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Best of 2019: Thoughts on University Degrees for Tech Professionals

12 Dec, 2019 | 1 hour 12 secs

To celebrate the past year of Newy Tech People, we are releasing mashup episodes in the lead up to Christmas.

This weeks episode is all about our guests experiences at university and their thoughts on the importance of having a degree for technology professionals.

Hope you enjoy the episode!

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  • Transcription:

    From episode 12 and room is what’s what’s your opinion on you know formal education as a stepping stone yeah well I would look I’m older than most startup founders probably so but you know I’ve always followed my my guts and my passion and you know there’s been a constant consistent stream sort of linking technology and developments and environmental challenges so right from the early days as in as a as an engineer at the HP I was acutely aware of the tensions between the two Industrial Development and environmental issues yeah and that drove me to really explore other other dimensions and engineering is such a creative and enabling profession it’s a terrific I mean without that grounding that academic training you know be pretty hard to engage with the sorts of technologies that are going to be driving change and impact in these big issues okay and as a provides a platform for when you are having conversations you’re having now to have that strong that strong base to work upon that obviously put you an advantage other thing yeah that’s right I mean I also I may also probably took an unorthodox approach through my postgraduate studies even though they were always closely linked with with applied problem seen industry and technology innovation so my Master’s for example was you know working with a company making control systems solving problems in around solar PV panel manufacturing PhD was a bit of a shift away it was biomedical but but again it was I was working with a company that was building new implantable devices and so again that was around the leading edge of innovation and commercialization yeah so so that’s what it was a great way to build my skills become you know an expert in an area but at the same time be outside the box I guess not being a classic academic type of PhD yeah I think that’s okay right as I said solving real-world problems using that education and using that and making that linkage between formal education and real-world problems on I’m linking those up I think that’s you know that’s a key for people going forward as well as looking on how you can actually do it and it’s a key for education providers I think is to make sure that that education doesn’t link up to being able to solve real-world problems from episode 13 Ryan McPherson and you did from an education perspective you did bachelor’s degree yep something completely unrelated as a mentor yeah but you’ve moved into this you know now in the learning space yeah I what’s your what’s your thoughts around lots of formal education yep so I think um I think if I look at most of our team formal education is a part of their life and has been and it’s not always it’s like me it’s not always in the right angle to where they are now but I think you know formal education to me does present an opportunity in tech to lay a foundation so for example on the CEO this company now looking at learning corporations with a degree in how learning takes place in the 13-year old you know the concept is slightly different but there are layers of foundational elements that certainly I picked up the University of Newcastle that allowed me to progress that to that career so yes I’m not kicking a soccer ball around you know with corporate but you know teaching AFL and and in teaching sex ed if you can imagine but the concepts around how does someone learn you know aesthetically physically on a tree now though all these things are very similar how to how to piece together a learning pathway for example for a kid to an adult sitting in the Commonwealth Bank for example is no different it’s just about the foundations that you do learn so I think a lot of our team members coming on board we have a head of growth for example he’s done marketing communications and now in his job is firmly focused on sales acquisition and even though he’s got that marketing go he understands where the leads are coming from you know is the top of the fun and he’s now looking at the kind of mid funnel if that makes sense so what actually happens as someone becomes a customer so know how to get them that actually get them to pay if that makes sense and then retain them so I think foundations are important we also have team members and I wanna make this clear that we have 10 moves don’t have it and you know their growth is just as strong so I think you know as we Dan for example young guy you know comes with a LOF experience just in workplace so you know comes from working in IT and his customer success is second to none because he’s understanding he’s been through the process of helping people out for a long time either face-to-face or online so very important to us to see that someone’s got that drive I think to obtain the knowledge learning is pretty important in our business yeah especially coming from our space ok yeah you’re not willing to say that you’re able to learn and now on it’s pretty hard sell learning product um so we do look for that in our staff we look for someone that does want to I guess reach out and get that next piece of knowledge and you know sometimes a formal education definitely shows that that willingness is there but I also think there’s an opportunity for those who haven’t to enter the text scene with really no technology so for example you know that customer success role is very much a customer facing role you know but didn’t necessarily have any software skill or yeah any understanding of learning so I think you can you can definitely progress and come in with necessarily not necessarily the perfect degree but pivot that in the tech industry I think there’s huge opportunities because we always talk about titles in our business you know the head of customer success well he gave it to himself you know so you know business that goes from three to twenty one you know is now a nice because there’s a first person that gets hides their head off you know the second versus that comes in got it fits underneath but um no it’s it’s a bit more structure than that but we always do laugh about that you know what was the head of growth of me what is it okay and I think there are opportunities for someone to to pivot to do different things and I think if you look at the CEO myself what classic example you know probably shouldn’t be running a tech company but offer bachelor’s degree in phys ed but I’m here from episode fourteen Cameron Owen you’d say hey I guess if you had to say those are the developers by nature probably more introverted so I think that conversational part it helps break down that and so I think to the challenge to try to get the people to these type of things is to break that down to say people that it is a conversational type thing you’re not gonna have to go there and sit by yourself in a corner yeah I think that maybe once been true yeah some of the people you mean now they are quite happy to talk and they’re actually very very accomplished people themselves in in areas other than just programming and you can actually find a lot of people who are you know interested in extreme sports and a list of the thing and they really break them all at what has traditionally seen as a developer they’re really the the same has changed so much for the last ten years that’s amazing obviously there’s a couple of different angles there from you know at different educational standpoint staff today they find you do you need to grade in you yes yeah you’ve mentioned that already made what’s your thoughts on what’s your experience like with your university degree oh I had a really good experience especially going at the University of Newcastle I focus I did a Bachelor of engineering computer which is relatively new degree it’s not like you got pretty much some of the cool ones that have been around forever like electrical civil mechanical yeah computer engineering sort of came out of electrical where you wanted to be you like biological engineering but the low-voltage side of it and you wanted to get some software engineering thrown in there so that’s that’s what computer engineering was they when they introduced