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What it’s like to work in postgraduate IT

Postgraduate IT

Take a look into your future as five graduates share their study and career stories

If you’re considering postgraduate IT and wondering where it could take you, this one’s for you! Below, five super clever STEM legends have spilled the beans on what it’s like to undertake extra studies and what effect that’s had on their careers.

To find out more about postgraduate IT, make sure you download your free copy of out Information Technology Postgraduate Course Guide.

1. Sally Zhu, statistical forecast analyst

Career paths don’t come much more diverse than Sally’s. After working in retail and tourism, her interest in data led her down a different path and she’s been on a continuous, data- driven learning journey ever since.

“I’m genuinely curious about how data science and analytics shape decision making,” Sally says.

As a statistical forecast analyst with the Woolworths Group, Sally’s role requires her to “improve the accuracy of sales forecasting so that the right amount of stock is delivered to the right store at the right time”.

Sally is currently studying her second Master degree at QUT: a Master of Data Analytics. She’s grateful for QUT’s supportive teaching team, especially when it comes to her main challenge: coding. “I had zero coding experience but the course itself is structured so that students are introduced to new concepts gradually. The supportive environment made me feel comfortable and I was able to learn how to code, and strategies to do so.”

Sally credits formative learning experiences such as this for making her want to stick with postgraduate study.

“I feel lucky and grateful that I have had these positive experiences at QUT that motivated me to further pursue the data analytics/data science fields.”

Study + career path

  • Pricing analyst, Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety
  • Statistical forecast analyst, Woolworths Group
  • Master of Data Science (Statistical Data Science), QUT

2. Toni De Palo, acting director – portfolio value management

We spoke to Toni about how studying a Master of Data Analytics at QUT has given her career an edge.

What are you enjoying about studying the Master of Data Analytics?
As I work my way through it, I’m finding that I’m gaining relevant skills and developing a way of thinking that’s useful in any role.

How has postgrad helped your career? Toni: It has helped me to remain relevant and ahead of the curve with my skills, thinking and sense of curiosity.

Tell us about your current job!
I work for a Federal government department where we have an enormous amount of data that needs to be analysed and transformed into a story. Through visualisation techniques I’m able to provide a basis for sound decision making.

How important are data skills to IT careers? Toni: I believe data literacy is important for everyone. The need to be able to use, analyse and understand data is rapidly growing.

Top tips for postgrad students?
Be curious and approach it as an adventure. Use the time to build your networks, leverage the expertise of others and find what works for you. Also, ask loads of questions along the way!

Study + career path

  • Master of Data Analytics, QUT (ongoing)
  • Sessional academic, QUT
  • Acting director – portfolio value management, ATO

3. Mitchell Au-Yeung, business process analyst

Mitchell says building bots is a career highlight, thanks to his postgrad studies

It was an aversion to looking at numbers all day that led Mitchell to switch careers and move away from accounting. “I’d decided I didn’t want to be crunching numbers for the rest of my life in a cubicle,” he says.

Mitchell first came across the concept of robotic process automation (RPA) on LinkedIn, which is also where he discovered QUT’s Master of Business Process Management (BPM). Thanks to his master’s degree, he was able to build on his undergrad and enhance his skills so he could transition to a career that better suited him.

“QUT is one of the few pioneer universities that offers a Master of Business Process Management across Australia,” Mitchell says. “My professor, Moe Thandar Wynn, was always so enthusiastic and passionate when talking about BPM. It was just an eye-opener listening to and learning from her during my time at QUT.”

Study + career path

  • Master of Business Process Management, QUT
  • Business analyst, Joii
  • Business process analyst, Suncorp Group

4. Samridh Girish, IT security analyst

Adding a Master of IT to his computer science undergrad made Samridh twice as employable in cyber security.

Below, we ask him about his postgrad journey!

Did you always know you wanted to work in tech?
Samridh: I was always good at providing tech help to my family, which led me to study a Bachelor in Computer Science Engineering. However, while I was working in IT I learnt about opportunities in cyber security and enrolled in a master degree at QUT with a specialisation in networks and cyber security.

Such a great career move! How was your postgraduate experience?
Doing my Master at QUT was a much more hands-on learning experience than my Bachelor degree, and it really helped me to learn each concept clearly! I use all of those concepts widely in my current job and so can say with confidence that QUT’s slogan ‘the university for the real world’ is very apt.

How did you land your current gig as a cyber security analyst?
With my previous experience working in IT support and system admin roles in India, I landed my first IT support analyst role at Smartabase. Seeing the passion that I had for cyber security, they gave me the opportunity to learn the job hands on!

What do you do day-to-day?
Samridh: At my company Teamworks, I’m responsible for management and maintenance of the organisation’s IT networks, systems, applications and access controls for multiple offices in different time zones.

At the moment I’m researching various security technologies that can be incorporated to improve our security posture and am working on getting new security compliance certifications for the company.

Is there anything you learnt during your Master degree that you use on the job a lot?
At university I was exposed to various frameworks – like NIST and ISO – that are widely used by many different organisations. This has really helped me recently while working on the security compliance certifications.

Study + career path

  • Master of IT, QUT
  • IT security analyst, Smartabase
  • IT security analyst, Teamworks

5. Claire Meyer, business analyst

Claire is a QUT graduate and current student who enjoys working with a variety of people and seeing the tangible benefits of her role as a project manager/business analyst. Working in the fast-paced IT and financial services industries, she wanted to brush up on her coding skills, so Claire enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Business Process Management at QUT to get the learning and experience she needed. Once that was completed, she was ready to take on the Master of Business (Management) course.

We picked her brains about how this has helped her career so far!

What inspired you towards a BPM career?
Claire: I like processes, planning and seeing the bigger picture of how things fit together.

Why did you decide to study a postgrad?
Claire: It’s always important to keep learning, and staying on top of the many new ways of thinking and doing things.

What made you choose this course?
Claire: The Master of Business (Management) will help me take my STEM background to the management level.

How will postgrad help your career?
Claire: The Grad Cert in BPM drastically improved my ability and confidence in process mapping, providing quality work to stakeholders within my company. With my Master’s degree, I’m learning key elements that are worthwhile in my current role and for my career path ahead as a leader in STEM.

What made you choose QUT?
I was interested in the real-world experiences that QUT delivers. Also, I have appreciated having the flexibility to do some subjects in person and some subjects online to suit my work and family schedule.

Study + career path

  • Project manager/business analyst, Brighter Super
  • Graduate Certificate Business Process Management (BPM), QUT
  • Masters in Business (Management), QUT

>> Learn more by downloading our Information Technology Postgraduate Course Guide.

>> View other Postgraduate Course Guides here.

>> For updates on all things Graduate Options, sign up to our e-newsletter.

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