How I got involved? How did I get involved in computer science – I still ask myself that question?
At school I didn’t get to use a computer until I did my standard grade computing (14 yrs), which I have to say I didn’t do well in. I was a geek, yes – but a severe maths geek until I left school and decided to take a break from education and concentrate on family and work life. I used to spend time as a child pretending to play schools and doing maths when I could, even making up my own sums to do. Didn’t actually realise I was a geek though till a conference I went to last year when Dr Sue Black mentioned that she was a maths geek as a child too.
During my work life I found that as I was the youngest in the office I was soon relied upon for my computer skills! It seemed then that younger = more knowledge of PCs. Ageism maybe in a different sense?
The company I worked for did have an ICT guy and a company who came out as well to fix things when they went wrong, I have to say I owe a lot to these guys for sparking my interest again in computing, I would watch intently and ask lots of questions when they were around, which in turn meant that when the ICT guy left and budget was low I was the one everyone looked to for help when it went wrong. Something I didn’t plan for = Cheap ICT/Computing labour = me. Especially when I heard the last ICT guy was being paid twice as much as me and ICT wasn’t even in my remit.
Anyway leaving this job to have my last child gave me a lot to consider and that’s when the computing science came to me. I thought that if that guy who did the job in my old work got paid lots then why can’t I?
I went into my first year undergrad computing thinking that I wanted a job that paid lots of money but have to say that by the time I got to 3rd year had really changed my mind and wanted to work with others and educate them about computing.
I did get this chance in 4th year with my honours project to educated children about computing and also took part in a new module which gave us the chance to communicate computing to others (in our case we worked with secondary school children). I feel that this year made me in the way that I want to continue computing but more so; I want to make sure the next generation enjoy computing and want to take it up as a subject and not just see computers as something they use for Facebook and music etc.
I’m now moving on to undertake my PhD, however one of the schools I worked with last year really enjoyed working with Scratch and so I am going back to work with them and hopefully give this years P4/5 class (8/9 years) a new take on their computing lessons.