From considering careers in everything from nursing to Google, Hayley van Waas may have just found her niche in Computer Science (CS) education. We caught up with the certified software engineer to find out why she’s so passionate about coding, and what a career like hers has to offer.
When I was in high school, I was absolutely convinced that I was going to be a nurse. I was ready to leave school early to study nursing at the local Polytechnic.
I was also taking Computer Science at School (I was at the only school in the region that offered the subject!) and I loved it and was really good at it. The only problem was that it never occurred to me that there were jobs in that area.
It wasn’t until I was researching for a presentation about CS in High Schools that I realised that there is actually a whole industry behind this subject.
The work/study balance
I currently study at the University of Canterbury, I am a Bachelor of Science undergraduate majoring in Computer Science and Statistics. I actually work at the uni, in the Department of Fun Stuff (CS Education Research Group) as a Software Engineer.
I love my job because I get to introduce CS education to teachers and students, and it is so awesome to see their eyes light up when they realise that this subject resonates really well with them.
Computer Science is FINALLY becoming compulsory in New Zealand’s school curriculum and I’m involved in the roll out, so my goal is to make sure that teachers feel empowered rather than scared of the subject.
In high school, I did Digi Tech as a scholarship subject (think, very independent whole-year project). I decided to make a native android app, and it was by far the most difficult project I have ever worked on.
I had no idea what I was doing. I had no one who could help me, but I stuck with it and it turned out to be very rewarding. The app itself wasn’t particularly meaningful, it was more what I learned from the process. You can read about the process on my blog!
We know that everyone learns differently, but everyone does at least learn by doing, so just give coding a go!
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.