Leaping beyond the code monkey
Not so long ago Jared Griffiths (BSE (Hons) 2014) figured that being a software engineer meant he was destined to either do tech support or endless programming (in other words, become a “code monkey”). He now recognises that IT offers a breadth of exciting and dynamic careers, with opportunities to match just about anyone’s area of expertise.
Jared has found his niche as a Senior Business Analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia. “For me, it’s very much about people – the beneficiaries of the thing you’re working on,” he shares. In his role, he facilitates solutions for internal departments, working with them, as he puts it, to “define their needs and then extract requirements that are consistent, complete and, most importantly, understood by all relevant stakeholders.”
At the moment, Jared has a range of responsibilities while working on a large-scale Agile software project to replace a legacy mainframe banking system. He writes user stories (simplified descriptions of what users want and why), creates process diagrams, draws wireframes, delivers presentations to stakeholders, and supports knowledge sharing and training sessions.
His undergraduate course prepared him well for cross-functional scrum teamwork, with the agility to quickly make small changes, learn from them and adjust accordingly. “The BSE focus on modern Agile techniques, broad and extensive coding experience, testing skills, and current software trends has enabled me to excel in my role,” Jared explains. “I started out on a project using the exact same frameworks and toolsets as in my fourth year at Monash.”
The industry-based learning (IBL) program has also enriched Jared’s career. Through an IBL placement, Jared worked as a Quality Analyst at IBM. “With my scripting skills, I transformed a three-week-long task of manually interrogating logs, and filling rows into an Excel spreadsheet, into an exceptionally accurate report that could be generated in only 30 seconds,” he recounts.
IBL pretty much kicked off Jared’s career. “Employers appreciated that I had some professional IT experience,” he says. “And my manager at IBM became not only a great reference, but my advocate when I was job hunting.”
Jared went straight from IBL to the Monash Undergraduate Research Projects Abroad. “I worked with distributed computing software at the University of California San Diego. The most fun – and most challenging – thing I did while at university,” he reveals.
So what advice does Jared give someone just starting out? “The last thing an employer wants is a cookie-cutter graduate like every other one pumped out of the university system,” he asserts. “Be confident in your skills and knowledge, and remember, you’re a valuable asset.” With that in mind, you may discover a lot more career options than you expect.