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Mashup Episode: Advice for Starting a Career in Tech

5 Oct, 2021 | 33 mins 26 secs

On this episode of the NewyTechPeople Podcast we are sharing the top strategies, resources and advice our guests have provided for those wanting to start a career in technology.

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In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • (00:00)


  • (00:12)

    Nathan Hookway

  • (04:41)

    Mitch Brindle

  • (07:49)

    Justin Bain

  • (12:55)

    Ryan Priest

  • (15:35)

    Daniel Pludek

  • (14:00)

    Strategies you have put in place to up skill in your chosen field

  • (20:20)

    Has your experience at university been valuable? Would you recommend this for others?

  • (22:10)

    Advice on building a portfolio and becoming job ready coming out of university.

  • (28:00)

    Resources Vivek would recommend to others.

  • (32:00)

    Where can people find you if they are looking for career advice or want to get in touch?


00:00:13:22 – 00:00:25:02
So i guess that was one of my next questions around sort of you know what initiatives are you looking at to firstly attract and retain but also sort of engage talent through the recruitment and on-boarding process yeah so we’ve been fortunate to connect with the newcastle university and be able to work on some really significant projects for us around artificial intelligence so that we’ll see a group of our uh tech team and a group of the universities tech team work together on some of those initiatives that you know working on something that’s exciting that’s you know pioneering uh all of those types of things help retain obviously our amazing talent that we have at pegasus uh but there’s other things where we we know we have to contribute to the local community when it comes to talent engagement from a very young age as well so we engage with mgt for cert iii ict traineeship so we’ve got five trainees at the moment so excellent yeah it’s it’s one of those i think there’s a stigma still around that as well when it comes to trainees in the workplace and and although we can have a good balance of graduates coming out of university you know three of them had three of the trainees had completed semesters of university and and we’re missing that hands-on component that really that you’re passionate about and traineeships can give you yeah yeah so we were able to bring them in they’ve been on the job uh and working through on the job with us which has been fantastic and they’re really thriving in the environment they’ve got the technical know-how they understand the customer component of what a software as a service platform needs to produce and needs to provide so that’s been really really beneficial so we’ll definitely continue with that program that’s excellent and yeah that’s quite a large number of trainees for a company your size yeah so that’s a great effort it’s really important to us i think you know we have to contribute to both ends of the talent spectrum you can’t just all have you can’t hog all the good stuff right at the top you’ve got to be able to bring people along on that journey and engage um and and build up through you know and we’re unique i think in the we own and develop our own software we have everything in-house from sales through to marketing through to bi ba qa all all of the components that makes the software cycle so and and the sales to service cycle so there’s opportunities when you come in and start with us to really go i i get what you do here and i like what that person does and i’d like to do more of what they do so with our traineeships we do tours of duty and and they get pockets of time in different teams to understand what it is that those tech pockets are yeah and then decide if that’s what they like if they don’t like it we’re not offended like it’s okay yeah and i think it’s it’s good for them to have a holistic view of a company and its operations as well it’s really stands them in good stead when they’re you know applying for a future yeah position yeah definitely another program that we’re engaged in is the hsc smart track and that program has been uh enabling there’s a new process i guess for the hsc smart track students which is what would have been considered maybe the old work experience and tafe day yeah they’ve remodeled it a little bit more and it enables an employer to have a student for longer periods of time throughout the week rather than maybe a block period or one day a week and you’re getting students that have really thought and committed to their vocational training so we have a young guy called jordan who’s studying aviation and he’s coming to our tech support team and is helping with hardware and yeah all sorts of things so this is in year 11 that they start yes year 11 and 12. they it’s an alternative uh i guess end for the hsc that’s fantastic yeah and then we’ve got two young students from the media and production team that are coming in to do a little bit of a bio on jordan and a bio on pegasus and use that as support material for the hsc smart track program moving forward that the school can use and we can help promote yeah but they’re they’re so enthusiastic they’re so engaged and it’s they really want to you know have that opportunity the beauty of the subjects i guess that are being offered is there’s lots of you know not just pegasus there’s lots of recruiters there’s lots of employment opportunities in newcastle and i think if businesses leaned into it a little bit more and could see that supporting this these types of programs early can really help with that long-term you know talent pipeline and understand you know let’s give these students a really great experience in these vocations so that they’re passionate and they’re engaged and they want to can keep contributing locally and and in the local market yeah fantastic that’s a great initiative from episode 56 jody stapleton

