Digital Skills Academy
Graduate Andrés Espinosa: International BSc Honours Degree Programme Feedback

Graduate Andrés Espinosa: International BSc Honours Degree Programme Feedback

Andrés Espinosa Aceves is a graduate of Digital Skills Academy’s BSc Honours Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation.

Where are you based?

London, UK, I’ve lived here for seven years, and before that I lived and worked in several other countries after leaving Mexico.

What organisation do you work for and what is your role?

I work for ProMexico, I am the Director for UK, Ireland, Portugal and South Africa. We are like a Mexican version of Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Development Authority combined.

What inspired you to join the International BSc Honours Degree Programme?

I wanted to understand digital project management, product design and market trends to become a better facilitator for investors interested in this space. In my work role, we are always looking for investors for projects, which means it is useful to understand the latest digital trends. As I have been active in the UK Digital Sector, I wanted to upskill, and was interested in the digital side of business too. Doing this course was good for my work, and also good for future-proofing my career. Mexico is an attractive market for Fintech and security, so learning more about the wider trends in digital was a logical step to take for me. For example, we have Mexican tech integrators here in the UK, offering services that are not currently available here for British companies. The course helped me to be able to better understand these opportunities.

What skills did you learn on the programme?

I was on the Digital Business Managers & Marketers Stream. The biggest new area for me was Agile Project Management. I wasn’t aware of it before, so it was new to me and very useful in relation to the software development projects I work with. I also found the wider methodology useful too. It was good for our work because you keep iterating and evolving ideas, which is very much part of the agile methodology and ethos.

I also valued increasing my ability to provide an informed critique of digital products and services. The ability to work with a cross-sector, geographically-diverse team was a useful skill as it is very similar to the demands of my own job, being based in the UK and dealing with teams in Mexico and other parts of the world as well.

Where were your project team members from?

We had an Irish coder, and our other manager was from Mexico, I actually knew him from before the course. He had come across Digital Skills Academy, and then used the insights he gained in his own company too. Our designer was from South Africa. It gave me some good insights into working with people from different areas of the world. I also learned more about how to make collaboration work. It was good to learn experientially about this, and to deliver projects working in a remote team. I also understand more about team-work now, my concept of what it meant changed through doing the course. The experience of the different dynamics arising from different disciplinary perspectives and geographical locations was also really useful.

There is the assumption that we are all working for the common good, but it is not always understood and incorporated. This is important, and a big learning. Two key points in particular were:

1. The level of commitment required for remote work, it is important, perhaps even more so, when you are not working in the same place.
2. Especially for remote teams, face-to-face interaction is important. For a while we only did video, as we realised it was important and helpful.

How are you going to use the skills you learned in your current career?

A lot of my work is done with teams in Mexico, so this was really helpful, in my day to day work. I am also using an agile approach in our work with securing financial investments. By using my technical knowledge, it has also helped me to identify attractive investment opportunities. 

What are the advantages of studying in a flexible online and part-time programme?

I’m a bit of an oddball! I was home-schooled for some time as a child, so remote and online work fitted in well with my personality. I was used to working at different times of the day. For me, I would study after work and also on the commute home. On the course, we also had set times when we would meet, to ensure there were some ways to create a structure for our work. If the course had been in any other format I would not have been able to make it.

Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have paid more attention to the analytics module, as it went slightly over my head. I think I would have liked to have learned more from it. Maybe it was so new that I didn’t get much out of it. In my case, with this module, it was perhaps too much for me to get a grip of it. I learned analytics are important, but feel that I need to understand this in more detail now.