Shimali Fernando's Master of Information Technology (MInfoTech) gave her hands-on experience of the New Zealand workforce.
Career: Technical consultant
Programme: Master of Information Technology
“I completed my bachelors in Computer Science and Software Engineering and I had been working in the field for five years. During that time, I had an opportunity to get involved in a project that involved big data, but I only had very basic knowledge of this emerging field. I was keen to learn more and this is when I first considered doing further study.
“Given the importance and fast-changing nature of IT, I knew that as well as being a key interest of mine personally, it is necessary to consider how you can grow your own knowledge to ensure you can survive and grow in what is a challenging job market. While I started looking at different study options, I found that the MInfoTech offered what I was looking for – it is a programme that I knew would help me reach my career goals.
“The programme is built in such a way that students are able to experience a mix of technical and non-technical courses. This provided a great balance to help me choose the technical areas that I wanted to focus on while, at the same time, I had the flexibility to choose non-technical courses from a business perspective.
“Another aspect I enjoyed was the internship component that gave me the opportunity to get experience in the New Zealand workforce. This, coupled with the compulsory workshops, helped me gain in-depth and diverse understanding of the New Zealand work culture.
“The experience as an International Student was great. I was a bit nervous when I first came to the Faculty of Science Orientation as I knew nothing about the university grounds. The buddy that helped me around the session showed me all the places I would most likely visit for lectures and shared useful information that any fresher would appreciate.
“I was involved with the University’s Career Development and Employability Services (CDES) and I was selected to take part for the International Students Workplace Insights programme. This programme gave me the opportunity to network with University of Auckland alumni. I was also able to listen to their success stories and to do a field visit to a company to experience the New Zealand work culture. Most importantly I was assigned an alumni mentor – we had one-on-one chats that guided and assisted me in achieving my career objectives.
“While studying I worked part-time at JB Hi-Fi as an IT salesperson to help pay for basic life expenses as well as an opportunity to immerse myself into the New Zealand workforce. Additionally, during the semester break I volunteered to do a data curation project with Potentia IDT Recruitment which gave me hands-on IT experience. The work experience I obtained definitely added value to my career and overall experience.
“I did my internship at Davanti Consulting and was lucky enough to secure a permanent position at the end of the internship. I am now working as a consultant at Davanti Consulting, specialising in the Salesforce platform.
"Currently I am working with a leading client that offers various solutions in the network space. The client is rebuilding its existing system to provide its customers with a better user experience. I am involved in creating this system upgrade and improved solution for them.
"The project that I’m currently involved in is mainly focused on improving my exposure to the Salesforce platform. My career is heading towards Salesforce Einstein Analytics. I’m passionate about data science and I look forward to learning and growing in this space.
"I would like to think that my work will facilitate efficiencies across a wide range of industries. The ability to make decisions faster and therefore implement solutions quicker is very powerful and something I certainly hope to influence.
"Having had the opportunity to do further studies in a market as special as New Zealand pushes me to be the best version of myself and to deliver incredible solutions for clients and the end user. I believe that with the right level of focus and dedication anything is possible. I try to challenge myself each day in whatever small way I can to get better in my field so that I am ready for the next opportunity when the time is right.
"I have met great friends and lecturers which have helped me throughout my University journey. Finding the right place for my postgraduate studies was quite challenging. Out of all the countries I researched New Zealand was consistently at the top of lists for being the best country to live in. The warm welcome that Kiwis give to international students contributed to me choosing New Zealand as the ideal spot for my higher studies and I’m certainly glad I did!"