Updating Results

Department of Transport

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Julia Kowalska

I meet for 10 minutes with my team to understand what tasks need doing and if we are facing any blockers

What is your job title? What does your role involve?

Business Intelligence Officer

  • Creating dashboards and interactive reports from various data sources
  • Enriching spatial asset data

What did you study? Tell us a bit about your study, career and how you found your way to your current role.

  • Bachelor of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, and Bachelor of Science (majoring in maths)
  • During my penultimate summer break, I did an internship with Lendlease in the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) space – this opened my eyes to the world of data in transport.
  • As a result of this internship, I decided to apply for the DoT (then VicRoads) grad program.

What are your areas of responsibility?  Can you describe a typical workday?

  • I check on some processes which ingest data from external sources to ensure they ran correctly during the night
  • I meet for 10 minutes with my team to understand what tasks need doing and if we are facing any blockers
  • I spend most of my time creating dynamic reports for various groups within DoT to use. This task is broken down into three critical steps: stakeholder engagement to find out what the clients needs, discovery of how to best meet those needs, and finally the development of the report. These reports are created in Power BI – a business analytics software. The report development is done in an iterative fashion, where each iteration is shaped by the client’s feedback.

What do you love about your job? What kind of task do you enjoy the most?

  • I love coming up with solutions to tricky problems.  For example, recently I had to translate spatial data into a format that could be used by a mapping visualisation in Power BI. It was really rewarding to come up with a solution to this problem and challenge myself to learn new coding skills.

What have been some of the best aspects of the Graduate Program at DoT?

  • Learning about things completely outside of my area of study at university. I felt very burnt out towards the end of my degree. Learning about something completely new, like pavement and traffic management, re-energised me!

What skills have you developed through the Graduate Program?

  • Power BI and data modelling
  • Querying databases with SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • Using GIS (Geographic Information Software)
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Understanding the audience when communicating – all the way from operations to management.

How has the Graduate Program impacted your career?

In my first rotation, I was fortunate enough that the team I was in was an internal client of the Enterprise Information Management (EIM) group at DoT. The work EIM did spark my interest in data analytics and management. As a result of this, I asked if I could complete one of my rotations with the group. In the group, I got lots of hands-on experience with Power BI and GIS. One rotation turned into two… which then turned into a permanent role! If it wasn’t for my encounter with, I don’t think I would have ended up going down the IT and data path.

What advice would you give to a current university student?

  • This is advice for perfectionists like me: don’t worry so much about achieving perfect grades, use a uni to learn about yourself. Uni is a great time to experiment with what you like and how you like to learn – fail fast! I wish I had challenged myself more with understanding content (rather than just route learning) and gotten more involved with extracurricular activities.
  • Don’t worry about not loving your course (unless you are miserable) – I think it is very rare for people to love what they do; remember that university is often a means to an end.
  • Get creative with where you apply for jobs – many industries value the STEM mindset. I would never have thought I’d end up in DoT with my electrical background.