Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Suzy's Story - Uncharted Computer Science

Suzy Race is the young representative for British Computer Society in Oxford and works for a software company called Relayware. She also volunteers as a STEM ambassador speaking about her experiences to young people. Suzy has kindly written a post about her journey into Computer Science and hopefully it might inspire you!

“I spent my evening last night eagerly watching my boyfriend play the well-known console game- Uncharted 3 and wondered why after 2 hours of playing he could still be shouting at the computer in frustration? I realised this was the human instinct to succeed when faced with barriers or confusions. The story of Uncharted 3, I can (surprisingly) relate to my own journey to be a lover of all  things techy.

I would like to tell you a brief story that involves goodies, baddies, puzzles, sword fights and collecting treasure along the way (it does have a happy ending.. and no one dies).

The story begins at 13 in an unfamiliar jungle environment surrounded by dial-up internet connections linking me to a maze of information and games to distract me from the on-going battle with homework (you can imagine at this stage my parents are the badies not understanding that reaching level 5 in International Go-Kart Championship is far more important than Alegbra equations).

I continued to work my way through school reaching each level and gaining the points I needed to continue onto the next stage in the story (sound familiar to Drake and Sully?!). At 16, once I had completed my GCSE’s I was faced with my first major puzzle… pick the right A-levels for University.

A puzzle that is still well renowned for being one of the toughest at such an age. At 16, you live to plan the next weekend not what you want to be doing after completing 3 years at University. The school I attended did not offer ICT as a full A-level. Similarly, back then you could not study what I now know as “computing” today. So for a self-confessed computer geek there was no other option. I took the option to study Spanish, French, Geography and Design Technology and leave the world of computing behind. As I boldly stepped into a new world of language games and geographical formations I never lost my interest and passion in solving computer related tasks.

The next stage of the puzzle was going to University and getting a degree. At this stage the idea of doing computing was a distant memory and certainly nothing I considered or was discussed as an option. I continued on to explore a new map at Southampton University doing a degree in Population Sciences. After two years of badies and sword fights I took a year out and worked for Unilever as a Business Analyst. During this year of high adventures to America and beyond.. I found the hidden treasure I had been looking for the whole time. A key to open the door into the world of Computer Science. I took a detour and left the Southampton map and I joined Oxford Brookes University to start and complete a degree in Computer Science.

I have now reached a stage where I have collected my treasures along the way including being the Young Representative for British Computing Society Oxford, local STEM Ambassador for young people and having a job as a Graduate Trainee for a software company in Oxford; Relayware.

The moral of the story… I wish computing had been pushed at school. Many forms of computing or ICT are the basis to most things that we touch, interact with and can this not be fundamental to the teachings of the next generation of users?  Today you cannot escape a social interaction without mention of the internet, a smart phone or a technological invention. Therefore, we must act on teaching youngsters how to develop, manage and safely use any technology. I have engaged in helping with this by becoming a STEM Ambassador to teach youngsters what I love about the world I work in.

The end of the journey is not yet known……"


  1. Very good post. I can personally relate to much of this myself. I think it is important to get young people interested in computer science at school. I wish I had the encouragement at school to get involved with it, instead I found out after taking the wrong A levels, that computer science was what I was most interested in. I am currently in my final year at sixth form and hoping to start a computer science degree later this year. And I fully agree that computing needs to be pushed at school, especially in the fast growing, tech-filled world that we live in.

  2. I hope you achieve what you want and get to University! It is a very rewarding subject and very fast-paced. What A-levels are you doing in the end?

    1. I do Biology, Chemistry and Geography.I know non of them are even remotely related to CS lol.