#5QW: Timon Höbert
We met with Timon and spoke about his ambitions and his thoughts on how to get young girls into Informatics.
How did you get in touch with Informatics?
I think it was when my parents bought our first computer, around the age of ten. I remember well that it was quite hard with that computer, since it had always a couple of megahertz too less for the programs I wanted to start. I always wanted to do more than was possible with that cheap computer, so I got involved improving it. In order to get more out of the computer, I started dealing with the technology behind it.
What makes Informatics so fascinating for you?
It is the possibility to solve different challenges. Moreover, the process of how to solve the challenges strikes me as very interesting. With computer science, imagining a solution for a problem becomes so easy and fast.
Which talents should people bring along for a career in Informatics?
Practical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential: how do you use your virtual and physical resources, which usually constrain you? And how can you use them in an efficient way to solve the task? Logical thinking is really helpful, too.
Why do you think there are still so few women in computer science?
I think because of the classical stereotypes, which seem to develop between the age of six to ten: like “boys want to become pilots or engineers” for example. I am also working at a robotics institute, where we conduct workshops with children, and usually, the little girls are really involved and interested in robotics. They get passionate and can even imagine working in this field, but later on, somewhere in the range from six to ten years, they start adopting the classical stereotypes and shy away from the content. Supporting children, especially girls, to getting in touch with technology really helps.
What makes you happy in your work?
It is probably the fact that I will never get bored during my lifetime, because there are enough interesting challenges to solve. I like getting out of my daily routine and doing new things. Not being restricted by the same task all the time is great. I am also fascinated by this trial and error process, which can be quite frustrating at times. But having improved your solutions when it finally works out is really satisfying.
Interview: Claudia Vitt, 2019