Sajeeb Lohani

Sajeeb Lohani

Sajeeb Lohani

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Degree
  • Year commenced: 2014
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Software Engineering
  • Minor(s): Software engineering

Why did you choose Monash?

I chose Monash University, as the course structures are flexible enough to cater to my particular interests. They allowed me to gain knowledge in all sectors of IT, but also concentrate on the specific topics of my choice. Monash University matched my requirements perfectly!

What attracted you to IT?

I had passion for IT from a very young age (12 years old). I loved the fact that, even if you are not a part of a major corporation, or even within the industry, you can still make significant contributions, and not be judge, based upon who you are (you will be judged on your work though). Also, I feel that the IT industry will be advancing with haste, and is being used in all other industries, which makes the opportunities for employment very vast.

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

My main areas of study are machine learning and cyber security. I feel that machine learning is the next advancement for the IT sector. It is currently being used in many algorithms, by companies like Google, Twitter, etc. It is also being used majorly in the medical industry, for predicting diseases, conditions, etc. As for cyber security, it is a major concern for all people worldwide, and is also the cause of losses in the billions of dollars. Being a part of the industry, attempting to defend private and confidential data, is actually quite interesting, in the sense that you have to be flawless to do so.

Tell us about what you’re studying – What is it? What does it involve? What do you actually do?

My main course is based on software engineering, which is the process of how to create high quality software within budget, and managing risks and time constraints.

I’m studying machine learning and cyber security as specialisations. Machine learning is programming computers to think and make decisions based on previous data. This is great in the sense that, it would take a single person, years to analyse 10 years of data, but could take a computer less than a minute. My other area of study is cyber security. This includes finding vulnerabilities in programs and seeing if they are prone to being hacked. We also try to exploit these vulnerabilities so that we can learn and understand how to prevent them, and ensure that the applications developed are more secure.

What is your favourite thing about the field you’re studying?

The fact that opportunities are always available is probably my favourite part. Despite that, having 24-hour hacking contests is amazing, as it lets you experience how to work in a team (not only in office hours)

Which IT facility are you most impressed with and why?

I am most impressed with the IBL program. This is because it gives students an opportunity to understand how the actual industry is, and what they will have to do to “survive in the real world”. Also, it is great as it basically uses Monash University’s contacts to give us students an opportunity to showcase ourselves in front of companies we may not have gotten access to!

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

I work at a company as a developer and cyber security specialist. I make programs which are used for marketing and analysis of the business. I also run a cyber security teaching club, where we (students) teach our fellow peers how to “hack” and how to stay safe online. I am a brown belt in Karate (Shito-ryu). I like to watch anime, and play games (there’s a really cool anime club!). Also, I and my best friend have opened up our own business where we develop software for clients and also run our own projects, like our current project which is still under development, “Bulletproof Accounting”, is our version of a cloud based accounting system. I have also taken part in CySCA (Cyber Security Challenge Australia), and the ANZAC programming contests (both really good for practice!). I’m also a student representative, so I have very close interactions with many students of multiple year levels, regarding the progress of their degrees and units. I also worked under a Professor in Monash University on a project based on machine learning.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

One of the biggest highlights of my course was the insights we got in our units regarding algorithms (FIT1029 – taught by Julian Garcia & FIT2004 – taught by Arun Konagurthu). I feel that both of these subjects have opened my eyes to think in different ways for problem solving.

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

Being students of Monash, we have access to some of the best material and are guided by very knowledgeable individuals. Also we have access to applications which are quite expensive to buy, but due to being Monash University students, we get them for free! The faculty members of the Faculty of IT are not only very knowledgeable, but quite approachable and more than willing to assist with any queries. They are also amongst researchers in the world.

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

The main advice I would give is love what you do. Understand what you study (don’t try to sit down all day and cram!), and think of better ways of solving problems (thinking of better ways of solving problems will change your experience of University completely). Communicate with your lecturers and fellow students, as you can learn a lot from them, and also spread your own knowledge. Also try to apply the things you learn inside your units, in practical and real-life applications, as that gives you a better understanding of things, and also works as a perk for showing potential employers. Also get involved in as many activities as you can, and make networks.

What do you hope to do after graduating?

I hope to work for a company in one of my fields of study, and also further study these fields and make a contribution to the industry. I also want to create my own established business, so that we can make some of the world’s most innovative creations at our own will.

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 was a part of a subject named “Advanced Programming (FIT3140)”, where we created an android application from scratch in two weeks. In this application, we also created our own functional programming language, namely “ME!”, and our own maze generation algorithm. I found that, after doing this subject, my views of software development life cycles and how the actual job is done, became much clearer. This is because we had practical experience of how proper application development should be.

After completing my first year of University (currently in my second year), I was selected for interviewing at a web development company named "Zendesk".  At this interview, I saw that the content taught to me in FIT1029 (and FIT2004, but I hadn’t taken the unit yet), allowed me to break the record time in the company’s algorithmic problem solving task.

Also, another favourite part of the Faculty of IT is the friendliness portrayed amongst all members of the faculty. There is a floor of the IT building, named the “IT Foyer”, which has the most amazing effect on people. It basically enables you to communicate with your fellow peers and even your tutors and lecturers on a regular basis, making sure the environment is peaceful and still lively.

I also worked on a “State of the Art Machine Learning System”, under Professor Geoff Webb, as an undergraduate researcher. There I learnt to use R, and C++ for machine learning purposes, and also learnt to create my own R packages for future developments.