Predictably, a lot has happened in the last 6 months. Just not a blog post. One thing that is both at the same time surprising, and not at all surprising, is that my job somehow found a way to get worse. I already didn’t enjoy it, as it never really had anything I could really engage with. But when the business completely changed and forced my job to become something I absolutely did not want to do, I realised it was time for a change. I was already looking to leave, and so didn’t see the point in trying to fight the change or try to move into another job role within the same company. I had already been looking for other jobs, but with each interview I would get rejected for not having enough experience. If it required any programming experience, while I could demonstrate some, I would be turned away because I had not got even 1 solid year of experience from my current job. If it wanted skills in electronics, the same thing.
Even though my job has given me experience in all the key areas I’m interested in, it has been few and far between. Once any potential employer found this out, they would send me packing. If they targeted you because there was something written on your CV, they expected it to be something you had at least 1 year of solid experience with. Not just a few projects scattered through the last 3 years. I started to see that the only way to change jobs was to start from scratch. To look at things from the point of view of not having a degree, or not having any professional experience, and go for junior or entry level positions. But I also started to think of alternatives. Going back to University was one of them.
This is something that has always been on my mind, ever since I was unsuccessful in securing funding to stay on and undertake a PhD after I graduated. But then something caught my attention. Something I had thought about before, but had always ignored. Teaching. Or more specifically, teaching Computer Science. It was a tweet from Dr. Sue Black that made me stop and think. She tweeted about the British Computer Society Scholarships being offered to those going to do a PGCE in Computer Science Secondary Education. Their goal is to encourage more people with the right skills to train as teachers, coinciding with Computer Science being added to the National Curriculum. Seeing this, and reading more about it, made me take action.
I knew that working with young people was something I enjoyed, having been involved in Scouting again as an adult for almost 4 years. This is why many of my friends had been suggesting for about 2 years I should become a teacher, knowing how much I dislike my job. They all think it would be something I’ll enjoy. I also knew there are plenty of enthusiastic young people out there interested in learning to code, through events such as Young Rewired State, who would gladly take the subject if it was offered at school. I immediately looked at the PGCE courses offered by the University of Reading. Having really enjoyed my time there completing my undergraduate degree, it was always my first choice if I returned to study. Fortunately, they offered Computer Science. I made my applications, to both the PGCE course and to the BCS Scholarship, and the process began!
I’d like to say I was lucky and was awarded the BCS Scholarship, but sadly not. That didn’t deter me though, and I kept going with my application to the PGCE course. Part of the process involved spending at least one day observing lessons in a school. Something I was apprehensive about at first, not having been in a school for years, but thoroughly enjoyed. It did not feel awkward or uncomfortable being in a classroom and engaging with the students. I have now been through the application process, and after a somewhat awkward and uncomfortable interview, I am looking forward to starting back at university in September.
It maybe isn’t how I expected I would go back to university, but I definitely think it’s the right thing to do, and now, the right time to do it. I can’t stay in a job I don’t like any longer, desperately hoping that somehow, some-when, the job will change and I’ll start enjoying it. It’s been 3 years, and the changes have only ever made things worse. If I don’t get out now, and do something different, I don’t think I’d last much longer.
Now, whether the weather shows it, or not, summer is here. And I doubt it will hang around very long. So I’ve got a new project, something I’m going to build. I took the Windows Phone controlled Netduino robot about as far as I wanted too. Although I still haven’t attached the wheels onto the motors, it functions as I planned it too. Nothing too complicated, just a bit of fun. Now I’ve set my eyes on a Quadrotor/Quadricopter – whatever they’re called – a flying vehicle with 4 propellers. To start with I’m just going to jump into the Radio Controlled world, and build one to fly manually. But after that, I’ll look at things like the ArduCopter and Bitcraze Crazyflie Nano, to see about automating it and turning it into some sort of UAV. As and when things happen with it, I’ll probably put up some stuff here. There’s also our ongoing home automation work, which may require some creativity to add some feedback to our LightwaveRF setup, that may also feature here. Either way, there should be something new sooner than 6 months!