Lauren Stephen, Software Developer

Lauren Stephen, Software Developer

BY: Catherine Nygren

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For his PhD in English and Cultural Studies, Lauren worked on posthuman economies, evolutions, and sexualities. Various grants were supplemented by work as a teaching assistant, which vastly improved his marking skills in addition to his knowledge of classroom and group discussion management. He also participated in other organized professionalization activities, but he was not very interested in jumping through the hoops of the academic job market; he had no illusions about job prospects and knew that he didn’t want to move to follow a tenure-track position.

Lauren finished his degree in six and a half years, which he considers too long, but his supervisor’s sudden death and his subsequent shift in focus from the eighteenth century to contemporary texts caused a delay. Finishing in four years, however, isn’t especially necessary, he feels; if one can take more time, because of grants or other funding, in order to spend more time on professional development and figuring out the future post-defense, finishing a bit later is worthwhile.

After graduating, Lauren held a variety of part-time teaching positions at McMaster, Laurier, Brantford, and Conestoga College, as well as working as a writing consultant and assistant manager at Laurier’s Writing Centre. He also did freelance editing, and worked in statistical research for a firm looking at reports, presentations, and survey questions.

Recently, however, he’s enrolled in a computer programming course, with the aim of an Advanced Diploma in Software Development in a couple years. Despite being a “B” math student in high school, good reading and logic skills honed in the PhD have helped him pick up mathematics in his current program easily, and critical thinking skills allow him to see design flaws that sometimes go unnoticed. Also, data and programming works in some ways like a language: there is a syntax and grammar, making the move from English PhD to computer language practical in multiple ways. When Lauren is done, he plans to pursue a career in software development.

For his PhD in English and Cultural Studies, Lauren worked on posthuman economies, evolutions, and sexualities. Various grants were supplemented by work as a teaching assistant, which vastly improved his marking skills in addition to his knowledge of classroom and group discussion management. He also participated in other organized professionalization activities, but he was not very interested in jumping through the hoops of the academic job market; he had no illusions about job prospects and knew that he didn’t want to move to follow a tenure-track position.

Lauren finished his degree in six and a half years, which he considers too long, but his supervisor’s sudden death and his subsequent shift in focus from the eighteenth century to contemporary texts caused a delay. Finishing in four years, however, isn’t especially necessary, he feels; if one can take more time, because of grants or other funding, in order to spend more time on professional development and figuring out the future post-defense, finishing a bit later is worthwhile.

After graduating, Lauren held a variety of part-time teaching positions at McMaster, Laurier, Brantford, and Conestoga College, as well as working as a writing consultant and assistant manager at Laurier’s Writing Centre. He also did freelance editing, and worked in statistical research for a firm looking at reports, presentations, and survey questions.

Recently, however, he’s enrolled in a computer programming course, with the aim of an Advanced Diploma in Software Development in a couple years. Despite being a “B” math student in high school, good reading and logic skills honed in the PhD have helped him pick up mathematics in his current program easily, and critical thinking skills allow him to see design flaws that sometimes go unnoticed. Also, data and programming works in some ways like a language: there is a syntax and grammar, making the move from English PhD to computer language practical in multiple ways. When Lauren is done, he plans to pursue a career in software development.

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