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School of Mathematics

School of Mathematics

Blog for the School of Mathematics community

Alumni Stories: Beth Gooding

Photo of Beth smiling at camera, wearing a stripy top. Text reads: Alumni Stories, Beth Gooding, Software Engineer, MMath Mathematics

Beth shares her experiences of being the first in her family to attend university. She also talks about the skills she developed from both within and outside her degree in order to pursue a career in software engineering.


Programme MMath Mathematics
Year of graduation 2020
Job title Software Engineer
Industry Finance
Home country England


Why did you decide to study Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh?

I always enjoyed maths at school and I was keen to study a subject at university that I enjoyed, so that I had fun while I was there. Coming to Edinburgh, I really wanted an adventure – I’m from Norfolk in England so it was a long way from home and I wanted to experience something completely different.

I was the first person in my family to go to university and I was excited about that. After applying, I came to visit the university at an Offer Holder Day. I came on my own which was a bit daunting at first, but it was a great day – I got lots of information and the university seemed to have a supportive environment.

I came from a lower socio-economic background, so I was delighted to be offered an Access Edinburgh Scholarship, which really helped me throughout my studies. Social mobility and widening access in Higher Education is really important to me, so it’s great to see that the School of Mathematics now offers a Mathematics Access Scholarship for students from a Widening Participation background as well.

Do you have any advice for students who are the first in their family to go to university?

My main advice is to believe in yourself that you can go to university, even if no one else in your family has. I was worried at first whether it was for me, but if you enjoy your subject and you have the passion to go, you will get there.

Did you take any optional courses outside of Maths?

 I took some Economics courses and an Introduction to Astronomy in my first few years which was interesting. Then in my honours years I took a mix of Maths courses in applied maths, pure maths and statistics, and my final year project was focused on Opinion Dynamics modelling.

Can you tell us about your career journey so far after graduating?

I graduated in 2020 during the pandemic, so my original plan changed. I wanted to pick up some new skills so I enrolled in a software engineering boot camp, and the company then employed me as a Software Engineering Consultant.

I then got a role at Lloyds Banking Group in software engineering on the front-end side (e.g. working on the banking app), before then moving into the back-end side, working on the technologies that process transactions. Lloyds is a really large organisation so there’s lots of great opportunities to learn from colleagues.

What do you enjoy the most about the role?

I really like that there are always lots of problems to solve – every day when you go to work, there’s always something you don’t know how to do and my job is to figure out how to do it, so there’s lots of problem solving involved. Every day is different so you have to keep learning all the time as well – which is quite similar to studying maths.

What do you find most challenging in your job?

It can be challenging explaining what you’ve done to other people in a way that they understand – I’m a software engineer but I work with people who don’t code, so I need to be able to explain technical concepts in an accessible way, which takes a lot of practice.

What skills did you gain from your time at Edinburgh and were there any experiences during your time at University which particularly helped prepare you for life after graduation?

Definitely logical thinking and problem-solving skills – you do a lot of that in maths and it comes up regularly in software engineering. I took some coding courses during my degree which helped me realise I liked coding, so having that background from my studies was useful.

Working with lots of different students in workshops/group projects also gave me exposure to so many different people, and this helped build my communication skills.

Did you live in university accommodation?

I lived in university halls in first year – there were some other Maths students on my floor so we studied and worked through assignments together which was really nice. We also used the MathsBase quite a lot which was a nice space on campus to study or just take a break between classes.

Did you use any of the support services on offer?

I made use of the Careers service quite a lot, particularly in my final year. I spoke with the School of Mathematics Careers Consultant about what I was interested in and got advice on how to go about applying for jobs and interview support.

Do you have any highlights or a favourite memory of your time at university?

One of the best things was the working relationship I had with my personal tutor – we really got along and I did my final year project with them as well. I felt they were genuinely interested in what I was doing and gave me lots of great advice on which courses to take and encouraged me to take ones that were more academically challenging.

I also got involved with MathPALS which was a great way to meet people and make friends – we still meet up and go to pub quizzes together.

What advice would you give future students who are considering studying Mathematics at Edinburgh?

Maths at university level is quite different to at school. There’s more writing in a Maths degree than you might think! But that’s not a bad thing – that makes it more fun and it’s more challenging than just solving maths equations.

Looking back, when you’re at uni you’re really focused on the maths and your studies, but you are also developing other skills as you go along, like teamwork and communication – even if you don’t realise it. You’ll develop lots of skills both in and outside of your classes that will be useful throughout your career.




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