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Building a business in Bath

Computer Science graduate, Ashton Clapp, on how hackathons and an eye for innovation led to a career as an entrepreneur.

Ashton Clapp in Bath
Ashton Clapp (BSc Computer Science 2016) has co-founded a software development agency in Bath.

I chose to study Computer Science at Bath because of the excellent record the University had for placements. I understood that the difference between a degree versus a degree with real-world work experience would be a massive differentiating factor when looking for jobs, and I liked that I could keep the continuity of my peer group before and after the placement year.

The course was superb. Initially, I had been cynical of what university might be able to offer in comparison to real-world experience, but the course exposed me to topics and content that I wouldn’t have considered looking at of my own volition. It was also delivered in a way that helped that information stick with me.

Becoming an entrepreneur

Since graduating in 2016 I co-founded Backslash Build, a software development agency that helps businesses design, implement, manage, and scale software solutions. Our drive to innovate was complemented by a £15,000 Alumni Innovation Award from the University of Bath, which enabled us to develop our business model.

Based in Bath, we employ a team of 15 – the majority of which are Bath students or graduates. The three other founders and I met and grew through a relationship founded in hackathons and competitions throughout university; now we run free training and courses for current students and assist societies in setting up hackathons and product competitions.

My undergraduate degree in Computer Science means that I understand all areas of software much more thoroughly than if I'd learned about the topics from application alone. I can say confidently that I can conceive of and convey topics with other engineers in greater depth and much more effectively than I’d be able to had I not gone to Bath.

Advice for new students

For prospective students, I’d suggest setting your goals and direction early on. This way, you maximise your ability to pursue opportunities that get you closer to what you ultimately want to do. The University and surrounding area offer an abundance of support, additional learning, and networking, among many other great programmes. If you’re unsure what your goals or direction after university might be, that’s even more reason to try all the available options while you have the time to try them out.

The course will provide you with a fantastic education, but it’s left to you to decide where you’d like to apply that knowledge. The people who graduate with the best prospects are often those who actively decided where they wanted to be at the end of their degree and took the steps outside of the course to get there.

Find out more about studying at Bath

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