it and that sounded like something that appealed to me a lot and I wasn’t interested in how transmission or sending building big substations or anything like that I was interested in circuit boards and microcontrollers and so I did that degree and I really loved it because the content was exactly what I was looking for but if I had to say what the real value I got out of doing a university degree was it was probably that they they taught you to think like an engineer and they and you sort of learn how to learn more efficiently yeah so coming from high school where you know maybe towards you 11 or 12 you get put on your own to some extent you have to do your own exams obviously but a lot of it becomes a bit more independent but you can still get a lot of guidance and you go to university and this really like you’ve got to do it now like you’re really on your own and of course there’s lecturers and things you can go and see but largely you’ve got to find the content you’ve gotta learn it you you’re the only one that’s going to sit the exams that get you through so as far as the university degree goes I think business ‘lord value in it but it’s not necessarily the technical content like I wouldn’t go to university just because I wanted to learn how to program in a certain way you really go there to learn how to learn and and more importantly with engineering degrees because the lecturers then often from the industry you learn everything like an engineer and I definitely went in I guess my problem-solving my the way I would try and solve problems before I went to university was a kind of lazy way I was like just try and get to a solution yeah about time I came out of university really really sit back and think about people much of the bigger picture that’s probably what I got out of it it’s nice there’s a really solid foundation I think that’s a really common theme with a lot of people in the tech space is that the learning you’re providing foundation providing a foundation on how to think how to think how to learn yes I think even so that greater focus it’s like they’re the programming languages will change they change quite frequently yes other requirements the requirements changing day to day fee you know maybe not day today but really frequently on you what is the you know most up-to-date programming language or what’s gonna be best for a certain scenario and I think if you gather right dev or the right programmer or even you can extend that outside of just des but there are tech talent that understands how to learn how to adapt being agile being able to move with that and move quickly if you if you get something that can pick up that learning side of it they’ll adapt to a new scenario Ryland somebody that’s just hey that they love with the code that’s most you know hot it at the moment sir yeah I know you know the ability to learn the ability to understand is that’s really one of the core skills are yeah but that’s what I think in my opinion that’s that’s what you get out of it that’s what I would add to give us anyway it was how to learn effectively yeah and and quickly in a lot of cases you have to pick things up pretty pretty quickly and don’t get me wrong there was I did a lot of courses where there was like very specific technical content yeah but I was like great I’m glad that we covered this we’ll get some cool projects yeah but if that’s just what you’re looking for you can do that with the Internet yeah no problem but Tom yeah and be able to to be put any comfort zone and figure out all right maybe just writing copying notes off a board isn’t really going to get me through this I’ve got to figure out a new way to understand this and and then that’s what for me that’s what University told me there’s also that ability to learn and the ability to as being just mentioned they I think outside the box right that’s the different shared between a good quality tech car and not as the moment is like hey you can find and you can outsource offshore a lot of coding for the sake of coding right you know yes and that part will start to automate itself as well but understanding why am I writing this code what’s this code you know doing at the end how they use it interacting with this what what what is it that I’m building and how does that affect whether the business or end-user what it whatever that is that’s the side of it that really differentiates somebody of this quality and somebody that’s you know can be replicated or can be you know just I think taken out of the processing that in you know times to count or another and with reference I guess to some of the outsourcing you can do and you can send it anywhere and it’s cheap but the problem is that works really well if you know exactly what you need yes if you ask if you ask for a green button yeah on a page you’ll get a green button on the page but when you get it you gotta realize that’s not actually what the client or the customer or whatever whoever you’re trying to fulfill with your software actually wanted from episode 15 ivan Demidov and we’ve gone a little bit in sicily how you got into it but they pried her so that you did you went to TAFE mhm my thoughts on TAFE is an educational resource I loved it and I’ve actually got a pretty cool story because what happened was in high school I had chosen all computer based subjects as my electives and then none of them ran because I was the only one that chose them so I ended up with ironically Business Studies which did actually help so thankful for that but also a bunch of subjects that I thought otherwise with my secondary choices and well I had a great time at school and everything I wasn’t really learning what I wanted early on yes I kind of knew what I needed to get to where I wanted to go that’s why I chose our subjects didn’t happen thankfully that acting the principal at the time Peter she golden guitar hi notice that and sent me in a few other people did want to view other subjects off to do our Cisco CCNA over in TAFE as part of our high school so we’ve got two units for learning and Industry qualification which is incredible so that gave me a huge leg up and so I would recommend that because TAFE is a is where you learn what school is not like while still learning stuff it’s more like work yeah at least of my experience yeah I did you’re 11 and 12 I did an accounting degree entice there you go no I like I like accounting well there you go it was the opposite for me it was like a cab but I have to do this other stuff but I can’t wait to go do this yeah and so that was awesome so I was really thankful for that and then after that experience obviously I knew exactly what I wanted I tea at a full time for about two years or so and then strike the Sydney to do my first 24-hour roster maintaining super high pressure expensive service 24 hours a day wow that was pretty cool that’s a different learning environment yeah I found the tape itself was great of course Jake was analysis that are having this phenomenal resource and it and you know it definitely sits a write people definitely well there’s no substitute for experience because not only do you learn things that you can’t learn yeah by studying theory but also you learn more about yourself and the people that you’re working with by putting your nose through the grind yeah and being like okay how do we go with this where do we improve and you do that before you start the next project or job from episode 17 Scott McShane there’s different views over on education on technology professionals in particular there what’s your view the obviously comfortable business background there what’s your view on formal education is a stepping stone or part of a career I so I just finished an MBA and that was a fun exercise to do whilst having it one year old so I don’t recommend that to anyone but I do recommend doing an MBA you passing universe university was a was a great experience for me I think more than network there as far as do I take that into consideration significantly what I’m hiring I I don’t I don’t know if it matters as much to me as I think it did I think especially in technical roles I think some of the engineering school type things are quite good the way people aren’t have problems that’s this great great lessons in that but I think that the the universities have a challenge at the moment in trying to be able to pump out grads that are relevant because the technologies base move so fast so I seen some pretty good 10x developers come through and and and not necessarily leverage too much of the learnings at