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Jennifer Halvorsen

Junior Developer

UOC

Jennifer Halvorsen’s software skills are helping businesses improve health and environment programs

Jennifer Halvorsen always loved playing computer games, but technology and engineering was never really advertised at her high school.

“I originally wanted to get into gaming,” Jennifer says. “That sparked an interest in learning more about computers and other areas of software. From there it was a toss-up between picking computer science or software engineering.”

Software engineering won, and Jennifer took up a degree at the University of Canterbury (UC). She now works as a junior developer at Mango Limited, a company that helps businesses around the world improve their quality, health and safety, and environmental management programs.

Software and socialising

The degree at UC has a strong emphasis on project work, which showcases how software is much more than just coding. In her third year, Jennifer had a full year team project where she worked closely with her peers to design, develop and test an organ donation system.

“I made some great friends out of it!” she says. The social side of studying also formed from clubs. “I was involved with both WiTSoc (Women in Tech Society) and CompSoc (Computer Science Society).

Both clubs are a great way to meet and socialise with others.” A mix of casual get togethers, industry events and tutorial sessions created a safe space to connect.

“Getting involved with the wider community through clubs is a great way to make friends and have support while studying,” she says. a strong start. From the wide variety of courses, Jennifer enjoyed computer graphics most. “When pieces of code were in the wrong place you would end up just sitting there laughing at it because the models looked so ridiculous,” she says.

Part of the degree at UC includes an internship. Jennifer did hers at Seequent, developing new features for 3D modelling software. “Interning at Seequent definitely helped me in starting a career after my studies – it gave me real-life experience with common development processes that I continue to use in my current career, and helped me gain confidence that I was good at problem-solving.”

Her advice? “Don’t be afraid to fail.”

“In my early years I was often afraid of failing and it held me back,” she says. Now Jennifer looks at failing as one of the best ways to learn. – Sarah Kellett

Jennifer’s study and career pathway

This article is brought to you in partnership with the University of Canterbury and originally appears in Careers with STEM: Technology 2021.

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