From a young age I have been fascinated by computers. I very quickly became the person in my family who would be asked to fix technical issues. That said, I wasn’t introduced to programming as a career option until Year 11, when I attended a Girls’ Programming Network workshop. The network is a program developed by girls, for girls, with fun computer science activities.
That one workshop opened up a whole new world for me. I signed up for the National Computer Science Summer School, a 10-day program for students going into Years 11 and 12. Suddenly, it clicked that I could use my maths and science skills together with my creativity as starting points for a career in software.
I’m now in my fourth year of software engineering at UNSW Sydney. One of the coolest projects I’ve worked on has been soccer robotics. My team and I are competing in the Standard Platform League, which is part of the soccer robotics RoboCup Domain League!
UNSW Sydney has a career development scholarship called the Co-op program. As part of my scholarship, I worked as a prototyper at Atlassian, where I got to work with designers to test and research the latest designs for the company’s products.
My dream job would be one in software that allowed me to make a direct, positive impact on the environment. I love nature and want to apply technology in ways to help nurture it. My advice to women wanting to be leaders in engineering is to connect with other women. Look for role models you can admire during the tougher times. Having support from others can make all the difference!
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“I wasn’t introduced to programming as a career option until I attended a Girls’ Programming Network workshop.”
Author: Heather Catchpole
Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs