When Henry Zhao was still a couple of years away from finishing high school, he was already solving problems with his DIY programming skills.
“I wanted to make a simple music player app with huge buttons that my grandparents could use,” he recalls. “I did some online tutorials and hacked it together.”
By year 12, Henry knew he wanted a career in software development, which led him to enrol in a computer science degree at UNSW. He also picked up commerce to complement his tech skills and explore his interest in finance. “I wanted to be at the intersection of finance and software development,” says Henry.
Following a stint as an intern software developer at stock exchange firm Nasdaq, Henry applied for the Commonwealth Bank graduate program during his final year of studies. The 18-month program consists of two rotations, which Henry spent in Global Markets IT and CommSec, CommBank’s online stockbroking and investing platforms.
When Henry joined the graduate program in the Global Markets IT division, he had the opportunity to work on a new web app from start to finish. “It was pretty awesome building the app from scratch,” says Henry.
Now in CommSec, Henry is busy refreshing the division’s apps and transferring them onto a cloud-based platform. He is also looking forward to developing some new apps of his own that will keep CommSec running smoothly. “It’s such a massive system,” says Henry. “Improving something that affects millions of Australians is so rewarding.”
While CommSec’s huge number of apps keep Henry’s coding skills sharp, he also has the freedom to delve into his own interests every six weeks on Innovation Day. From solving problems at the bank or a personal side project, employees have the freedom on these days to learn without the pressure to deliver a final product.
Henry says one of the best things about software development is that you don’t need to wait until university to start. There are heaps of free online resources that you can try out for yourself. “You just need access to a computer and a problem you want to solve,” he says.
Henry’s career path:
>> Bachelor of Computer Science / Bachelor of Commerce (Finance), UNSW
>> Software Developer Intern, Nasdaq
>> Tutor, CodeCreate
>> Graduate Software Developer, CBA
This article was brought to you in partnership with CBA. It was originally published in Careers with STEM: Code 2019. You can read the e-magazine for free online here.
Author: Gemma Conroy
Gemma is a freelance journalist with a passion for making science accessible to everyone. Gemma has a degree in biology from Macquarie University and loves sharing amazing discoveries with the world.