About

I’m a technology evangelist, digital skills expert, social entrepreneur, consultant and international keynote speaker with over 20 years experience. I have a computer science PhD, management and change management experience and am passionate about getting everyone excited about the opportunities that technology offers. I’ve also got over 20 years technology and digital skills teaching experience, along with successful social media campaigning and women and leadership expertise.

My first book Saving Bletchley Park about the successful campaign that I led to save Bletchley Park is the fastest crowdfunded book EVER and now has 60+ five star reviews on Amazon 🙂

SAVINGBLETCHLEYPARK


Sue is a phenomenon: she brings to life social media and IT 

Lucian J. Hudson, Director of Communications, The Open University


I am an Honorary Professor in the Department of Computer Science at University College London and a Senior Research Associate at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. A champion for women in computing, I founded BCSWomen the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mums and their families through technology.


One of the most inspiring people I’ve met in a long time 

Lynette Webb, Senior Manager, External Relations at Google


I am well known for my successful online and offline campaigning and activism around digital social inclusion and Saving Bletchley Park. I am a frequent public speaker, a social media-holic, mum of four and grandmother of one.

 

With 20+ years experience in academia I am also an accomplished academic manager and research centre director with more than 40 publications and a PhD in software engineering.

Alongside my academic career I have spent the last 20 years campaigning for more recognition and support for women in computing. After the runaway success of the London BCSWomen network that I set up in 1998 I set up BCSWomen in 2001. After my first trip to Bletchley Park representing BCSWomen in 2003 I got funding for the Women of Station X project highlighting the women’s contribution there during WW2. BCSWomen is still going strong, chaired by the wonderful Gillian Arnold and has just produced a great campaign and book Women in IT: inspiring the next generation.

46 comments

  1. Hi Sue,

    I’m a student a journalism student at Falmouth Universty. I’m currently creating a magazine for women in tech and would love to get an interview from you for a feature in it. My team decided to create this magazine as a platform for women in the tech industry as we feel that the magazines currently available are very male orientated. Having an interview from some of your experience would be amazing. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Alex Guy

  2. Listening to Desert Island Discs and felt the need to thank you for instigating the saving of Bletchley park, and the work you do in technology. Excellent playlist by the way

  3. I found your life very interesting this morning and was convinced your were black. Not that this is important but I’m very rarely fooled.

    Thank you shearing with me your life and great music.

    Michael (west Indies) parents

  4. I found your life very interesting this morning and was convinced your were black. Not that this is important but I’m very rarely fooled.

    Thank you shearing with me your life and great music.

    Michael (west Indies) parents

  5. I heard you on Desert Island Discs today and found you engaging, funny and inspiring. I also loved the playlist..! I’ve signed up for techmums as I want to help my 10 year old daughter protect herself online as she grows up and am a VERY late adopter with social media-wise – no facebook, twiitter or anything… Looking forward to getting more on top of all this and guiding her in making use of and enjoying tech – and not getting into bother. Thanks. Oh, and at the risk of crawling right up your bum, well done for saving Bletchley. That whole enterprise makes me very proud to be British (at a time when this can be difficult) – another good reminder is the charming telly prog The Detectorists..! Do check it out if you’ve missed it…

  6. Good Afternoon Sue,

    My name is Cherry.
    I am a mature (very mature) online student.
    I love, love. love computing, but came to it late.
    My main stumbling block to moving forward is my poor grasp of maths.
    A subject I have avoided since leaving school many moons ago.
    Because of this I dropped out of my Open University computing course near the end of the first term. I managed to get 82% for my first assignment, mainly because there was nothing maths related in it.
    I fear I will not be able to progress without maths in a subject I love.
    Is there any hope?

    Thank you
    Cherry

      1. Hi Sue,

        I would have to recoup my old assignments to get the official maths names.
        But basically any thing numerical and I’m in trouble.
        I continue trying to educate myself from free online courses though.
        Thanks for your encouragement.
        Cherry

    1. Hi Cherry,
      Try khanacademy.org for your maths. Start as early as you feel you need. Many people who think they are poor at maths just got a bit lost when something wasn’t well explained. unfortunately the sequential nature of a lot of school maths means that kids can’t really progress beyond the point where they ‘lost it’. They get left behind and get labelled (and self labelled) ‘not good at maths’. With the right support at the time they could often overcome this quite easily. Without support they make little progress with maths or subjects that need maths. Give it another go. You might surprise yourself!

    2. Hi Cherry, I’m 61 and though I have been in computing for eons (since age 22), let me assure you that you don’t really need Maths genius to excel. As with many things, it’s that first job…You really are never too old. You are likely to live into your 80s or longer, and this stuff will keep your brain healthier!

      There are disciplines of computing like User Interface design that are more psychological (Human factors) but mainly, software requires you to think logically. If I gave you a commonplace problem, could you break it down? Are you interested in cyber security? There’s also Software Testing and Quality…I like to say that if you have a law enforcement mindset, you’ll like Quality because you’re testing and checking to make sure people followed the rules.

      Are you able to do something like a bootcamp where you don’t have to take traditional courses? Scholarships are often available for these (if you have a job that you depend on for money…) As an older woman, you also bring certain valuable skills, especially if you raised children or managed a household. Always emphasize those skills as well as technical. Someone HAS to be the Project Manager!

      Look into Future Learn https://www.futurelearn.com/ . You can take courses there free (tho I’d pay for the certificate once you get your feet wet.) I use that all the time to learn new things!

