The technology sector is growing 3 times faster than the rest of the UK economy so we want to give you an insight into the people and companies which make up this thriving industry through a series of case study interviews.

This week, we meet Stephen Dowsland, a Research Software Developer for the Digital Institute at Newcastle University which ‘brings together academic expertise in the field of digital technologies with the aim of transforming society through pioneering research’.

Stephen Dowsland, DigitalInstitute
Hi Stephen, how long have you been working as a Research Software Developer and what were you doing beforehand?

I’ve been working as a Research Software Developer for about two years now. Prior to that I worked for several years as a Frontend Web Developer for a couple of companies including an international airline. Before working in web and software development I was working in town and country planning, where I developed my skills in GIS software, which I still make use of today.

What made you choose a career at the Digital Institute?

I wanted to be more involved in cutting edge technology and research. I also wanted to apply and expand the skills that I had picked up from previous jobs, and have more variety in my work.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I grew up on farm so thought that would be my calling, however I found i was more Sim Farm than real farming!

What do you like most about working at the Digital Institute?

There is a great team here at the Digital Institute we all get on really well. We all always muck in to help each other when things get super busy! Also the variety of work is great. You can be working on something different each week and you have a large amount of input on the way work is undertaken, and the tools and techniques used.

What’s your typical day like?

There is not really such a thing as a typical day at the Digital Institute. Depending on the project I’m working on I’ll catch up with some of the other developers or researchers to see how things went the day/week before and figure out the tasks that need doing and the direction we’re heading in. Then apart from the odd meeting here and there it can be pretty much solid coding some days. When things get too much and we need a break there is a great social space that we share with other companies in the building where we can hone our pool skills with a few cheeky games!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following in your footsteps?

If you’re currently not working in the tech industry, don’t be afraid to just do what you like doing. Also make sure that you get yourself and your work known and don’t forget to keep yourself up-to-date with industry news and new skills as things move pretty fast!

Find out more

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