from University but more in the real world type learnings yeah so I think if I had to choose between someone who was freshy grad at top of their class versus someone who was just really really keen and love to love to tinker and was a fast learner I think I probably go for the latter but I mean it’s quite often you end up using the grades and things like that to sort savings anyway yeah unless you’re doing it yes that is part of the rod I’m at come home again think I’d there’s definitely there’s definitely place for it and there’s some really solid principles a time invested grades contagion who follow people don’t have but I think the key part that you mentioned there was a in the fast learner the person’s going to be the desire around it they got when you’re looking to hire people if you’re getting class and is actually passionate about what I do the building you know building something in our own time they’re tinkering they’re the people that are going to pick up a new language very quickly or being clients anyway I think so and just got to be careful with the whole hire for the team dynamic thing because that can be you know making an accidental fraternity so that’s I’m really really against I really think that you know diversity of ideas is they sort of the source of what we’ve been able to try and get good outcomes from but yeah I don’t think formal education in the technical space I spend I guess it kind of depends on how close you are to there to the coalface really but that the biggest challenge is just how fast things are moving and the in the challenges more for the universities and how do they maintain relevance in that world yeah I’ve had a chat with the entity from the Uni as well yeah he’s he’s on top of that problem more than not probably definitely more than you and I had did lucky you know breaking breaking University costs down in small parts and looking out you can even great you know other external providers into that with something most relevant as the times change sir on that point you also mentioned on outside of your informal education on classic learning is there any things you’ve used you’ve done in ba but other external providers or any train you’ve done outside of formal education you can be over ah I think I quite like a you know every couple years going to a conference or a different conference I think they can be an interesting they have an interesting way to start start your thoughts on things I think that quite a lot of you know trolling Twitter and looking for people who are appropriate to figure out who they’re following and what they’re learning what they’re sharing yeah I think that there’s a just I think there’s conversations with people who you respect and who are knowledgeable on something and seeing what they happy to share that’s been one of the easiest ways that I’ve found to sort of development learning from episode 18 Chris Hildebrandt if somebody wants to piss sadena I guess let’s call it a traditional tech role mmm must get go down that route maybe where would you point them so there’s there’s many options right but there’s there’s so much content out there in in the interwebs of where you can learn but just like Vince’s like for unity right the best place to start is just the community they’ve got they’ve got amazing tutorials made amazing stage kind of projects to help you go through from beginner to advanced an expert level start within they build the tool go along the journey with them and when this concept you don’t know about just try and find out how to solve that problem if you’re already a software engineer or software developer you probably know how to solve most of these problems anyway just thinking about it in a in a different light the UI is a different light the dark data is going to be different particularly right but just just do it if you don’t start you know you’re never going to get there I yeah completely agreement I think that the ability to learn the ability to continue to sort of move forward with technologies exactly French chatter it really is that’s what yeah I’m sure you’re building your team as you said at the moment there’s sort of key things you’d be looking for riders that ability to the ability to learn because you’re not going to be hiring 5ar developers that have got experience their eyes it’s taking hey whats your core skills where are your cost cures at the moment have bility to learn in the past and then I can say anything right ability to learn so most of my team right now our graduates or recent graduates so yeah we’ve got some some some experienced members of our team but what about people have only graduated from university over the last six six to eight months but they’ve shown that the passion to want to learn the ability to learn and just because I finished a degree 12 months ago doesn’t mean they started learning from them in you know in a business sense right they’ve been doing this on on the side they’ve been trying to do it for the last five six ten years so they’ve got that passion to to learners haven’t got the industry experience quite unquote inside that field but they’ve been doing it anyway and giving them a I guess a chance to show that is something I’m all about all right so we’ve got your graduates from from media marketing designers through to to software developers give them a shot yeah I could put it yeah and hey you can’t really go out and looking for somebody with you know three years experience in AR anyway right because it hasn’t been around all those are in units you know in the sun cities now from episode 19 josh peak obviously a great the your thoughts on universities to tech professionals so I’ve listened to a few of your podcast episodes and every time I hear other people answer I think themselves how would I answer this have them very conflicted at one time I thought about it I think I changed my opinion on weekly basis I yeah so the thing from a student perspective I look at the fees of pay what did they actually give me I could have done this myself well what it is is every semester they’ve picked for textbooks make sure you know 80% of the content you’ll be assessed on at the end whether or not they teach you that all the time I’ve said aha learn how to learn because they weren’t exactly delivering content particularly well so it forces you into a corner and because you spent thousands of dollars that’s a very big bet on yourself to I’m going to learn this by deadline so really if we have like a betting agency where I give you $3,000 and I’m going to understand this textbook in your settimana in six months time that’s kind of the university education so far as do perspective it’s like I could do this myself but from an employer’s perspective how do I know that you know these things so if you go to a boot camp or a code school or one of these online things how much of that is just printing out a qualification but you don’t actually know how to do it so as an employer interviewer side of the table we’ve had our teams do those what happens laureate halls just looking to baseline what does a team actually not and then if we get candidates to do the sanches we know where they fit on that distribution so I strongly believe in doing a technical interview just to make sure that someone knows what they know and there is a huge difference between something that comes out of with you’ve got a Bachelor to do science with a passing grade budget computer science profile distinction very different people so how does that signal to an employer what do you actually know like what’s the difference between some random on the street and someone who’s actually any competent this job and it’s very hard as an employer to figure out 30 to 60 minutes it’s like the first date you’ve got to try and figure out a lot about this person did have poor life choices yeah can they communicate with me how to handle conflicts and can they do the job right so from the prospective employee site and the employer slide it seems like a very we relationship having in streets bowls and I don’t understand where I sit on what’s the day of it it it’s useful or an entire show where I sit on its entire value goodness it’s a to me keeps me classroom I think it’s an evolving question as yes different educational resources evolve as well or used to be and how you need to degree and a degree in its entirety I think it’s starting to break down into some micro degrees and left hearts they’re off degrees and then you add degree with it you know they ain’t call us from another provider nonprofit institution