so one thing i’ll i’ll say is uh higher education is really important and and you should do it it’s a gate opener now you have to you have to do it and the way that the world is working but doing an internship or having work experience is also equally important so i believe so as well yeah i’ve strongly believed that you would see that in a lot of your candidates you’re getting through the difference between people that have had some real-life exposure to you know the ones that have just sort of stayed on at university and not tried to you know get some experience in their vocation of choice yeah so uh i had um the canadian government ran a internship program and so they would go for the summer because you have a lot a long time you four month off in canada in the summer for your uh between your next uni year well how nice is that yeah so you in the beginning of may so they re start the recruitment in april and they would hire interns for all the different uh cadet ships for all the different um government departments so i got one with the department of justice and i i think that was really enabled me to leverage my education and and quickly into a career post because i had three years of solid working real work real life work experience to accompany my degree at the end of the day so yeah fantastic that’s probably the number one piece of advice you would give to students and graduates wanting to start a career in technology is there anything else any other insights that you want to share any certain pathways you know obviously we’re seeing a lot more different types of roles yeah um being created now than probably when you know we went to university is there anything else that you would like to add when you when you think about um talking to a lot of girls and saying do you want to get into tech and i think they think of it as it’s a developer’s field only so i have to be a computer engineer in order to get into that field but i think the breadth of roles they have currently are are really suited equally suited to women and equally suited to men and it’s about understanding technology and our kids are are technical literate they’re coming out of school completely technical literate far far exceeding what we were when we were coming out so having that technical literacy having a set of soft skills and hard skills is applicable in all these different roles when you think about scrum masters and product owners and lean coaches it’s people who understand technology but they understand the psychology of people also and they’re able to apply that to get the best outcomes yeah good from episode 57 glendon franklin brown

obviously having technology and the fact you’re a tinker on a cv getting your first job i think that’s a great story i think that’s uh something a lot of people can learn from um especially grads uh grads a grad certificate’s probably not enough these days for a lot of roles it’s a certificate plus what else have you done have you built something on the side have you what else have you done built uh or played with so you show you’ve got a genuine interest in that so i think that’s a really good lesson for definitely young tech professionals yeah but uh the part i found like really i guess interesting right there is you actually taking the proactive approach to approach council for your for that role you mentioned you know as a sign of confidence or a sign of you know yeah having the confidence to actually go and do that for people that might not be as bold might not be as confident any advice you would provide others to approach a company that they may be interested in working for yep you know when as you were saying that i was thinking well you know obviously young professionals in whatever vocation they choose need to be too careful they’re not trying to shoehorn themselves into a role that they would like to have but really they’re not suited for and if you’re shoehorning yourself into an it management strategy role but you’re not very good at the charisma and the communication things it’s it’s about understanding you know where your strengths and weaknesses are so if you go for a software engineering role probably the person that’s interviewing you will also be a software engineer or have a good understanding of that so you can just talk shop and i listen to the guys that interview engineers at diamond and they say yeah that guy knew what he was talking about like he may not have the best personality in the world but he is the right candidate because he knows exactly what he’s talking about and when he’s got a really tricky problem to solve he’ll fix it and then i’ll tell the customer how he fixed it you know that sort of stuff so my advice to to young professionals nowadays is really try and understand where you sit um don’t worry too much about the money or the prestige or what have you unless that’s where you sit but really understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and sort of play to those strengths yeah no i don’t disagree i think the part you’ll mention there’s a bit of self-awareness right understanding sort of where you sit uh having a little bit of self-awareness which is not it’s a it’s definitely a learn skill and then the other part is probably understanding your audience right understanding who you’re talking to who you’re going to try to pitch yourself to yeah from episode 58 nathan hook away

