Natalie Kerracher – PhD student in Computing, Edinburgh Napier University

 Profile overview

Name Natalie Kerracher
Home town Edinburgh
Degree at Edinburgh Napier MSc Software Technology for the Web
Graduation date 2009
Role title PhD student in computing
Organisation Edinburgh Napier University
Interview date 19th August 2013
Interviewed by Ailish Fowler
Natalie Kerracher
Natalie Kerracher

What was Natalie’s initial experience of Edinburgh Napier University?

In 2009 Natalie completed an MSc in Software Technology for the Web at Edinburgh Napier University. She was attracted to this course by its vocational nature, and also because it welcomed students from a diverse range of subject backgrounds. The MSc added a further qualification to Natalie’s MA (Hons) degree in Mental Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh.

Natalie enjoyed the personal atmosphere within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier when she was on her MSc course. She was also impressed by the number of female academic staff in senior roles within the School.

How did Natalie become a PhD student in computing at Edinburgh Napier University?

Natalie’s decision to undertake doctoral studies at Edinburgh Napier University stems from her enjoyment of studying the MSc between 2007 and 2009. Not long after she graduated with her MSc an opportunity arose for her to work with Professor Jessie Kennedy on a PhD project in the area of data visualisation.

What advice would Natalie give to women who would like to study and work in computing?

Natalie believes that a keen and committed interest in the subject is key to career success. Background knowledge and experience in the subject is helpful, but not essential when you join a postgraduate conversion course, such as the MSc that Natalie completed in 2009. Natalie feels that you don’t need to be really into computers to find a career in computing, as the range of career opportunities is so diverse.

What does Natalie think could be done to encourage more women to consider a career in computing?

Natalie believes that the stereotype of computing as a “boys’ subject” for geeks and nerds can be challenged in a number of ways. These include ensuring that boys and girls are introduced to technical subjects on an equal footing, and making sure that they see female role models with successful careers in domains such as computing. She thinks it’s important for them to know that many “normal” women enjoy work in this area.

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