and things like that and that could become you know the ultimate might become about or it’s something else right that’s where I think the landscape shifting we’ve had a very traditional institution but true you know something I think that’s changing and I’ve had interns come along so I started doing cheers of mechatronics they’ll switch to computer science and they’re like I’m not actually qualified to make a trance but I’ve done a bit of good life to me you’ve just done a combined degree it doesn’t officially say that but you have done one of the things that you’ve done about to you span so I think I encourage them to in future put them on a bridge make every time even better have another formal qualification my capella degree I think yeah I mean higher degree doesn’t suit everyone and there’s parts thereof that extremely valuable in this part there of the and there to take a box because you need to see that post to get your degree yeah to get your new your class course where it’s normal I value the normal way are they really all that shouldn’t be so yeah I think there’s different value there but I think it’s a what what do you hope to achieve out of that what where is that progressing you what are you try not change from particular course and that baby try to grow your collar off yes I recently have done a graduate deployment of science yeah so the reason I started I was at interviews of what I got rejected because hadn’t done he has great qualifications they said right you’re awesome but it’s a PhD candidate fill the hotness so it’s like crap I gotta go back and do something yeah I’ve got a little over credit for things that I’ve already done in history awesome and just by starting studying come on Steve picked me up and said get personal all right listen so sometimes you don’t need the full degree just the intention yeah got me over the line of that interview so they’ve helped me change the graduate diploma and I’m not going to continue the masters because that’s all this is exactly what my job is so you may get them to paint me to learn that layouts yeah entirely made by I’m not a believer II you need to have I paid some paper to get a job I think there’s better ways to assess assess let’s get into that we need a job rather than have you got a piece of paper at me XYZ yeah they can be good indicators but they shouldn’t be people because they don’t have safety course or degree might not be popular that’s my opinion from episode 20 Ryan Stephenson if we reversed back to you individually you’ve got obviously you’ve come through that legal path and you’ve done degree this we from that war standpoint so I might be you know different to technology professionals in general but how do you find your degree obviously it’s quite hard to get into a law degree I into a law career you can’t do that without a degree which is a little bit different technology but what’s your thoughts on the importance of degrees in general uncle mixed feelings on this ie I’m a big advocate of Education for education so no no I did a vocational degree because I had an interesting law but the the university experience for me was one that was really important it was an environment that was challenging but still sort of protected that allowed a lot of exploration and you know for you to figure out find a space to figure out who you are in that education environment so I’m a big fan of that aspect of university education I can see that perhaps four year degrees are it’s difficult I think to sustain that kind of investment in education both from a financial cost for students because I didn’t my degree I finished my degree in 95 and I was at the early days of student loans in England and even I graduated with a significant enough debt yeah but people graduating today are gonna be graduating with much bigger debts than I did yeah and I don’t know how sustainable that is so I wonder whether a move towards more broken apart learning I don’t know the right terms are for that but yeah even through dance is sort of micro-credentialing on stuff yeah I think there’s going to be a shift towards recognizing that kind of I completely agree I think that’s future by it my personal opinion is that is that that mix domain between micro-credentials and formal agrees or part they’re all formal degrees I think yeah I think instead of sitting at 40 degree you might say X amount or X part of that degree in addition to sand micro-credentials and that becomes your qualification I think that’s more relevant to two industries I think industry then you know a 40 degree where you you have to do 20 men treat courses of which at least let’s call at least 30 percent are just relevant to you know why you want during your career it’s probably not the way the future I think is that it’s gonna be that mixed mixed domain in the future yeah well that’s about it yeah I think yeah it stays environment I think hand but definitely in the technology space I think four-year degree it just seems unnecessary it seems overly heavy yeah and I think you mentioned the financial financial burden it’s probably also the time bed and run there’s also I have a four year for new investment it’s very significant times I mean even more more self the essence soon people want to get into other people wanna get their hands dirty and people have be out but gather hence Ted these days especially from the tech people perspective without a degree it you can develop a game at home you can you can do something you can learn that the devel mileage to to build your own gaming concept not games at home add a degree so people don’t want to then sit in forty four year degree they can come out there and now you’re allowed to do it but they will have to do that yeah look at our recruitment process it’s certainly not the first thing we look for one of the first things we will look for is portfolio yeah you know what have you done in if you run gaming projects have you run a mod in the past you know if you history of modern games because that’s relevant to us those kind of skills a lot of our guys do have formal qualifications computer science degrees or whatever it might be but not all of them but many moons yeah man I love that point is there grown man a little bit so when you are recruiting people especially in that in that space what are you looking for you mentioned you know looking outside of just a formal degree but what are people doing out so I don’t do that a general interest in a genuine interest in this can you expand on that a little bit because that’s that the lines extremely close with my my my training oh yeah oh yeah so some of the things we’ll look for is as I say what sort of game modding experience that people have got if they run a game on if that created a game or what or on the artist side and look at their portfolio above work you know are they using the same tools that fit into our pipeline if they’ve got skills in those tools that are demonstrated by portfolio work rather than formal qualifications a lot of our technical staff have military interests so their military enthusiasts yeah all are they’re ex-military well they’ve been run least cadets or reserves yeah so they have some understanding of customers requirements and how our customers think and what they might be looking for you know for example when we produce some new content for the product where it so perhaps it’s a model of a particular rifle or a tank when it’s produced you can guarantee there’s a whole bunch of nerds and I don’t use that term draw very professional at all yeah we’re going to point out to you that you know you put the wrong variant on or this particular tank doesn’t have that decal on it or you’ve forgotten the radio antenna that goes on the left back of the turret or yeah because our guys are knowledgeable a lot of our guys are knowledgeable in that kind of stuff so we’re looking for if someone’s got one of those kind of skills they’re immediately interesting to us and then we’ll look at the rest yeah from episode 21 Jeremy Gupta right you’ve done the degrade yes was your the grain I did a Bachelor of computer and I mastered biomedical engineering yeah yes right telcos Bela so the biomedical engineering sits the degree sits in a non framed piece of paper under my bed and it’s never been used I did that predominantly because I didn’t actually know what to do at university so I come from a medical family and I didn’t want to be a doctor and that kind of fell into you know what might be medical esque but not really with some dealing with blowing ducks and in hospital