This is a temporary place to edit a personal statement for JD's application to for a MSc in Advanced Computer Science. Please feel free to edit things as you feel neccessary. You may want to look at my CV.

The Question says:

Supplementary Personal Statement - Describe your academic interests and reasons for applying. Include details of work experience you consider relevant to your proposed study, careers objectives and relevant non-academic achievements. Expand on a separate sheet if required.

The Notes also have this to say: Use this space to tell us why you are interested in the subject for which you have applied. Describe your academic interests and reasons for applying to Imperial College. Selectors place particular importance on the personal statement.

[uh, 4.2 now? ] [hint from Uni personal statement: try and cut down on use of the word 'I' ?]

I have a keen interest in compilers and languages, specifically parsing and program analysis. I am particularly interested in detecting security flaws and common programming errors like buffer overflows and memory leaks. Many aspects of the M.Sc. at Imperial appeal to these interests, especially the modules on Program Analysis and Advanced Issues in Object-Oriented Programming, along with complexity, finite automata and regular expressions. At Imperial, I would hope to build on work undertaken for my final year project to learn new skills and consolidate my understanding of program analysis and compilers. The MSc. could hopefully lead towards further academic study as I am currently considering a PhD on program analysis and static code checking. I would like to research techniques for developing automated tools for secure programming and producing more robust programs.

I undertook my BSc. at the University of Leeds, attracted by the theoretical nature of the course and the chance to develop my programming and mathematical skills. Amongst others I enjoyed the Functional Programming and Graphics modules. I was particularly successful at Compiler Design which was applied to my final year project, designing and implementing a static source code checker for C++. I implemented a naive scheme to check for problems using python to test the code. When this proved inadaquate I researched techniques for correctly parsing C++, which would form the basis for any further work on the subject. While at Leeds I helped to develop a replacement student database for the department. I also helped to teach C++ programming and discrete mathematics to the lower years.

Since graduating in 2001 my work as a systems administrator for a small computer consultancy has built on skills learnt during my undergraduate studies, where programming and systems analysis have been particularly vital. Close attention to deadlines has been important, as have communication skills when liasing with customers.

In my spare time I am usually involved in computer-related projects, including working for the Debian Linux distribution where I currently maintain the irssi IRC client and help with KDE packaging. The work requires patience and persistence and I often take extra time to attend to details or fix bugs. I have learnt to program in a range of languages including C, C++, shell scripting, Perl and python and pick up new languages easily. I have used various different paradigms including procedural, OO, functional and declarative. Over the last year I have travelled to several technical conferences including FOSDEM in Brussels and Debconf in Oslo. This enabled me to meet up with like-minded people and exchange ideas and news. I am a membership of several local Linux user groups and have presented several talks, which has been valuable public speaking experience.

To balance my computer-related work, I keep fit through juggling and badminton, relax with music and films, and take a lively interest in law and local government. I am a parish councillor, through which I have developed organizational and teamwork skills.

I will require funding.

More comments by GaneshSittampalam:

Looks impressive now. I don't think you need to cut down the use of 'I', it's rather hard to avoid in a *personal* statement! Be consistent about your punctuation of MSc, PhD, BSc etc. Personally I just wouldn't punctuate them at all. "I am a membership" in the sentence about LUGs is wrong. "organizational" is normaly spelt with an 's' in British English (though I think it might be optional to use the 'z'). "python" should probably be capitalised. "functional" programming is also "declarative", so I would replace the use of "declarative" by something more specific (logic?).

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