Ready for anything
To prepare for your first job, you need to think beyond just getting good grades.
When data scientist Tinlok ‘Tiny’ Pang graduated from the University of Sydney with a Science and Information Technology degree, she skipped the graduate program and went straight into a full-time job.
“I picked up the skills I needed for the workforce during my internships,” she says.
It can be hard for new graduates to stand out from the crowd, but work experience, internships, volunteering and side projects can all help make your resume shine. They also provide opportunities to learn new skills, build your network and find out more about the industry.
As well as completing an Honours year and being the first female president of the University’s IT society, SUITS, Tiny did three internships. The first two were at large corporates, KPMG and Deloitte, while the third was at a smaller, more agile business called Freelancer.com.
The internships also helped Tiny decide what kind of workplace suited her. “I didn’t enjoy the corporate lifestyle,” she says. “It’s good I was able to figure that out early on.”
Her time at Freelancer.com led to a full-time job, and she has since moved on to another start-up, the DIY design portal Canva. Her advice is to do as many internships as possible. “It gives you a leg-up over other candidates.”
Julia Wong’s first internship made her realise she needed to change direction in her studies. “It showed me that information systems wasn’t for me,” she says. Julia transferred from the University of Technology, Sydney, to an Information Technology degree at the University of Sydney, where she is now majoring in computer science. She has done several internships with Google, including one in California. “It was so exciting to travel overseas and work with some of the latest technologies,” she says.
But internships aren’t the only ticket to overseas travel. Nick Armstrong recently visited Chicago to present a paper as part of his Honours project. “It’s one of those ‘take the opportunity when you see it’ kind of things,” he says.
Nick was also part of the Talented Students Program (TSP) offered by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science. The TSP gives undergraduates the chance to do a self-directed research project. Nick looked at running physics applications inside Linux containers. “It’s a good opportunity to get an idea of what research is like.”
There are plenty of opportunities to add value to your degree, Nick says. “Take any opportunity you can. Just get stuck in and try it out!”
– Chloe Walker
TO GET THERE: Information Technologies, University of Sydney
“I picked up the skills I needed for the workforce during my internships.”
“It was so exciting to travel overseas and work with some of the latest technologies.”
“Take any opportunity you can. Just get stuck in and try it out!”
Author: STEM Contributor
This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.