Physics Alumna Laura Doherty (1993)
Laura Doherty (1993 Physics) - Software Engineer (Advanced) with UGS Corp.
Glasgow is a great place to live and study , there is so much going on culturally, from rock gigs to opera, and it is not far from the countryside either if one wants a change of scene. One of the great things about Strathclyde was being able to maintain my interest in languages and music alongside a science degree. I studied French and Russian in my first two years and spent my third year at University of Lille in France; I was also a member of the University Chamber Choir and various instrumental groups for most of my time at Strathclyde – hobbies I continue with to this day.
I am currently a software engineer with UGS Corp, a US-based company with offices worldwide including Cambridge where I write software related to customer support work and support software libraries that customers incorporate into computer-aided design and product-lifecycle-management applications. The customers are all software engineers themselves so the work requires technical knowledge as well as strong communication skills. My job involves shaping the technical strategy of a product that is the best of its type worldwide. Investigating customer requirements and identifying or creating technical solutions to meet these requirements, particularly when the customers are household-name companies or developers of world-leading software is very exciting.
I chose physics because I knew that career prospects were good for technically qualified graduates and I found Physics the most interesting area of science. If one is interested in an interdisciplinary subject that requires some physical and mathematical knowledge (e.g. Vision Science, Bio-informatics) then it is much easier to succeed starting from a strong technical (i.e. Physics) base than starting from a pure Biology base. Many areas of science require more mathematical/computational/physical knowledge as one reaches a more advanced level. Also, the numerate nature of a Physics degree is advantageous if one wishes to work in a competitive technical area in the private sector, such as software engineering in general or computer-aided-design or computer graphics in particular. There is an advantage at the recruitment stage, because a Physics degree is respected in industry and there is an advantage at various later stages in a technical career because a Physics degree trains the student to work through technical problems logically and accurately, and to follow work processes rigorously and keep clear, correct records.
Throughout my career, I have had many opportunities for travel – In my present role, I have travelled to California, USA, to train customers in using UGS software and to discuss support processes and customer requirements. I regularly work with people from all over the world, e.g. India, China and Japan as well as several European countries and the US. Before moving to UGS I spent several years in academic research (see below). As a research scientist, I presented my work at conferences in Florida, USA, as well as in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy. I also presented various neuroscience-related topics to the general public at science fairs while I was a PhD student and postdoctoral researcher.
Away from work, I enjoy cooking for friends, gardening, horse-riding, windsurfing, crosswords, playing the oboe and saxophone and keeping fit - especially through dance. I am also involved in Choral singing (intensive courses rather than a regular choir), swimming (I chair a committee that runs a local outdoor swimming pool in the summer; I am a qualified lifeguard and work at the pool on a voluntary basis and languages (in the past couple of years I have learned some Italian and Modern Greek).
- 1993-1997 Research towards degree of PhD in Visual Psychophysics at University of Keele and Aston University (PhD awarded by Aston University, 1998).
- 1997-1998 Postdoctoral Research in Visual Psychophysics (Spatial Vision) at Aston University
- 1998-2000 Postdoctoral Research in Vision Science (Spatiochromatic Statistics of Natural Images) at University of Keele and University of Derby
- 2000-2002 Software Engineering at Advanced Rendering Technology (a Cambridge-based company producing both hardware and software for photorealistic image rendering, with applications in computer animation, industrial design and other disciplines requiring high quality images)
- 2002-present Software Engineering, Customer Service, Training and Consultancy at UGS Corp
- 2003-present Occasional part-time consultancy work for Vision Science research at Anglia Ruskin University