My weird career

Yasmin Clarke
Aug 8, 2018 · 7 min read
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future” — Steve Jobs
  • Worked on the PLASST tool (NSW teachers might be familiar with this).
  • Designed a mobile appointment app for a healthcare system.
  • Legitimately spent an afternoon on work time at HobbyCo buying nanoblocks & games (for The Smith Family Let’s Count program).
  • (Attempted to) Predict traffic jams around Sydney.
  • Calculated the precise cost of a hip replacement in Australia (in 2015–16, an average cost of $31,142 for major cases in public hospitals).
  • Argued about whether customers would be more likely to buy a product if the button was orange or grey (UX matters!).

Where it all began (literally)

I have a physics degree. Particle physics, to be precise, investigating the origins of matter.

Belle II searches for information about the building blocks of matter
What do Pizza, Pokemon and Parseltongue have in common? They’re all used in our Python questions for the NCSS Challenge this year!

Science + programming?

For science fans and teachers playing along at home, data analysis is not the only way to link programming to science. Our friends at the Australian Computing Academy are putting together a whole bunch of DT Challenges that link to other learning areas.

Courtesy of the Australian Computing Academy

All about data (again)

After university I figured I should learn what the business world was all about, so I went to work for PwC and qualified as an accountant. After a couple of years, around the time I got bored of being an auditor (sorry, accounting folks!), the professional services firms were starting to think more seriously about data.


People are weird

Data analysis doesn’t just apply to the physical world. It applies to people, too. In the tech world this is referred to as “UX analysis”, short for “user experience analysis” — using data to understand the experience that people have when interacting with technology. Without doubt, the best (and most amusing) examples of non-intuitive human behaviour come from Dan Ariely.


What’s the tl;dr?

Here’s an analogy that I find helpful. Some of us learn English, and become masterful craftsmen of the language, creating fictional worlds and characters and poetry to entertain, educate, and amuse. And that is fabulous. (Hello Neil Gaiman, Isobelle Carmody, Arthur C. Clarke, T. S. Eliot, just to name a few personal favourites).


Try it for yourself!

If you’re a verified teacher on Grok, you can access the Introduction to Databases (SQL), Introduction to HTML/CSS course, and DT Challenges right now, as well as all our other courses for free!

Looking for an “X”?

If you’re looking for a “X + programming” on Grok that doesn’t exist yet (music? art? physics?), let us know! We’re always keen to hear from you about what you want to learn next.

Grok Learning

Articles about coding by the team at Grok Learning & teacher friends.

Thanks to Christie McMonigal, Shelley Cooper-White, and Renee Noble.

Yasmin Clarke

Written by

Thinking about how things should work

Grok Learning

Articles about coding by the team at Grok Learning & teacher friends.