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Steven Li, deputy director of learning for ICT and maths

Steven Li, deputy director for mathematics and computer science

After graduating with a degree in computing mathematics and building a successful career spanning 13 years in industry, Steven Li decided to give it all up to become a teacher. 

“I didn’t feel the role was as enjoyable or rewarding any more. After some work experience at schools I relished working with pupils and the sense of reward I got whilst supporting them. It’s worth noting that teaching was never in my career plan!” says Steven, who is now deputy director of learning for ICT and maths at Bluecoat Academy.

Steven enjoyed a varied career in the computing industry – from software development to project management – with experience of working on projects for clients based around the world. However, sometimes he felt that his efforts were not recognised or valued. 

“The market also became more competitive and volatile, so project deadlines often became more unrealistic to secure customers and we had to meet tighter budgets. The sense of job security worsened after I had been with two companies for over four years, and major changes were announced with no warning. This had a major effect on my commitment to the industry and pushed me to consider a different career path – which I do not regret at all and am thankful for.”

Since leaving, Steven’s career in teaching has gone from strength to strength. He was made assistant head of ICT only two years after his newly qualified teacher (NQT) year, and progressed to his current role soon after.

For others considering making the move to teaching, Steven stresses that the decision must be made for the right reasons. “The financial support available is good, but the primary reason must be that you want to teach, as no amount of money will compensate for the commitment that you make once you become a teacher.

“Becoming a teacher has been the best decision ever. Teaching is so much more satisfying. In teaching, the job becomes your reward and the salary is almost secondary. Though in hindsight, I do not regret my career in computing – it has contributed to my teaching skills, knowledge and experience.”

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