From psychology to technology

Although she’s always been interested in tech, Lauren Groombridge, 25, never believed she had what it takes to make it a career. _nology has shown her that belief was wrong…

Written by Nology Team - 17.04.19

If anyone had told me a few years ago when I was desperately struggling with my A-levels, working as a waitress and panicking that I’d spend the rest of my life waitressing that I’d be training as a web developer, I’d never have believed it!

The issue of diversity in tech…

I’ve always had an interest in technology, my dad is really tecky so that rubbed off on me. But I’d always assumed I could never go into it for a living. I think that’s because apart from the other women on my _nology course, I’d never known a woman going into technology. And also because all the people I did know who worked in tech were amazing at maths, a subject I’d always really struggled with.

I lost my confidence towards the end of secondary school and wasn’t really enjoying it and I found the jump from GCSE’s to A Levels really hard. Eventually I dropped my A Levels and got a job. Then I kind of woke up one day and realised I didn’t want to be waitress for the rest of my life and started doing a night course in maths. It was there I learnt that I’m dyscalculia – which is a bit like dyslexia but with numbers – which made perfect sense. No wonder I’d always found maths so difficult! Once I knew that it gave me a bit more confidence and after the maths course I did an access to higher education course, and one of the modules was Psychology which I really enjoyed. So then I did a Psychology degree. I did really well at University so then signed up to do a Masters with a view to becoming a Forensic Psychologist.

Confidence in my abilities

For a couple of reasons during my Masters I began to question whether it was right for me – it was also becoming increasingly expensive – that’s when I started to look at other options. I was researching graduate and other training schemes and came across _nology. I’d done a few bits of self-taught tech stuff in my time but not loads so I had a skype chat with Peter to find out more. Next thing I was at the assessment day and within a few hours we’d done a group exercise and built an app. It was a basic app but I remember thinking, ‘I didn’t find that impossible. Maybe, just maybe I could be good at this.’

The course is intense and fast paced but I love it!

Through starting _nology I’ve basically realised I’ve hated every job I’d ever done up until now! For me, coming in to Opus every day is not like work at all, it’s just really good fun, even when it’s tricky. Yes, it’s intense and fast paced but there’s never been a day, even when I’ve been finding it tough, that I’ve not wanted to come in.

Being based in a tech recruitment company, it also feels like I’m in the right place to find a job once _nology finishes – which is really important to me after my Masters experience. I’m 25 now and so I want something that’s got really good job prospects so I can get into my career.

I’d like to explore the application of tech in healthcare

When I finish the course, at some stage I’d like to combine my new tech skills with my psychology background. One of my lecturers has done lots of research on the small font size of lots of medication and the problems elderly people have reading it and how many of them end up taking the wrong amounts of medication. I started thinking about that the other day and wondering whether technology could help this problem at all – perhaps a device that could read out the type out. I don’t think technology in healthcare is as advanced as it could be and it’s definitely something I’m interested in exploring further.

Anyone can pursue a career in tech

I really want to let people who may be considering this course for themselves know that you shouldn’t write yourself off as someone who can’t work in this sector. Because if I hadn’t felt like that for so long, I would have got into tech years ago. Don’t assume because you’re not a male from a STEM background that this isn’t for you and don’t assume you need to be brilliant at maths. All of us _nology students are from different backgrounds and I spent a lot of time worrying beforehand that I hadn’t gone to a good enough University and that I’m not from a wealthy background. Honestly none of that matters. I wish I’d known that a lot sooner but I’m glad I know it now.

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