Scientific Computing Graduate - Louise Davies
28 Sep 2020
- Megan Watson



Louise Davies joined the graduate scheme 4 years ago. Her advice for others is “if you like the sound of the graduate programme, just apply!”

Louise Davies post-marathon



​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 easier!”

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.” 

Louise DAvies pic 3.jpgWhilst 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!”

Contact: Humble, Rebecca (STFC,RAL,SC)