hand in, a ball and finally spring

Hello everyone,

I hope you have had a nice April, after a couple of weeks of miserable weather just as the exam revision times have started, we’re experiencing the most sunshine ever! 😉 Classic Manchester! Still, I am not complaining; after all one can always try and study outside (we all know this really works out and you don’t just lay on the grass for a few hours!).


(Students revising outside in the sun 🙂 )

On another note, I am particularly happy to say that I have submitted my final year project report and screencast, like all other third year students! I personally found my screencast to be particularly difficult since my project has largely been research based, and well a bunch of papers and maths can hardly make the most exciting video of all times. This is why I have tried my best to make it as interactive as possible by using Prezi, which I find is quite a good presentation tool which can be useful to students in all years and faculties. (It is also free to use for students 🙂 ) Also if anyone has 7 minutes to spare you can check out my screencast and let me know what you think.

It still feels unbelievable that all my project work is finished and that there is only about a month left in uni. But I will save all the nostalgia for my next and final post. Now I would like to focus on the exciting things happening in university. It was only last Friday that the school held the Spring Ball. Since I am in my final year in university I decided to attend it as it’d be my last chance to do so and I am extremely happy that I did! It was a lovely night and I would like to thank the Computer Science society for organizing it. For any first and second year students, I would highly recommend going to one of these while at uni since it can be a lot of fun :). On a similar note, I have decided to participate in the final year project showcase this year and I have been very excited not only to be able to demonstrate the project but also to have the chance to see what some of the fellow students have accomplished. There has been some spectacular projects, such as the interactive 3D drawing tool using Kinect, a music synthesizer, some incredible Virtual Reality projects aimed at introducing children to fundamental concepts in computer science and a whole range of other interesting projects. It is truly amazing to see the breadth of different projects which students have created. Also congratulations to all third year students whose work is also getting published in several journals. 🙂

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(An amazing project that allows drawing using the Kinect created by Virr Haria 🙂 )


(Vega: An amazing music synthesizer created by another student in Computer Science created by Daniel Cattlin 🙂  )

Finally, another great event was the end of year PASS meal, organised by our lovely PASS coordinators, George and Devin. They have truly done an amazing job this year and I would like to thank them for all their hard work. Being a PASS leader has been extremely enjoyable and I will surely miss it.

This is all from me for now! Wish me luck for my final set of exams and I will see you on the other side 🙂


Veneta Haralampieva

And there is some sunshine again!

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all well and you have enjoyed the sunshine for the last couple of days (see Todd, even though it snowed for a day, the sun came back:) ). I am still astonished how quickly Easter holidays, or for all third years also known as ‘Crazy Report Time’ holidays, have arrived. Semester two is just whizzing by and before we know it will be graduation time. And speaking of graduation, the date has finally been chosen, the 21st July is when, hopefully, I will graduate. As soon as I found out about the date I basically dashed to the computer (no this is not a metaphor I was physically running 😀 ) and made sure that I booked flights and hotel rooms for my family. Manchester is quite a popular destination so for anyone, who has family travelling I would advise you to book quickly :).

With that in mind I would appreciate advice on the best places to visit near Manchester. For now I have set my sights on Liverpool, Sheffield and the Lake District but I am no expert so help will be appreciated! 🙂


(Proof that it can be sunny in Manchester 🙂 )

Apart from my graduation craziness, a couple of days ago it was my last visit day as a student ambassador. This is one of the things I would definitely miss about university. It was such a nice break to talk to prospective students about uni life and what not, take them on tours around the campus and around the school and bore them with historical details about the buildings. For anyone, considering whether to become a student ambassador or not, I would definitely recommend it. It is a lot of fun, gives you a break from studying and does not take that much out of your time. Plus, occasionally you will get some free lunch :).