so I did that and then kind of asshat at the university I kind of fell more into technology and go to graduate rolls itself ranging in it yeah if I can go back in time I would have had more of an interest in technology particularly in school as opposed to just from university omelets so while biomedical engineering is great yeah it’s verified that it hasn’t been used it’s predominantly the computer engineering in those days yeah that’s overall if you had saying that computer engineering degree in particular I have mind was that painful feel learning I have been valuable like components of its I spent five years at uni I don’t think that was the length of time savelii it I think there’s a lot of fun value this is I put two different things I think I think three years is probably the max amount of time you’d want to spend in the tertiary institution these days if you’re interested in technology and that vertical a computer science degree for three years will teach you the fundamentals you might get some industry experience and then you’re good to go yeah I think that’ll children even more there’s lots of shorter time frame education companies like Qatar Academy that are doing six-month cohorts and giving you industry experience and teaching your fundamentals I think that’s too short I think three is too long I think over the next few years you’ll start to see that shortened yeah and universities and tertiary educators needing to adapt yeah I’m probably becoming mix right mix they’re off you know the co2 academies at universities dry outside yeah and show you a partner of where you meet providers together to get that sort of more wholesome opportunity yeah I think um you can teach fundamentals in a classroom but you actually a hell of a lot more on the tools like universities and tertiary educators need to understand how they can give real-world experience to their graduates and kind of send them into the workforce a bit more savvy yeah I think soft skills are immensely important it’s not just fundamental CDs math you know how to communicate emotional intelligence you need business works that kind of stuff you don’t get in a classroom unfortunately no that’s not easily taught about I think it’s a learning experience to do that’s not something you learn by textbook Matt absolutely like I like you know all my kind of self skills in you know the roles of fulfills certainly it was many universities yeah I think it’s an interesting time for universities and yeah some of them are looking to adapt the unis yeah Newcastle in particular it’s not gonna be a short-term thing that its larger horizon but there’s a lot of stuff in the states at the moment around founders and VC’s trying to get school students not to go to universities yes they’re putting them into these programs where they can mentor and support them it gives them the grant so I think yeah once that catch catching wind over there I think one of those concepts introduced yeah I think as well Tim Cook was it did not a call in the other day or didn’t be within the last week that come in said three universities or Ferengi’s normalize it yeah I think yeah there’s some fundamentals you can’t age in classroom single room I think rest of the deal and kind of in the roles that you occupy in the environment it was thrust in okay I think if me costo sort of invest in that right as I said three five years you can get four more people going in and start now even if they’ve done a year and then China feed them into you know feed to meet with some companies with some real world experience out of that way that they could build out town point you know don’t worry if I’m gonna finish three-year degree then get out with a grad role or something like that it’s trying to try to take advantage of them earlier on yeah I think exposing them it’s a different ways of thinking and different environments I think there’s a lot of value in students still going and working in Sydney or Melbourne and areas where engineering and products are a bit more mature Lauren there are some good thought leaders you can learn from and you know experience different scale environments but it’s no reason your council can’t you know three or five years the place where people want to come and then instead of graduating on staying from episode 23 Daniel odd all right you’re a tactic by an AJ coming out of school you did a degree right yep Bachelor of IT it’s where I ended up with correct mate how did that come about what’s your experience in the degree so yeah I study a lot of IT courses at school say a lot there was – yeah – courses in electronics course any one you want to go to access databases yeah yeah I Peter I think it was cool yeah and then there was a there was a software module that stage you could start excited two of those and I did I liked rights yeah come out of there and then just minded top engineering yeah so four year degree it’s four year degree South University Newcastle University jump straight into there and I got sort of 12 months through and I was I was looking around the room and I was sort of sitting in a lecture theatre and I was thinking is this really what I’m going to do the rest of my life so you know 19 deciding the rest of my life in the next hour thinking that that’s the sort of burden that I had on my shoulders so it was after the third semester I decided to transfer so I transferred into an IT degree so I thought that would be a bit more business orientated business focus you comes to University they just started running it I don’t think I’ll do it in hindsight at that point in time I don’t know doing a bang a bang-up job so I lost my way a little bit and uni started taking a back seat to life so I went I spent two summers in England playing cricket just sort of travelling around I was doing a course at uni here and there I was doing some online and it took it took ten years to finally graduate so by the time I finished that up and down say yeah when I started started working I was an undergrad yeah yeah so what am i what my thoughts on unique is that your 10 years yeah I think it was 10 I think it was yeah I think there’s a cut-off with a sort of start say if you don’t wrap this up soon we’re just kind of tray on the wayside Wow nice ten years that’s a crack oh it’s good to get a finish anyway it was good to get a finish that may explain the heck’s a little bit easier to swallow and you say that mom would have preferred finished in three for a baby played a few good evenings a curricular though years oh yeah yeah I’ll pay for the Newcastle University drinking club but yeah so in the end it was sort of I’m this close I may as well finish it yeah versus actually thought I’ll do this uni course and that will help me tomorrow in my job there if you are there it’s obviously a lot different now if you be added yes I’m you hadn’t come through and saying would you would you advise me at school to go do it agree I know the other option would be I suppose I supposed to may I die somewhere again to a robust conversation with them I would ask them yeah where they trying to get to where they try to do if classroom learning just makes them know it’s not their jam and I would say don’t go to uni because you was a 18 year old that hated classroom learning will just go and blacklist uni forever I’ve got a few of my high school mates so this third Oh nervous at all graduated that sort of still get together on a sometimes weekly basis 10 of them have a degree and some of them sort of went back to unit 23 others failed their HSC two years later when do the NuStar shot through did that saw someone yeah I don’t think there’s a really prescriptive path and I’ve seen other people that go eight graduated 21 and then never really used that the great past 22 yeah so yeah what would I tell them I basically what do you into yeah what makes you I think as long as you learn something as long as you’re progressing forward I think that’s very helpful I’ve there any other learning I have news learning things that you’ve done you found valuable sort of online courses a lot of products these days will run training in their product yeah so you can go and do that if you want the real paper certification and if you’re starting out you need something to stand on yeah cuz you’re you’re competing you’re you’re potentially one of a hundred people going for a job and sitting on the other side of the table we have to choose the one or the two so pieces of paper show a potential employer but that’s not the be-all and end-all so I think side projects are pretty huge getting our