Software engineer Levina Wong has overcome imposter syndrome to kickstart a career she’s super proud of.
When Levina was in high school, engineering was available as a Year 12 elective for the first time at her school – she knew almost nothing about it before then. As it turned out, she loved it. “I love fixing things,” she says. “There’s something so satisfying about solving problems.”
After school, she studied a Bachelor of Engineering (ICT) and Diploma in Engineering Practice at the University of Technology, Sydney. Levina says it was only when she got to apply her skills at two internships as an undergrad – including at the ABC, helping develop their internal apps – that she understood how much she enjoyed coding and software engineering. “I thought to myself, this is super useful!” she says.
Battling imposter syndrome
Despite enjoying her internships, after school Levina was nervous about starting out in the workforce. “I wasn’t yet confident in my skills as a software engineer,” she says.
That’s partly what drew her to the grad program at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) – which she’d heard had a strong learning culture.
“That kind of helped with that feeling that I wasn’t quite ready to jump into a job,” she says.
Having completed the grad program and now working as a full-time software engineer at CBA, Levina has learned that imposter syndrome – that feeling of not really belonging – is not only common (especially for women in male-dominated industries) but also just an illusion that she is learning to overcome. “Whenever I speak to anyone about it, they say, ‘oh we all have that’,” she says.
“You just have to be confident in yourself – just looking back at the last year and a half [at CBA], I’ve actually contributed so much. I had no idea I could ever do this kind of stuff. But anyone can do this, you just have to be given the right opportunity,” Levina says.
At CBA, Levina works on the Bank’s online banking platform, NetBank, making sure everything looks good, works well and effectively. That means her average nine-to-five is a lot of coding, reviewing other people’s code, and staying connected with her team through meetings and catch-ups to ensure projects are on track. “How exciting is it that so many people will actually physically see and use what I’ve worked on?”
“I don’t think many people realise that at least in banks now and in Australia there are really cool things for software engineers to do,” she says.
Levina’s study and career pathway
- Bachelor of Engineering (ICT) and diploma in Engineering practice, UTS
- Junior Software Technology Developer Intern, Ernox
- Technology Intern, ABC
- Software Engineering Graduate, CBA
- Software Engineer, CBA
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.