When Helen Lau immigrated to Australia from Hong Kong with her family, the only thing the 10-year-old could understand in the classroom were numbers.
“Maths is just numbers and you don’t need to learn the language so that became the subject I enjoyed doing,” says Helen, now a Solution Architect in the IT Business Partner team for Caltex Australia.
Helen finished high school with exceptional grades in maths and science. After trying a year of interior design ("I couldn't see myself in 10 years just comparing shades of pink"); Helen transferred to a double degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Software) and Finance, graduating with honours.
As a Solution Architect, Helen says her role now is more about strategy, quality assurance and making sure the design is appropriate rather than programming, although she did plenty of programming in the early years of her career.
In a previous job, she worked on a system to automate road tolls on a motorway, and her most rewarding moments involve being able to see people using programs she worked on.
In order to have a successful career in software, Helen believes that people do not necessarily have to excel in maths: “Maths is essential in terms of problem solving, but it doesn’t mean you have to be really good at maths."