Computing degree student to computing lecturer: meet Sura Al Ani 

When Sura Al Ani embarked on her Computing and Information Systems Management degree at Bradford College in 2019, she never imagined that three years later she would be stood at the front of the same classroom she learned in, but this time as a lecturer.

We asked Sura what makes studying computing at Bradford College so special, that you return as part of its teaching staff, plus why she believes women are the future of computing.

“I returned to learning, this time to learn tricks of the trade” 

I completed my bachelor’s degree in software engineering in 2002 and then began to develop my knowledge in this field. Two years later, I was forced to move from Iraq to a different country and could not find a job in the IT sector. I ended up working in a trading company in supply chain management.

When I arrived in the UK, I thought about returning to my specialism, since I enjoy it, and refreshing my knowledge. This is what pushed me to start thinking about doing another degree in computing. I checked what was available and I found the Computing and Information Systems Management degree at Bradford College.

When I researched what would be taught in this course I was really interested. You check what is required in the computing and IT industry now and what is being taught on this course and you will find that is very similar. This was the driving factor behind me choosing this course.

I found a huge difference between how I learned in my previous degree and the teaching methods and support here at Bradford College. At the College, they help you pave a way towards working in the industry and teach you tricks of the trade to help you become a part of the industry. 

“I received a level of support in my degree that you won’t find anywhere else” 

The support you get here, you cannot find anywhere else. The tutors had an open-door policy, so any time you felt you needed support, there was someone to help, and they were always more than happy to answer my questions. 

Besides that, the College has a diverse range  of students, so from different backgrounds. This encourages you to be part of a community. You don’t feel you are a stranger here; you always feel this is your second home. I think this is what sets Bradford College apart from other colleges. 

“The College had a surprise for me after graduation” 

I really enjoyed my course and succeeded in graduating with a First in my degree. The College then surprised me by offering me a teaching role, and I had never thought about teaching. But when I began teaching, I found it’s been wonderful to be able to help others. When I was a student, I was always thinking about ways I could improve my life and how to find my way in the field of computing. 

My tutors helped me a lot. Being able to be part of the College’s Computing staff has enabled me to help other students in finding their way. It has been exciting to support students by imparting the knowledge I gained on my degree here. 

“Transitioning from being a student to a lecturer has been challenging but rewarding” 

Going from being a student to a lecturer, you start to evaluate just how much effort teachers put into supporting students and you learn just how much time they sacrifice and put into their work, including family time. 

There is a lot of pressure working as a lecturer because you have a big responsibility, first for your students and how you support them and then in how to get everyone on the same level because students have different levels of learning and understanding. You’re also trying to help them build not just their knowledge, but also their experience. It’s not been easy, especially with being a Master’s student at the same time myself, so I can empathise with how the students are feeling and this feeds into how I try to support them as a lecturer. 

I have lovely students, especially this year. I teach the Level 5 group and they really create a great spirit inside the class, and they like to share all the things they are interested in. They share their concerns with me and as a teacher, you start to feel that you care about all of them and want to help them succeed. Their success makes me very happy. Recently one of my students got a job straight after his course, and his success in getting this job was due in great part to the knowledge he had gained from the course, and this was a great success for me. 

“Women have something special to offer to the computing industry” 

When it comes to women in computing, they have really played a great part in contributing to the industry and have made a huge difference to this field. In the classroom, I receive the most interesting questions from my female students! The types of questions they ask and the level of their work is very high. They always have something special to offer and score very good marks. They do very well in computing. To all the women out there who are thinking about a qualification and a career in computing at the College, I want to say that you should believe in yourself. You just need to encourage yourself to take that first step. The only failure is not trying.