Speaking of work around the university, for any students who are looking for summer placements, don’t forget to check out what our school is offering. There are some really amazing opportunities within the school that might be worth exploring and it will definitely be something worth adding to your CV. I did one after my first year in university, I can say that it was both fun and I managed to learn so much as well. I got the opportunity to develop my own idea about enthusing the school children about computer science using the Raspberry Pi. I would highly recommend keeping an eye out for this summer’s opportunities on the school’s page.


(A blast from the past: Visualising audio using Fast Fourier Transform on LED Matrix; something I created during my internship with the university 🙂 )

On another note, last Saturday was Earth’s Hour and I am happy to say that I have participated. I know it might look like a small thing that does not really make a difference. But Earth’s hour is really about reminding us that the planet we live on is very fragile and we should try however we can to preserve it. Let’s not forget that according to NASA, February has been the warmest month on record which is somewhat worrying. But the good news is we can all do something small: cycle to work, recycle that Amazon card box and all those old lecture notes or plant a tree. Also check out this year’s Earth’s hour video , and if you are interested our university’s THINK sustainability tool 🙂 .

Oh, and a quick fun fact; an island participating in Earth’s hour last year, turned its lights on. The reason: the island is being powered by a mini-hydro power plant, 100% of the energy is reusable. Now, I think that is super cool :)!!!

Speak to you again soon,


Final Semester (Hopefully!)

Hello everyone,

I hope I find you well. Exams have finally finished and the last semester for some of us has begun. I guess I have been too stressed to have time to feel nostalgic yet but I am sure that this will come as well 🙂

This past month I have been mostly working on my final year project and I can say that it is extremely weird to think that it will be over soon (at least the coding part of it). It feels like time has gone by so quickly. I have definitely enjoyed working on it. It has been a lot of fun and I feel like I have learned a lot since I started. My folder filled with research papers on the topic has certainly grown quite a bit. I have spent such a considerable time in the library that I now even know most of the security guards there!

Apart from that as we all have noticed, spring is coming! (A bit faster than winter in Game of Thrones fortunately! 🙂 )


( There are even flowers 🙂 )

So there is actually some sun in Manchester, which meant it was the perfect time for a bit of sightseeing. A couple of weeks ago, I had a friend from London visiting me and took her around Manchester. Using my Student Ambassador skills I had the chance to show her around the campus and explain a little bit about the history of the university. She was quite happy to find more about Alan Turing, the main reasons behind his choice to come and continue his career in Manchester. We went past the iconic Graphene Building, the newest addition to the university campus, which is also one of a kind in the world. We walked past the Sackville Building, went to MOSI were we saw the replica of The Baby, built for the anniversary a couple years ago and approved by the people who originally built it, namely Geoff Tootill (after whom the two engineering labs are actually named 🙂 ) and Tom Kilburn. If you want to know a bit more about the history of the baby I suggest watching this short video 🙂

We went inside the Main Library in the city centre. If you haven’t been there I would definitely recommend it. It combines both modern and innovative technology with the Victorian look and feel of the building.

Another thing which has been new this month is really the new modules I will be taking this semester. I have chosen User Experience, Compilers and Introduction to Current Topics in Biology. I am particularly happy with my choice so far. All modules seem to be done quite well and the lecturers look motivated and the lectures are engaging. I was quite happy to discover that the Zika Virus, which is currently a very hot topic in the media, has been already included in the Biology syllabus. I cannot wait to find out more about it. So far, we have covered DNA; including isolating our own DNA and we are currently on the subject of Stem cells and their applications.


(My DNA 🙂 )

Additionally, I also had the pleasure to attend a seminar on the use of OpenStack in a variety of institutions and companies, amongst which were people from the University of Cambridge, who have a talk on using Openstack and HPC. There was also a talk from an engineer at CERN who gave a compelling presentation regarding the CPU optimizations in CERN and how they use OpenStack. I feel like I had the opportunity to learn a lot at this seminar, even though I found it a bit overwhelming at first.

I think overall it has been quite a fun and slightly stressful month (deadlines are quickly approaching!!!!). For all final year students, I want to wish you good luck with your presentation of results.