      Finally, most important of all is community. Join online groups especially women-only ones. If you joined SYSTERS, an email group, you’d find women who haven’t taken traditional routes into the computing work world…

      Good luck and so happy you’re reaching out!

  7. Hi Sue, I was at the back of Bletchley Park yesterday on Colossus Way. I noticed all the old buildings and their poor state of repair, is the plan to renovate these as well? I suppose it depends on their importance in the story. I am an Essex boy and moved up here (Wavendon) about 9 years ago, the Bletchley story has always fascinated me. I went to a talk in our village recently and learned some amazing facts about all those thousands of people, a number were billeted locally at Wavendon House which was also used for some work as well. Listened to Desert Island just now and wanted to congratulate you on your fantastic enthusiasm. I am a computer nerd being a property photographer and love music but I’m an Apple fan, never got on with Windows! I would be more than happy to do any photography needed at Bletchley for you free of charge, look at my website.

    mkppspropertyphotography.com

    1. Hiya Chris, Thanks very much, and so happy to hear that you are interested in Bletchley Park 🙂 Those buildings may be the National Museum of Computing right next to Bletchley Park. They might be interested in your help I’m not sure, they probably are looking for volunteers, and there are some amazing old computers in there 🙂

  8. Such an inspirational story my goodness well done you. I was working in IT until last year no formal IT quals but ran a small software company for 14 years loved it mostly but sold to large company (not millions) and worked for them. Downhill from then made to feel inadequate and worked for bully so took redundancy last. Now out of employment and lack confidence am 59 but want to go back can you suggest any courses to get me up and running or is too late?

  9. Hi Sue,

    My favorite radio program is Desert Island discs and Liz my wife and I were engrossed listening to your story and your music selections yesterday morning. Maria Callas’s Norma -Casta Diva is one of my all time favorites and then you included Yellow by ching ching Cioldplay. This has a special meaning to us because our eldest son got a job in London, we live in the North East by the way, and we would speak Friday evenings at least and he told us to get this CD from a new group called Coldplay. We would then play the CD with a G&Ts on Friday evenings and every time Yellow came on Liz had to ring Adam and embarrass him in the pub with his mates.

    Sorry about the irrelevant trivia and more importantly, keep up the good work.

    It was a delight to hear about your achievements.

    Best regards,

    Peter and Liz

  10. Hi Sue – I’ve just listened to Desert Island Discs and felt compelled to contact you.

    I’ve been an IT trainer/evangelist and following recent redundancy have an opportunity to contribute to in some way to brining the wonderful world of IT to everyone – particularly those daunted by it. I’m too young (and have too much to give) to retire (56) so can I help you in your mission to change the world and get more women in IT?

    I also lost my partner when he was 34 due to a brain haemorrhage so feel we have more than just IT in common.

  11. Hi Sue,

    We at the School of Computing at the are very much looking forward to hearing you speak at the graduation ceremony in July when you become an honorary graduate of the University of Kent.

    We are writing a short article to let our graduating students know a little more about you and wondered if you had any words for them?

    Many thanks in advance!

  12. Hello,

    My name is Sanah Handu. I am the president and founder of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at Peters Township High School in western Pennsylvania. My motivation for creating this club nearly four years ago was to inspire young women to further explore their passions and potentially pursue a career in STEM. By inviting accomplished women in their respective fields to join us and share the realities of the STEM professions we have been able to connect with girls not only in every school in our district but also to the greater Pittsburgh area by hosting numerous interactive workshops as well as organizing events in the Carnegie Science Center for women of all ages.

    As this year is my final year in high school I have the mission to make this the biggest and best year of WISE yet. It would be a great honor if you would be willing to meet with us either in person or arrange a video chat to connect with the club. We are a very enthusiastic bunch and would be so delighted if you could impart any wisdom you have gained from your work in STEM

  13. Dear Sue,

    I heard you on Desert Island discs and then this morning on the local radio talking at the STEM event in Swindon.

    I would like your thoughts on whether it is too late really for a 40yr old to retrain? I am currently in a health profession. I am interested in engineering especially development of materials. Do you have any suggestions who or what organisation would be helpful for me to talk to please? As a ‘grown up’ I am struggling to get any help with where to even start with regards to training and qualifications.

    You are very inspiring to listen to.

    Thank you for your time
    Regards Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline, it’s never too late! You’ve got several productive decades ahead of you 😍 I’m not sure which organisation to recommend, but there are loads of women returner courses popping up everywhere these days. So many companies want to employ women. Let me know how you get on 🙏🏾👍🏽😘

  14. Hi Sue, I work at Reading University within the Employer Engagement team and am currently arranging an event for our students entitled Working in Tech Start-ups.

    It seeks to raise awareness of the very real opportunities that are available to our students after graduation in tech start up ,both in technical and non-technical roles.

    I am particularly keen to have an inclusive event and ensure that the speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and particularly keen to have positive representation of women.

    The Event
    Date: 19th Nov 2018
    Time: 5-7.00pm
    Location: University of Reading, Whiteknights

    It would be great if you are able to attend as one of the speakers to offer your insight, but I appreciate that you are very busy!

    However if you have any suggestions about tech startup companies, particularly those founded by women that I could contact I would be really grateful. As we are looking to raise awareness of job opportunities with companies they would need to be passed early start up, so as to have had experiencing of recruiting, and be able to talk about the kind of roles within their companies.

    Thank you for your time.

      1. Hi Sue, Thanks for getting back to me – really appreciated. Thank you for the lead I’ll get in touch with Charlotte.

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