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  • #8 in Technology
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Alvin Zhao

In my cohort, all of us have pretty different backgrounds and we are all capable of working together, and learning as much as we can at our own pace towards becoming confident software developers.

What's your job about?

MYOB’s Future Maker’s Academy is all about providing a solid foundation for those beginning their software development career. My responsibility is to identify and strengthen my core skills, under the tutelage of my experienced mentors, as well as learning from and teaching the other proteges around me. Once I’ve demonstrated key learning objectives, I’m afforded the opportunity to rotate into different teams and learn, experience, and apply myself to deliver an impact on MYOB products and systems. 

In a typical day I’ll be doing a lot of collaboration with mentors and the other proteges, working together on a software challenge and learning from each other. My days are really flexible, and I have the chance to really learn and dive deep into concepts at my own pace. I usually set goals for myself each week

and I’ll discuss these with my mentors and plan out what I should learn next. It’s an amazing experience getting to learn as a job and it’s really building my confidence as a software developer.

The culture at MYOB is great, I feel like I could talk to anyone, and they will always try to make time for me. There is a real emphasis on continually growing and everyone is happy to help out the proteges.

What's your background?

I grew up in South East Melbourne, and had a very generic life. 

I’ve always enjoyed computers and computer games since I was a kid, but when I tried Robotics in Primary School I found it really tough even though I really wanted to be good at it. 

I thought maybe programming was not for me until I first learnt PHP in high school and made a lot of my own cool projects that I was eager to show off to my friends and family. 

Looking back they weren’t very impressive but I chose to study Computer Science at University because I thought I had found my passion. My grades were awful, and I had even failed a few units, but I knew I wanted to be a programmer so I continued working hard on other side projects and self-learning a few things not taught at uni. When it came to my final year, I was unsuccessful at landing any internships or industry-related work experience, and when I was applying to MYOB the recruitment process and culture just felt so different, like they really cared about developing the cohort of the Future Maker’s academy, that when I received the offer, I felt like a weight had been lifted and I was really excited about joining.

I got my protégé offer from MYOB in the middle of my final year at uni, and I’ve been at MYOB for a little over 4 months now.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love I really enjoy the guided learning and discussions I have with my mentors, and really just having that supportive environment around me, where I can learn from and teach to others our own challenges and experiences.

Even if I’m feeling a bit drained at work, I feel confident that I can just talk to someone about why I’m feeling drained, if there’s another way to approach something, and just have a casual conversation.

What are the limitations of your job?

As a protégé developer, there is a lot of responsibility on the protégé to be self-organising and make sure they are making the most out of the opportunity. It can be so easy to just take it easy and do the bare minimum but in order to do get the most out of the FMA, one needs to be invested in learning as much as you possibly can, don’t be afraid to ask questions (something I have always struggled a lot with). 
I found that it really pays to be passionate about software development.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Don’t get side-tracked by the small things, focus your learning on the big picture.
  • Join and participate in some clubs/associations, try to build up those interpersonal skills, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first.
  • Your parents are not always right!!! Have some more faith in your own decisions.