Meet the tutor: Julia Roebuck
What degree did you do?
The official title was: BSc(Hons) Information Technology (Software Development) but it’s basically a Computer Science degree with a heavy emphasis on programming. I got a 2:1.
Where and when did you do it?
I did my degree at The University of Huddersfield and graduated in 1996. It’s a great place to study and a really good University (well I would say that wouldn’t I!!) It prepared me for work really well as it had close industry ties and meant we were taught the skills needed in the real world. I actually applied for the course when it was a Polytechnic and the year I started 1992, it turned into a University which was a nice surprise when I arrived!
What got you into Computing?
I was a bit of a late-comer to computing. I wasn’t very geeky with technology growing up. It was all a bit of a mystery to me and I remember being in a computing class at school aged about 12 listening to the teacher talking about zeros and ones and not understanding it! (They were teaching binary). Then, when I was 17 I went to college to do a BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance because I didn’t know what else to do. As part of that course I did some Cobol programming and I loved it. It was then that I realised I wanted to work with computers. I applied to Huddersfield (Polytechnic) to do a degree and I’ve never looked back.
What programming languages do you know?
I’ve worked mainly in C++ and Java, but I’ve done lots of others: Python, Swift, Pascal, VB, SQL, T-SQL and Prolog. When I did my degree, Huddersfield Uni taught us how to learn new programming languages quickly so I try and pass that skill onto my students where possible.
What is your favourite language?
I have a soft spot for SQL and T-SQL : it’s used with Databases. Otherwise it’s Java.
What sort of things have you programmed?
All sorts of things: I’ve worked on dentistry software for the Swedish NHS, financing cars for Ford Credit, internet spreadbetting software, food manufacturing software, college course software and telecoms.
Would you recommend a career in Computing?
Definitely! It’s a particularly good career for women and girls and it really saddens me that there are so few women in computing. Also, there’s lots of jobs so someone qualified will never be out of work. If you have a degree in computing you can pretty much get access into any country of the world to work.
What do you like most about teaching?
I love seeing my students learn and develop their computing skills. When I started teaching I didn’t realise how much I’d want each student to do well. I really love their enthusiasm about the subject and it reminds me of when I discovered computers.
What do you do in your spare time?
I try and use as much of my spare time as possible playing the violin. I am an adult learner and started five years ago having never played before. I’ve passed up to grade 4 and am preparing for grade 5. I play in a local amateur orchestra and also fiddle for a local Morris Dance side. I also love swimming so go to the local pool as much as I can fit in.
Do you have any advice for new students?
Learning to program takes lots of practice (a bit like the violin!), so keep practicing as much as possible. It’s also a very big subject and there’s always something to learn so don’t expect to know it all.