Veneta Haralampieva

P.S. Make sure you check all the snowdrops near the Uni Place. They are quite pretty.





Christmas, Zurich and revision

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and had a lovely winter break! I can’t believe it’s over already!

Last month I set off on my journey back home to Sofia for Christmas, it was quite a long day of travelling, but I was really excited. My connection flight was in Zurich and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the airport was only 10 mins away from the city centre! I know right, it really it is so close to the city and a return to the city centre and back is under 10 pounds. So naturally, I decided to make use of the four hours I had and decided to go and explore.  I had prepared a few things to see in a couple of hours and as soon as the plane from Manchester landed I ventured off into the city. I completely loved my time in Zurich, since it is a very lively and beautiful city. I would highly recommend if you have a connection flight and a few hours to spare in Zurich, it is definitely worth doing some sightseeing.


( A stunning view of Zurich over the river Limmat )

Apart from that my Christmas back home was simply perfect. It was amazing to go and see my family and friends again. However, unlike last year, when I was on placement and during Christmas I had taken days off, I actually had to do work while back home. I simply couldn’t escape revision (going to another country did not help either 🙁 )

Before I knew it, it was time to go back to Manchester and continue with revision. And unfortunately, there is nothing very interesting or eventful about revision. It’s the usual really, making your way through crowds of people in front of the library in the morning, lots and lots of coffee being consumed every day and, well, lots and lots of reading.


( Library Opening the day before exams 🙂 )

I do actually have some specific materials I came across during my revision for Cryptography. For anyone, who is currently struggling to remember all the details behind AES and DES, I believe that using CrypTool is actually quite helpful, as our lecturer recommended. Apart from various encryption and decryption functions it contains extremely well designed simulations of how the algorithms work. They are interactive and explain in detail how all the operations work in the encryption and decryption process.


( AES encryption process visualisation 🙂 )

I did find them particularly useful, since I do remember concepts easier when I have a visual image to link them to. Also, I came across some excellent videos on RSA and Diffie – Hellman Key Exchange, explaining the mathematics behind it with a clever analogue of colour combinations. So if you have a few minutes to spare even if you are not preparing for an exam on the subject and are just interested in knowing more about some of the key algorithms ( no pun intended 🙂 ) in Cryptography, I suggest giving them a quick look.

While I was taking a break from all the fun revision times I came across a very interesting article by Cancer Research UK. It isn’t exactly news, since the game I am about to tell you about was launched quite some time ago, but I found it very fascinating nevertheless. The article I read featured the science behind a game, something about collecting a substance called Element Alpha in Space. It sure doesn’t sound very interesting right, just another one of those mindless games to play while you have to study. Well, not quite. See, unlike other games, when you play Genes in Space you will actually be helping the research for cancer. How is that possible, you might ask? To put it simply, in the game you actually have to plan your route through space to collect as much element as possible. However, by doing so you are actually analysing real DNA micro array data and are helping scientists discover patterns in DNA mutations that cause cancer, which can lead to the discovery of new treatments in the future.

When I first read about the game I was fascinated and inspired because it actually involves the general public in analysing scientific data in a lightweight and funny way. Moreover, it is a clear demonstration of how Computer Science, when mixed with a dash of creativity, can actually underpin scientific research. So if you are looking for a game to play during your revision breaks, I suggest you try this one 🙂

Have a lovely and productive day everyone!


Veneta Haralampieva


P.S. It finally snowed in Manchester!


