With STEM, you can…help make studying for selective high school tests fun

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

What began in 2021 with a hope to infuse enjoyment into her stepson’s study routine has become a growing business for Tash Jamieson. The edtech start-up, Lockpick Games, makes adventure video games, helping students study for the selective high school test in a way that’s entertaining and effective.

Although her skillset lay in international relations, politics, and geopolitics, Ms Jamieson’s expertise in understanding complex systems and how they impact people provided a valuable foundation. Having a background in government organisations and intergovernmental relations also helped and equipped her with a perspective that extends beyond technical knowledge.

Tash Jamieson

Start with the end (user) in mind

“You can be the best coder on the planet, but if you don’t understand how your code will affect the end user, you’ve got no chance of creating a good product or experience,” Ms Jamieson says.

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In her previous job, she helped Australian start-ups expand internationally. But when COVID-19 hit, the work slowed and motivated her to shift her focus to support start-ups in their day-to-day tasks.

The defining moment came when the Lockpick Games’ founder collaborated with a start-up to build its website. Her excitement for problem-solving using low-code solutions was ignited and Ms Jamieson also realised that through technology – particularly low-code and simple software solutions – she could make a measurable, and rapid, difference.

“I found it exciting to be able to change a line of code and for it to instantaneously impact the people I’m helping,” she says.

Problem-solving using transferable skills

“I’ve always had a fascination with technology. But, for whatever reasons, I decided I was bad at maths and this wasn’t the path for me. I was a humanities person, so I believed I wasn’t good at technical things,” she says.

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But her interest in problem-solving, technology, and gaming was a constant and when the opportunity to work on a project that required tech-based solutions presented itself, she took the plunge – and hasn’t looked back.

“It wasn’t until I started helping people to solve problems that suddenly I understood coding,” she says.

Everyday integration of technology into her family’s life, including music creation and gaming, continues to nurture and enhance her creativity. But by being more aware of the seemingly endless possibilities science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) offer and using technology as a medium for learning, she recognised that her stepson – and other young students – can visualise diverse pathways and understand how STEM can be applied in various contexts.

Cracking the code for tech success

For those thinking about a career in technology, Ms Jamieson offers some practical insights.

“Firstly, it’s about understanding that it’s as big or as small as you want to make it.  Whatever sparks your passion and interest is the place to start. It’s like learning a language, right? That’s what coding is,” she says.

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“Once you start to understand the logic of how languages work, everything becomes less complicated. If it’s music production, pick up something like Ableton or GarageBand, and start understanding how it’s structured.

“Secondly, take the pressure off needing to look and feel like a certain image of a software developer.

“For young girls who feel that STEM isn’t for them, it’s important that they see different types of technologists. Everyone’s career path is unique. It’s important to remember that.”

To learn more about the diverse – and evolving – career opportunities in STEM, explore the CSIRO’s With STEM You Can initiative.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live