Interview by Marija Butkovic (@MarijaButkovic)
Laura Sach creates and maintains Raspberry Pi educational resources. She loves cats, cakes, board games and making jam.
What does your current job role entail?
I am Content and Curriculum manager for the Raspberry Pi Foundation which means that I create the resources you see on the Raspberry Pi website. My job basically involves making cool stuff and then explaining to other people how to make it :)
How has your career progressed since your degree? Has it been an easy industry to get into or have you had many challenges?
When I first left university, I worked as a web developer. I decided to go into teaching so that I could use both my technical skills but work more closely with people, and this was enjoyable because I could share with them my enthusiasm about making things with computers. Now I get to share my enthusiasm with thousands of people which makes me very happy.
How long did it take you to be where you are now? What was the biggest obstacle?
I graduated in 2004, and I have learnt a lot since then, both in terms of technical knowledge and in terms of working with people. There’s a big difference between knowing how to do something and being able to teach it to someone else in a way that they will both enjoy and understand.
What are your projects you are currently working on within your company?
What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you? What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur and woman in STEAM industry?
In 2012 I co-founded the CAS #include group, which aims to provide as many school students as possible with the chance to experience Computer Science. I started out seeing that girls were not choosing Computing at school, but I then discovered that there were all sorts of barriers to entry - disabilities, special educational needs and socio economic background all present challenges for students. We all need to be supportive of each other.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Well, working for the Raspberry Pi Foundation is pretty cool...
In your opinion, what will be the key trends in the wearable tech and STEAM industries in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
I would like to see many more maker style projects in the area of wearables. I feel that there is a lot of potential for wearable projects with the Raspberry Pi Zero.
Can you name any prominent women in these industries that you admire?
I very much enjoy seeing tweets from Dr Lucy Rogers about her various makes, and although I’ve yet to make any of them, I love Becky Stern’s tutorials.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs in STEAM out there?
I think you can’t beat Grace Hopper’s view, which was “It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”
Who are your 3 inspirational women in STEAM?
For me, the really inspirational people are probably more ‘everyday’. They are the girl who chooses to study a STEM subject because it intrigues her, not because her friends say it’s cool. The IT teacher who dares to try something out of her comfort zone and realises she can do it. The already well known woman in tech who gives other people a ‘leg up’ into beginning digital making.
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, co-founder of Women of Wearables and Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.