( Snowy Manchester 🙂 )


The end of semester one

Hello everyone,

Semester One has almost come to its end. It is unbelievable how fast time flies. Pretty soon it will be exam time. But let’s not get too grim just yet. There is still some time left. 🙂

A lot has happened in the past month and a half. My particle system has grown from a single point that moves on the screen to three fountains, with multicoulored water, textured grass and a lovely blue sky. I know what you are thinking: “Well that escalated quickly!” . It really has 🙂 I have submitted it and now the only thing left is the marking session. To be honest I am going to miss working on that lab. It was a lot of fun. The cool effects you will get sometimes from random mistakes was simply priceless. And it was a great way to brush up on my C skills. I can assure you it’s not the same if you don’t see Segmentation fault every once in awhile. 🙂


(My very own particle system – a simulation of a fountain 🙂 )

Another interesting thing that happened this month was a brief lecture on Alan Turing and his time in Manchester, given by his nephew. It was fascinating to hear more about the reasons why the famous code breaker from World War II decided to choose our lovely rainy city to continue his research. The natural link was Alan Turing’s vision of the universal computing machine – it turns out that he had been building it for quite some time, though it had been taking longer than expected. And, most importantly, there was a fundamental issue which his team could not solve efficiently – the problem of memory and storage.

As luck would have it, one of Alan Turing’s mentors, Max Newman, head of the Mathematics Department here in Manchester, was interested in building a computing machine, so he recruited a couple of bright young men to do it, in particular Thomas Kilburn, Frederic Williams and Geoff Tootill, who built the world’s first stored program computer. It not only solved the problem of memory, but was also completed much faster than the ongoing project of Alan Turing. So when Max Newman happen to mention that there was in fact a working computer here in Manchester that spiked Turing’s interest immediately. He was enthusiastic over the opportunity to be able to test out all his ideas about what a computing machine can do.

So it really was the Baby that drew Alan Turing to this fine city, where he worked on some remarkable research. I was surprised to discover that some of the things he had been working on here in Manchester were not directly related to computing. When you hear Alan Turing, you would not think of life science of biology, however, this is exactly what he was working on. He, alongside some fellow PhD students were working on devising an algorithm which could predict where leaves and branches would grow on a tree. I found this completely fascinating and an excellent example of how mathematics can be used to solve biological problems.

But enough with the boring history talk, it is nearly Christmas and you must all be exhausted from uni work so a history lesson is probably not what you need. 🙂 So on a completely different note, I am very happy that I have had the chance to explore more of Manchester. A really cool place which I went to recently is called Ziferblat where everything is free, except the time you spend in there. It is quite a unique idea and the place is truly fantastic inside. You can easily spend hours there since it feels like you are sitting in someone’s living room, with a couple of other people, of course. There are even free martial arts sessions for the more adventurous, as well a range of board games (sadly not Kalaha – that would have been useful for AI and Games 🙂 ). Oh, and their homemade cakes are spectacular! I would definitely say it’s worth a visit.


Along with exploring some new bits and pieces of Manchester I also managed to do my Christmas shopping. I have wrapped all the presents and now I have a suitcase full of chocolate to take with me back to Bulgaria, along with all the lecture notes for revision of course 🙂 So it is safe to say that I am well prepared both for Christmas and revision. As Alan Turing famously said:

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done!”

I wish you all wonderful holidays! Make sure you have a break from uni 🙂

Veneta Haralampieva


Christmas Lights Switch On Time

Hello everyone,

I am back with yet another lengthy article so brace yourselves, this one will be long! Just kidding 🙂

Not that much has happened in the past month. Uni has officially started and so has the work on my final year project, which is going I would say okay, for now 🙂

For those of you who are not considering or currently doing a project in the area of data mining, machine learning or statistics, feel free to skip this paragraph as it can be quite boring!

My passion for Machine learning has inspired me to choose a project in that field. It focuses on the evaluation of Mutual Information versus Gini index for stable feature selection. Since I have an interest in life sciences as well I have decided to use medical data. There are primarily two platforms from which I could choose, Matlab and R. Since I have used Matlab in the past on university projects in several subjects I have decided to choose a language I have not used before so R it was. I have found it to be very intuitive and easy to use. There are a number of great libraries out there which is always a bonus. One that is definitely worth checking out is the “Shiny” library because it provides an easy way to build web applications using R so it can be a very powerful tool when it comes to data visualisation.


