Chantel Garcia

Chantel Garcia

Chantel Garcia

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Double Degree
  • Year commenced: 2010
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Computer Science

Why did you choose Monash?

I chose Monash because of the IBL program which I thought would be very beneficial to my career. I also liked the culture and people at Monash when I went to the open day in year 12.

What attracted you to IT?

In high school I had a really amazing female I.T. teacher who introduced me to the creative side of computer programming. I found that doing well in I.T. studies came naturally, and my teacher encouraged me to get involved in external programs to further my interest. Through this, I participated in the ICT Achievers Program, a program where high school students are given the opportunity to participate in work experience at a local I.T. company. This opportunity caused me to discover the vast variety of career paths possible through studying I.T. and was the main driving force behind why I chose to go on to study within the field.

What made you choose the specialisation/major you studied?
In my Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems degree, I chose to specialise in Multimedia Development. I was particularly interested in the more graphical side of software development, including creating rich user experiences. Towards the end of the degree I became more focused on the technical, algorithmic side of software engineering, and it was then that I decided to study Computer Science on the conclusion of my first degree. In my Bachelor of Computer Science degree, the units that I took were mainly within the areas of algorithms and software development grounded in the core principles of computer science.

Tell us about what you studied – What was it? What did it involve? What did you actually do?

I finished my last degree in 2014 and am currently working for Microsoft in the United States as a Software Engineer. The work is both challenging and extremely rewarding; knowing that what you work on will reach millions of end users. Working for Microsoft is a dream come true and I feel as though my studies at Monash University were extremely valuable in allowing me to seize this opportunity.

What was the favourite thing about the field you studied?

I.T. is central to everything, it touches every area and has utility in every other field. It is the driving force in innovation, and the possibilities are endless.

Apart from study, what else were you involved in both at Monash and off campus? (Paid work, sport, clubs, hobbies etc)?

Whilst studying at Monash University, I spent time tutoring Computer Programming 2 – Java Programming, and Introductions to C++. I also ran Peer Assisted Study Sessions as part of the PASS scheme to assist students in their first year completing typically difficult units. I was also a Google Student Ambassador which involved running Google related events on campus to expose students to programming competition opportunities, internships and scholarships available at Google. I was also a member of the Monash Girl Geek Coffee Club; a club sponsored by Google to encourage women studying within the fields of I.T. and computer engineering to network and share knowledge. Outside of university I was also involved in a robotics program; mentoring senior students in a high school in Armadale participating in the FIRST Robotics international robotics competition.

What was the highlight of your course?

The highlight of my course was definitely Industry based Learning (IBL). During IBL I was given the opportunity to work for Constraint Technologies International, a software development firm specialising in producing software for aviation and rail. It was during this time that I had the opportunity to work on software that was extremely new and game-changing. The opportunities that presented themselves following my IBL placement kick-started my career in I.T.

What was the best thing about being a student at Monash?

The best thing about being a student at Monash was the incredible tutors and lecturers who were extremely passionate about what they were teaching and always willing to meet after class to discuss course content and provide help. Most tutors and lecturers were engaged in their own research simultaneously whilst teaching or had worked in the industry prior, which ensured that the content being taught always had a real-life context.

What advice do you have for prospective students starting uni next year?

Seize every possible opportunity presented to you to further your knowledge, career or network. Use the resources around you; your tutors and lecturers want to help you to succeed, and you should leverage this. Always keep your dream in mind, and keep working towards that, even when you’re in your introductory classes in first year; know that every little bit of knowledge that you gain along the way will be valuable in the future.

What do you hope to do after graduating?

Exactly what I am doing now, living my dream, working at Microsoft, making a difference through working on ground-breaking software.