and what advice would you give to students wanting to start a career in marketing or digital yeah digital marketing in particular the curriculum’s still pretty light at the uni it’s changing rapidly but it’s still pretty traditional so i’d still say focus on traditional marketing so everyone within our team at zimple is a marketer first and then we span off into our sort of you need the foundation and the fundamentals yeah first and that’s just different applying it across different channels yeah different platforms i mean if you specialization is is still recommended like you can still need to so like seo or yeah seo sem social media content production there’s a whole range of areas that you go into but the output of those particular skills are only as good as the strategic thought that’s gone into producing them yes so yeah we always try and take a strategy-led approach based on objectives and then back that up with skills so yeah anyone looking to start a career in digital i’d say focus predominantly on the soft skills so thinking listening being able to synthesize information and then put it onto paper and then yeah have you back up in the tactical execution of that yeah definitely and market research obviously because that’s okay if you yeah exactly can we helping your clients grow their businesses yeah from episode 59 mitch brendel

on youtube you know podcast reading books perspective if that’s not how you go about your education mate how do you how do you you know keep up to date honestly it’s it’s stuff like this like it it’s talking to communities it’s this understanding um what other businesses and what other people are the same levelish of their organization are doing i was being in in the aws um dev cloud alliance that’s fantastic we’re in a slack together so ask questions in there a lot talk to other colleagues as well or um other people in that community that are at similar organizations as nib so ones that are like in you know opera regulated stuff so that way we can talk around well in your cloud movement you know did you get kicked back from this or you know or blah blah blah right you know yeah that that kind of stuff but with the educational point i i tend to really talk to probably people that are usually at i don’t know because it’s the easy point but those probably seen you guys it’s kind of like making connections with the senior leadership management kind of like that mentoring kind of approach not official mentoring right but you know getting guidance and stuff or hey i’m doing this thing and you know just you know if if it’s kind of down their path versus you know another head off or something like that i’ll kind of ask them for a bit of guidance and hey can you like proofread this thing or can you give me support which at nib that is that is something that is is amazing so yeah it’s really just i kind of like to have it have a knock myself no mate i really like that i think uh there are some people oh there’s a lot of people right everyone goes about education in different ways for my education and then courses short courses then podcast books yadda yadda but man the fact that you’ve gone about it from like i guess unofficial mentoring and also communities like building communities building those networks and relationships i really like that i think it’s a different approach to most people or people maybe have that as a minute part of their education or maybe don’t focus on the educational benefit of a network or building a network or community but i really like that i think it’s a good point people could really take a lot from 100 it’s it’s massive because you know you are you’re not talking theoreticals yeah you know you’re talking to people that have either been done or doing and we’re in tech this you know half the stuff’s been done before it’s like you know don’t don’t beat yourself up trying to solo something like you know if you need any and i’m not talking from like a technical perspective here but from like a management perspective there’s so much knowledge out there from these people and even if you look from like at a senior in terms of age like you know they’ve been around longer they’ve probably seen more things they’ve been through more different changes they’ve been through so much it’s like really look around because also when you do do read as well i find that you can get um like sometimes the context isn’t there in terms of what organization do you work for but if you know you’re looking for some sort of guidance here and now talking to someone in your organization in a similar organization to you also you know they can give you guidance around you know what to do in this current situation so therefore it’s not so much theoretical it’s more in the now from episode 60 justin bailey