( My project so far expressed entirely in graphs! 🙂 )

Apart from spending time in our beloved Kilburn I have been exploring some other buildings like the library and the learning commons. Take it from me if you want a seat make sure you get there early! Nevertheless, it has been quite a nice change of scenery. One of my recent favourites is the Alan Turing building which is simply stunning. However, the PC clusters are usually quite noisy so I am not sure how many times I will go back there.


( The view from the last floor in Alan Turing – simply fantastic 🙂 )

Apart from my third year project I am trying to make sure that I stay on top of labs and lectures. One of the ones I am currently working on is the Graphics Lab “Creating a particle system” which is extremely fun. The moment when you see your first point moving on the screen is priceless. This reminded me of a quote by Professor Tom Kilburn about running the first computer program on “The Baby”:

“Finally when we pressed the start button, it set off on its usual dance of death, and then suddenly it stopped, and there in the expected line was the expected answer. So we built a computing machine!”

In a way we all feel something similar when your program after endless segmentation faults #algorithmsSecondYear finally does what it should do. Of course making a point move on the screen is a lot less significant and life changing in comparison to Professor Kilburn’s contribution but it is still progress!

Since it is my final year the time has come to think even more seriously about the future and for me it comes down to what I would love to do when I graduate. It’s the classic question: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and for some people like me it is surprisingly hard to answer. What I am trying to do is find out what I love doing and concentrate on it. I guess it’s okay if I find out later it’s not what I want to do because at least I would have given it a shot, and I would have no regrets. Like the famous quote goes:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

Mark Twain

Another thing which I have discovered recently is the careers service in the Uni Place and I plan to make use of it. Might be worth checking out 🙂

Finally, I am really excited for the Christmas Lights Switch on which promises to be spectacular. If you happen to be in Manchester at that time and are not swamped by work make sure to go and see it. It will probably be as cold as it is festive.


( Something from my archives – Christmas Lights Switch On, Manchester, 2012 🙂 )


Veneta Haralampieva

P.S. Thanks to Aisha and Jez for reviewing the post and making it better 🙂

Hello final year!

Hello everyone,

It has been a while, hasn’t it? The summer is gone and a surprisingly sunny Autumn welcomes us in Manchester. A lot has happened over the summer and I think I might bore you to death if I get into too much detail so I will try to keep this short (as much as I can).

I have begun my final year (hopefully) and surprisingly for me the transition from work to uni life has not been as difficult as I had imagined. In a way I feel like my placement year has been a dream. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten too much during my time away and I will be able to successfully complete my degree.

The year started pretty normal by selecting course units and finalising my final year project. Selecting the course units has been quite difficult this year because I feel like there is not enough credits for me to take all the modules I would like to do. In the end I chose Agile Software Engineering, Cryptography, Advanced Graphics and AI and Games. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t get on the Documents, Services and Data on the Web – the waiting list was too long, which is a shame because this is a really good module. I might occasionally pop into the lectures nevertheless. My final year project has officially begun and I can say while I am quite excited and eager to work on it, I am fully aware of how stressful it will become soon enough. But I am making progress so hopefully it should be okay. 🙂


(It’s quite a nice view 🙂 )

One of the modules I have really enjoyed so far is Agile Software Engineering since the workshops are not only fun but they also demonstrate important software engineering concepts quite well. I am quite happy that this is a module which encourages teamwork and incorporates the student’s feedback quite nicely. I am particularly excited for Advanced Graphics as well and mainly the lab where we have to create something unique using Particle Systems. I have been brainstorming for ideas and I hope to start working on it soon. The lectures have been great fun as well!


(Cause we have never really looked at broccoli that way! 🙂 ) 

Apart from all the stress related to uni I am quite happy to be back in Manchester. I would really like to continue and be active like I was last year. I have already become a proud member of the dance society and I have even attended a Martial Arts session – which was quite interesting and fun. I would love to do some more tennis this year, swimming and also try something new and exciting but I am yet to find it so I will keep you updated on this one.

