James Macindoe

James Macindoe

James Macindoe

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

Why did you choose Monash?

I have always found computer software fascinating, so I really wanted to study computer science. But I was also interested in engineering and wasn’t sure which one I should choose. By doing a double degree at Monash, I was able to complete degrees in both areas while also studying physics and maths.

What attracted you to IT?

I spent a lot of time mucking around on computers during high school. I’d done a small amount of programming and really loved it. I also knew there were a lot of jobs in IT, so it was the obvious choice.

What made you choose the specialisation/major you’re studying?

Maybe I’m biased, but I think computer science deals with the most challenging and interesting concepts in IT, so it seemed like the best field for me to learn more about computers. It requires you to use computers in a way that (code) monkeys can’t.

I also majored in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering (ECSE) and physics. ECSE gave me a broader understanding of computing, especially about hardware. I only studied physics out of interest.

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

I completed an honours year in computer science. My project was a collaboration with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, to implement encryption in a database system. I was working in a team of three academics and six students. I worked on the cryptography side of the project, figuring out how to implement the cutting edge of searchable encryption research.

What was the favourite thing about the field you studied?

A programmer has complete control over the computer. If you can think of something, you can create. It lets you use your creativity to the full, but the results are actually useful, instead of being purely artistic.

Which IT facility were you most impressed with and why? Having an honours common room was pretty cool. It provided a single place to hang out and study.

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

I’ve worked at NAB, Telstra and Arup throughout the course of my degree. I was also involved in the Student Life club and learning Mandarin after uni (but at Melbourne uni!)

What was the highlight of your course?

I got to travel to the US as part of the Monash Undergraduate Research Projects Abroad (MURPA). I did an eight week research project at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), developing an Android app. It was fascinating getting to observe American culture and I had a lot of fun living with other exchange students. And Monash paid for the whole thing too!

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

Being a university student has a lot of perks. You have nearly complete control over your own time and you have a lot of spare time to spend with friends. Learning can be fun too, if you have the right attitude.

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

Make sure you put the right amount of time into study. I put too much time into in my first year and didn’t have much of a social life. Of course, most people have the opposite problem. Pay attention to how highly you are prioritising different aspects of your life and be willing to adjust those priorities.

Be as sociable as you can at the very start of uni. No one else has any friends either at the beginning, so everyone’s keen to make friends. After a little while, everyone’s formed their circles and it becomes much harder to make new friends

What do you hope to do after graduating?

I’m currently applying for software engineering roles as well as a few IT consulting positions. I’d probably most like to do programming for a career but I could also do engineering, especially in the telecommunications sector.

Is there anything else interesting about yourself or about your study that you would like to share with prospective students? For example, have you taken part in an overseas exchange or study abroad and/or have you worked on any interesting projects as part of your course?

I produced a piece of novel educational software for my engineering final year project. I wrote a paper on the work which was accepted into the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE) conference. I got to go to New Zealand to present the paper and attend the conference.