Vernice Ta

Vernice Ta

Vernice Ta

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Degree
  • Year commenced: 2017
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Arts
  • Specialisation: Computer Networks and Security and Criminology

Guided by passion

I’ve had a genuine interest in technology from a young age. Growing up, I’d enjoy reading the news on the latest tech breakthroughs – and watching hackers on TV shows particularly piqued my interest in cybersecurity. I also had family members working in IT, so I was always exposed to it in some way or another.

Naturally, IT became not only my favourite subject in high school, but also the subject I performed the best in.

Finding her people

When I attended Monash’s Open Day during my final year of high school, I got to speak with staff and current students, and I just felt like I was surrounded by like-minded people!

With the added bonus of having great facilities like 24/7 access to computer labs, as well as a chance for every student to get real-world experience with industry placements, I knew that Monash was the place I was going to fit into.

Double degrees? It’s a yes from Vernice.

Studying two courses provides greater job opportunities because it makes you a more attractive graduate.

For me it was IT and Arts. I found they struck the perfect balance between technical and non-technical work. When you get tired of studying one, just switch to the other!

Furthermore I got to develop two different but equally vital sets of skills. With Arts I got to learn transferable skills that every industry requires, like critical thinking, research and report writing; with IT on the other hand, it was more technical and knowledge-based as well as problem-solving and logic used for coding.

Variety is the spice of life

During my studies, I was heavily involved as a mentor and mentor leader at Access Monash, a mentoring program for students at underrepresented schools. Here I developed leadership and communication skills, both of which are essential for the workforce.

In my second year I also joined the Monash Law Student Society committee as an IT officer where I learned web development skills from operating the website.

On top of these roles, I was an ambassador for the IT faculty for university open days and STEM events.

Ready to take on the world

My Industry-Based Learning placement at Ernst and Young was the highlight of my course.

Navigating the new world of corporate was both exciting and challenging, plus it felt good to take a break from regular classroom learning.

I completed a six-month placement in its cybersecurity team where I learned essential management and consulting skills through working with clients to create a product. I also developed my knowledge in information security and data regulation.

What surprised me was the applicability of what I had learned in theory at university to real-life practice. The experience has helped me land a role at KPMG as a Cyber Security Consultant after graduation.

Sworn to protect

As you may have picked up on, I get fired up by cybercrime and exploitation, specifically data breaches. These issues are quite prevalent in today’s world with technology and data more accessible than ever, and because cybercrime is a crime without borders.

My course has provided me with the foundation to understand the patterns of offenders, to not only retain the confidentiality of leaked data, but prevent such attacks from the outset through computer and network security mechanisms.

I hope to continue exploring the different areas within cybersecurity in my new role so I can narrow my scope to a specific area in the future. I’m considering cybercrime, an area which heavily utilises knowledge from both of my degrees in IT and Arts.

Women supporting women

So far I have not faced any obstacles entering the IT field.

Monash supported me with a ‘Women in IT’ scholarship in my first year which helped pay for essential academic materials. I was also given the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals via the Women in IT  mentoring program, who gave me invaluable advice for entering the industry.

Pearls of wisdom for future students

If you are considering this course, you’re already on the right path.

Also, there’s only so much any degree at university can teach you. In the end, it’s what you make of it that determines your success. So always say yes to opportunities that will improve you as a person or develop your IT skills.

Similarly, if you want an opportunity, then take the initiative and ask for it. The worst that could happen is being told no, which will only build your resilience. Remember: The answer is already a no if you don’t ask.