What’s the most unexpected thing about your job?
I still don’t technically have a qualification for the job I do today. All of the work (code) I contribute is free and accessible (open source software). Anyone with a laptop can teach themselves programming, for free, and contribute to, not only to the blockchain tooling code my team writes, but the multitude of open source software out there, solving every kind of problem you can think of.
Did you have any role models when you were younger? What inspired you to do the job you’re doing now?
I didn’t really know what a Software Developer was until I was one, and in some ways I’m still figuring it out! It was a job role that became the next step after specialising in Computational Chemistry at the end of my degree.
Any influential toys during childhood?
Lego! Puzzles, Board Games, Chess.
Your favourite subjects at school?
Art and Design, Maths.
My chosen GCSEs were Geography and French; as well as being part of one of the few classes at the time that took triple science GCSEs. My A Levels were a very broad English (Language), Maths (with Statistics) and Science (Chemistry). I have a GNVQ and AS Level in Art and Design.
Your reason for choosing this career?
I was never any good at lab chemistry but I enjoyed the theoretical side, specifically quantum mechanics and astrochemistry. This involved running bash scripts on high performance computers, and I wrote my thesis using a programmable document preparation system, which was luckily enough to convince IBM I could learn how to develop software.
Tell me about your career path to date?
Masters in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield -> IBM as a Graduate Software Developer for Spectrum Virtualize Storage Systems -> IBM Blockchain Software Developer.
If you could have any job what would it be? How does it differ from what you’re doing?
If I were to accidentally continue being a “Master of None”, I’d ideally spend my time split between running an independent cinema and researching theoretical astrochemistry.
Your advice to a young person considering a career in STEM?
If it feels right, go for it! You can change your mind later. What you choose to study/work for now doesn’t define the rest of your life. A good proportion of the jobs that we’ll be interviewing for in 20 years, don’t exist now.