Lecturer in Computing
What is your area of study/research?
My area of study is Security and Human Computing. However, security is a wide and varied field, to narrow it down I am particularly interested in the area around social engineering. This is in essence tricking people into giving you information or carrying out tasks which mean you can carry out an attack on a system and/or exploit vulnerabilities.
Human Computing applies to the security research as described above within the social engineering context but I also teach/study/research Human Computer Interaction. This focuses on how we as humans interactive with computer systems and how understanding that interaction can enable us to develop more useable and intelligent systems.
What influenced you to study/research in your field?
I was initially influenced by a love and passion of computers and technology in general. After studying an undergraduate degree at Bradford I began to understand how complex and exciting Computer Science was.
I had previous experience in programming and a love of problem solving which is a core part of Computer Science. I also have a similar passion for psychology and understanding how we, as humans, think and act. Due to the fact that Computer Science is such a wide and varied field it enables multidisciplinary work and the human element of computing is prevalent throughout; human beings are indeed the users! To be able to work in an area where I can combine these passions is a real privilege.
What inspires you to continue in your field?
Technology and in particular Computer Science is a fantastic area as it allows creativity, innovation and multidisciplinary interests. It is also an area that truly allows the development of systems which can change lives and make a positive impact on individuals, on societies and the world over. To be a part of that is fantastic, not only through research, but also through facilitating the learning of students. Watching students work hard, progress, develop and go out into industry and not only be successful but to develop exciting, creative and innovative systems is again a real privilege.
What would you say to young females to encourage them to progress into your field?
Working in technology is exciting, creative, fun and innovative. It can make a real and positive impact on the world AND women are exceptionally good at it!
Getting out into primary schools and talk to kids at a young age, before the gender bias kicks in is really important. We need to show them how exciting it can be and encourage women that it’s a real option for them.
On an open day a few years ago now, I was talking to a woman who had come along with her partner. He was considering coming to Bradford to study Computer Science and as they were similar ages, so I asked her if she was planning to study. She loved technology but didn’t think she was really any good at it. We chatted and I disagreed and said I’m sure she was more than capable.
Anyway I thought no more of it and in the September when I went to my first year module the same student came to me at the end and thanked me and said she would not have applied for the course if we hadn’t have had the discussion we did!