My initial interest in Computing arose when my mother was taking a course on the "New Maths" for schools that included the binary system. I have always enjoyed mathematics, number systems, and games and puzzles involving numbers.
When I came to England as a teenager, I studied double Maths at A-level and went on to study Mathematics, History, and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University. Logic and the Philosophy of Logic fascinated me, so I changed to studying Philosophy and took my first degree in Philosophy. When I graduated, I was lucky to get my first job in the Centre for Computer Studies at Leeds University. I have always worked in Computing primarily in UK universities although I have worked briefly in university start-ups and throughout my career on projects with industrial partners.
Working in universities enabled me to study on the job, and I obtained my Masters and PhD while working full-time. I got my PhD in my forties and ten years later became a Professor of Software Engineering. With the exception of my first job at Leeds, I have frequently been the first woman to join a department, working at my level. I would like to think that this is changing these days. Throughout my career, I've been involved in groups and activities to encourage more girls and women in the STEM fields.
I do think it is important to do work that you personally enjoy and find challenging. I have been lucky to be able to develop my knowledge and skills in Computing on the job, and that is one of the main reasons why I have enjoyed my work in universities so much.
Computer Science is a great subject to study and an excellent field in which to work; in particular, my area of Software Engineering as an applied science has given me the opportunity to work within a wide variety of domains where computers are essential from Steel Production to Electronic Commerce. The rapid changes in technology over the last 40 years have meant there is always something new to learn!
I joined the BCS early on in my career. It has been through professional organisations such as the BCS, the ACM, the IET and IEEE that I have been able to keep abreast of developments in the field of Computing. I'm proud to have been involved in BCSWomen from its start and I currently chair the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. I am hoping through my recent membership of the Policy Committee of the BCS Membership Board and election to the BCS Council to ensure that more women in Computing and students of Computing come to enjoy the benefits of BCS membership.
My most recent venture has been to set-up a company with two other women. We won a small grant to develop a demonstrator app for the digital currency that we have been developing. We have been taking part in the Bethnal Green Ventures Accelerator programme for people who want to change the world using technology for good. Our currency, ebarts, is a social currency.
Over my career, I have seen computing make a radical difference to the world we live in and I've greatly enjoyed the part that I've been able to play in Computing as a software engineer and educator. Finally, I want to mention that working in Computing has enabled me to travel the world: Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, and most European countries.