Jamie Balfour BSc

Welcome to my personal website!

Technology enthusiast

I am very interested in technology, particularly relating to computer science. I am most interested in web design and development.

My main hobby is programming. One of my most well known products from this is ZPE. I also am the sole creator of BalfBlog, BalfBar and BalfSlider.

A little bit about me

In 1997, when I was six years of age, I got my very first computer. I was always very interested in the ins and outs of it and dismantled it to see how it worked.

Years later, in 2016 I received my BSc (with honours) in Computer Science, obtaining a First class degree.

I'd like to welcome you to my website and hope you enjoy using it as much as I have enjoyed building it!

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Jamie Balfour BSc
Full stack developer

Personal Blog

Now at the end of week 6 and the beginning of week 7 of my PhD, I've decided to review my situation.

First of all, it's been a rough couple of weeks and I've had some mixed feelings but have finally come to the point where I feel happy doing what I'm doing. My two closest PhD friends, Ana and Lewis, are one of the main reasons I've become happier since I don't think I'd be as happy as I am now. Then there's Yibo who has just started - a familiar face and friend from my undergraduate degree which is really nice. 

I'm also really enjoying doing the lab helping as it gives me a chance to continue doing one of my favourite things which is teaching and I guess I generally like helping people with the things I like doing. I'm also really enjoying the one-to-one help I'm getting to give since again it allows me to help someone. 

I've been asked if I would be able to work on a two websites/web-based applications for the university, which is very nice. As well as this, I'm working with such a nice bunch of staff who really make you feel right at home (which I really am anyway since I graduated from here anyway).

On the work side of things, I've done lots of reading, lots of writing and lots of thinking. I've come up with some ideas as to where my research goes from here and even thought about possible ideas for what the PhD will involve. 

Also, for those who do know, I've got a little bit of an announcement to make about what's happening in April, but I shall leave this for a little while although let me tell you, it involves a bank (who have made me very happy). 

Today I graduated! This is the happiest day of my life and I'm so very proud of what I have achieved to this day!

Back in 1997, when I was aged 6, I got my first computer. I quickly learned the ins and outs of it and was very into writing my own stuff and really enjoyed writing stories. As I was using my computer more and more I took an interest in how it works. By age 9, I was very interested in computer hardware and how they worked.

In my first year at high school, I realised that I was really good at working with computers and people were coming to me for computer help more and more (including my teachers). It was then that I decided I want to do something related to computers. I always knew I wanted to go to university so I put two and two together and in 2009 I applied to several universities to study computer science with Heriot-Watt being my top choice. I was accepted and my course began in 2012. 

My time at Heriot-Watt university has had its ups and downs and I've needed support from time to time. At Heriot-Watt support is always there for those who ask. I had a friendly bunch of lecturers who were always on your side and there to help. 

I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me at Heriot-Watt but I'd like to specifically thank a few people including Lorriane Vallance, Dr Tessa Berg, Dr Helen Hastie, Professor Rob Pooley, Professor Andrew Ireland, Dr Fiona McNeill, Dr Jenny Coady, Dr Santiago Chumbe and Professor Greg Michaelson. I'd also like to thank Professor Judy Robertson and Dr Sandy Louchart for their support in my first to third years, who have since moved to other universities. 

I’d also like to thank my friends and classmates, particularly Jonathan, Merlin, Mark and Sharang who stuck with me through thick and thin in the last year, as without them I would not be celebrating this day.

Since I am to receive an honours degree on the 21st of June, I am now at the biggest crossroads in my life. I have four different paths that I can now take, all of which I have been considering for sometime:

  1. Go out and get a job - Find a job in computing or computing-related work. I really do want to do this right now and would happily do this.
  2. Go and get my teacher training - This one is the one that I have always wanted to do, until very recently when this path hit a great big bump and I've been left wondering if it's worth it or not.
  3. Do an MSc - with a First Class degree it would not be that hard for me to go out and do a Masters degree, but I don't really feel like I want to learn any more stuff through being taught.
  4. Do a PhD - it was always my plan to go and do a PhD at some point in my life, and I originally wanted to do a couple of years of teaching before it, but after just finishing my dissertation and really enjoying the research side of things I feel that there is no better time than now. If I find a PhD I like some time soon, I will go down that route. 

I'm currently really enjoying the time off/working freelance for the last time but I really need to move to the next place. 

10.06.2016

I've given up on teaching. Obviously there are enough people doing teacher training and teaching computing in Scotland for them to need me. I do not think I will reconsider this in the future now, since if I go out and work I will not want to disrupt all of that now. If I go and do a PhD I will aim to be a lecturer instead.

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