stuff building some stuff get in there and start using it you’ve got so Cameron that you had on your show and you know he’s like he’s building a software app that’s going your way sure major code I don’t think he’s got a spot look at he’s webpage other day and I think it was a spotty uni degree but you know like so and I think a lot of employers aren’t about did you go to a private school what you needed you go to where you’re from it’s can you can you do the job will you fit the culture so I think as long as you’re you’re working on something you’re learning obviously it’s really good to get paid to develop and learn the skills that interest you in life that’s probably an added bonus so now I wouldn’t say you have to go to uni I took ten years to get a degree but I would also say University set up a lot of things for me so I did made people so when I think University I definitely don’t just think course content contacts that you make the social side of things the the life skills maybe that it gives you I definitely I subscribe a lot more to that yeah I was at Union outputed pushing some that stuff down your throat but yeah I was a bit young man but looking back there yeah going to you definitely helped my career a whole lot but I don’t if I did something different I TAFE course or joined a start-up or went to a code as group potentially could have formed some of the same connections there I could be telling the same story I definitely couldn’t pin it down and say one must go to uni or one must do this because if you don’t do that you’ll never get in that door some of the people working with an Oracle guys out there to have a degree some of the guys they know B don’t have to grouse and you never ever talk to someone in a workplace with what degree you have yeah you just look at the skills what they can do and what they bring to the team and how you can best work with them so if you can get your foot in the door do it however you can it’s a bit of a known entity to get a degree yeah so you talk to a job interview at 24 with a software engineering degree what I’m interviewing that person I sort of have a pretty good vibe of where they’re at and what they can do I’m interviewing someone who is pointing me towards their github account I’m gonna have to do a lot more research or they’re gonna have to come up with a different way to quickly educate me with where they are at yeah okay I do like they advise to do side projects a I’ll be involved with side projects I just think if you’re attacked tap professional and you’re involving you you can show real interest in some form of technology you’re building something on the side if you’re a self way to vulgrim you haven’t built anything and you have written code on your own side project that’s maybe there’s an issue yeah totally great that so some of the guys that working for Oracle and the hardware side actually building explosives truck and I was helped me know with a job ad and I think might be even specifically stated like don’t tell us your degree talk about your side projects talk about your passion tell us about your failed ad we know like talk to us many electronics like because a lot of places they’ll teach you that you need to know especially that young when you’re starting out so you’re just looking for person the mind the right attitude the ability to be taught self one I think you want to learn with that person a lot more than yes somebody turns up from you you’re like so tell me about a project and I watched you last week’s assignment was that’s not a good answer to that question especially that sort of scenario you want somebody if you’re gonna be building stuff you and somebody potentially have the solar running out on at last night you know be building something right like this it’s just that interest you can you can learn other things but if you got passion around that the rest of it can be yeah if you ask me the question of supposed to put bronze head what I prefer somebody that had if five side interest projects in framing versus a uni degree with no side interest projects I’m probably glancing more at this person or I’m definitely having a conversation with that was option five side projects right you doubt that open it again I think so yeah hot dog yeah though I look up see personality yeah yeah lots of that stuff comes in but yeah I think when it comes to to getting into to IIT yeah I’ve said when I went to you know the ite degree back then didn’t teach me a whole lot it wasn’t very I was in your course to uni today and he comes to be fair but house a and I think you had someone on Anthony yeah I’m not talking about I was really student that I was talking about how to how they stay up with the latest trends I think it’s a problem those sort of educational institutions have so how do you start with the latest how do you make a curriculum how do I compare this you need to that uni if everything is changing all the time and so rapidly it’s a yeah it’s a constant problem they’re going to have so they’ve got to stay relevant Mayfield yeah so it’s super knowledgeable too aware of that I think I yeah the Eisenhower spaces they’re actually doing things to change outreaches it’s good to see ya know it was a cool interview it was yeah it was something that I thought back on my ten years I thought back on yeah like I think I would have post a lot more engaged if it if it was a lot more bleeding edge if ya if it did get out into the industry a bit more and did learn that like I said versus the 19 year old kid looking around the room and sort of going like is is my whole life just going to be Java arrays data like it just for me personally like I said I I don’t I don’t actually tend towards the real technical I as I did I went over to the IT space and I thought I always a bit more business orientated yeah from episode 24 James Neal if a four-year three-year degree it’s not the art and on the years of her developer and what’s what’s your opinion what wasn’t see out and was sort of the way through to sort of have people come out because there’s obviously men this theoretical knowledge around best practices and things like that you ever said you pick up some hearts but then a lot of parts are milled into getting jobs what’s your opinion on education for the way forward yeah that’s a big open question yeah so I think at lend you at the moment we’ve got a few people who have done general assembly kind of a three-month course and kind of up and coding now which is pretty cool so yeah it’s really cool in our industry that I guess the entry level is is really low you can kind of teach yourself this stuff and kind of get into it so I think that’s really cool I think I think like all of us as programmers developers yeah kind of our job requires constant learning and I think as long as you kind of can motivate yourself to continually be learning and I guess yeah I guess improving yeah I think you’re in a pretty good place and then yeah I think a lot of businesses are doing a reasonably good job of providing learning development whether it be conferences or kind of courses that kind of thing from the job yeah and I think that’s pretty neat that’s yeah if maybe this I haven’t really thought about this much so don’t hang me out to dry for it but yeah I guess if people are doing those three-month things and then throughout their working career the businesses that they’re working for I guess supporting them to learn whatever they need for their particular roles I guess maybe there’s less stuff that they learn that they don’t need to learn by I guess tailoring their learning to what what they’re working on I don’t know okay there are there are parts of me that like I have found helpful I can yeah I think it could probably be more productive kind of experience yeah a bit mixed experience maybe not between University and of course Devadas therapy

