|Home town||Ormiston, East Lothian|
|Degree at Edinburgh Napier||Computing Science|
|Role title||Oracle Lead Consultant|
|Interview date||20th August 2013|
|Interviewed by||Ailish Fowler|
What was Katherine’s experience at Edinburgh Napier University?
Katherine chose to study computing at Edinburgh Napier University primarily because the course offered a one-year placement. She believed that completion of the sandwich year in industry would give her an advantage when it came to applying for a job after graduation. Katherine was also attracted to Edinburgh as a city in which study, especially since it was located not too far from her home town.
Katherine enjoyed the integration of mature students into her course and felt she benefitted from sharing the experience with them. The facilities at the university were good. For example, Katherine highlighted that the library provided a place to study, meet new people, and share ideas.
One of the most important things for Katherine on her course was the placement she took in 1994 at Sun Microsystems. At the start she didn’t know anything about the company, but once at work she began to develop strong relationships with the people working there. During this placement she gave demonstrations to customers, shadowed senior members of the team, and carried out various other tasks. She found all the staff to be welcoming and approachable and believes the placement experience was invaluable to her. This gave her the opportunity to work with the most up to date hardware and software and to apply the theory from university in practice in a “real world” environment.
What is Katherine doing now?
Katherine works as an Oracle Lead Consultant for SCC. She spends much of her time with customers helping them identify how computers can help their businesses be successful. Every corporation needs technology to prosper and so her job is vital to the company’s running.
How did Katherine get to this position?
Katherine wasn’t encouraged much at school to follow this career path. It is more a case that her self-motivation and drive have underpinned her career success. Her main reason for taking her degree and joining this profession was that she knew there were jobs and a lot of opportunities for careers in computing.
Finding her first job was easy because the company that she worked for on placement was keen to take her on immediately after graduation. In her later career the many contacts and the network that she built up from this initial placement are still important to her. Of particular help have been her mentors from her period on placement and in her first job at Sun Microsystems, Tim Read and David Joseph. They were both knowledgeable and open-minded, and she felt she could trust them completely whenever she had any questions or problems to resolve at work.
What was Katherine’s experience as a woman on a computing degree course?
Katherine felt that being a female computing student made no difference to how she was treated. She was never at a disadvantage, or regarded as inferior to the male students on her course.
What advice would Katherine give to women wanting to enter this subject?
Katherine follows the philosophy that ‘anyone can do anything’ and believes people should be encouraged to succeed in whatever area that interests them. Katherine’s advice is to always be contactable (for example, through an up to date LinkedIn profile) and to keep in touch with the people and companies with which you work. This way it makes it easy for those with opportunities on offer to find you in the future. She also encourages students to stay honest and have a positive attitude towards their degree programme and any placements they undertake.
What was Katherine’s involvement with Connect when she was at Edinburgh Napier University?
Katherine graduated in 1996 – a long time before the Connect group was established. She hopes to be involved in the group in the future as a role model for female students in computing.