Introducing the Tutors
I'm a fourth year IT student at the University of Sydney doing Honours. Both my parents are in IT and as far back as I can remember we've had a computer in the house. My dad started teaching me to program in BASIC in year 3 or so, but my interest really started in year 9 or 10, in Computing Studies classes. I did SDD in year 11 and 12, and really enjoyed the programming side of it. I've since graduated from making horribly ugly websites (which they made us make a lot of in High School — well, they made us do the website part, I just always seemed to add the horribly ugly side of it somehow) and have been loving IT at Uni. Programming's still a lot of fun, and programming in Python (which I only found out about at Uni) is even better. I've found though at uni that the stereotype's still true, unfortunately, and IT's made up of mostly boys — so hopefully we can change that with you guys!
I'm a fourth year science student at the University of Sydney planning to major in mathematics and computer science. I've known for a while that I wanted to study maths at uni, but when I was in high school I didn't know anything about programming at all. I'd never heard of Python, and I had all sorts of funny ideas about programming — I thought it would probably be incredibly complicated, and not at all fun.
Since then I've seen the error of my ways, and I'd really like GPN to give girls a chance to try this "programming" thing and see that it can be fun, and challenging, and possibly even... useful.
Despite growing up in a fairly techie family, I thought computers were boring. I chose to do Computing Studies at school because I didn't want to do a Language or a Social Science, not because I expected to like it. In amongst the boring stuff like how to use Excel, we did a little bit of programming, and for some strange reason, it was just awesome! It's hard to describe what makes it so fun, writing a program is somewhere in between deriving a mathematical formula, baking cookies and writing poetry. Whatever it was, I couldn't get enough of it, so I did SDD in yr 11 and 12, then choosing which uni degrees to apply for was the easiest decision ever! (It helped that my SDD mark bumped up my UAI.)
Now, I have finished a Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) from Sydney Uni, and I'm working as a Software Engineer at Google in Sydney, and I'm still loving it!
In 2007 I completed an Arts Languages degree at Sydney Uni majoring in Linguistics, Digital Cultures and German. I was always interested in computers and especially computational linguistics, but was reluctant to try programming because computer studies hadn't been offered at my school and I thought it would be too hard to catch up to the other students. I eventually bit the bullet, re-enrolled at Uni, this time in the School of IT where I am now completing a Masters of Philosophy, and found programming to be surprisingly fun and challenging. I like puzzling my way through problems and love the feeling of accomplishment when I get a program running, whether it's designed to be useful, pretty or fun! I wish I had known what IT really involved before I started Uni, and hope that GPN will help girls get to know a fascinating field they may not have otherwise explored and gain some useful skills along the way.
I'm studying Bachelor of Science (Adv)/Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at the Univeristy of Sydney. I'm currently in second year and I'm planning majors in statistics and medicinal chemistry as well as a minor in IT.
I've always been passionately interested in maths and science but I had honestly never thought that programming was something that I could do. I stumbled across a subject called INFO1903 Informatics (Adv) by accident when I was looking through the faculty handbook for an elective subject in first year. Being well aware that I had absolutely no programming experience at the time, I was crazy enough to decide that it would be an interesting experience to step out of my comfort zone and learn something completely new. That crazy decision gave me the opportunity to discover many fascinating ideas and exciting challenges in the field of computer science. It has also led me to become a member of GPN — a fantastic initiative that creates opportunities for girls who are curious about computer science to learn more about its limitless possibilities in a fun and social environment.
I finished my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Liberal Studies) at Sydney Uni in 2008, with majors in computer science and linguistics, and honours in computer science. I am now pursuing a PhD in computer science at Macquarie University. My main area of interest is computational linguistics.
My mum first introduced me to programming when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. She taught me about FORTRAN; I also had a book on QBasic. I don't remember how much I actually did in the way of creating programs, particularly since the version of BASIC we had installed was not the same as in the book, but I found computers fascinating. I didn't do any programming for most of my school life, but I got back into it when I did the HSC Software Design and Development course at school. When I started uni, I didn't know whether I wanted to do computer science or physics for my science major; I started with physics but after a year I switched to computer science and never regretted it. I don't do a lot of programming for fun, but I find the problem solving aspect extremely satisfying, and if I have a purpose for programming I can get caught up in it for hours.