Mark Varney is a graduate software engineer at CBA, who spends his working day writing the code that helps us bank online.
Mark hated maths in high school, and wasn’t exactly into science either. In fact he only discovered his affinity with STEM subjects while he was doing an arts degree – majoring in journalism – at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
“Although I didn’t like the degree, I did a very basic web design subject and enjoyed using the HTML/CSS to code up a web page,” Mark explains. “At the time I was also into amateur music production and became obsessed with building homemade gear which required electronics knowledge too.”
Gradually – at home and at uni – Mark got big-time into computer science and after graduating from a degree that wasn’t his thing, replaced journalism with a Masters of IT.
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“I decided that I wanted a job in tech and settled on programming after I got over the initial brain pain,” he laughs. “Plus, I thought giving machines complex logic so they can carry out tasks by themselves was insanely cool.”
Straight to the bank
One of the most exciting and significant real-world projects Mark worked on during his second stint at UTS involved working alongside CBA – who were “super cool!” – and one of their software engineers.
The overall vibe of the company, alongside the exciting opportunities they boasted for tech grads, convinced him to apply and land an internship with the Bank – and later a spot in their much-coveted graduate program. And that’s still where he works – from home because, 2020.
These days as a full-time CBA graduate software engineer, Mark helps create the code that allows us to internet bank. “If you’ve ever made or received a payment using the CommBank app, there’s a good chance you’ve used code that I’ve worked on,” he says.
And his advice for tech grads looking to skip snoozy IT roles in favour of something fun and unexpected like a programming gig in a bank?
“There are so many amazing resources these days – Khan Academy, YouTube etc – that you can, to an extent, basically teach yourself anything before you score a job,” he stresses. “Learn how to learn – and most importantly how your mind works.”
Mark’s study and career pathway
This article is brought to you in partnership with CBA.
Author: Cassie Steel
As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.