Usayd Callender

Usayd joined UTC Reading in Year 11 and achieved 5 GCSE A*-C grades including grade ‘A’ in Computer Science. He has also recently won a British Computer Society competition for an ‘app’ he developed.

When we caught up with Usayd, now in Year 12, he told us how choosing a UTC education offered him a structured learning environment, new professional development pathways, and has changed his outlook on his future.

What led you to decide to move to UTC Reading from your previous school?

“I really got interested in computers and programming. I decided I wanted to pursue this as career and so I looked for schools and colleges that had courses to do with IT and found UTC Reading. The UTC has really good links with the IT Industry through its partnerships with Microsoft and Cisco, so it seemed like a logical step for me.”

He went on to describe how different going to UTC Reading was compared to his previous experience being home schooled:

“Before I came here I was home schooled and so didn’t have a set schedule and I could study what I wanted, whenever I wanted. Coming here I had to start getting up on time, getting to school on time and wearing the appropriate clothes. I had to learn to work in a noisy environment and learn to get on with other students as I wasn’t used to working alongside others.

"This has been challenging for me, but I have made lots of friends and its great being able to discuss my ideas with people of my own age and interests.”

Before attending UTC Reading, Usayd had thought his future was in games development. He thinks this may no longer be the case:

“Before I came here, I had my heart set on games development. However, now that I’ve seen the broad range of other IT careers on offer I’m happy to consider other avenues. The essential thing is this UTC is providing me with the professional qualifications and industry experience that I need to start my career in this sector.”

At the age of 16, Usayd has won an award for an app he has developed. He explains more:

“I have been creating Minecraft Mods for a long time now (these are modifications which allows the player to have something not already in the basic game). I’ve been asked so many times to either program mods, or show people how to do it. So I decided to create an app that did it for them.

"My app allows anyone using Minecraft on the android platform to create their own mods without the need to know programming. It’s had over 30,000 downloads and it’s estimated that the app has created 100,000 mods for the game.

"I’m also working on another app, which is very different from this one – it’s still in development and so currently under wraps.”

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