On another note, I have been chosen to be a PASS leader this year, something which I am quite excited about and I am hoping I will be able to motivate my ‘PASSlings’ to attend by making the sessions useful and also by bringing home-made cookies from time to time 🙂


(For any PASSlings reading this – there will be more! 🙂 )

Another quite cool thing this month has been the Open days we held in the university. I was lucky to be working on both of them and while it was exhausting it was quite a good experience. It was great seeing so many people motivated in interested in computer science. Plus defusing a bomb in record time on the oculus rift wasn’t too bad as well. 🙂

Finally I would like to say that although the work is pretty stressful I am happy to be back in uni. I have met some amazing people in the past few weeks and I am excited for the remainder of the year.


Veneta Haralampieva

This is goodbye!!! For now :)

Hello everyone,

This is my final article before the summer starts. I know I have been quite late with this one but I wanted it to be very special because it will be the last one for quite some time. June is almost over and it makes me realise how much things were different one year ago today. I have made so many new friends and met so many incredible people which makes me realise how lucky I have been. I can safely say that this has been the most amazing year in the UK so far. It has been a mixture of everything – it was life changing and exciting, character building and tough, fun and different. It has been such a change from uni life but it also made me realise how many of the things I learned in uni are actually really useful and I can see the value of what I have worked so hard for in the past few years.

I have come to appreciate the wonderful university and professors that we have and how the things they taught us are applicable to real life problems in the workplace. It allowed me to put in practice a lot of what I have learned and challenged me to learn even more not only about technology but how technology interacts with every aspect from our lives – from everyday trivial things we take for granted to huge scientific discoveries. It made me realise that I love what I do and study and I want to keep developing my skills.

I still cannot believe that my placement is about to end soon. I am going to miss my team so much and the work we have done together. The project I joined a few months ago was just starting and I was able to be a part of it from the beginning and see the development in our product. It has been amazing to work in an agile team where there are constant challenges and new skills are required all the time. It motivated me to do my best and it was mainly because of the amazing and talented people I work with. It’s surprising what we have achieved in just a few months time and to see our client being pleased with the work we have done. I am really happy to have played a part in that process. Saying goodbye would definitely be very difficult but I am going to focus on the positive side and the exciting things that will surely come.

One thing I am going to miss as well is London. I have fallen in love with this city and I am going to miss it’s magical atmosphere next year for sure. I love every minute of being here and I am constantly reminded of the many exciting things there are to do and see in here. Like Samuel Johnson has famously said:

“Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”


(I am sure going to miss the view 🙂 )

I guess there is some truth to it and I will definitely miss it but I am glad I had the chance to live here for a year and enjoy a tiny portion of the vast majority of things that London has to offer. I am going to try and make use of my last few weeks in here as much as I can – going full on tourist mode again! 🙂


(Chilling in London – Greenwich park – in between time itself )

Another thing I would like to share with you guys is a personal goal I managed to achieve this year – running a marathon (a tiny one but still 🙂 ). A few months back when a colleague from work asked me to join a 10k run I was excited but also nervous as I was the kind of person who did lots of other sports like swimming, tennis, dancing, zumba, yoga … but I wasn’t really much of a runner so I decided that I am going to try my best and see how much I can improve. Even if I could only run 3 km it would have still been 3 km more than I could do at the time, so it was still a win.

So I started preparing for it. The first Sunday I ran 1.2 km and every Sunday I would try and do 1 km more. I was happy that I was getting better and better but I was still not sure if I will be able to do the 10 km without a break. It might not seem like a lot to anyone else but it was a lot for me because I have never really done running before and to be able to do 10 km without stopping was an achievement! Thank you Nike for giving me that chance and making me feel like a champion for a day! 🙂 The day of the race was both exciting and tiring and crossing the finishing line felt so amazing! I am so glad I signed up for it and I am definitely going to try and keep running and get better and better with time.


