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School of Mathematics

School of Mathematics

Blog for the School of Mathematics community

Alumni Stories: Mathew Legge

Photo of Mathew smiling at camera. Text reads: Alumni Stories, Mathew Legge, Software Engineer, BSc Mathematics

Mathew shares how finishing his degree during a pandemic helped him to identify a future career path in tech.


Programme BSc Mathematics
Year of graduation 2020
Job title Software Engineer
Industry Technology
Home country Scotland


Why did you decide to study at the University of Edinburgh? And why did you choose to study Mathematics?

Whilst at school, I enjoyed several of my subjects, but I always reserved a special passion for mathematics. Mathematics, for me, is a subject that invites questions – the more you learn, the more you need to know, and I found this to be one of the main influences for my choosing to study it at university. At the end of my time at school, the applications of mathematics in the real world and its place as a foundation across so many areas of life became apparent, and this made it an even more desirable choice for continuing to study it at a higher level.

The University of Edinburgh is ranked among the top universities globally, with an impressive reputation for its teaching and employability prospects. Whilst doing some research into the School of Mathematics at the University, which included attending one of the Open Days, I found myself really excited at the idea of studying there. In particular, I remember feeling amazed at the quality of the facilities that the School had to offer – lots of study spaces, common rooms, lecture theatres, all modern and with all the equipment we would need to complete our degrees.

Edinburgh is also, in my opinion, one of the best cities in the world and one that I had always enjoyed spending time in. It’s rich in culture, history and I knew it would be a great place to be a student. I was involved with many different student associations and societies whilst at the University, but I know that I barely scratched the surface of all the opportunities that you have as a student there. Whatever it is that you are interested in and enjoy, you can be sure you’ll find something!

How did you get where you are now?

After a great four years studying, while finishing my time at the University in 2020, we were unexpectedly interrupted by the COVID pandemic. This, of course, caused disruption and changes in the delivery of teaching and the process of assessment. My peers and I had to constantly adapt throughout this uncertain time and while this was very challenging, we managed it, and I’m so grateful we did. I’ll always hold the satisfaction and reward of completing my degree and frequently use this to remind myself that we must persevere during difficult times.

While living through the lockdown period right after completing my degree, I moved towards starting my career. I admit I was rather unsure about what I wanted to do at this stage. I remember feeling like all my peers already had ideas and plans for beginning their career and this can be quite a daunting feeling. I now know that there were quite a few students in my year feeling the exact same thing. While thinking about my career options, the main thing I considered was what I knew that I enjoyed, which, in my case, was the programming/coding aspects of my degree. What you enjoy is definitely a great place to start when making career decisions, but I also wanted to reflect on what fields and sectors were currently high in relevance and demand. During the lockdown period, it became clear that technology was going to play a very important role in our lives and was something we would need to invest in. With these things in mind, I was led naturally to a career in software.

In my role as a Software Engineer at Pulsion, I have worked on a variety of projects, including our own products as well as projects involving a wide range of clients. Currently, I work with a small team on one of our products, Requiment, which helps people in the industry to gather requirements for their own software projects. Day to day, we are responsible for developing new features, fixing bugs, and pretty much managing the full lifecycle of the project. More recently, we have been excited by utilising AI in our product to do things such as natural language processing.

What did you gain from your time at the University and were there any experiences during your time at university which particularly helped prepare you for life after graduation?

I know that I gained a lot from my time at university, and I am grateful that I have had experiences which have certainly helped me prepare for and develop throughout my career.

Firstly, Mathematics is an excellent degree to have and one which I believe current employers value highly. Whilst the learning of the academic content of the degree is critical, it’s important to note that, as a software engineer, I do not directly use every piece of maths that I learned at university. What I certainly am doing is utilising the skills that surround mathematics including things like problem solving, logic, statistics, and communication of complex ideas. The beauty of mathematics is that it underpins so many different aspects of the world and acts as a foundation for several other fields. In this way, a maths degree can open lots of doors and allows a graduate to be relatively unrestricted when considering their future careers.

Throughout my degree, an emphasis was placed on both communication and collaboration. There were lots of different courses in which we were required to convey mathematical information and we were always encouraged to have discussions with peers and work together on problems. In my final year, there was a lot of time spent collaborating with others, in particular whilst completing our group project and visiting schools to deliver lessons. The skills gained from these kinds of tasks are very important skills and ones which I have found myself often having to make use of in my career.

Do you have any highlights or a favourite memory of your time at the university?

For me, one of my favourite parts of my time at university was having the opportunity to work as part of a team to deliver a set of maths lessons in a few different primary schools across Edinburgh. This was a great experience and allowed us to put what we had learned during our Mathematical Education course into practice.

I also really enjoyed taking part in the Global Buddies programme, being able to make friends with people from all around the world and welcome them to Edinburgh.

What advice would you give future students who are considering studying Mathematics at Edinburgh?

I would definitely recommend studying Mathematics at Edinburgh! It can be a big step starting out on this journey, but it’s one that is worth taking. There are so many opportunities to be had while at university and there is so much to be gained from this time, not least of all obtaining a very valuable degree.

I would also say that it’s very worthwhile doing your research while considering your options for studying. There is a lot of information available on the University’s website, there are planned Open Days and it can also be really helpful talking to current students, and others in the School.




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