Computing futures

19th May 2016

News, Student news, Alumni news

How an interest in technology can lead to a range of exiting careers in the sector was the subject of a computer inspiration event organised by Wadham’s Middle Common Room.

Current students with an interest in programming, IT, and related industries met with alumni from the technology sector at this event, organised by Sarah-Beth Amos (DPhil Biochemistry, 2015), Kristina Kampfer (MSt Women's Studies, 2015) and Mili Malde (Classics, 2013).

Everyone with an interest in technology, whether developing software or how to better use Excel, were warmly welcomed to hear streams of talks, including Sarah-Beth on Data visualisation in Python and Mili giving an overview of HTML and web technology.  

Alumni shared experiences of their careers in the technology sector, with wide-ranging experiences from managing large investment-banks and software development to analysing big-data and developing the latest tech start-ups in the new digital economy.

Students and alumni alike came from mixed academic backgrounds, including social sciences and humanities, engineering, medicine and the sciences.  Glenn Martin (Classics, 1967) shared his experiences from the banking sector in the early 1970s through to heading the global technology function at JP Morgan Cazenove in recent years.  Glenn advised students to: “Always be able to talk to both IT people and senior management”.

Alumni speakers also included Tolan Abbott (Maths, 1996) who talked about his career as a programmer with IBM, UBS, and start-ups, discussing the benefits of each type of organisation. Bill Gallafent (Physics, 1993 and Computation, 1998) shared his experiences developing software in a range of sectors and his most recent venture with Tickpea – a start-up creating a split train ticket purchasing service. Chris Hadley (Physics, 2000) who moved from an academic career in Quantum Physics to using his data analysis skills with Qubit, a big-data start-up and the largest marketing analysis company in the UK. Luke Peake (Economics and Management, 2006) talked about his founding of Uberated, a technology start-up helping to improve online shopping experiences.

Commenting on the event, MCR President Sarah-Beth said: “The students enjoyed collaborating on programming exercises and sharing their knowledge. This was particularly useful for students new to coding, and enjoyable to those with more experience. Many reported that the event gave them more confidence to improve their skills and that much was gained from hearing the perspectives of alumni.”

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