Tom Cheney

Lead Software Developer

Maths, Engineering, Chemistry

Tom was the Lead Software Developer for Land Rover BAR on its challenge for the 35th America's Cup. He studied just down the road at the University of Portsmouth - first doing a BEng in Computer Engineering and then a Masters in Electronic Engineering. At Land Rover BAR, Tom developed tools for the design team and the sailing team to analyse the performance of the boat.

Briefly describe a typical day for you at the Land Rover BAR base.

On sailing days I do lots of work to support the gathering of data from the boat and the day-to-day analysis of how the boat is working. When the boat is not out I chat to the sailors and the other members of the design team about improvements we want to make to our tools. The rest of my time is spent writing software and working with other developers.

What has been the highlight of your role so far?

Either the team winning at Portsmouth last year or meeting the Duchess of Cambridge.

Why do you think studying STEM subjects at school is important?

Continuing to study STEM subjects leads to a great career where you get to be creative and inventive every day, and there are very few limitations in what you can achieve.

Briefly describe what you thought of STEM subjects in school, and whether your opinion has changed now?

I always enjoyed the subjects like maths and physics where I could work out the answer to a problem. I was less keen on subjects where I had to remember answers like what colour flame was produced by burning a metal. Because I’m not great at remembering facts it’s great that now I can use Google!

Name a STEM topic or skill which you learnt at school that you still use in your current role, and how you apply it.

Nearly everything I do as a software engineer is breaking down a large complicated problem into smaller ones that I can solve. This is a skill that I think you start to learn almost by accident when you study maths and science.

What would be your advice for young people interested in pursuing a career in STEM?

The best advice I was ever given was to just continue doing what you love doing. If you enjoy playing with technology then why not do it as a job?