What it’s like to study IT at Monash University

Study tech
Vivien Tran (left) is in her second-last year of a double degree at Monash University – a Bachelor of IT and a Bachelor of Commerce – while Keshav Seshadri (right) is doing Bachelor of Engineering (Software Engineering) also at Monash.

We chat to both a recent grad and soon-to-be grad from Monash University’s Faculty of IT about their study and career paths

We all have different strengths, passions and experiences – which means no two people are the same, and no two career paths are the same! But hearing from mentors and role models can be a great way to help you on your own study and career journey.

If you’re interested in a career in the world of Information Technology (IT) when you finish high school – then keep reading to meet two people at different stages of their STEM journey, but who have both been through Monash’s Faculty of IT, for their experiences, insights, advice and goals!

The double degree undergrad

Vivien Tran is in the second-last year of her double degree at Monash University – a Bachelor of IT and a Bachelor of Commerce.

“I was drawn to STEM subjects during high school but had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise,” Vivian says. That uncertainty made the idea of a double degree and “being able to explore two completely different areas!” even more attractive. 

“This is super helpful if you’re unsure about what you want to do. It also shortens your degree timeframe, rather than doing one degree after the other,” she explains.

Having chosen her degree after being wooed by Monash’s Faculty of IT at the university’s Open Day, Vivien couldn’t have been better places to kickstart her career – landing a job before she even graduated!

From intern to employee

During her undergraduate degree, Vivien completed two work placements: a four-week summer internship with Deloitte (“a great experience to learn what working in consulting is like and meet people in the industry”), and a six-month placement at ANZ in the bank’s Tech Risk team. 

The ANZ placement was part of Monash University’s Industry-Based Learning (IBL) program – and it turned into an ongoing full-time role before Vivien had even finished her degree! Vivien is now working at ANZ full-time, whilst studying part-time to finish her degree.

“I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve started at ANZ,” says Vivien. “From developing my soft skills to gaining experience with risk management. The best thing about my role would have to be working with and learning from my team.”

Join the club

Aside from making her super employable – Vivien has also relished being able to participate in student clubs while at uni, including the Monash Association of Coding, diversIT and the Commerce Computing Association. 

“Being involved in clubs has been the highlight of my uni experience!” she says. “I’ve gotten to meet like-minded people who inspire and encourage me to do my best. It’s also taught me how to work effectively as a team to achieve a shared goal.”

The software engineering grad

Keshav Seshadri says he always loved solving puzzles as a kid, and after his first taste of coding in year 8, he knew a career in IT was for him. 

“Software development is just a massive puzzle that you solve one section at a time. I love ideating and problem solving, and you get to do that through writing code for applications that help different people all around the globe,” he says.

Keshav signed up for a Bachelor of Engineering (Software Engineering) at Monash University, attracted to the university’s solid reputation, its “beautiful campus” and its industry and work placement programs.

For his degree, Keshav minored in cyber security. “I always thought cyber security was fascinating and felt that every developer should have a basic understanding of it,” he says. The subject was a lot of fun, too – Keshav particularly enjoyed projects where he got to act as a hacker, trying to break into networks and websites to learn about security weaknesses.

Cream cheese and AI – real-world experience

Keshav also undertook three work placements during his degree, including a particularly cool-sounding internship he landed at the cheese company Bega.

The internship was through the Monash Industry Team Initiative and involved working in a group of four students as a blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) consultant. Keshav spent three months researching how Bega could use these technologies to improve its cream cheese manufacturing progress. The internship even included travelling to regional Victoria to visit the cream cheese manufacturing plant! “We got to see the entire process from how milk gets collected from cows to how the cheese gets packed and sent to different supermarkets around Australia,” Keshav says.

Student clubs, virtual study buddies and ping pong

Keshav says his time at uni also offered opportunities to develop crucial non-technical skills such as leadership, teamwork and organisation, by participating in student clubs including the Monash Soccer club, the Monash Outdoor club and leading hackathons.

Alas, opportunities to socialise dropped off for Keshav (and all of us!) during covid – but he saw this challenge as an opportunity to innovate. 

“I found it really hard to make friends with people doing the same subject that I did,” he says. “All our classes were online, but there was no opportunity for virtual social interaction inside or outside class.”

Ever the problem-solver, Keshav developed an app called Study Buddy, that matches students based on subjects that they’re studying. 

“A student just has to enter their subjects, and the app finds similar students that the user can message. I spent most of my final year making this application and hopefully it should be released in Monash sometime this year.” 

All of this meant Keshav had a pretty solid CV by the time he graduated, so he landed a place in the graduate program at Seek. He is now employed there as an Associate Software Developer, where he applies the skills he learned at uni everyday – including app development, writing hard-to-crack code and problem solving. 

And nowadays, with socialising back on the cards, Keshav loves the work-life balance offered at Seek. He works from home three days a week, and on the other days he likes to hang IRL with his co-workers and make the most of the company’s cool offices, including ping pong tables, snacks galore, office trivia nights and hackathons.

Keshav – who’s dream job would be to work at Google one day – compares working in IT to riding a bike. “You may fail miserably at the start, but once you get the hang of it, there’s no going back!” 

This article was brought to you in partnership with Monash University Faculty of IT. Find out more about studying IT at Monash here.

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Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma is the Managing Editor of Careers with STEM magazine. She has previously worked as Digital Managing Editor at Australian Geographic and a staff writer at Cosmos science magazine.

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