it’s got children that are interested i mean either stem or coding any advice yeah so there is there is a um a program that’s running in newcastle it escapes me maybe including the in the notes whatever but um it has been recommended for for entry-level programming but i think there’s just there’s so much online now i mean that’s it’s you know you could sit down with your son or daughter on on youtube and and find the right thing and you know order a raspberry pi off off ebay and yeah and start start tinkering yeah nice and then as they go through like i i think newcastle university is absolutely fantastic and some of the people that are coming through there i think that the quality is fantastic um outside of uni degrees you mentioned people that tinker with it in their own time is there any advice you give to people or is it just straight up um start playing yeah so start playing because we work in high voltage battery systems let’s say yeah i’d have to get you know caveat that with with safety yeah um but i think it’s you know about networking with the with the right people that are you know have a head start in that space or have experience in that space you know finding yourself a good mentor or getting involved in programs that are already available yeah nice i think that mentorship as well you just made mention of that yeah it’s something that it’s definitely becoming more common i think as an advice piece is find somebody that’s been there done that before or somebody somebody that you can learn off yeah and lean on them um have you had any any strong mentors in your career today yeah definitely and i think it’s you’re right you need to you need to kind of wake yourself up every now and then and say you know i’m surrounded by you know these great people within the network you know why not reach out i did that recently um with a with a family friend who’s based in new zealand you know he’s in the finance sector and and said hey you know what do you think and and he said oh you need to speak to this person do this and and that’s kind of kicked off a whole a whole new thing and yeah so certainly just having the i just just reached reaching out and and seeing who have you already got in your network that may be out of actually support you and people you know people if someone came to me and said hey justin i said you’ve done this in the military you know like do any advice on this you know which people have it’s yeah like you it’s great to be able to impart some advice yeah i think that as well i think i think most people don’t understand the the people that are being asked if you go about it the right way um some people are short on time everyone’s shorter time i guess but most people will give that time and actually you know uh appreciate you know giving advice if somebody’s taking that on board so i think you know don’t be afraid to ask from episode 61 ryan priest

what advice would you give to young people wanting to start a career in technology oh i look i went all in and just tried to learn and absorb as much as you could stay focused with what you’re passionate about um it’s very easy to sort of maybe get distracted there’s so many different avenues now like back when i was young it was like if you’re gonna get an i.t it was a very it was a pretty clear path in a lot of ways as you know you go do your microsoft search i did all them um did my itil search but it was very clear in the direction you could go now it’s like you can be like a software dev you can you know robotics automation like there’s just so many different avenues and machine learning engineers yeah yeah yeah and i think it’s just all about just like being focused like just find out where your passions are like you’ve got to do this you’re going to do this for a long time like your career unless you hit the jackpot which i’ve been trying to do the powerball come on baby um but chances of you winning that are pretty low so you have to have a backup plan and that would be probably a career i guess and in your career um you know you’ve got to find what you’re passionate about otherwise you’re just wasting everyone’s not only your time wasting everyone’s time yeah exactly because you’re going to get bored he’s going to keep jumping between and then you’re going to get to like the ripe old age where you go why didn’t i just follow what i thought was interesting or why didn’t i just why didn’t i just spend my days waking up and actually look forward to going to work and i’m definitely at that point i love going to work yeah i love the people i work for i love what we’re doing i think i’m very blessed in a lot of ways i’m not a religious person but i’m definitely feel like um you know the opportunities that i’ve had has been a result of me um probably being quite vocal about what i want to do but also just like knowing that i’m interested in something and chasing that so i guess my advice to newcomers and people coming to the market is don’t don’t rush it by all means don’t think you have to have like this clear path of what you want to do because you’re probably not going to work it out for about five years into your career right yeah and that’s that’s normal like it’s more than normal in fact i’d probably encourage it like dabble in a little bit of everything yeah but once you find something that really excites you go and master it like go and go and do the best you can at it because it’s only going to benefit you in the long run and you’ve got to have an end game and your end game is to retire and spend time with your family or yeah you know whatever it is i think there’s just a lot of pressure on kids these days to have it figured out straight away i think i think that pressure is like always been there in some ways it probably stems from um both your parents and what the school expectations are and stuff and you do it a lot of us did just go surfing during the day and don’t worry about it but don’t take my advice and don’t do that from episode 62 daniel today

