The first #Wheredidyoustart of 2017 comes from Andrea Cullen and Lorna Armitage, both lecturers in Computer Science at the University of Bradford.
Andrea: “I studied computer science at school as a GCSE option, mostly because I loved logic and maths, and I enjoyed it so much I took it as an A-level too. When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do, so took the first job I was offered working in insurance claims. I knew quickly it wasn't for me, and when my old Computer Science teacher started a technology business he got in touch and offered me a job as a programmer.
“A couple of years later I got married and had four children, so became a stay at home mum. Before the youngest was born I knew I wanted to get back to work, so I stared an evening course learning C++. This quickly developed into an obsession and I decided to go to university to study. My youngest child was 6 weeks old when I started my degree, so I had to juggle a few things, but I loved the learning.
“When I graduated I was offered a funded PhD, and my first lecturing post came just before I competed my doctorate - some 12 years ago. It's great to be able to combine a love of technology with fantastic research projects and teaching. The job offers freedom, continuous learning, the chance to work with a variety of interesting people, and of course the opportunity to enjoy some of the latest technologies.”
Lorna: “I actually left school very young with a handful of GCSEs, and worked in quite a few jobs which I found really dull. I’d always loved learning and have always had a passion for technology so I decided that I would go to university as a mature student. I was 27 and had two young children when I started my degree in Computer Science. I had done some long distance learning but apart from that had not studied for quite a few years.
“After graduating I chose to do a qualification in teaching and began working in a secondary school, which I loved. However, I wasn’t really able to teach and explore different technologies as much as I wanted, so I decided to go back to university to study for a PhD. I was very fortunate, because at the time people were retiring, so they were in need of someone to teach modules as well. I was soon doing a full time lecturers position and was able to combine the three things I loved the most - technology, teaching and learning.
“That was nearly 7 years ago now and I am still as passionate as ever about my career. Every day is different and I get to research and explore new technologies, create and design solutions, make a positive impact on societies, as well as learning and developing constantly.”