    expose what it is there’s my baby might be Codecademy course it might be something else in short form from episode 25 Robert Lang we’re having chat you in tech people obviously you cast University you’re keen on seeing the Newcastle tech community grow and what’s your from sort of I guess from an outsider’s perspective you know having a look at what’s what’s happened in Newcastle since the time you end at University any thoughts on what you’ve seen going on here unfortunately you know I haven’t seen a lot so I probably should have done more research I don’t know a lot about what’s happening there yeah certainly back you know late 90s there must have been something going on right then we weren’t really thinking about it because my sort of alumni group you know we’re all overseas or either were or are still oversea a whole trend reversal still close contacts and and everyone’s doing something you know big around the world so I think there was definitely a copy at that point and they can only assume that continued I haven’t really followed yeah so yeah so sorry as I said I’m just I need to get connected back into the University and I do want to yeah I just have no I think I think you’re right I think on there’s definitely been a trend for you know people that graduate and had to go elsewhere for opportunity right yeah a lot of those opportunities for its in technology where internationally that’s that’s across Australia or even not even just Newcastle specific but I think in Australia at the moment is more in opportunities you know in successful startups as well or successful companies tech companies or because normal companies within tech teams you know in Australia so people don’t have to go international yeah and on a smaller scale again that’s happening in Newcastle more opportunity for local people graduating to have opportunity here which they might not have otherwise had so I think yeah Nicholson is you know smaller scale to what’s happening in you know the capital cities in Australia which is good that’s good from a growth perspective I think the challenge is being close to Sydney you know it is that you know you’ve gotta figure out what the draw card is yeah out of Sydney and then personally I think the answer is going to be lifestyle you know look good like you know less crowded beaches and less less rat race and then it but I think what probably has to happen is for some be caught to to put their money where their mouth is to put an A Center here if you think about the us examples yeah you know you’ve got Oregon which is called the like the Silicon Forest which is one half hours north of Silicon Valley they succeeded I think just because until decided this is a place to put a factory yeah from episode 26 James weekly and she did some training in around machine learning I was a course in uni is there any I guess early job titles that should be seeking yeah it’s it’s changed a bit I think in the last few years and data science is near I’ve kind of considered its own I did it as one subject kind of buried it between software development courses but I think data science now they’ll teach a lot more of the math the statistics courses that you need to really make robust kind of analysis yeah it’s it’s very easy to particularly when you’re dealing weed pretty big modeling to misunderstand what the data is telling me so I think it’s important to not just learn to code and then cross over straightaway I think it’s important to do a little bit of basic Conner statistics but I think if you do any of the kind of online data science courses or through a university then they’ll probably tend to give you a healthy mix of that and I think the other thing that’s important is that you kind of pick up on the job is that domain knowledge you really have to understand what what business is on you know behind it yeah you can’t just look straight at the data and not consider you know the real world behind it and you know it’s one thing to make a prediction that’s accurate it’s another thing to be able to make a change that can do something with that insight yeah and often but I think that’s where my current role is is important in IB is some you have to know how it’s going to connect back to that day to day process yeah from episode 27 Martin car have you found how have you found that has it been easy to find people that have got the skills that can do that how you found building out a team that can work of those technologies yeah well we’ve we’ve recruited almost exclusively from University Newcastle we’ve hired a number of engineering graduates had fantastic results yeah I’ve got a awesome team of really dedicated capable engineers and you know we’re one of the few companies in Newcastle that offers so anything like game development yeah yeah recruiting for us is a well it’s a crucial part of a small business you know we you know the engineers we have we invest a lot of time and effort into you know enabling them to develop their skills and then because what we do is so nice you know the tools we work with it’s difficult for us to to sort of hire I guess senior developers you know because you know just simply know people with experience with these particular you know virtual environments and stuff but because the virtual environment we work with most often dentistry has armor we actually can take guys that are experienced game models and their skills are actually very transferable ya know that’s very so so we’re lucky in that regard yeah so sense props to Newcastle University for our being able just tenants and really solid graduates right yeah absolutely yeah people are currently at University who have an interest in our game development or something very close to actually getting some employability with game demands it is a bigger challenge and game development itself you mentioned some other avenues if they’ve got some experiences armor what other what other piece of advice would you give to somebody that would want to get into a team like yours yeah so we’re above all we look for attitude yeah more so than any specific skillset or specific experience because I as a as an undergrad you don’t really have any experience it’s we look for yeah attitude willingness to learn you know mister stick with it things like like personal side projects do matter if you’re doing a degree or even even not you know if you’re TAFE or even if you’re completely you know not pursuing tertiary education but you’re modding a game right that kind of stuff yeah we look at and even you know with your personal projects demonstrating that you can see them through and finish them our finished project is indicative of a degree of consciousness conscientiousness yeah which is will make someone like me pay attention yeah regardless of the quality if you stuck through and finished it yeah that’s so important yeah I think we’re talking super technical skills here I like you know development in that game like it’s super technical yet you’re still somebody that hides for attitude I think is so common now throughout technology doesn’t matter how technical the role is a lot of skills can be taught or learned if you’ve got the right attitude if you ever got somebody like that the other part I really love is outside projects I’m like especially for graduates or somebody that doesn’t have a heap of experience inside projects if it’s somebody that’s go to Gen you an interest in it or can see things through or do something their own time yeah it is the biggest differentiator absolutely you know demonstrates yeah that you can you can see things through also demonstrates that you can actually estimate whether or not a project is within your capabilities you can have side projects and I’m so guilty of come and have a look at my shed extremely guilty of starting side projects halfway done they are an ability to estimate hey can I take this on and kind of get something finished even if it’s just like a simple little Unity game or whatever it is you know I think that demonstrates the kind of things that at least I find really desirable we know ya can do that yeah come so if somebody’s at university at the moment or building a game community on the side at the moment we’ll put your contact details in there on our show notes page but yeah it’s probably probably worth a shot yeah yeah send me your projects send me your finished projects finished finished projects yeah it’s not easy building a team with that specific skill set but going going at it from that perspective from the ground up bringing people with the right attitude a bit of skill and teaching them it’s great opportunity for people to stay local in Newcastle and do something really cool from episode 28 Nigel Castellano I imagine five-year Dre yeah talk to me about that was that had if I had you what’s a in contact how was that degree it so it’s interesting like the first year was you know a lot of maths physics a lot of long long programs that but it was fun but perhaps what I got never used it since there are a lot of other courses which were very interesting like embedded software development and but again although it was interesting and they be used it’s it’s it’s it really I think it really depends like for me personally if I had to go back I would