Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Canberra and graduated from college (secondary school) in 2017.
How did you get your current job?
I applied online for the ICT Traineeship Program during my year 12 exams.
How did you choose your specialisation?
Choosing a career after high school was really hard because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was really easy to pick out the jobs that I wasn’t interested in. Once I knew the different options that I was curious about, I wasn’t sure what to do with that information.
I’ve always had an interest in IT and was working at Officeworks as a sales assistant in the IT Department. When I saw the job online, I thought, “why not, the worst thing that could happen is that I get declined”. Thankfully, I was found suitable and joined the Organisation at the age of 18. The best thing about the traineeship is that I didn’t have to choose a specialisation when I started, I was exposed to a broad range of IT in real-world applications and then decided from there where I wanted to go.
What was your interview process like?
The interview process was very unique and interesting. After my online application, I undertook some aptitude tests and numerous interviews. These included discussions to find out why I wanted to join ASIO, and why I was interested in the traineeship as well as my personal background and psychological profile. During the process, I found the interviewers were genuinely interested in me as a person and how I would fit into the Organisation and its culture.
What does your employer do?
ASIO's mission is about protecting Australia, its people, and its interests. We do this by collecting intelligence from both human and technical sources. We then analyse this intelligence to provide advice to Government, business, as well as domestic and international partners.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As an IT trainee, there’s a lot of responsibility placed on us to manage both working in the Organisation and completing our studies at the Canberra Institute of Technology. We have to ensure that our CIT work is completed efficiently to best utilise the time that work gives us to attend classes and complete assignments. My responsibilities have changed depending on the team I am in, however, I have never been alone in handling them. The teams have all had knowledgeable and friendly people willing to help me when I had a question.
Can you describe a typical workday?
Depending on the team that I’m placed in, a typical day could be a variety of things. Currently, I attend meetings that relate to projects that I’m working on, complete tasks that have been given to me by my line manager, and working through a service queue to complete jobs. Through this, I can learn how to prioritise my work, set goals, and ask those around me for assistance.
The last project that I worked on was building a system from scratch, based on a system that existed in production. This included building servers, allocating firewall rules, SQL database management, Windows administration (DNS, Active Directory, PowerShell, etc.), and built and maintained the application.
There was limited documentation with a lot of assumed knowledge, and my task was to make sure I filled in the gaps in the documentation. This was to make the process easy to follow for anyone in the future.
What are the career prospects with your job?
The IT traineeship is really great because it has four, six-month rotations where you gain exposure to different areas of IT within the organisation. This helps you to find something that you really like and pursue it, working closely with subject matter experts in each area helps you to build knowledge, experience, and contacts that will be beneficial later in your career.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I think I would still be applying for different jobs that I was interested in whilst working at Officeworks. I would be looking to undertake further studies or gain industry qualifications.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love how the work I do helps someone in one way or another to be able to complete the organisation's mission, it provides a level of satisfaction and pride in the work I do.
I really like making connections with other staff members that I can reach out to later on in my career, and I know I can ask them for assistance. I enjoy most tasks that I get given, but I can say that I like building Linux and Windows servers for clients the most. It’s nice to know that what I’m building will be used in a project to achieve a business requirement.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
I think the biggest limitation of my job is not having access to my personal emails/electronics while in the office. This can be taken as a positive as it means there are not as many distractions from social media/messaging. However, studying at CIT and not having access your personal email until I am out of the office is hard because it’s more difficult to keep up to date with the latest discussions/decisions. This causes delayed responses, a sense of disconnection, especially around exam time.
The more responsibility you ask for and prove you can handle, the more you will be given in your team. In my experience, it’s best to speak up to be given more work when I feel I could handle more. I work Monday to Friday and the most stressful part of the job is CIT. Trying to find my balance with work and exams was really difficult for me and can cause a lot of pressure.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current student?