mate while we’re on the topic of education uh education i think is a interesting topic for technology professionals what used to be common and on every job advertisement was must have degree is changing and evolving uh education obviously has a place in society university is a big part of that but i guess you’re let’s start with your experience you’ve obviously done a couple of degrees now and gone back and then done different uh smaller courses as well to to continue your education and be keen to get your opinion on the value for let’s start with the value for university for your career look value of university is a funny one it’s very valuable for that check box where people require a degree as you mentioned it’s less important these days but um a lot of roles still want you to have that little check box yeah i’ve seen roles where they want the masters check box it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get their best candidates just somebody who’s had the time to do a master’s degree personally i really don’t care if somebody’s learnt themselves they’ve done a degree they haven’t had time to have a degree it’s really about can you get the outcomes and are you good at what you do and you have the right attitude to learn and continue to develop yourself and move forward so i think it’s good that it’s becoming less important as a requirement but i think until the entire business world changes their mindset there are still roles where it will be limiting if you don’t have a degree regardless of what that degree is yeah cool you must have seen i’m assuming i make an assumption here but you must have seen some value in it to obviously go back i know you’ve done uh smaller courses with uh cs charles sturt university and also harvard can you talk to me about i guess why you did that and then the value you got from that i i do the short courses because they address a specific interest or a specific need so if there’s an area i do want to delve a little bit deeper into the short courses are a good way to just go in and brush up that skill set i also like looking at a lot of the certification streams because what it does it gives you a good insight into industry best practice standards what other people are doing so i don’t see it as necessary i think what you do in the workplace is much more important the experience you gather from real world experience is more important but it’s also valuable to be conscious of what the industry is doing and yeah if you go to a course and learn one thing you’ve got your value for money out of that course so it’s just about staying relevant and understanding the trends the problem with courses and a problem with degrees are they’re designed for what to do in perfect world situations and no company works in a perfect world situation so the formal education aligned with an ability to use common sense adapt adjust you know change tact and approach when needed will get you the right outcome so it’s a tool along with your other skill sets yeah i think one thing that’s come up on the podcast in in previous conversations is university uh teaching the ability to learn um and you may mention before people coming into into a role and being able to learn on the role and being able to adapt have you found that as a beneficial part to your education i still remember when i started my first job i had that oh [ __ ] moment because nothing that i learned in university was applicable to that job at all and i had no on the job training i got painted a thousand page book and say here it is go for it which is probably not the best induction process ever but yeah i believe over time universities and formal education providers have understood that they need to work with industry better and that may have changed but there is still a bit of a disconnect between what you do learn and what you then need to apply in a job and it’s a combination of the two that are required yeah i personally know from the university newcastle’s perspective they don’t they make a lot of effort to integrate uh their education with the industry from episode 63 aaron and will tol

as far as education is concerned uh did you do the tertiary education route did you did you do self-guided self-paced stuff yeah where did you build the skill set well i’m very much not a wood scientist so better or worse but i actually went to newcastle uni so i did joint comp science math so i have enough of a background to be dangerous in the field that we’re in um so yeah look and that’s you know a nice thing about newcastle is we’ve got the union right here it actually draws in you know a lot of people from um from the region um and yeah look i think that about when i finished my uni degree i probably didn’t have a very high opinion of it and i started working for myself straight after it so i’ve actually never had to show my degree or results to any potential employers yep um but i think it gives you a good theoretical grounding like a lot of the um again i might be biased here but a lot of the math kind of features you know languages come and go um techniques packages all that comes and goes but a lot of the theory has you know it had already been around for 40 years when when i did uni and hasn’t changed in the 20 years since so that kind of grounding and as the computers and frameworks are doing a lot more for you it actually becomes more important because you know you can have one line of code and it’s like you realize this is iterating over a list with a million things in it like three different times in order to give you one value at the end and um an appreciation for that um kind of comes with that degree so so on our tech team i think at least on the program’s side pretty much everyone has you know a comp sci or software engineering or actually we have a few who’ve actually done electrical engineering and then you’ve got a fair few hard pivot guys in as well right yeah absolutely so on the hardware team and um on my filter team as well um you know mechatronics um as well as actually mechanical engineering as well

