Louise Davies works in the Data and Software Engineering Group, part
of the Scientific Computing Department (SCD). She joined STFC on the graduate
scheme in 2016 after studying Computer Science at the University of Cambridge.
Louise explains her day-to-day job is “developing software to support
scientists in their work at STFC”.
Working as a software engineer hasn’t always been a clear
career path for Louise. “I was undecided about what area I wanted to work in
until I started to do GCSE Electronics and was introduced to simple flowchart
logic for operating microcontrollers. I really enjoyed this aspect so my
teacher introduced me to coding and I was hooked from then on!”.
Before joining STFC as a graduate, Louise was already
familiar with Daresbury Laboratory. “My uncle works for STFC at the Daresbury
site, so I always knew that Daresbury Lab existed as a potential career option.
I had also visited the Lab as part of my A-Level Physics, so I was able to
learn more about the science that goes on there during my trip.”
Although the graduate scheme moved Louise to the Rutherford
Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, she explains “the Daresbury site was
one of the main things that attracted me to the job”.
Staff who join via the graduate scheme follow a rotation
system, with multiple placements, both within SCD and in other STFC departments.
Louise describes this to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the scheme. “I
really enjoyed the rotation aspect as it allowed me to explore different
projects, groups and technologies, and it helped me decide what I wanted to do
as my permanent role here. I also really enjoyed being part of the graduate
community, as everyone was supportive and friendly which makes your first job
Louise has worked on a diverse range of projects during her
time in the graduate scheme. “The most rewarding was my external placement. I
got to learn their systems and was able to introduce some new ideas and
improvements. I think I made quite the impression! I also really enjoy my
current project; this is due to the project itself and the people I work with”.
Louise’s most current project focusses on the redesigning of
web applications that enable scientists to access both metadata and the data
from experiments they do in facilities such as ISIS, DIAMOND and CLF.
Since starting at STFC, Louise has progressed well in her
career. “I’m really pleased with the way my career is going, I am now a
technical lead for the project I am currently working on, I have managed and
supported other graduates and also provided technical support to colleagues
whilst working on my projects”.
Not only has Louise advanced in her career as a software
engineer, but she has also been involved with numerous public engagement
events. “Pretty much since the start of my time on the graduate scheme, I have
been involved with many of these events. Some of the things I have done
include; helping out as site guide, helping out and leading computer activities,
and running machine room tours to show visitors the vast amount of computing
capabilities and data storage platforms we host and manage.”
Whilst working at STFC, Louise has also been able to
volunteer as a STEM ambassador. STEM ambassadors are people from Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics backgrounds, who are inspiring role
models for young people. “I chose to be a STEM ambassador as there where tons
of activities to easily get involved with and because of how fulfilled it makes
you feel! The activities I got involved with were very nerve-racking at first but
also really rewarding. I have been able to talk to young people and tell them
all about my career”.
Louise has found her perfect career through the STFC
graduate scheme and actively encourages others to do the same. “There is so
much you can do and get involved with on the graduate scheme, the scheme is so
interesting and has a tangible impact. You get public sector benefits, get to
work on really cool sites with large scale facilities and can get involved with
public engagement too. If you like science and you want to contribute to the
public good rather than a commercial company, then STFC is a really good pick!
If you like the sound of the graduate scheme, just apply!”