have probably done a two-year degree yeah maybe it’s just a one to two year degree and straight into the workforce what helped me out of the five year course was these two six-month internships so I essentially got a year’s worth of work experience and that’s where I really learned a lot my my trade down yeah yeah not just in software development but dealing with people and stuff yeah so if you I feel making recommendations to a young person to say they’re looking to finish I want to go down the deaf route you say sign up for degree and then just place you know try to get internships when going through those oh is that your recommendation or advice yeah I think so I mean you don’t want to five because I think you’d want an idea a one to two year course like one and it depends the type of person you are as well some people like structure so University provides that structure for this for subjects you there’s more such as is for something suitable you know some talented individuals if they’re that kind of structure maybe saw what do I do I’m gonna try this I’ll try those whole brothers yeah so really I guess my recommendation is you know maybe you wanted to you two-year course but you only get out with you put in so sure you’re going to do those four subjects but you know there’s a whole list of MOOCs and online courses you know going to going with a friend and just develop an app and see what happens and you know I guess do a lot of extra curricular development just for just for fun – to assist with your growth yeah and definitely look at looking internships at summer internships and so on because I think with within those two years then you’ll have the maximum output again as I said based on what you put in but you’ll you know I think beyond that a solid graduate engineering kids that make sense from episode 29 to mama Ervin yeah obviously made that career transition you did that through doing a university degree yeah Newcastle what was your experience with look I loved it a hundred percent I actually thrived at university which surprised me because I did University when I first left high school back in the 90s and I flunked out twice and I thought okay clearly I’m not a university person so I just wanted got a job but then coming up to Newcastle and doing this degree that I just I just loved it it was just so challenging and there was amazing lecturing staff and just the opportunity to dive into ideas in a really deep rich way that yeah like I came into design thinking I was gonna learn how to do type and color and illustration and then discovering that was just so much more depth to it was great so I have nothing about to say about my university experience it was I’m still involved with trying to help people in the design degree get experience like I’m working with some of the staff now to get do a workshop at NID for students like design thinking and so yeah I try to help students wherever I can in fact a little bit yeah give back because like Glynn was so great at getting my career started I want to pay it forward as much as possible because you’re involved as a tutor after doing your degree as well when you briefly very briefly yes there was a one of one of my teachers actually went on paternity leave and they were doing a UX component so I got a tap on the shoulder I was like yeah that’s the studious it was a great experience yeah so that was really short stint but it was really good asked to have a university degree obviously led to internship lots of opportunities came out of doing University do you think um do you think I was a different experience having done it later in life I suppose than straight out of school what for me it definitely was I mean I can’t speak for everyone but for me I guess I knew what I wanted and I’d had a lot of experiences in life I’ve you know like I think when I first left high school I did not know how to study I did not know how to be organized I lived a long way from campus so travel was a real pain in the neck so when I moved up here I was like okay I need to live close to campus these are the things I need to do to make sure I yeah get my marks and I just had a goal and I just yeah just kept driving towards it all the time ask something pretty great experience it was good yeah us that’s awesome from episode 30 Luke Bennis you mentioned just say you taught yourself you didn’t do University oh you did pay for a bit safe yep would you do it safe just the department of design yeah yep that’s 2 to 2 years yeah yeah and then you’ve taught yourself a bunch of but Zion code have you used to anything online to do that have you had you go about teaching yourself just know like and know online formal courses or anything like I have like somewhat tried to dive in now those but purely like Justine on Stack Overflow and all the other things like Google what you need at the time that’s why seed in that really linear way like I was like ok I’ve made myself a wordpress site I’ve got that like on some hosting so now I want to adjust the thing and over time you just figure out how to move every part of it so it was just that like a how do I get this menu to do this google it find it move on so like web designer Depot and like WordPress beginner and all that all the main size that you run into like I’ve just seen everything essentially so yeah just that I’d be very very very very few occasions who you run into something that someone else no yeah you don’t have a unique problem in your find yeah exactly I informations all there yeah it is it is all like it like you know if someone’s sitting around wanting to learn it and I’m saying more just don’t teach yourself right it’s like well that sounds pretty difficult long but the idea is to have a project like because I didn’t set out to learn a thousand things I had a project and I need to change four or five and those things just we’re easy to learn and then it went from there so my website was the best place that’s what that’s where I started smashing that up and I had a friend who was a program and I said to him initially like look I want to try and do HTML CSS like what do I do he threw down the HTML for dummies book at me and sort of helped me unpack some of the crazy language inside of it which isn’t that crazy but yeah that was really good just to have someone yeah to do that so that’s always really good because the Internet is so cold and it’s text a little bit contextualization from someone who’s really useful but once you get the baseline you off on your own so yeah he can have one percent of the credit from episode 33 serve on current all students undertake work in a graded learning no know what degree they’re doing and so that provides a huge opportunity for businesses likely to be able to engage with the university that way yeah it’s a career that’s perfect and iTunes obviously a big part of that sort of innovation ecosystem we’re trying to be able to I mean we tried to do our little part with the podcast here in the more tech community but take it easy obviously a part of that innovation ecosystem and startup scene as well so I think it’s it’s good just to see more players and somebody as big as the university investing so much in that ecosystem run yeah I mean we’ve got a huge talent pool which are our students and our are my and you know vast majority of the students live within Hunter region who attend the University they’re often first in family they’ve come through enabling programs they’ve got a real commitment to you know an affiliation with the University of Newcastle and you know when it’s our job to not only you know equip them with the domain expertise that they get through studying their degree but also providing them with opportunities to be able to develop those Enterprise skills and those soft skills that are obviously useful if you want to start up your own company but also within you know a knowledge base business you need to understand how come how business works and what value you as an employee can add to that company by coming up with new ideas and your concepts and working in teams on problems that you don’t have all the answers for in really short timeframes and being able to deliver it confidently as an option to your boss you know that is what employees love right so if we can help the item ain’t can help develop out those enterprise skills for both what we call intrapreneurs fear within companies and also entrepreneurs people who are starting their own companies that’s exactly what we’re setting up these go.

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