we love the mechatronics because it’s a good combination of hardware and software and it’s it’s great to have those kind of people on the team as well because they bring in like a different perspective they’ve done a lot more robotics side of things and especially on the hardware side it’s good to have that depth there but it is always interesting because then you get them starting to do software for one piece and then we assimilate it into the software team pretty quickly and go so you see where you did this maybe we should do it this way and uh but it’s good because there’s a lot of kind of cross-pollination there between those um those ones so yeah yeah do you add anything on the uni no like i don’t think i have much to add on the newcastle uni side i have very little experience with it my degree is highly relevant to anything pretty much but like i’ve gained a lot of life experience through running my own construction business working production and managing workflows things like that so we you you started at cordell or airsight as a uh as a junior dev so how did you pick up that skill set uh well being roughly this same age as aaron here like this kind of grew up around me or i became interested as internet became a thing i remember like looking at the first websites in notepad and trying to build things like that and i this kind of stayed with me like i did a bit of freelancing here and there and at some point i realized hey this construction thing is super stressful and there’s a lot to running your own business other than doing the actual work so and there was a shortage of front-end developers in stockholm where i live at the time so hmm maybe i should do something where i will work a bit less and i will earn a bit more i’d be a bit less stressed so yeah i do a bit of a bit of study on my own time and how’s that less stress thing working out

from episode 64 david lynch

so what advice would you give to young students wanting to start a career in technology what path would you recommend for them yeah sure so um look the the tapes and universities do great programs um and and give you the basics definitely around networking but i suppose you know my advice would be try and work within a certainly a msp environment a managed services provider environment to start with because you get a very good broad section of experience so the enterprise side i suppose is more about one network you know everybody does things the same way sort of thing whereas an msp gives you a broad cross-section there’s so many different businesses set up and some completely different different sizes different yep absolutely so some are hosted some are on prem servers some are you know different software products um you get a greater you know breadth of experience yeah that’s right yeah yeah fantastic from episode 65 ben lamb

so i guess my advice to everybody you’ve heard me speak of of traveling overseas and taking those risks and those opportunities if if you’ve got a if you’re working wherever you are and you’ve been in an industry and someone’s willing to back you for something that you think is a little bit bigger than you then have a bit of faith in yourself someone else can see it in you so have a go put your hand up when you don’t know put your hand up if you make a mistake but get out there and have a go because you’ll you’ll never regret it and you obviously started you know very much with the foundations first and you mentioned before you very much were a generalist and then later in your career specialized do you yeah people are sort of specializing a bit sort of earlier in their career these days i think so um i guess yeah i think you’re quite right i think um to be a good specialist you can’t be a blinkered specialist i think the value that our business offers is the fact that we come from a very generalist industrial control system and automation background we understand those systems we could take them on if we wanted to do them ourselves but our speciality is making them work from a communications and security point of view and i think that’s our strength and i think that’s our value for clients that we we do have that understanding and we’re not going to push them down a route that’s going to cause them pain yeah good i think the only other bit of advice i give to everyone coming up particularly in an industry technology game is something one someone said to me a long time ago said this game’s full of smart people and if you’ve got smart people you can teach them lots of things there’s one thing that’s really hard to teach and it’s attitude yes you have to be coachable don’t you yes you do it doesn’t matter it makes it very hard you need to you need to uh yeah we want to learn new skills and have a go but attitude and personality are some some of the hardest things to teach or change in a person so be mindful of it and that’s certainly something that i had to learn along the way be thinking about what you’re doing thinking about how you’re going to bolt him with that team how how are you going to bring value to that company at the end of the day that’s why you’re there yeah you’re there to make the money if they’re making money you’ll make money

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