Xero Intern Profiles

Meet Xero at the 2019 CDES Internship Career Expo on 1 August!

Alexandra Fowler

  • University of Auckland student
  • Bachelor of Science - Computer Science

What is it like working for your organisation and was it what you expected or was it different?
When I was applying for internships I was feeling extremely apprehensive about entering the software industry, and wasn't really sure what to expect. All of the stories I had heard about working in software had led me to have a really negative perspective, and I was worried that working at Xero would just reinforce that perspective for me.

However, from my very first day at Xero, I was incredibly surprised to see that being at work felt like being part of a massive family. Every single person I would run into around the office had a really different life story and it has been so awesome to get to know everyone over time. The work I've been doing here has turned out to be extremely rewarding and valuable for myself, my team and the product which we work on. Working at Xero truly has been eye opening as it has introduced me to the awesome side of an industry I wasn't 100% confident about wanting to enter. Being at such a cool company has really reinforced that I could probably spend the rest of my life working in this industry and I'm excited to see where the next few years will take me.

My advice to anyone in their early years of uni would be to reach out to people at companies you'd be keen to work for and try to engage with their community!

What advice would you give to students wanting to take part in an internship/graduate programme?
Being an intern is a really great opportunity to try out what you might be doing once you leave university in a relatively laid back and learning-focused context. My advice to anyone in their early years of uni would be to reach out to people at companies you'd be keen to work for and try to engage with their community! Also make sure you remember to apply when internship programmes open up and learn to sell yourself to your future employers.

If you're worried about not getting into some of the high stakes roles at all of New Zealand's larger companies, then any kind of part-time or fixed-term job will still stand you in good stead by teaching you really useful communication and organisation skills. I tutored French and worked as a retail assistant before starting my internship, and these experiences have proved invaluable at work!

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
The great thing about this industry is that you never know where you'll end up. In such a short time I've already learned so much about what I enjoy, and I'm sure I'll keep learning every day until I'm confident in what I love doing. From there I think I'll make a decision about where I want my career to head. One thing that I know for sure is that whatever I'm doing, it's definitely going to be something that aims to help people. Making a difference in people's lives in some way is really important to me, so whether it be in software or by some other means, I know I'll be trying to do this as hard as I can.

Cyrus Raitava-Kumar

  • University of Auckland student
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Commerce conjoint (Software Engineering, Economics, Finance)

What is it like working for your organisation and was it what you expected or was it different?
Working at Xero, is similar in some respects, to working on a well-scoped University project, with your mates. The environment is relatively chill, you get along with most of the people you meet, and you get to sink your teeth into some seriously relevant software development.

Although the table tennis/pool tables, soft drink vending machines and arcade gaming machines are all awesome bonuses to working in a cool software company, it’s ultimately the people that really make Xero homely for me. Although I was expecting some of the cool additions I mentioned before, I wasn’t expecting how well I would get along with my colleagues - playing sports with some of them after work, catching up with a bunch of them on a regular basis, and getting a load of advice from different people in different positions, threw me off guard initially.

Overall, working at Xero was both very similar, and very different to how I originally imagined it would be. I knew I would be working on awesome things software-development wise, with all the cool little perks, but I didn’t consider how friendly my team could be, or how helpful my colleagues in general could be.

Internships are especially valuable - it’s a chance to essentially ‘try before you buy’ with a company, and have the chance to up-skill.

What advice would you give to students wanting to take part in an internship/graduate programme?
I would say get stuck in - University teaches you a bunch of really important things, but working within the industry gives you a taste of what life after tertiary education is like. Internships are especially valuable - it’s a chance to essentially ‘try before you buy’ with a company, and have the chance to up-skill. Graduate programmes can also be awesome for the transition from University to the industry - Xero for example, normally run a rotation system in your first year, where you get to try out being in different teams, that work in different environments, on very different tech stacks.

Brush up your CV, look into resources for interview preparation (CDES is a good place to browse around), and get to applying! Go for as many companies as you’re interested in, and keep your fingers crossed!

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I’d love to see my career in the tech industry really gravitate towards something strongly intertwined with leadership. I’d love to either be helping my local communities here in Auckland, or working overseas, sponging in as many skills as I can, to bring back home. Perhaps even some sort of start-up initiative could be awesome, as an even better platform for me to help others, who knows!