Software Engineer at Savage
What’s your background?
I first studied a Bachelor of Applied Computing and an honours year where I received First Class Honours.
Following that I went to London and worked for a media company for a couple of years as a software engineer and team leader. I then returned to Australia and completed a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at UNSW and Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris.
While studying I worked in technical support and systems administration. When I completed my studies I spent some time at home caring for two baby daughters.
After which I worked at CSIRO for 5 years as a post doctoral fellow and research scientist. I currently work as a project manager and software engineer at Savage where we make Procreate, one of the world’s most popular iPad apps.
What is the big picture goal or purpose behind your business?
To make the most beautiful and powerful tools in the world for artists and illustrators.
When did you get switched on to STEM, and how?
Growing up in the 80s we were one of very few families that had computers at home. I used the books that came with them to write very simple programs and was hooked.
What is the coolest, strangest, best, most meaningful, most ambitious or favourite project you’ve worked on so far?
Last year I received an arts grant from Arts Tasmania to build and program an autonomous robot performer for the theatre.
What’s been your biggest fail on this journey?
I worked for a short time as technical support for a company that made a huge Windows CE phone before smart phones. Nobody ever called.
What do you know about STEM now that you didn’t know at school?
More important than experience and qualifications is work ethic and the ability to learn.
What are some of the most exciting career opportunities that you see emerging in STEM?
As the tools improve for building new technologies, all kinds of people will be able to create new things.
Why do we need more women working in STEM?
Women are half the population and with all-male teams you can end up with solutions that only work for their half. It’s just good business.
What is your advice to young women who want to learn about and pursue a career in STEM?
It is for you. Making things is fun.
Claire’s career path:
>> Bachelor of Applied Computing, University of Tasmania
>> Computing (Hons), Queensland University of Technology
>> PhD (Artificial Intelligence and Robotics), UNSW
>> Postdoctoral research fellow, CSIRO
>> Software Engineer, Savage
“As the tools improve for building new technologies, all kinds of people will be able to create new things.”
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.