Bolton School Former Pupils
Winni Lam (2002-2004)
Occupation: Computer Software Developer
What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?
My favourite subject was Maths, especially the discrete and decision module and the pure maths modules. Mrs Hanrahan has had a great influence on me, and still has. Mrs Ward was great and she showed her brilliance in the mere two hours she spent with me tutoring me on a module I took in my spare time. The teachers and students in Bolton School had made me feel really welcome and supported for the two years I did my A levels there. I owe my gratitude to the kindness and sense of humour they provided.
What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?
I completed a Master of Engineering degree in a general engineering course at university, specialising in information and computing engineering.
How did you progress to your current role and what does it involve?
After university, I stumbled upon a job in a Norwegian company called Tandberg and started my career in a software engineering role, based in Berkshire. I met and worked with some very nice and technically strong people whom I respected from the start. After a company acquisition, a few of us left and created a new startup company in Uxbridge, London, developing hardware and software in video conferencing. My role is predominately programming for the conference control software we put on our hardware and other devices. It is an exhilarating feeling being able to change the functionality of what your company makes from the tips of your fingers!
What / who influenced your career choice?
I don't think the answer is very clean cut. I believe the choices I have made along throughout my career have been rooted in what interests me, and in the support from my family and peers. I like thinking logically, and the stimulating conversations I had with people who base their views on evidence and logic. I must say there are similarities between the kind of people I work with and the kind of friends I make.
What skills are essential for your role?
Logic, creativity, and bouncing ideas around with people you respect professionally.
What are the biggest challenges?
I have quite a scattered mind, or a "short attention span", as I keep telling people. In university I felt encouraged to let the smallest trigger, even just a single word, spark off a trail of thoughts that sent me miles and miles away. This is entertaining for me and makes life very interesting. After I started working, I realised that I needed to compromise on that aspect of myself and learn to focus when high concentration was required. Learning to apply the appropriate type of mindset to different tasks took a great deal of effort to adapt to, but it also opened up the joy of programming.
What / who has been your biggest inspiration?
Again, I don't think this is the sort of things that could be pin pointed. I always felt I had the privilege of standing on giants' shoulders that lead me to see bigger and further things. I love the people that I have come across along my path all these years and I think they contribute to the view points I hold. I'm continuing to learn from different people, enjoying the inspirations different people bring me.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
I don't think I'm quite there yet - of having a distinctively proud moment in my career. I do think starting a company from scratch on work I enjoy doing, building it with peers I like and respect, gives me the feeling that something great is on its way.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
Back in my schools in Hong Kong, I felt the pressure to reach expectations the school set and follow the patterns of what other students were doing. In 2002, for the first time in school, I felt very supported to pursue my future paths based on my own interests. Bolton School gave me the confidence to trust myself and my own decisions; although my current career might not be directly related to all the subjects I did back in school, the passion in their subjects and the types of personality from my teachers had definitely laid a solid foundation for the kind of thinking I want to have in my day to day job.