What's your name and job title? What did you study? When did you graduate?
My name is Dung and I am a data analyst at the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). I graduated with honours in 2017 with a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in Electronics and Communications.
Where did you grow up? Can you tell us about some important stages of your life in regards to your education?
I grew up in Vietnam and moved to Australia with my family when I was nine years old. Initially we lived in Melbourne where I completed my primary and junior high school education. When I started my later high school years, my family took a chance and moved to Canberra for the job opportunities. Right away, I knew Canberra would be a great place to live; it is a quieter place, away from the busy cities and equipped with all the necessities. It’s also only three hours drive from Sydney.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I started with the ANAO as an intern during my third year of university studies in 2016. The opportunity came by chance when I searched ‘Jobs in Canberra’ on Seek while completing an assignment, to see where my degree could actually take me. The ANAO internship was advertised and the agency’s tagline ‘see what other grads don’t’, piqued my interest to apply. During my intern year, I was given the opportunity to be involved in a diverse and interesting portfolio of work that convinced me to apply for the graduate program. On completion of my degree, I applied and was accepted to the ANAO’s 2018 Graduate Program cohort.
What does your employer do?
The ANAO independently reports to Parliament through the publishing of two main products: the financial statement audit and performance audits. This reporting mechanism allows the ANAO to hold all Commonwealth entities accountable for their actions. This increases the transparency of the Australian Public Service as a whole in the eyes of the public. An example of this transparency is the audited figures of entities’ financial performances within all the corresponding annual reports.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a graduate at the ANAO, not only am I responsible for operational pieces of work, I also get the opportunity to participate in projects that are tactical and strategic. For instance, I have been involved in supporting both our financial statement auditors and performance auditors with data analytics tasks to deliver their business as usual work. Additionally, I have also been involved in the development of the Data Analytics Capability Framework and research and development projects that looks at creating efficiencies in multiple lines of work within the ANAO. These projects really allowed me to understand and get a different perspective of the office in terms of our needs and strategic direction.
Can you describe a typical work day?
So far, everyday has been a slightly different day for me. Typically the work is dependent on the stage and timeframe of the audit/project. Generally, within an audit/project the type of work will vary from being technically heavy to a more communicative stakeholder-facing engagement. Throughout my experience, I’ve been encouraged to be involved in an audit or project from end to end. This means that I am exposed to both the technical deliverables and elements of project management. Therefore, on any given day, I may be scoping a project, engaging with stakeholders or delivering technical deliverables. Thankfully, my colleagues are always here if I need any assistance.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study? Are there any particular skills it would be beneficial for them to develop?
Given there is so much variety of work at the ANAO (with oversight of over a hundred different Commonwealth agencies across nineteen portfolios of work), there’s a fit for all educational backgrounds. However, with this much variety of work, it is important that you develop a flexible mindset: flexible to the changes in the type of work you might be involved in, as well as in the ways you work with different stakeholders and communicate with people, all with a different set of interests and priorities.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
A person who is open to change and is receptive to new ideas. The way Commonwealth entities operate is always changing, so as auditors we need to be open-minded in order to be responsive. An ability to embrace change is particularly relevant for a data analytics career, given it is a new and developing industry. The ideal candidate should have a willingness to learn new things, with a touch of creativity as to the potential applications of this learning.
What do you love the most about your job? Which kind of task do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy the balance of autonomy and support I get from the team. I have never had to ‘take one for the team’ but often the team would take one for me.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
While technologies and innovations are moving fast within the government sector, there has always been an inherent lag compared to the private sector. Therefore, on occasions, there needs to be a push in order to trial new things.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
A career that would encourage me to travel and eat.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?