Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Lynne Wallace

Lynne Wallace

Lynne WallaceI’m pretty lucky that I knew from a young age what I wanted to do with my life. At school my favourite subjects were physics and maths, thanks to having great teachers who made the classes fun. I learned how to program in computing class at high school, what really stood out for me was the problem-solving side of it and being able to create things through code. After school I went on to study computer science at Edinburgh University. During my summer holidays I interned at start up companies on the upper floors of the university buildings - for me, these were a really valuable part of my learning and an opportunity to see my work in action, in a real live situation with users. These opportunities set me on my course as a developer so I’d highly recommend getting experience at an early stage of your career.

I’m now a software engineer at FanDuel, I joined the company in 2015 and work on the API. FanDuel is a fantasy sports company which runs online daily contests in North America - daily fantasy sports have exploded in popularity over in the US, so the company has grown rapidly since its start up days. The API is right in the middle of our platform architecture so I act as a go-between and work with people across the engineering team to build on the functionality and data we have, in order to create new features for the website and our apps. We’re currently building our first ever UK product so I’ve been involved in creating methods to retrieve fantasy players’ stats - an important feature for users when deciding which players to add to their fantasy team. We’re currently running beta testing during the Euros so it’s been great to get involved in a mix of sport and tech - it’s given me the opportunity to see the work that goes into creating a product from the ground up, as well as brushing up on my football knowledge.

A main reason why I enjoy developing software is the creativity involved, which is something you might not expect when you hear the words “software” and “engineer”. I love coming up with an idea and seeing it through the problem-solving stage, right through to its completion when it can be physically used by others. If your idea is good enough, you could end up creating something that is used by millions of people. It’s a very flexible and fun industry to work in, not to mention there is universal demand for developers so you can move anywhere in the world and find a job - all you need is a computer. At FanDuel we hold hackathons where you team up with others to create something fun and interesting - anything you want - and showcase it to the rest of the company. It’s a great way to work with new people, get creative and try out some crazy new ideas.

Software engineering can cover a broad set of skills and the industry is very fast paced so you always have to be open to learning new technologies and tools to keep up. There is an upside to this; you have the freedom to choose a variety of different jobs, as long as you have knowledge in the areas required. No two jobs will ever be the same so you are always progressing.

My advice would be to learn a little of everything and along the way you will discover the areas of software engineering that interest you most. A great way to learn how to code is to build something, if you have an idea, find a way to create it. Nothing beats real world experience, it really teaches you how to break down problems and find solutions, so look for work experience at a company that interests you.

 

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