Aside

Throwback to School

I visited my high school the other day and it was such a surreal experience to think I’d left 4 years ago, but really it hadn’t felt like I’d left at all. Seeing my tutor and the Heads of A-level was so great to catch up with them, still the same old humour and supportiveness that I’d received at school.

I’d learnt that last year my school was unable to continue IT A-level because it had stopped existing by the exam board and because there wasn’t enough IT teachers to cover it, but they informed me that they are going to be bringing it back to my high school as a BTEC course. I’m so glad they’ve decided to bring it back because I personally felt that it was limiting the students, if I was a student there I probably wouldn’t have gone elsewhere for A-levels just because they’d stopped that one subject and it may not have led to what I’ve achieved over the last 4 years and the excitement I’ve found in IT and STEM.

With a lot of changes recently in government and the change to GCSEs, it’s left educators even more so chasing paperwork than concentrating on actual educating. I know the government are trying to entice STEM teacher training, but why would the majority of STEM graduates choose teaching over industry if the starting salary is at least Β£5K a year more in industry. I know it’s not all about money, but to live comfortable after university and be able to afford a house within several years, industry has to be chosen. Personally, I do want to go into teaching at some point in my career, but I want to gain industry experience before I do.

It can also be said that the people in charge of the curriculums do not understand STEM subjects (flashback to Mark Zukerberg’s hearing about Facebook) and the constant changing and innovation within them, this is why it’s hard to teach them because there’s so much content to cover… maybe they could and should, be split even further?

Regardless, of how STEM is being told to be taught or being taught, it’s apparent that it’s becoming more of a priority. πŸ€“

What else do you think the government or schools themselves can do to engage more students in STEM?

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Meow.

It’s weird how pets or animals in general have an effect on people, that’s why many offices now have a resident dog. 🐢

For me, growing up even when my Mum was really ill and I didn’t want to maybe talk about it to anybody, my cat was always there. He’s been there ‘helping’ me study for GCSEs, laying on my paintings at A-levels to this year stretching over my laptop whilst I write my dissertation πŸ’»

Even though animals can’t speak our language, there’s an unspoken bond which can be very uplifting after a long day at work or in a stressful moment in life.

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Marie Claire: June 2018

Really appreciating Marie Claire UK for incorporating “power play” and how to be paid what you’re worth into a hit magazine that many women read. These are the kind of articles that do need to become a resident feature in mainstream magazines, to help build up strong women who know when (and how) to stand up to the gender pay gap and earn the money they deserve πŸ’ͺ

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A Week It’s Been…

It’s been a week since I finished my last university exam and drove off to fly to Amsterdam where I had one of the best weekends ever, with some amazing friends.

When I returned to England, I came back to my parent’s house and went out for a meal to celebrate finishing university with my parents, sister, boyfriend and both sets of grandparents. I’m very lucky to have such a huge support system.

I then returned to Uxbridge on Wednesday to have lunch with my colleagues from GSK, nearly a year after I left and it’s great to be catching up with them, weird to not know whether I’ll see them again or not. That evening I went out for another meal with my dissertation group and tutor (Team Rob ftw!) which was great and we had such a laugh, really great way to end the year after all our worries and stress regarding our dissertation and the encouragement we got from our tutor.

Thursday was a great day too, I met up with a friend and we took her gorgeous little girl to a soft play area and out shopping! Later on I had a WCIT dinner at the Waterman’s Hall, which was magnificent to celebrate diversity and inclusion, much to my surprise I was sat at the top table and was mentioned in the Master’s speech, I very much appreciated his and everyone’s kind words. It’s really nice to be a part of that community!

Friday again was busy, met my friend for breakfast and then we helped with the Level 2 transition day for our department, anybody who knows me knows I love to talk, and I really do love chatting about how I found my placement year and this past year of university, giving them advice which I hope will be of value. I was also able to see one of my mentors, David Barker, on campus promoting the Placer app at the Brunel Careers Fair. After I rushed off to pack up my room into my car (not sure how it all managed to fit in my little Seat Ibiza), handed in my keys, and drove off into the distance. I am officially moved back to Hertfordshire now!

It’s been a hectic week but I love to be busy, better than having nothing to do!

(Now off to Corfu for a few days to actually relax… with nothing to do but read a good book whilst tanning)

Link

STEM becoming STEAM

A growing debate is regarding the placing of ‘A’ into STEM, standing for Art.

Many people are asking whether Art belongs…

As I have said in other posts, there is a definite need for aligning job roles and careers to creative interests. The example I often use is how Art skills is desired for UX Designers, and likewise for many other subjects that can feed into STEM subjects.

All industries are crying out for more STEM trained professionals, and the primary route for this is to be a STEM graduate. But it is just as important to have soft skills, the way to learn those are through creative and practical ways.

Whatever letters do or do not get added, the bottom line is that there are careers in all sectors that need both STEM training and creative skills. So don’t ever feel that you aren’t “clever” enough etc to be in an IT or engineering job, because there is a place for all skills.

Take a look at a few articles on the debate:

https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/11/18/ctq-jolly-stem-vs-steam.html

http://www.statepress.com/article/2018/03/spartcult-the-team-for-steam

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252439491/Oracle-MBX-Oracle-uses-interns-and-grads-to-encourage-others-into-Stem

Aside

10 Tools For Learning Tech Online

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1) Codecademy – Learn to code for free

2) Udemy – Not only IT courses free/paid

3) IT Online Learning – Paid certifications

4) Plural Sight – Subscription courses

5) Coursera – Free online courses

6) edX – Computer Science courses

7) MIT OpenCourseWare – Free tech learning materials

8) Treehouse – Web Development courses

9) Udacity – Subscription courses

10) Lynda – LinkedIn Learning courses

 

Many of these websites are what I use in my spare time to gain some technical coding knowledge, but they are also good for learning business “soft” skills too!

Take a look πŸ™‚