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International Women’s Day - “I loved computers and that was that” - Laura’s Story

Posted on 9/03/2018 by Greg Clarke


I started coding when I was around 12 years old, making web pages for me and my friends.

It never occurred to me at the time that programming was a “boy” thing; I just knew that I loved computers and that was that. It wasn’t until high school, where I was the first girl to study Computing for A Level for years, that I realised that there weren’t many female programmers.

What started as a hobby quickly became a career path. I studied Computing Science at the University of Stirling and got a call from Harrison from the MThree London office on the train one day in May 2017 not long after my course had finished. The Alumni Graduate Programme appealed to me for many reasons: I wanted the chance to learn and grow at a large company, I wanted to learn from industry experts and the entering the world of finance seemed like an exciting chance to challenge myself. I flew down to London with 5 of my fellow Alumni in mid-June and I can’t believe how much has happened since then!

Wanting to work in an Investment Bank was very much an impulsive choice for me – I had never had any exposure to what happens in finance bar what I had seen in the media, but I had always wanted to know what happened behind the stock exchange doors. I started work as a Java Developer in Morgan Stanley Glasgow in August 2017, where I have been for the last 6 months. The project I am currently working on is primarily based in Glasgow but the team itself is worldwide. I work with a bunch of wonderful people who are very knowledgeable and helpful, and are more than happy to answer any questions I have (and there are lots of them!). It can be quite a high-pressure environment with regulatory deadlines, but that makes it even more rewarding when we deliver. It is never repetitive work - every day brings a new challenge which motivates me to continue to learn and grow.

I have joined together with some of the non-technical women in my team and beyond to create a monthly learning session where I teach them some programming skills that would make their jobs easier. I feel that I was very lucky as a young girl to stumble across programming, and without that initial exposure, I would never have started on this career path. All of these great women have had no exposure to programming through no fault of their own and are really enjoying it thus far.

The initial period of training down in London at MThree’s Academy gave me the much-needed context that allowed me to thrive at Morgan Stanley. The week of finance training has helped me in my role immeasurably – I work with a vast array of financial products and without the training, I would have been completely lost! I’m working with two other MThree Alumni Associates in Glasgow and I see the rest of my fellow Alumni during our twice yearly company parties down in London which is always a good time. Some of the people I met while training will be my friends for years to come. You really build up a sense of kinship and learn from each other throughout the whole process.

Looking forward, I want to continue building up my skill set by learning new technologies and languages. The technology world is forever growing and changing so it’s important to keep up. I cannot wait to see what the future holds, especially with so many young women learning Computer Science now as part of the curriculum in schools.

My advice for anyone starting the MThree Alumni Programme would be to keep asking questions! If you are unsure of something or find a topic interesting a want to go into more detail, you are in the perfect place to ask an expert who will be very willing to help.

Being a woman in technology can be a challenging thing but by speaking up and aiming for excellence in everything you do, the world is yours for the taking!

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