Growing up in Airdrie, Scotland, I was surrounded by women with three older sisters and a single mother. In high school my big dream was to get into art school. However, after two years of consecutive rejections I decided I had to abandon art and give something else a go. In a dramatic change I enrolled in computer science at Glasgow University. At this point my only exposure to programming was sprucing up my MySpace page.
After six months I was hooked. Studying interactive systems, my creative side became a real strength. I realised humans play a huge part in programming. There’s so much psychology involved, from picking a particular button to choosing layouts, the design element is crucial to the user experience. I became inspired by this marriage of creativity and science as well as the intellectual excitement of computer science.
By day I work on creative online projects, coding websites for a Melbourne digital agency. My evenings and weekends are devoted to ‘Code Like a Girl’, which provides girls with the support, tools and knowledge to enter and flourish in the world of coding. Founded in 2015, ‘Code Like a Girl’ designs and hosts targeted tech events and coding workshops. These roles really complement one another as working in the industry keeps me up‑to‑date with the latest technologies, knowledge and experience which is reflected in our cutting edge workshops and events.
First and foremost mathematics is about problem solving, this makes it a great foundation for budding programmers. Most ordinary problems can be recast as mathematical and solved using a computer. Different areas of programming have a varying degree of mathematics involved. Working as a web developer touches on basic maths such as using equations and formulas, but more complex areas of programming like artificial intelligence and machine learning require a much deeper mathematical understanding. That’s why maths is great for everyone, no matter what your skill level.
ALLY WATSON IS THE CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF CODE LIKE A GIRL. SHE HAS A DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE FROM GLASGOW UNIVERSITY IN SCOTLAND.