- Student type: International
- Degree type: Degree
- Year commenced: 2018
- Degree(s): Bachelor of Information Technology
- Specialisation: Software Development and Networks and Security
Down the rabbit hole of curiosity
My IT journey started the day I taught myself programming. I was hooked, so I decided to return to education to develop a keener understanding of integral technology-based concepts, explore what IT has to offer and then consider if I should pivot my career path.
I chose to study at Monash partly due to its well-renowned Industry-Based Learning (IBL) program, and partly because I'd heard great things about Melbourne from family and friends.
Dabble then decide
I decided to undertake the Bachelor of Information Technology. Its unique structure gave me the flexibility to explore areas of interest during the first two years of the course, which helped me find my niche to delve deeper into during my final year.
With a double major in Software Development and Networks and Security, not to mention the many IT electives taken in both Games Development and Interactive Media, I was exposed to diverse knowledge across the broad spectrum of IT.
I would highly recommend Monash’s Bachelor of IT for those who want to pursue an IT-based career but are unsure which area they want to specialise in, because you can guide the direction of the course according to your interests as you discover them.
A pivotal program
The biggest highlight of my course was the IBL program, a Monash-exclusive program that provides students with crucial hands-on experience in major companies.
I completed my placement at the National Australia Bank (NAB) in its Financial Crime department where I gained great insights into working in a large organisation, collaborating with a variety of teams and managing tasks in an intense and rapidly-changing environment. The entry process itself was an invaluable experience as it provided me with the chance to practise and enhance my job interviewing skills.
IBL is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door and make a real difference to real people, all while taking a nice break from your studies. I discovered a lot about myself during the placement. I found that a key strength of mine is proactivity and that my bright, positive and bubbly character brings the team together.
My favourite unit was ’Maker Lab’, where you had to equip all the knowledge and skills you learned during the last two years of your course to solve a real-world problem that you care about.
With guidance from my tutors, I created a robot mouse toy for cat rescue centres that can be controlled over the internet by many users simultaneously using a Twitch stream.
The goal was to provide entertainment for people during lockdown without pets, provide entertainment for cats in shelters, and ultimately, encourage more cat adoptions and donations to the centres.
It felt amazing to have that degree of freedom to spread my wings and pursue a passion project.
Lean on me
The biggest challenge I faced was trying to stay engaged and motivated during online learning. It was very hard to focus on account of the world falling apart due to a global pandemic, but I was lucky that I had supportive people within my university network, such as my friends from the Monash Board Game Society and my tutors who worked tirelessly to check in on every student's wellbeing when they could.
Strike a balance
As I mentioned before, I’m an active member of the Monash Board Games Society. I’ve had an absolute blast and made countless lifelong friends, not to mention it’s a great way to destress from my studies. I also joined the committee as an Engagement Officer which vastly improved my communication and management skills.
Additionally, I’ve volunteered as a Peer Mentor and tutor for the Programming Bootcamp which made me realise my passion for teaching and guiding students.
A right to know
An issue that concerns me in this modern day and age is how we're steadily losing more rights to our data privacy. What's most troubling is that the average person typically isn't even aware of this problem.
My major in Networks and Security made these problems clear to me. So I prioritise protecting my own data and passing on this knowledge to others when I can so more people can better understand the value of their data and privacy.
My time in Australia as an international student from the UK has been second to none. The country is absolutely stunning, the coffee is fantastic and Australians are some of the warmest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met. The experiences I’ve had and the memories I’ve made over the last few years have been incredible.
I've been lucky enough to make friends who also seek adventure. This has led to many trips together both abroad and in regional Victoria. I’ve gone camping, hiking, fruit picking, rock climbing, long distance cycling and more!
I've also managed to find a number of new active hobbies while here including cycling, tennis, indoor rebound beach volleyball and bouldering. To relax I play video games, board games, watch movies or just get together with friends for dinner.
Follow the yellow brick road
I’m grateful that I followed my curiosity down this IT path. My biggest goal after graduation is to further my education with a master’s degree. Depending on how that goes, I may move into research or seek a role as a programmer that allows me to utilise my creative side as well.
Since my course allowed me so much flexibility, I can now add a large variety of skills to my CV, covering both technical and creative areas. Along with the valuable teamwork skills gained from the IBL program, I’ll be able to apply to a number of different professional roles in the future.
Pearls of wisdom for future students
As someone who did university wrong the first time but learned from their mistakes and made the most of her second chance at Monash, here’s my advice: Never say ‘no’. Take every opportunity that lands in front of you. If it doesn’t work out, you don’t lose anything; but if you don’t say ‘yes’, you could be missing out on something great. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
And don’t just focus on studying! Join a club and get involved in your local community! You gain a lot of knowledge from education, but social skills and connections are essential when searching for work and supporting a professional team in the future. Put yourself out there and get involved in clubs or events! This will lead you to making new friends, enhancing your university life and inviting more opportunities to your door in the future.