Heather McDonald has always liked technology, but she didn’t start thinking about studying Information Technology until about five years ago.
Now in her second year of studying for a Bachelor of Information Technology at Otago Polytechnic, Heather has been awarded the 2018 “Women in I.T.” scholarship.
She says it means a lot, both personally and financially.
Worth $1000 for every year of study and awarded to a self-leading and motivated student, the scholarship has lifted Heather’s confidence.
“Although I am not short on motivation to do the best I can, this has definitely given me a boost. It shows people believe that I will continue to excel and complete the Bachelor of Information Technology.”
Heather welcomes Otago Polytechnic’s support of women in the I.T. sector.
“The past year and a-half has made me realise that gender has nothing to do with your knowledge or ability to learn new things in the I.T. industry. This comes down to each individual person.
“The scholarship is a great way to advertise to women who might be thinking about entering the industry but just need that extra little push – to make them feel welcome in an environment that is still predominantly male.”
Heather says those pondering a career in I.T. might like to know that it’s not all about maths.
“I have never enjoyed maths and thought you needed to be good at maths to do I.T. so I put it on the backburner and pursued a career in hospitality.
“After a few years of growing up and learning a lot about people and life, I started taking a more serious look at the I.T. courses that were on offer in Dunedin.
“One of the papers you have to do for the Bachelor of Information Technology is Maths in I.T.. That had me worried but, to my surprise, I found it relatively easy to pick up,” Heather says.
“It made me realise that, while having a maths brain would definitely help, it is not the be-all and end-all. You just have to be willing to learn and try your best.”
Heather says Otago Polytechnic’s “practical learning environment” really suits her, too.
“All the lecturers have been amazing.
“They will always do their best to help any time that I don’t quite understand something.”