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software engineering

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Katie Miller, Software Engineer, Red Hat

Katie Miller

Katie Miller

Software Engineer

Red Hat



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
My oldest brother, 12 years my senior, introduced me to programming in QBasic when I was a kid and sparked an interest in computers and coding that continued throughout my school years. Although I went on to do a journalism degree and spend seven years working in the news media, I never lost that passion for technology. Eventually my job at the local newspaper morphed into a website editing role and I went back to university to study for a Master of IT degree specialising in software engineering. I love the challenges that come with being a software developer and now I couldn’t imagine doing anyt‌hing else.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
At work, I think every project I have the chance to work on is pretty cool in that being an open source company, the code is shared with the whole world and anyone can use or improve it. Outside work, there was a memorable project I was part of at my local hackerspace where we wired up an Arduino to control the property’s roller door and created an Android app that members could use to gain entry. When a member entered the correct code into the mobile app, it would automatically open the door and send a tweet and push notifications to other members so they would know someone was at the space. It was cool because it gave us the chance to play with both hardware and software while building something really practical.

Role models/heroes:
All the pioneering, high-flying female computer scientists of the past and present, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Marissa Mayer.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I love working in STEM because technology is constantly changing and that means there are always new challenges, new things to learn and new inventions to play with.

Advice for future STEMinists?
Be tenacious. Sometimes it might be difficult being in the minority but don’t let anything shake your confidence. Make the most of the opportunities available; be sure to check if you’re eligible for any relevant women’s programs or scholarships. Take inspiration and encouragement from the technical women that have gone before you and remember you are paving the way for the women to follow, so do them proud. Dream big.

Favorite website/app:
There are too many amazing apps and websites for me to declare a favourite but I do love Stack Overflow; it’s a brilliant resource for developers and a great example of online collaboration.

Twitter: @codemiller

Web: www.codemiller.com

Profiles

STEMinist Profile: Louise Brown, Research Fellow in the Polymer Composites Research Group

Brown

Louise Brown

Research Fellow in the Polymer Composites Research Group
Dept. of Mechanical, Materials & Manufacturing Engineering
University of Nottingham



What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
Maths and science were always my favourite subjects at school. My dad was a mechanical engineer and I was encouraged to consider engineering as a career. I studied mechanical engineering at university where I started to learn programming which I really enjoyed. My PhD was developing a computer controlled machine for filament winding composite materials and I realised that I was far better at being a software engineer than a mechanical engineer! After that I moved to the computer science department and have worked as a software engineer since then.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I think that my current job is pretty cool. It combines writing software which I love doing with the engineering that I started my career with. Being at the forefront of composite materials research, by developing software to model textile composites, is both challenging and very interesting. The project I run is here: www.texgen.sourceforge.net

Role models/heroes:
I think that the women in the BCSWomen group, and especially my fellow committee members, have been a great inspiration to me. They are so enthusiastic about the field that they work in and also passionate about encouraging women to start, and then continue in, careers in computing.

Why do you love working in STEM?
I think that it’s just what makes me tick! There’s always something new and interesting to learn.

Advice for future STEMinists?
If you are interested in and want to work in STEM don’t be put off by people who try to persuade you that it will be hard (which it sometimes may be, but what’s wrong with a challenge!) or that it’s not for women. Just decide what you want to do and go for it!

Favorite website or app: I think The Code Project has to be one of my favourites. It nearly always helps with coding problems I’m facing and its daily newsletter leads me to blogs and articles both serious and not so serious.

Twitter: @louisepb