(A tiny portion of the people in the race 🙂 )



(Personal goal achieved 🙂 )

A week ago right before the 10k run I came back to Manchester for a day. Not just any day but an open day! I could probably write a whole article about it but I can definitely say it was fun and it reminded of how lucky I was to be studying in such a good university. I do hope that lots of the people I met on the open day would come and join the university soon.


(Btw loved the bracelets – they were just phenomenal! 🙂 )

I realise that all good things must come to an end so I guess this article needs to end soon as well. I just want to say one final time thank you to all the wonderful people I have met this year, Thank you for all the amazing moments – winning a pumpkin carving competition, celebrating Dhavali, going to a medieval dinner, eating weird but surprisingly good things like duck and waffle, seeing London on a boat and from the sky, participating in charity events, the many great team dinners, visiting new towns and cities like Bournemouth, Newcastle, Edinburgh, celebrating New Year’s Eve and my birthday under the famous London fireworks, canoeing, having drinks in an ice bar and completing a 10km run! It was an unforgettable year! To everyone that is still not sure if they want to do a placement I would say – Just do it! 🙂

Before I say bye I would like to leave you with one final quote I read recently and hopefully inspire you for the summer 🙂

“You did the impossible, because you didn’t realize it was impossible.”


Veneta Haralampieva


(Afternoon tea at the fan museum’s orangery )

Summer is almost here!

Hello everyone,

I feel like time is flying too quickly with every passing day, the past month has included both hard work and lots of fun!


(I saw Tower Bridge lift!!!!!)

In work this has been a particular stressful month as we had a demo where we were meant to show the progress we have done so far. Everyone has worked quite hard the past month for the demo but still the week before it was particularly stressful and included some late nights. I have never stayed in the office that late before and while it is definitely tiring it is still a good experience to bond with the team. While working we ordered takeaway and had dinner together, then we’d continue to work. The best moment is when finally everything works, the clients are happy with what we have done and we all go out to celebrate for drinks!

I feel like I have been very fortunate with my team and my role. Everyone is so kind, nice and always helpful. Thanks to them I have not only enhanced my technical skills but I have also grown as a person. To top it all I love that I get to do development work which is both exciting and challenging. Last week, I finally put my ‘Java with Hibernate’ training to good use with updating some Java POJOs used for inserting data into one of our databases. I have also done some work on a standalone application that hopefully will get to be used across multiple projects. This month I plan to get more involved with the UI (user interface) work in my team as I would love to do some of it as well. I am hoping to put my Angular skills to the test with the website on which me and a friend of mine are working. We have big hopes and dreams, so fingers crossed it all works out! 🙂

On another note, I signed up for a 10 km run and while that might not seem like a lot to most people it is definitely plenty for me! Therefore, I have decided that I am going to train and prepare myself as best as I can. I started from 2.5 km and today I successfully ran 4.25 km so there is progress. Still quite far away from the 10 km but I am getting there. As luck would have it, Zumba classes have started in my halls so I went to my first Zumba class yesterday. It was such a good fun and it reminded me how much I missed dancing. I definitely plan to go again! And it is right where I live so I have no excuse! 🙂


(Here is the proof 🙂 )

My final year project has finally been sorted and I am so happy that this is done. I managed to put all my thoughts about it on paper and submit it. Spoiler alert – it involves machine learning, genetics and maybe a tiny bit of statistics. Sounds great, doesn’t it? 🙂

Another thing I would just like to mention is how happy I am that it is summer is arriving. I am currently sitting outside on the terrace of my accommodation overlooking the Olympic Park from 15 floors high and enjoying the sun! I would definitely be sad to leave those halls and London. I have had such an amazing time! But I won’t get too emotional yet – maybe in my next post. 😉 But nevertheless I am looking forward to this summer and all the exciting adventures that I am sure it will bring!


(Sunny London <3 )


Veneta Haralampieva

P.S. I just love sunsets! 🙂