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News > Alumni Spotlight > David Walesby, Chartered Software Engineer

David Walesby, Chartered Software Engineer

"I am infinitely curious so Physics was the only solution"

Current Job Title & Employer

Retired. I worked at GCHQ for 47 years in engineering and thoroughly enjoyed almost every day.  I became a Chartered Software Engineer (CITP and CEng) although I used software for analysis and processing and was more an applied software engineer.

Dame Alice Owen’s Class of.....


Brief description of your path after Owen’s.

I went to Nottingham University and got a 2.1 in Physics (all I tried for). Deciding that Physics would not provide income for a family (and being told there was no future in physics) I did an MSc in Communication Engineering at UMIST. That, unsurprisingly, fitted well with GCHQ.

How has your career path led you to where you are now?

In 1972 I joined JSRU (GCHQ) which did speech research where I invented a new system but my fascination with computers led me to focus on developing software for speech research. I ran software development projects and then a team working on many aspects on personal comms. As I approached retirement I found a mobile communications area to investigate and spent a very happy 10 years finding and developing advanced techniques (adding to the security of the UK).

Did your time at Owen’s inspire any particular skills or attributes?

Maths: I loved Maths and was very good at it but not for a maths degree. I am infinitely curious so Physics was the only solution, despite teachers predicting poor ‘A’ level, I got an A! I joined the School Scout Troop gaining most of the badges for the Queen Scout and walking the Pennine way. I was in the first 8 and went on to achieve ½ gold at Nottingham.

How did that help you to get to where you are now?

I loved school and learning. Bullying was an irritation, like rain for others. Rowing / training gave me the confidence to stand up to bullies and I got their respect. Owen’s underrated me and I could have tried for Oxbridge (4 good ‘A’ Levels) and I did get an apology from the Physics’ master. Scouting & Rowing turned me into a man

Favourite Owen’s memory?


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