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PhD candidate Natalie Grattan on predicting software defects and finding motivation

Thursday 24 March 2022 1:31pm

Based in the Department of Information Science in the Otago Business School, PhD candidate Natalie Grattan is investigating software defect prediction.

Software defect prediction involves predicting bugs in software projects by using prior collected data to determine what issues with the software might appear up in the future.

“Growing up I had always taken an interest in computers,” Natalie says.

Natalie Grattan profile 226 x 300
PhD candidate Natalie Grattan

“I chose this area of research because it appeared to have a lot of potential for growth with the new data science tools and techniques that are coming out.

“From my experience working in the technology industry during my internship at Education Perfect, part-time employment at AskOtago Student IT and Analysis Paralysis, and summer research scholarships in the Department of Information Science I could see the benefits of having software defect prediction tools.”

Natalie goes on to share how her journey towards a PhD was not straightforward, coming from a place of great uncertainty.

After leaving high school, she was indecisive about what her next step should be and decided to enrol at the University of Otago and take on various papers to try find a direction for herself.

“I’m a born-and-bred Dunedin local and so I had always wanted to go to Otago University because of the vibrant student culture and beautiful campus,” Natalie says.

“My study experience started out quite challenging as I was so uncertain about what I wanted to do, so I ended up taking a variety of papers and gambled on the hope that I would find something I gravitated towards.

“This led me to an entry-level Computer and Information Science paper though I had actually found it quite difficult and thought that path was not the one for me.”

Though, over time, the challenge of learning in this field grew on Natalie and has made the PhD journey she is currently on feel all-the-more rewarding.

She also took the time to thank the staff in the Department of Information Science for the opportunities they had given her, helping to improve her skills and introducing her to Information Science as a postgraduate research opportunity.

“These opportunities helped encourage me to pursue a PhD but, most of all, they have enabled me to find motivation and a direction for my future,” Natalie says.

“I look forward to what comes next.”

Written by the Otago Business School Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.