- Student type: International
- Degree type: Graduate Research
- Year commenced: 2020
- Degree(s): Doctor of Philosophy
- Department: Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity, Software Engineering group
Putting people first
I decided to pursue graduate research in IT because I believed that it would benefit me both personally and professionally. Through my research, I’ve gained invaluable skills and connections, as well as vital knowledge that will benefit my community.
I’m excited about how highly applicable my research will be in industry to help practitioners put humans as their primary focus during the software development process.
Rubbing shoulders with giants
I chose Monash University for graduate research because it’s one of the top universities in Australia. Additionally, Monash houses reputable experts who have published notable papers and projects related to the topic I proposed for my research, so I was keen to have the opportunity to pick their brains.
By humans, for humans
'Software should behave like a considerate human being'. This is a quote from ‘About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design’ that I put on my wall to remind me of the goal of my research.
The reason I’m fired up about this issue is because I’ve noticed first-hand the rapid growth of digital technology and the amount of time people spend interacting with technology.
I want to raise awareness that the wellbeing of humans should be the primary focus during the developmental stage of any product. And that’s why the research I’m currently pursuing aims to help software practitioners address human values and understand how to embody those values into their products.
Creating change from the ground up
Requirement Engineering (RE) is a process where engineers engage stakeholders to help define the requisites of software-based products to ensure that it both satisfies the needs of its target users and promotes their wellbeing.
Personas are inducted into this process as proxy target users, but they contain limitations such as a lack of creation and validation guidelines, as well as issues surrounding the reluctance to use personas from some stakeholders.
My research examines the incorporation of personas into RE. We conduct systematic literature reviews to analyse existing research studies on the incorporation of personas in RE, focusing on the improvement of their construction. Then we evaluate the results and produce new guidelines for applicability.
The best of times, the worst of times
Undertaking a PhD is hard enough as it is without a global pandemic in the mix. Having to work from home was not easy, compounded with the mental and emotional toll of the never-ending lockdowns. But the most difficult part for me was that I hadn’t seen my family for nearly two years – which is particularly hard given they contracted the COVID-19 virus.
So given the situation with the pandemic, I’d say that passing my confirmation seminar was the best experience I’ve had so far during my course. I must commend the tireless support I received from my supervisors who not only cared about my academic achievements, but also my personal wellbeing. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Last semester I also had the opportunity to work as a teaching associate at Monash, which is the most meaningful thing I’ve done during my time here so far. I gained a more comprehensive understanding about the unit I taught, I got to share my knowledge with students, I learned how to structure a class within an online setting and I enhanced my teamwork, time management, and interpersonal skills.
Equal playing field
In my home country, there is a strong societal stigma that men are not just more capable, but will also be more successful than women when it comes to work in IT.
However, Monash gives the same opportunities for both men and women entering this area of study. They are supportive regardless of gender.
My graduate research experience has helped me build a valuable professional network that will surely be important for my future career.
After graduation, my goal is to continue conducting research related to my current study area. Additionally, I’d also like to contribute to the progression of my home country with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained during my time at Monash.
Pearls of wisdom for future students
The stigma that only men can succeed in this field is obsolete. IT is a vast area of study and ripe for exploration and opportunities for research, especially in software engineering.